As I’m sure you’re abundantly aware, today is the Memorial of St. Gerald of Aurillac, who also happens to be my confirmation saint. Yes, the late-9th and early 10th-century nobleman who made a vow of celibacy and sought to rule his territory according to the principles of the Gospel (yes, the Gospel can actually help you be a good civil leader!). You can read his biography or just get the skinny on him.
Of course, in celebrating his memorial, I was “reduced” to using the 2nd reading in the Common of Holy Men for the Office of Readings…of course. (Don’t worry if half those words are meaningless; it’s not the real point)! Thanks be to God for such a providential direction, for it led me to a forgotten, but excellent exhortation by St. John Chrysostom, which I found to be beautiful, and so thought it worth sharing:
From a homily on the Acts of the Apostles by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop (Homilia 20, 4: PG 60, 162-164)
There is nothing colder than a Christian who does not seek to save others.
You cannot plead poverty here; the widow putting in her two small coins will be your accuser. Peter said, Silver and gold I have not. Paul was so poor that he was often hungry and went without necessary food.
You cannot plead humble birth, for they were humbly born, of humble stock. You cannot offer the excuse of lack of education, for they were uneducated. You cannot plead ill-health, for Timothy also had poor health, with frequent illnesses.
Each one can help his neighbor, if only he is willing to do what is in his power. Look at the trees that do not bear fruit: have you not noticed how strong and fine they are, upstanding, smooth, and tall? If we had a garden, we would much prefer trees with fruit—pomegranates and olives—to trees that are for pleasure, not for utility, and any utility these have is small. Continue reading “Spiritual Gut-Check”