St. John Chrysostom’s sample on Easter:
Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is fully laden; feast sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away. Enjoy the feast of faith; receive all the riches of loving kindness. Let no one weep for their iniquities, for pardon has shone forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free: he that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending to hell, he made hell captive.
Hell was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked.
O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.
11 thoughts on “St. Johnny C”
Easter Victory…it’s strange, isn’t it? I think it is. I love it too!
The old Saint indeed spoke with a “golden tongue.” He conjures a magical, marvelous hope in this sample! These particular words of his are quite charitable, though from my limited reading and recollection he also doesn’t shirk from presenting the “law” side of the Law/Gospel equation. I extend my appreciation for the sample. It blessed me.
Speaking of Hope…here is a sample from a theologian who was hope obsessed.
Easter is the feast of freedom. It makes the life which it touches a festal life. “The risen Christ makes life a perpetual feast,” said Athanasius. But can the whole of life really be a feast? Even life’s dark side -death, guilt, senseless suffering? I think it can. Once we realize that the giver of this feast is the outcast, suffering, crucified Son of Man from Nazareth, then every “no” is absorbed into this profound “yes,” and is swallowed up in its victory. –Moltmann
Easter is at one and the same time God’s protest against death, and the feast of freedom from death. Anyone who fails to hold these two things together has failed to understand the resurrection of the Christ who was crucified. –Moltmann
Here’s a parting fable (?) that I cherish. A contemporary religious writer that I enjoy on occasion recounted the story in an Easter reflection. It speaks powerfully to the Easter Victory. If only it were true. It’s called “Waiting for Judas.”
There is an old legend that after his death Judas found himself at the bottom of a deep and slimy pit. For thousands of years he wept his repentance, and when the tears were finally spent he looked up and saw, way, way up, a tiny glimmer of light. After he had contemplated it for another thousand years or so, he began to try to climb up towards it. The walls of the pit were dank and slimy, and he kept slipping back down. Finally, after great effort, he neared the top, and then he slipped and fell all the way back down. It took him many years to recover, all the time weeping bitter tears of grief and repentance, and then he started to climb up again. After many more falls and efforts and failures he reached the top and dragged himself into an upper room with twelve people seated around a table. “We’ve been waiting for you, Judas,” Jesus said. “We couldn’t begin till you came.”
When are you going to post something new Father Stace? I want to spar!!!
Choice, Constantine. Choice selection, choice parable. The image of Judas is black and lonely. The redemption is glorious. I just read, at your suggestion I think, The Great Divorce. The images there haunt me, too. I think poetry and prose make places in your imagination to contain the grace of God.
Padowaniece needs attention, Fr. Neo. We’re waiting for the duel. Let the games begin.
Kevin, you said: “I think poetry and prose make places in your imagination to contain the grace of God.”
I agree wholeheartedly Kevin. Spot on! That’s why there are those who are more impacted, even evangelized so to speak, by Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov” than by official church dogma and/or the various catechisms of Chistendom. We need stories, a narrative, to help us cope, understand and live. That’s why the “Matrix” trilogy and Tolkien’s “Ring” trilogy are so popular among thinking Christians as of late. Poetry, i.e. art in its various manifestations, and imagination are in short order these days in the church catholic. There is a scene from the movie “Contact” where the protagonist aftering seeing what she calls “a celestial event” exclaims, “Poetry! Indescribable…They should have sent a poet.” Now that’s what I call Apophatic Theology! The eminent theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (John Paul II favorite thinker and was also on his way to being appointed a Cardinal before he died) said, “God needs prophets in order to make himself known, and all prophets are necessarily artistic. What a prophet has to say can never be said in prose.”
G.K. Chesterton nails it. He says, “ Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess players do… Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross that infinite sea, and so make it finite…The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head…As long as you have the mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity.”
Note: Take a peek at McLaren’s “a Generous Orthodoxy.” I stole much of the above ideas from a chapter entitled “What I am Mystical/Poetic.” I don’t agree with all that he says but his thought has merit and is worthy of consideration.
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative, Mystical/Poetic, Biblical, Charismatic/Contemplative, Fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, Green, Incarnational, Depressed-yet-Hopeful, Emergent, Unfinished CHRISTIAN
I will look at it. Some of my own thinking resonates. I wonder at Theresa of Avilla, who only had the daily mass and the psalms in Spanish, but connected…without Paul’s help. I wonder at becoming like a child as a prerequisite for entering the kingdom, but here I sit, talking to intellectuals. I wonder about the visionaries of Fatima. Were they Armenians?
A kind of harsh review of McLaren’s “a Generous Orthodoxy” titled “Is A Generous Orthodoxy truly orthodox?” by R. Albert Mohler Jr. (a Baptist)
One quoter from the review: “This author’s purpose is transparent and consistent. Embracing the worldview of the postmodern age, he embraces relativism at the cost of clarity in matters of truth and intends to redefine Christianity for this new age, largely in terms of an eccentric mixture of elements he would take from virtually every theological position and variant.”
Before I am taken wrong, I am not contradicting Constantine’s post – I especially like the Chesterton quote. And I’m sure the review pokes into the reasons that Constantine doesn’t agree with everything McLaren says.
So there it is. (grin)
Point well taken Kevin. Yes. Yes indeed. It is to become like a child. Therein lies the wellspring of truth. As for me, I just don’t know how to get back there. It’s that whole red pill, blue pill thing. What’s done is done. Ignorance is (was) bliss. You spoke of the “intriguing subtitle” of “a.G.O.” and let’s face it, that’s but a mere sample of what DIVIDES the universal church. (Of course, McLaren takes a wholly different tact. His is a good faith effort at attempting to demonstrate how unity and new purpose can come from this diversity vs. my kind of piss-in-the-wind skepticism. I applaud his spirit.) So, what’s up with that whole Third Secret thing?? Could it have anything to do with what’s going on in Rome now? I jest :), though I suspect jholder’s Fr. Seraphim might wonder if he was still among us. The Western Patriarch is an important light. Canterbury too. I shall remain silent about Geneva.
Kaboom! I’ve been waiting jholder. I read the review (man are you tech savvy what with links and Greek characters and all!) by Mohler Jr. and it was indeed biting and scored some points. He’s very articulate to be sure (especially for a Baptist—just kidding in case there are any of you among Padre Neo’s Blog acolytes). My contention with his polemic is that he seems hell bent on defining truth as exclusively propositional.
“My contention with his polemic is that he seems hell bent on defining truth as exclusively propositional.”
Certainly problematic. For similar reasons I have problems with the R.C. need to define everything, right down to the exactness of transubstatiation. There seems to be little room left for the mystical — which is one of the reasons I have a deep love for Orthodoxy (capital-O) — the mystic nature of the sacraments are affirmed in every way. I certainly prefer the comfort of the Eastern Christians who still refer to Communion as ‘the Mystic Supper’.
One of the problems with rationalism as a whole is the overdefinition of everything and the raising of man above God to the point where God isn’t needed anymore… although I cannot agree with McLaren if he truly refuses to take a stand on any important theological positions (as Mohler asserts) — even the early fathers would find that lack of definition of what the faith is (even if they do say parts are mystic) is problematic. The fact is that the ‘pick and choose’ mentality that Mohler asserts is present in the book leads to the construction of our own God, which is quite likely not the God of the Bible no matter how hard we try to make him (or her in the case of some) so.
It seems to me that the nihilism inherent in post-modernism is an over-reaction to this problem of rationalism — saying that there is no truth, rather than having to define anything. But this in itself is not a viable system of thought because there is still an absolutely ‘true’ statement in the system: the statement that ‘there is no truth’ becomes the absolute truth of the system making post-modernism completely untenable as a system of thought. This, of course, hasn’t stopped many well-educated people from playing that game.
Oh, it’s not that bad is it? Well, that is why I put in my disclaimer — I haven’t read the book. Although I will admit that I have looked at the book and decided I’d rather read something else. I seriously doubt I would read Mohler’s book “The Coming Evangelical Crisis” for many reasons as well, although I suspect we would agree about more things than I would with McLaren, there would still be a huge disparity in our understanding of many things, from the church to how scripture has any authority, etcetera.
Just to be fair about where I am coming from, I had been Anglican for many years and am soon to be chrismated into the Greek Orthodox Church, if that helps at all. My greatest desire in the world is to aquire the patristic mind, but alas, I have far to go.
I haven’t read McLaren’s ‘Generous Orthodoxy’ but have read others. I like his style and his critque of the ‘evengelical way.’ I don’t, however, like the drift he makes morally. He doesn’t realize that he is deconstructing like a liberal. Since I have partaken of the dirty well of seminary formation, I never forget what the liberals can do. McLaren is creating a discussion that needs to happen, but not by letting go of some of our Christian doctrinal ‘certainties.’ That being said, his book on evangelism called ‘More Ready Than You Realize’ is pretty darn good.
Very astute analysis jholder of postmodernism (pm). I must confess that my “attitude” comes out of that worldview, though my “intellect” often counters in my incessant internal debate. Of course, I seek synthesis for peace of mind. Anyway you slice it though, we do live in a pm world and probably will for centuries to come. In my estimation, pm will only become more pervasive as a global and cultural consensus. It ain’t all bad either in my opinion. I agree with your critique of Rome’s scholasticism. St. Aquinas (his predecessor in stature too, St. Augustine) definitely had a propensity to try and “get the heavens in their head.” Of course, I proceed with caution in my condemnation of Rome and the rest of the West (save for Geneva), even though our E.O. kin usually have no problem calling a spade a spade. St. Aquinas after a “mystical” experience said, “All my works seem like straw after what I have seen.” Imagine that from the Angelic Doctor of Rome and the author of the prolific Summa’s!! That’s one reason why I balk at the near exclusive talk of truth in propositional terms from the “conservative” side. The liberal side are fruit loops (sorry to any here–don’t mean to be mean and you proffer some good points too). Congratulations on your forthcoming Chrismation jholder. Constantinople is our Faith’s best hope in many, many ways, though the E.O. have “issues” as well. So did the G.O.C accept your Anglican baptism? Btw, my “Kaboom!” comment was in good humor. Like PadowanNiece said in her recent post (I’m waiting patiently for her response to Padre Neo’s “solas” finger in the eye before I chime in–ladies first ya know if it can be helped), I too love to spar and don’t mind the occasional jab or uppercut finding its way in and ringing my bell. If I dish it out, I expect it in return. I do wish though that I could practice a wit that would be sharp without cutting, but that’s not likely. I like to needle on occasion and don’t mind the reciprocity. It’s one reason I’ve stuck around on this Blog, in addition to its perceptive Leader and the fantastic postings and commentary by all of you good folks.
Padre Neo, a question if I may. What do you mean by “deconstructing like a liberal”? Would it be akin to what the Reformers did by adding “sola” to much of the established and essential doctrine of the Western Apostolic Church? Were they deconstructionist?