From a homily by Saint John Chrysostom
Life to me means Christ, and death is gain
The waters have risen and severe storms are upon us, but we do not fear drowning, for we stand firmly upon a rock. Let the sea rage, it cannot break the rock. Let the waves rise, they cannot sink the boat of Jesus. What are we to fear? Death? Life to me means Christ, and death is gain. Exile? The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord. The confiscation of goods? We brought nothing into this world, and we shall surely take nothing from it. I have only contempt for the world’s threats, I find its blessings laughable. I have no fear of poverty, no desire for wealth. I am not afraid of death nor do I long to live, except for your good. I concentrate therefore on the present situation, and I urge you, my friends, to have confidence.
Do you not hear the Lord saying: Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst? Will he be absent, then, when so many people united in love are gathered together? I have his promise; I am surely not going to rely on my own strength! I have what he has written; that is my staff, my security, my peaceful harbor. Let the world be in upheaval. I hold to his promise and read his message; that is my protecting wall and garrison. What message? Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!
If Christ is with me, whom shall I fear? Though the waves and the sea and the anger of princes are roused against me, they are less to me than a spider’s web. Indeed, unless you, my brothers, had detained me, I would have left this very day. For I always say Lord, your will be done; not what this fellow or that would have me do, but what you want me to do. That is my strong tower, my immovable rock, my staff that never gives way. If God wants something, let it be done! If he wants me to stay here, I am grateful. But wherever he wants me to be, I am no less grateful.
Yet where I am, there you are too, and where you are, I am. For we are a single body, and the body cannot be separated from the head nor the head from the body. Distance separates us, but love unites us, and death itself cannot divide us. For though my body die, my soul will live and be mindful of my people.
You are my fellow citizens, my fathers, my brothers, my sons, my limbs, my body. You are my light, sweeter to me than the visible light. For what can the rays of the sun bestow on me that is comparable to your love? The sun’s light is useful in my earthly life, but your love is fashioning a crown for me in the life to come.
PRAYER OF GREAT EFFICACY
O MOST holy Father, now that Thine Only-begotten Son, here truly present upon the Altar, has deigned to become a Sacrifice and propitiation for our sins, I offer Thee His most holy Body and Blood, His Humanity and His Divinity, His virtues and His perfections, His Passion and Death, in union with that love with which He once offered Himself to Thee upon the Cross, and now offers Himself to Thee on the Altar. And in union with these I offer Thee the virtues, merits, and graces of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the Saints, together with all the good works of all men, and all the whole treasure of Thy holy Church. And I desire especially to add to these whatever of good I and those who are dear to me have ever done, and whatever afflictions we have suffered for Thy glory. And in union with this Sacrifice, and with all those which are offered to Thee all over the world, I offer to Thee this oblation, O Eternal Father, through Thy beloved Son, in the power of the Holy Ghost, to Thy supreme praise and glory, in acknowledgment of Thy supreme Majesty, and dominion, and in thanksgiving for all the benefits and the graces Thou hast ever bestowed on any creature, and in full reparation for every injury or insult ever offered to Thee by any whom Thy hands have made.
I offer it to Thee for the increase of the joy and glory of the sacred Humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in worship and veneration of all the mysteries of His life and death, for the increase of the glory and blessedness of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the Saints, especially my holy Patrons, and those whose memory we this day celebrate.
Lastly, I offer it to Thee on behalf of myself, a most miserable sinner, and for all my friends, whether in the order of nature or of grace [especially N.], and for all Christians living and departed [especially N.]; beseeching Thee that Thou wouldst deign to accept it as an adequate and sufficient thanksgiving for all the benefits and graces which Thou hast ever bestowed on our bodies and souls, to impart to us all the grace needful for us, to turn away from us all evil of body and of soul which might hinder our salvation, and to grant us perfect and entire remission of all our sins and negligences. For all these ends, I offer Thee all the love with which Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord has ever loved Thee, and all the satisfaction He has made to Thee for our sins. Through Him and with Him and in Him be all honour and glory unto Thee, O God, Father Almighty, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.
Here say the Our Father.