Paths of Love: The Discernment of Vocation

Texts of St. John Chrysostom cited in the book

Here you will find a compilation of the texts of St. John Chrysostom cited or mentioned in the book Paths of Love.

  • Selfless of charity takes priority over the desire to have God.

    • He means: on this account I am weary, and if I were to be separated from the company about Christ, and to be alienated, not from the love of him—that be far from him, since even all of this he was doing out of love—but from all that enjoyment and glory, I would accept it, provided my Master were not to be blasphemed... I would gladly lose even the kingdom and that unutterable glory, and undergo all necessary sufferings, as considering it the greatest consolation of all, no longer to hear him whom I so long for, so blasphemed.
      ... “For I could wish that I myself were accursed.” What does the “I myself” mean? It means I who have been a teacher of all, who have gathered together countless good deeds, who am waiting for countless crowns, who desired him so much, as to value his love above all things, who all my days am burning for him, and hold all things of second importance to the love of him. For even being loved by Christ was not the only thing he cared for, but loving him exceedingly also. And this last he cared most for (Homily 16 on the Epistle to the Romans, PG 60, 551–52).
  • The evangelical Counsels (poverty, chastity, and obedience) are proposed to man's free will

    • Concerning those who preserve virginity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, he utters these words, "Let him who can receive it, receive it," spurring them on greatly, in that he shows it to be a eminent and grand thing, nor does he include it in the necessity of law, on account of his ineffable gentleness. And he said this, most of all showing it to be possible, so that thereby a greater desire for it would grow in the will.
    • But if it is of the will, you will say, how does he say at the beginning, “All men do not receive it, but they to whom it is given?” That you may learn that the conflict is great, not that you should imagine any compulsory allotments. For it is given to those who will it. But he spoke in this way to show that much influence from above is needed by him who enters this battle, and of this influence he who wills it shall surely partake. For it is customary for him to speak in this manner when the good work done is great, as when he says, “To you it is given to know the mysteries.” And it is evident from the present passage that this is true. For if it were only a gift from above, and those who cherish virginity contributed nothing of theirs, it would have been pointless to promise them the kingdom of heaven, nor would he have rightly distinguished them from other eunuchs. (Homilies on Matthew, hom. 62; PG 58:600).
    • "If you wish to be perfect, go sell all that you have, and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." See how many prizes, how many crowns he grants to this race? If the man had been testing him, he would not have said these things to him. But now he says them, and in order to draw him, shows him the great reward, and leaves it all up to his will, leaving under a certain shadow those things which seemed heavy in the advice; and therefore, before he spoke of the battle and labor, he showed the prize, saying, "If you wish to be perfect," and then added, "sell all that you have, and give to the poor," and immediately told the reward, "and you will have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me." For even to follow him is a great reward. (Homilies on Matthew, hom. 63; PG 58:605).
  • Virginity is better than marriage

    • Even if marriage had no troubles, it would still be necessary to press forward toward the things yet to come. But since marriage has afflictions, why should one burden oneself with it? What need is there to take such a weight? Even after you take it you have to use it as though not having it, since he [St. Paul] says, “Let those who have wives live as though they had none.” (Homily 19 on 1 Corinthians, PG 61, 159)
  • But a well lived marriage is very good

    • Some wise man in the list of blessings sets many things, and also sets this in the list of blessing: “And a wife,” he says, “in harmony with her husband.” And again elsewhere he puts this among the blessings, “the wife being in agreement with her husband.” And from the beginning God appears to have made providence for this union, and has spoken of the two as one... There is no relationship between men as great as that of a wife to her husband, if they are coupled as they ought to be... Indeed the household is a little Church. Thus by becoming good husbands and wives, it is possible to surpass all others. (Homily 20 on Ephesians, PG 62, 135 & 143)

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