Tuesday, February 3, 2009

church father of the day

Saint John Chrysostom beautifully observes:

“The Jews of the Old Testament wept for Jacob and for Moses for forty days. Today, however, during the funeral of the faithful, the Church raises hymns and prayers and psalms. We glorify and thank God, because “He crowned the departing,” because “He relieved the pains,” because “He expelled the fear,” and has the deceased believer near Him. This is why the hymns and psalms reveal that in the event of death there is pleasure and joy following the glorious Resurrection of the Savior Jesus Christ. For the psalms and hymns are symbols of joy, according to the Apostolic word: “Is any cheerful? Let him sing praises” (James 5:13). This is why we sing psalms over the dead—psalms which move us to have courage and not to despair over the death of our brother.” (St. John Chrysostom, On the Holy Martyrs Bernice and Prosdoke the Virgins and their Mother Domnina)

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