John Chrysostom: St John – the Son of Thunder, the Beloved of Christ, Who Holds the Keys of Heaven, Who Drank the Cup of Christ Friday, Dec 27 2013 

John_ChrysostomDecember 27th is the Feast of St John the Evangelist.

For the son of thunder, the beloved of Christ, the pillar of the Churches throughout the world,

who holds the keys of heaven, who drank the cup of Christ, and was baptized with His baptism,

who lay upon his Master’s bosom with much confidence,

this man comes forward to us now;

not as an actor of a play, not hiding his head with a mask…,

nor mounting a platform, nor striking the stage with his foot, nor dressed out with apparel of gold, but he enters wearing a robe of inconceivable beauty.

For he will appear before us having “put on Christ” (Rom. 13:14; Gal. 3:27), having his beautiful “feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace” ( Eph. vi. 15 );

wearing a girdle not about his waist, but about his loins, not made of scarlet leather nor daubed outside with gold, but woven and composed of truth itself.

Seeing then it is no longer the fisherman the son of Zebedee, but He who knoweth “the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10), the Holy Spirit I mean, that striketh this lyre, let us hearken accordingly.

For he will say nothing to us as a man, but what he saith, he will say from the depths of the Spirit, from those secret things which before they came to pass the very Angels knew not; since they too have learned by the voice of John with us, and by us, the things which we know.

And this hath another Apostle declared, saying, “To the intent that unto the principalities and powers might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. 3:10).

If then principalities, and powers, and Cherubim, and Seraphim, learned these things by the Church, it is very clear that they were exceedingly earnest in listening to this teaching; and even in this we have been not a little honored, that the Angels learned with us things which before they knew not.

[…] If we long to know what is going on in the palace, what, for instance, the king has said, what he has done, what counsel he is taking concerning his subjects, though in truth these things are for the most part nothing to us; much more is it desirable to hear what God hath said, especially when all concerns us.

And all this will this man tell us exactly, as being a friend of the King Himself, or rather, as having Him speaking within himself, and from Him hearing all things which He heareth from the Father.

“I have called you friends,” He saith, “for all things that I have heard of My Father, I have made known unto you” (John 15:15).

John Chrysostom (c.347-407): Homilies on St John’s Gospel, Homily1, Preface, 2-3.

Gregory the Great: Michael – “Who is like God”; Gabriel – “The Strength of God”; Raphael – “God’s Remedy” Saturday, Sep 29 2012 

St-Gregory-the-DialogistYou should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature.

Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message.

Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels.

And so it was that not merely an angel but the archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary.

It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages.

Some angels are given proper names to denote the service they are empowered to perform.

In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily be known.

But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they came among us.

Thus, Michael means “Who is like God”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; and Raphael is “God’s Remedy”.

Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power.

So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying: I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High.

He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment.

Then, he will fight with the archangel Michael, as we are told by John: A battle was fought with Michael the archangel.

So too Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary. He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers.

Thus God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle.

Raphael means, as I have said, God’s remedy, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness.

Thus, since he is to heal, he is rightly called God’s remedy.

Gregory the Great (c.540-604): Homily 32 on the Gospels (Hom. 32, 8-9: PL 76, 1250-1251) from the Office of Readings for the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael on September 29 @ Crossroads Initiative.

Lawrence of Brindisi: Happy St. John, Blessed with the Gift of Divine Charity, because Jesus Loved Him Thursday, Jul 21 2011 

St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist, the beloved disciple of Christ and, after the Most Holy Virgin Theotokos, the singular son of the Cross of Christ, was relegated to the island of Patmos.

There he suffered many things for the Faith of Christ, but was consoled in the same place by God with many celestial and divine revelations.

For, as St Paul says:  As there has abounded in us the sufferings of Christ, so also through Christ abound our consolations.

Again, According to the number of my sorrows in my heart, Thy consolations have made my soul rejoice.

St. John had rested upon the breast of the Lord during the Last Supper, and had chosen the best part, as Mary had done, which would not be taken from him.

With singular effort he had always been intent, after the Ascension of Christ the Lord into Heaven, upon divine contemplations.

In the time of tribulation he used to employ himself more vehemently with divine things; for this was the custom of the Saints.

At that time St. John, enkindled by a more ardent flame, was rapt unto God, and driven above by certain, seraphic ardors.

He began also to be overflowed more abundantly that usual and much more copiously with the sweetness of divine contemplation, and to feel more accumulatively the gifts of heavenly emissions.

God the Father of mercies, and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in our every tribulation had consoled him, just as once He did to Jacob, the Patriarch, with the vision of the heavenly Staircase, to Moses with the divine apparition in the burning bush, to the three youths in the ardent furnace with angelic consolation and heavenly refreshment.

He consoled St. Paul, whom for the sake of consolation, He snatched up to the third heaven, unto Paradise itself, in an ineffable manner with the vision of celestial glory.

Now in like manner He consoled St. John in many ways.  Often, with Heaven unbolted, He showed him, just as He had done to St. Stephen, the glory of Paradise, the glory of Christ, the glory of God.

Often He rendered him glad with the vision and locution of the Angels, and steeped him in great joy.

Often from the sublimity of the heavens, the most sweet Savior appeared to him.

Often he was deigned even with the vision of the glory of the Father.

O happy St. John, thrice and four times blessed, with the gift of divine charity!

Because Jesus loved him.

Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619): On the Vision of St. John, the Evangelist, 1.