Friday, March 27, 2009

16 Centuries Ahead of His Time?

Molly and I have this quote from St. John Chrysostom framed, and sitting on our dresser:

“As if she were gold receiving purest gold, the woman receives the man’s seed with rich pleasure, and within her it is nourished, cherished, and refined. It is mingled with her own substance and she then returns it as a child! The child is a bridge connecting father to mother, so the three become one flesh. . . And here the bridge is formed from the substance of each!”

- from Homily XII on Colossians

The early Church fathers have a reputation, not entirely undeserved, for being a little uptight when it comes to sexual matters (Origen and St. Augustine, for two large examples). But God bless St. John. Here he describes sex in terms any married couple could appreciate – ‘the woman receives the man’s seed with rich pleasure. . .’ Yeah, that fits with our experience. And his description of the child as the ‘one flesh’ of husband and wife has always resonated with me. He carries strong echoes (or, more truly, foreshadowings) of the Theology of the Body, 16 centuries before the fact.

So, thank God for St. John Chrysostom. And I would heartily recommend to any of my blog-friends the rich little book of his homilies On Marriage and Family Life.

7 comments:

lime said...

sounds like a worthy read for sure. thanks.

Therese in Heaven said...

That is a wonderful book! :)
The East has historically had a much more healthy and joyful outlook towards sexuality than the West.

Cocotte said...

I can only imagine the eye-rolling a quote like that would receive from my oldest if she saw that in our bedroom - LOL! Actually, she'd say, "MOM!!!! That is SO NOT appropriate."

I've raised a bunch of straight laces, let me tell you!

Sailor said...

That's a great quote; I don't know the book, but seeing that you, and in the comment up there Therese likes it, I'm thinking I'll have to pick it up.

Desmond Jones said...

Lime - A worthy read, indeed. . .

Therese - Glad you like it.

I've got Orthodox friends who tell me that, if they actually kept the Lenten fast as prescribed, there would never be any Orthodox babies born in December. . .

And hey, JP2 was a western guy (maybe not quite so 'historical' just yet?)

Cocotte - We overheard our kids talking about the barrel of monkeys we keep on Molly's nightstand. "Oh, that's just one of Mom & Dad's dirty jokes," one of them said. . .

Hmmmph. And all we've told 'em about how there's nothing 'dirty' about it. . .

And I won't even mention the other quote we've got framed on the dresser. The one from Proverbs, about 'may her breasts always satisfy you'. . . ;)

Sailor - You could do a lot worse. . .

FTN said...

Sounds like you need to keep the kids out of the bedroom!

The whole "accepting the man's seed with pleasure" is definitely a unique way to put it...

Desmond Jones said...

FTN - See, that's another good reason to read the old books. . .