John_ChrysostomOne would not inconsiderately receive a king. Why say I a king? Nay, were it but a royal robe, one would not inconsiderately touch it with unclean hands.

Even though he should be in solitude, though alone, though no man were at hand,  and although the robe is nought but certain threads spun by worms…, nevertheless, one would not choose to venture on it with polluted hands.

If even a man’s garment be what one would not venture inconsiderately to touch, what shall we say of the Body of Him Who is God over all, spotless, pure, associate with the Divine Nature, the Body whereby we are, and live, whereby the gates of hell were broken down and the sanctuaries of heaven opened?

How shall we receive this with so great insolence? Let us not, I pray you, let us not slay ourselves by our irreverence, but with all awfulness and purity draw nigh to It.

And when thou seest It set before thee, say thou to thyself, “Because of this Body am I no longer earth and ashes, no longer a prisoner, but free. Because of this I hope for heaven, and to receive the good things therein, immortal life, the portion of angels, converse with Christ.

“This Body, nailed and scourged, was more than death could stand against; this Body the very sun saw sacrificed, and turned aside his beams; for this both the veil was rent in that moment, and rocks were burst asunder, and all the earth was shaken.

“This is even that Body, the blood-stained, the pierced, and that out of which gushed the saving fountains, the one of blood, the other of water, for all the world.”

Wouldest thou from another source also learn its power? Ask of her diseased with an issue of blood, who laid hold not of Itself, but of the garment with which It was clad; nay not of the whole of this, but of the hem.

Ask of the sea, which bare It on its back: ask even of the Devil himself, and say, “Whence hast thou that incurable stroke? whence hast thou no longer any power? Whence art thou captive? By whom hast thou been seized in thy flight?”

And he will give no other answer than this, “The Body that was crucified.” By this were his goads broken in pieces; by this was his head crushed; by this were the powers and the principalities made a show of.

“For,” saith St Paul, “having put off from himself principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it” Col. 2:15.)

John Chrysostom (c.347-407): Homily 24, 7 on 1 Corinthians [on 1 Cor. 10:13].

Advertisements