As we look into the lives and sacred vocations of the Three Holy Bishops, the three holy luminaries of our blessed Church, St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, we see how preoccupied they were to share with the world the treasure and light of faith they were so blessed to receive. After reading their expositions and explanations and insights into the teaching of the Lord bequeathed us in the life of his Body, our blessed Church, we can readily see how so many others struggled with the overwhelming task of writing and explaining the life and mission of Christ among us.
There were no others or any far brighter or more knowledgeable through inspiration from heaven to write and teach and have it matched up with their unchanging zealous faith. The explanatory teachings of these three bishops fill shelves upon shelves in libraries through the world. Afraid that mere human commentary might accomplish little more than detract from what the gospels already divinely stated, they entered the arena and invested their lives making plain for man's thirsty soul the right road to salvation.
While so many in their approach to salvation find the task intimidating, from the very beginning to end, the Three Holy Hierarchs trusted in the Lord leading them in truth and so they found the words, the human medium, the proper and correct language to make it plain for all who would be serious about salvation in Christ. During the time of their lives, a tremendous need arose; the Church was growing by leaps and bounds. Instruction had to be provided. Souls were eager for truth. Experienced teachers were needed desperately, simply because some who knew very little thought they were greatly gifted and shared what they believed to be Christ's truth. But it was not always correct or orthodox teaching and understanding, so error began to spread and there was a danger that the holiness of Christ's life might be lost in the dust of confusion. The holy three rose to the occasion as they respected God and therefore themselves and his truth.
There is no doubt that their daily prayer must have been as they preached and taught, "Lord, don't let me embarrass you!" For believers, there is no doubt our God in the Holy Spirit watches very carefully over every word of commentary voiced over Scripture, but we cannot help think He is even more particular when the subject matter is the legacy of his only-begotten Son in the life of his Body, our blessed Church.
The Son of God made a profound impression on the Three Hierarchs and faith in him became the dearest and most valuable objective to them. They did not have enough pens or paper scrolls to express their gratitude for the privilege of knowing him and loving him and living him. The little they at first knew and understood was so transforming and revolutionary to them that they yearned sincerely for even more. Their chief request of God is that He supernaturally flood their lives with an unending, ever-increasing desire for his Son. Jesus Christ was not only their delight, He is their safety and assurance. Loving him with absolute abandon is no doubt their best interest. Delivered from a life of defeat and hidden self-destruction that awaits all who do not have the treasure of Christ in their lives, their deepest desire was for every human being, every man, woman and youth and child to find and appreciate the love God has for them.
They saw the value of enlightenment ignited from the Light itself to be beneficial for the Church, so they resorted to the gifts generously imparted them by heaven's treasury and wrote and wrote and wrote. Having prayed for inspiration and giftedness for the sake and benefit of Christ, they received it in generous measure and used it to benefit souls, to give a good account of themselves for the cause of soul salvation.
No doubt lumps welled in their throats as they preached and shared their own conviction. Tears burned in their eyes because they wished to see aroused in souls an overwhelming response to God's first shown love. They experienced that Jesus is the most wonderful, most graceful, most exciting, most redemptive event which ever happened in their lives. People responded and began themselves to recognize Jesus as their life. The Three Holy Hierarchs could not express on paper their love for him, so they lived it and permitted it to drive their own lives. It was a love that has grown in incongruously in bits and pieces, baby steps, leaps, bounds, tumbles and falls, decade after decade since they lived among us and before they were called to their eternal destiny.
As monastics, there is no question they loved the Lord above all and dedicated their entire lives, their entire being so dramatically to the Creator God that their influence still permeates and guides the Church today.
How unique and different is love for God than love for another human being. The love of a human being we wish for ourselves, but how differently we love Jesus Christ. The holy bishops wished for everyone to love Him in their own unique way. They wished for all who heard them, who read them, who listened to them to respond to and love Christ more than they want health, even breath. They wanted their listeners to know him so well that their undivided heart could along with David of old, explain, "Because your love is better than life, my lips will gladly glorify you" Psalms 63: 3. Can you imagine what David meant when he said, "better than life?" Our heavenly Father has invited mortal creatures, you and me into a love relationship with the Son of Glory. That is the meaning of life. Since they experienced its richness themselves, they wished us to also share it as well. We are called to partake, to experience, to love and cherish our God, fully, completely.
In offering the fullness of their lives to Christ, they recognized as should we that we will never invest our time more valuably than in the pursuit of knowing, and loving and living Jesus Christ. On this feast day, our prayer is that this offering would take us another step closer in the noble pursuit of our lives. There is no limit or end to what can be said or taught about our Saviour and his love for us, indeed must be said so that all in our parish will be fired, will be inspired by the example and words invisible to our eyes, encircling the throne and singing in a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb."
This was the prayer and word of the Three Holy Hierarchs. May it also be ours!