Sunday, February 20, 2011

St. John Chrysostom: a Christian home is incomplete without a Christ Room

Whoever gives only a cup of cold water to drink... will surely not lose his reward."

"I was a stranger," Christ says, "and you took me in" (Mt 25:35). And again, "In so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me." (Mt 25:40). In every believer and brother, though they be least of all, Christ comes to you. Open your house, take them in. "Whoever receives a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward."... These are the qualities that ought to be in those who welcome strangers: readiness, cheerfulness, liberality. For strangers feel abashed and ashamed, and unless their host shows real joy, they feel slighted and go away, and their being received in this way makes it worse than not to have received them.

Therefore, set aside a room in your house, to which Christ may come; say, "This is Christ's room; this is set apart for him." Even if it is very simple, he will not disdain it. Christ goes about "naked and a stranger"; he needs shelter: do not hesitate to give it to him. Do not be lacking in compassion or be inhuman.

St Martin de PorresYou are earnest in worldly matters, do not be cold in spiritual matters... You have a place set apart for your wagon, but none for Christ who is wandering by? Abraham received strangers in his own home (Gn 18); his wife took the place of a servant, the guests the place of masters.

They did not know that they were receiving Christ, that they were receiving angels. If Abraham had known it, he would have lavished his whole substance. But we, who know that we receive Christ, do show not as much zeal as he did, who thought that he was receiving mere men.

-- St John Chrysostom, Homily 45 on the Acts of the Apostles (Thanks to Jim and Nancy Forest for this

"...a person's superfluous income, that is, income which he does not need to sustain life fittingly and with dignity, is not left wholly to his own free determination. Rather the Sacred Scriptures and the Fathers of the Church constantly declare in the most explicit language that the rich are bound by a very grave precept to practice almsgiving, beneficence, and munificence". ---Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno

--->In 1979 Steven Mosher of PRI (click) was the only American social scientist in China. He was the first American invited to do research there. While there he discovered that the Chinese were forcing women to have abortions...women around the world are being used in medical experiments that would have made the Nazis proud ...See the video

Life, the Universe and (Avoiding) the End of Everything

by John Hallam

Let's make one thing clear. Nuclear weapons are still, and have been ever since their large-scale deployment in the 1960's, about the end of pretty much everyone and everything, or at least of all that we, as distinct from an anaerobic bacterium, might consider to be useful, interesting, and valuable.

They are not literally about the 'end of the world' as after their use, the world - this planet that is - will still be here, and rotating on its axis, notwithstanding some Hollywood disaster movies and the end of the Mayan calendar next year - which may signify the end of an aeon or may signify nothing at all. Even the coronal mass ejections predicted for 2012 will at worst (hopefully anyway) destroy no more than all global telecommunications, the net, and perhaps the global financial system (with luck)...Read it all

--->"...unsurprisingly Anglicanism by force never caught on with the Irish (click)" Too, 440 years ago today St Pius V codified the Tridentine Mass, really only a slight edit of the late mediæval missal in Rome (same fine site by John Beeler)

--->Nanny State Pumping Up: Corporations are pursuing more intrusive engagement with the personal lives of employees...(click) [Well, arguably it all started with political correctness on campus, where ordinary talk became more and more censored; now it's moved on to an ever growing list of behaviors, pressed by mini-dictators and control freaks)


  1. Things have changed since Chrysostom's day, and wisdom must consider that few road-dwellers are sick, sweet or poor in a holy way, which is not too different than what even monks of today are forced to say. Career criminals who started out as sweet boys (or girls!) who were only abandoned and let down must still be viewed in the full light of reason, especially if one lives with others who could be compromised. This caveat is mostly for myself, though, because one just needs to say "Maurin" and my knees and reason go all wobbly and I see every room as a potential Christ-room. That hasn't always gone well for those to whom my first allegiance as mom must be! Hindsight tells me I would indeed do some things differently, but not all. If folks would just take in their own relatives, or stop booting them out, there would be only the willing wanderers and trestle-sleepers.

  2. Yes, I agree it's the principle behind this, more than the letter---that those who we may know and who might be in need can count on us when possible, family first, friends / neighbors, then possibly those with references after that etc.

    The principle abides. But as a priest friend said, there is always some risk: Catholic Workers have been stabbed. In the parable of the Good Samaritan many probably passed by the set-upon man out of fear that the thieves were laying in wait so that they might be ambushed next. The Good Samaritan loved enough to assume risk.

    For most us us it is usually not that dramatic, but it often involves at least some inconvenience to offer up. And "Love covers a multitude of sins".

  3. Thank you for making the distinction I talked all the way around! Yes, for most of us, sharing our own blessings is not direly risky, mostly only inconvenient-- thank God!