Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sound Like Your Calling?


Here is Philip Schaff's summary of St. John Chrysostom's account of his life in the monastery:
The monks lived in separate cells or huts, but according to a common rule and under the authority of an abbot. They wore coarse garments of camel’s hair or goat’s hair over their linen tunics. They rose before sunrise, and began the day by singing a hymn of praise and common prayer under the leadership of the abbot. Then they went to their allotted task, some to read, others to write, others to manual labor for the support of the poor. Four hours in each day were devoted to prayer and singing. Their only food was bread and water, except in case of sickness. They slept on straw couches, free from care and anxiety. There was no need of bolts and bars. They held all things in common, and the words of “mine and thine,” which cause innumerable strifes in the world, were unknown among the brethren. If one died, he caused no lamentation, but thanksgiving, and was carried to the grave amidst hymns of praise; for he was not dead, but “perfected,” and permitted to behold the face of Christ. For them to live was Christ, and to die was gain.*
You can imagine what an impact the six years (374-381) St. John spent in this community had on his later service.

Could this - or a variation of it - be your calling?
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*Schaff, Philip, Prologomena to the Works of St. John Chrysostom, CHAPTER IV: Chrysostom as a Monk, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Vol. 9, p. 9.