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As we begin this school year, we’ve dedicated the month to “Walking in the Light” with our holy father, St. John Chrysostom. Today, we’ll read one of his writings dedicated to instructing those who are also at a new beginning—the beginning of their walk with Christ and his Church.

Let’s begin with 120 seconds of silence. It’s been a long day. Take this chance to come into the presence of God and his saints as a group. Sit still. Breathe slowly and deeply. Say the Jesus prayer.

The full text of St. John’s instructions can be found here, and we encourage you to read the whole thing. The following questions will focus primarily on sections 19-29 and 44-47.

Questions for Discussion

  • In sections 19-24, St. John speaks about the importance of learning the intricacies of the faith and how foundational they are to our piety. In your experience, how has this made a difference in spiritual life in the past? How might you benefit from a change?
  • St. John Chrysostom highlights the importance of our role as new soldiers “enlisted in the special army”. What do you think he means? How might this apply in your own lives? What do you find most difficult about this? 
  • In section 25, St. John references a long list of different sins. What stands out to you about this list? 
  • What does it feel like to read sections 27 & 28? 
  • St. John concludes his writing to the catechumens in section 44  with this message: “Soon you will put on Christ. You must act and deliberate in all things with the knowledge that He is everywhere with you.” If you could make one change in your life in light of this reality, what would it be?
  • Any last thoughts? Did something else from another section stand out to you?

Closing Prayer

Pray the Prayer of the Hours together:

Thou who at every season and every hour, in Heaven and on earth art worshipped and glorified, O Christ God; long-suffering, merciful and compassionate; Who lovest the just and showest mercy upon the sinner; Who callest all to salvation through the promise of blessings to come. O Lord, in this hour, receive our supplications and direct our lives according to Thy commandments.

Sanctify our souls. Purify our bodies. Correct our minds; cleanse our thoughts; and deliver us from all tribulations, evil, and distress. Surround us with Thy holy angels; that, guided and guarded by them, we may attain to the unity of the faith, and unto the knowledge of Thine unapproachable glory. For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.