Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How Do You Say No?


Immediately after baptism, St. John Chrysostom's first inclination was to adopt the monastic life.

But his mom stopped him.

He recounts the story in which she took him to the bed where she had given birth to him and begged him with tears not to forsake her. In substance, she said:
My son, my only comfort in the midst of the miseries of this earthly life is to see you constantly, and to behold in your features the faithful image of my beloved husband who is no more. This comfort began with your infancy before you could speak. I ask only one favor from you: do not make me a widow a second time; wait at least till I die; perhaps I shall soon leave this world. When you have buried me and joined my ashes with those of your father, nothing will then prevent you from retiring into monastic life. But as long as I breathe, support me by your presence, and do not draw down upon you the wrath of God by bringing such evils upon me who have given you no offense.*

He relented. Can you blame him?
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*Schaff, Philip, Prologomena to the Works of St. John Chrysostom, CHAPTER III: His Conversion and Ascetic Life, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers (Vol. 9)

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