Friday, July 17, 2009

John Chrysostom: Avoid Wicked Theatre

Hence I beg and implore you to cleanse yourself first by abasement and repentance and every other means from the sin of the spectacle in that place, and thus attend to the divine sayings. After all, this is no slight fault on our part; you could recognize this clearly even from parallels. If, for example, into your closet, where there are kept the owner's clothes rich and golden in material, a servant wore a garment all filthy and grubby, I ask you, surely you would not take kindly to the disrespect? And if someone poured dung and mire into a golden vase usually containing perfumes, would you not actually beat the one guilty of this? Then shall we take such care of closets and vessels and garments and perfumes while not regarding our soul to be more elevated than all these? And where the spiritual perfume is poured would we introduce devilish processions, satanic tales and ditties oozing impurity? Tell me, how would God take this? Actually there is not much difference between perfume and mire, masters' garments and slaves', as between spiritual grace and this evil activity. Are you not terrified, mortal that you are, to gaze with the same eyes both on the bed on the stage, where the loathsome rites of adultery are performed, and on this sacred table, where the awesome sacraments are enacted? to listen with the same ears both to shameful depravity and to Old and New Testament readings schooling you in the mysteries? to make the same heart recipient of both the baleful potions and the awesome and holy victim?

- John Chrysostom (around A.D. 347 to around A.D. 407), Homilies on David and Saul, Homily 3, in St. John Chrysostom, Old Testament Homilies, Volume 1, pp. 40-41 (2003), Robert C. Hill translator.