Chrysostom3Continued from here….

“Blessed are they that mourn” (Matt. 5:4).

Here too again Christ designated not simply all that mourn, but all that do so for sins.

Since surely that other kind of mourning is forbidden, and that earnestly, which relates to anything of this life.

This Paul also clearly declared, when he said “The sorrow of the world worketh death, but godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of” (2 Cor. 7:10).

These then He too Himself calls blessed, whose sorrow is of that kind. Yet He does not simply designate those who sorrow did He designate, but those who sorrow intensely.

Therefore He did not say “they that sorrow” but “they that mourn.” For this commandment again is fitted to teach us entire self-control.

Those who grieve for children, or wife, or any other relation gone from them, have no fondness for gain or pleasure during that period of their sorrow.

They aim not at glory, are not provoked by insults, nor led captive by envy, nor beset by any other passion, their grief alone wholly possessing them.

This being so, how much more will they who mourn for their own sins, as they ought to mourn, show forth a self-denial greater than this?

Next, what is the reward for these? “For they shall be comforted,” He says.

Where shall they be comforted? Both here and there. For since the thing enjoined was exceeding burdensome and galling, He promised to give that, which most of all made it light.

Wherefore, if you wish to be comforted, mourn, and think not this a dark saying. For when God comforts, though sorrows come upon you by thousands like snow-flakes, you wilt be above them all.

Since in truth, the returns which God gives are always far greater than our labours…, He declares those who mourn to be blessed – not after the value of what they do, but after His own love towards man.

For they that mourn, mourn for misdoings, and to such it is enough to enjoy forgiveness, and obtain wherewith to answer for themselves.

But forasmuch as He is full of love towards man, He does not limit His recompense either to the removal of our punishments, or to the deliverance from our sins, but He makes them even blessed, and imparts to them abundant consolation.

But He bids us mourn, not only for our own, but also for other men’s misdoings.

And of this temper were the souls of the saints. Such was that of Moses, of Paul, of David; yea, all these many times mourned for evils not their own.

John Chrysostom (c.347-407): Homilies on the Gospel According to St Matthew, 15, 4 (on Matthew 5:4); slightly adapted.

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