St. John Chrysostom (347-407), archbishop of Constantinople, was known for his wisdom and eloquence. His “golden mouth” nickname (Chrysostom) is evidenced by the fact that his sermons and sayings have been passed down over hundreds of years, and yet are still applicable to Christian life today. As Orthodox Christian parents, we have much to learn from this saint, while sharing his words with our children.
From his life, we learn that a Saint can be someone born into privilege, who chooses simplicity. A Saint can be raised by a single parent who, despite inevitable difficulties, works diligently to raise her child in the faith, and provides an excellent education for her son. A Saint can be someone who is extremely intelligent yet chooses not to show off that intelligence. A Saint can be someone who is not afraid to call out wrongdoing regardless of whether or not it is popular. There is so much more: there are just so many things we can learn from St. John’s life!
Even his passing teaches us much. At the end of his life, St. John had been exiled. Forced to walk a great distance although ill, he nevertheless still managed to write letters to his flock, encouraging them and spurring them on in their faith. The last of his golden words, spoken on that exile journey, are also a lesson: “Glory be to God for all things!” Wow. To say such things in the midst of such difficulty and humiliation is to succinctly teach a life goal in merely 7 words.
St. John Chrysostom is commemorated on Nov. 13. Let us remember him on that day, asking him for his prayers on our behalf. Let us also teach our children about his life and teachings; so that they can learn from his life and example.
Through the prayers of our holy Father, St. John Chrysostom, oh Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us, and save us.
To read about St. John Chrysostom’s life, visit http://orthodoxwiki.org/John_Chrysostom.
and also at http://www.antiochian.org/saint_john_chrysostom.
A video about St. John Chrysostom, featuring his Paschal sermon which we all hear every year at Pascha, can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QP9W4hk8cc.