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Thoughts for the Week
 
 

 

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
28th June 2015

Peter and Paul and the Glory of Rome by St. John Chrysostom

There with Peter we shall see Paul, the head and leader of the choir of saints, and we shall be in possession of true charity. For if in this world he so loved men as when he might have been dissolved and with Christ he chose to be here, how much more potently will he show forth the love-charm in that place. This is why I cherish Rome, although I have other grounds for my admiration in its size, and age, and beauty, and population, and power, and wealth, and its successes in wars; apart from all these things, I hold it blessed because Paul wrote to the Romans in his lifetime and loved them so much, because he spoke to them in person, and there finished his life. This is why that city is famous rather than for all other reasons put together: it is like a strong and beautiful human body with two shining eyes, which are the bodies of these two saints. The heavens are not so splendid when the sun is sending forth its rays as the city of Rome transmitting these two lights of hers to the whole world. Rome will yield up Paul; Rome will yield up Peter. Consider in awe what a sight Rome will witness when Paul rises in a moment from that tomb, together with Peter, and is borne away to meet Christ. Think what roses Rome presents to Christ, what a double crown surrounds the city, how it is girt with golden chains, and what the fountains of its being are. This is why I am in admiration at that city, not for its abundance of gold, not for its columns, nor for any other beauty it has, but for these pillars of the Church.

Who could now give me to embrace Paul's body to be nailed to his tomb, and to see the dust of him who completed what was wanting to the sufferings of Christ, who bore His marks, and sowed the earth with the Gospel? Who could give me to see the dust of that body in which he went over the world, through which Christ spoke, through which a light shone forth brighter than any lightning, and a voice arose more terrible to the devils than loudest thunder, through which he gave utterance to those blessed words: Would that I could be anathema for my brethren, which he used before kings and was not ashamed, through which we have known Paul and Paul's Lord? We do not dread the thunderbolt as devils dread that voice. For if they trembled at his garments, how much more at his voice. This voice led them in chains, purified the world, cured diseases, put forth evil, set up truth, had the indwelling Christ, and with Him made itself everywhere heard. That voice of Paul's was like the cherubim. As God took up His seat on those powers, so did He on the tongue of Paul.

Would that I could see this Lion according to the Spirit. For like a lion breathing fire on troops of foxes so did he spring upon the tribe of devils and philosophers and fall like a heavy thunderbolt upon the devil's ranks. Taking all this to heart, let us stand bravely. For Paul was also a man and of the same nature as we are, having everything else in common with us; but because he showed a great love for Christ he scaled the heavens and found his place with the angels. If, then, we wish to rouse ourselves a little and to kindle that fire within us, we should emulate that holy one. Therefore let us not only admire him, let us also imitate him, that at our departure hence we may be made worthy to see him and to share that unspeakable glory.