Monday, September 12, 2011

Persevere in Integrity

September 13, 2011

Memorial of St. John Chrysostom

By Beth DeCristofaro

Beloved, this saying is trustworthy: whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task. Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable, … (1 Timothy 3:1)

Of mercy and judgment I will sing; to you, O LORD, I will sing praise. I will persevere in the way of integrity; when will you come to me? R. I will walk with blameless heart. I will walk with blameless heart, within my house; I will not set before my eyes any base thing. (Psalm 101:1-3)

When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, "Do not weep."
He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, "Young man, I tell you, arise!" The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.
(Luke 7:13-15)


O Lord, deliver me from every ignorance and heedlessness, from pettiness of the soul and stony hardness of heart (a prayer attributed to St. John Chrysostom)


My husband and I attended a funeral recently for a college-mate who died suddenly. At funerals we share stories about the deceased; it is often a revelation to hear what others knew of her/him. It is comforting to share a deceased friend and often opens up to us small, unknown good works, admirable attributes and uniqueness’s which her/him made up. Although a sad time, a funeral often fills me with hope for the dignity of humanity and the love of God present among us.

The psalm and Epistle today remind us that we have not only standards to follow but that joy should attend those standards. That to watch ourselves and others not in judgment but in an honest, prayerful appraisal of what we do can help us walk with blameless heart and thereby walk in the joy of the Lord rather than fear, anxiety, commotion. Out of pity, the Lord lifted the grieving widow’s son from death. God also lifted our friend from death although he was not returned to his family. Rather he was welcomed into eternal life with God. Our life is gift. Our choice is persevere in the way of integrity, the Lord’s path. A mark of God’s life within us is Joy.


St. John Chrysostom was a bishop of great eloquence who although he lived a holy life, received much criticism and opposition during his life. He persevered. How do we persevere? Do we look at others as the source of our straying? Do we judge others despite the plank in our own eyes? Can we rejoice with the grieving widow even though it seems that the Lord has not answered our wishes?

In this introspective time following September 11, what can we learn about our own actions and expectations of the world? Do we expect integrity and respect for each other of ourselves and others?