The Saint Who Slept In An Armchair Instead Of A Bed

Saint John Of Shanghai

Every now and again a Saint pops into my head. I take it as a sign that the particular Saint is reaching out to me. Yes, if you suddenly begin to think of a Saint, it’s because they’re trying to get your attention. Being an Orthodox catechumen I know a good few Orthodox saints. Over the years as a Catholic one of those saints that really made an impression upon me had been St.John of Shanghai.

One of the greatest things I’d read about him had been his mission to in China (which explains his name). After being ordained to the Priesthood this soon to be Bishop and saint refused to sleep in a bed. He would sleep in his armchair or take naps while kneeling before the icons.

His ascetical practices and holiness was so impressive, his Catholic French caretaker converted to the Orthodox faith. Another Bishop in the last decade from Arizona made the same impression upon a Catholic married couple who converted to the Orthodox faith. Why. . . Why did these people convert? Because nothing beats the witness of the Gospel than those who live it. In the Catholic faith they are used to seeing their Bishops roll up in Mercedes cars and the same can be said of some Orthodox too.

Have you ever slept in your armchair? I should let you know I tried it one night to be like Saint John of Shanghai. I woke up at 4am feeling like I’d just been hit by a choo choo train. I got up and painfully stretched it all out and went to my cozy bed. I couldn’t last one night and Saint John did it every night for the rest of his life.

It had been soon discovered after this Saints death, he was a saint. His body had been unearthed from the ground only to be found incorrupt.

Saint John Of Shanghai, you chose not only to sleep uncomfortably but to live uncomfortably by imitating Christ at risk of being hated by the world for doing so. Please help us embrace the uncomfortable nature of Christianity that we too may join you in the glory that lays ahead of all who die in the Grace and friendship of the Lord. Amen.

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