Chrysostom’s On Marriage and Family Life

Call for Us, Poor in Spirit

“Those who marry will have worldly troubles,”

Taught the great and wondrous saint,

John Chrysostom, by name, who loved

And chose to be honest to his audience.


“So when you are going to take a wife,

do not read the laws of the state only,

but first of all read the laws of the Church.”

For upon those laws, a man should perch

Before flying into that new world of joy.

Why would man NOT do this and act like a boy,

Listening to laws–not God? Oh, He is our Ground

Who supports our step, and verily created

Those very men who established state laws.


“Sex is not evil, but it is a hindrance

To someone who desires to devote all her strength

To a life of prayer,” spoke our great saint!

Yes, he is honest, and lays his word out flat.

If one should abstain, she may more easily realize

How very present God is in her prayer life.

Thus, her yoke will be lightened by one less earthly weight,

Yet few humans reason so…

Why do we yet consider our race clever?

As “clever” ones, we make “good” decisions,

–But it “feels right” to please ourselves,

So we receive and give that gift of sex,

Knowing it distracts–we’re pained if it lacks.

Both abstinence and satisfaction are gifts so great,

Even greater is our God, Who makes straight both paths.


“When you prepare for your wedding…

Before anything else, invite Christ…

‘Whatever you do to the least of my brothers,’

He said, ‘You do to me.’  Don’t think

That it is annoying to invite the poor for Christ’s sake.”

The fourth and final line of this last quote is

Sadly, Seldom true at nearly all weddings.

It stakes my heart–MY! that dagger pains!

For I am ashamed to invite the poor

To a wedding, to church, to even my door.

St. John Chrysostom, you say all so well.

I now see my heart is filled with stones–a cold hell.

Intercede, intercede, for we all are in need

To invite the poor, who are You, to dine;

We should not be annoyed–“Ye Poor, come and dine!”


Citations: 1 – p. 40, 2 – p. 89, 3 – p. , 41 – p. 79

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