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.