From the Hermitage
“A friend is more to be longed for than the light; I speak of a genuine one. And wonder not: for it were better for us that the sun should be extinguished, than that we should be deprived of friends; better to live in darkness, than to be without friends”
Are ears are always filled with a variety of sounds. Perhaps the loudest sound that penetrates the ears is the sounds of silence. Yes, not sound but soundS! Perhaps there are times when the sounds of shame become a din. It is the din of shame that invades the heart and mind seeking to find some hope-for moments of peace. Perhaps it is the sounds of shame that silence so difficult for contemporaries of the modern world. So strong, or loud, is this din that NOT heard is the voice of the God. How many moons have passed overhead as regret and shame have prevented hearing the soothing whispers of the Triune God. It is often the message of so many saints that the words of Jesus are like a medicine that removes the ear wax of shame that deafens.
The saint we honor today, John Chrysostom, was a renowned preacher. His words were an invitation to his listeners who were in need of healing. For him, all of us should realize a genuine dependence upon God, the God whose love cost him his greatest possession -- his only Son. The saint sought to lead his hearers to God by removing all the clutter that amassed around them. So often the trinkets of a culture prevent the most influential Voice from being heard.
In the gospel today we read these words of Jesus: "...for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks." When all that the ears can hear are pain and sin, God's words are lost. His suffering and death cannot break through to heal the soul. What is needed? Discipline! In our contemporary world so often fills our ears with a wax that blocks our hearing God's loving words. Do we consider his words the most influential or has our society done so much to interfere with our hearing God?
Oremus pro invicem!