Herod took his brother’s wife, and he enjoyed having her daughter dance for him. Like the rich man in Our Lord’s parable he “dined sumptuously every day.”
Herod’s being a man of the flesh was not altogether wrong. Jesus was to some degree a man of the flesh. The Gospel said, “the Word became flesh.” The Letter to the Hebrews said, “He was tempted in every way that we are.”
Conversely, Herod was to some degree a man of the spirit. After Herod had locked John away in the dungeon under his palace, Herod used to creep down to listen to John talking about spiritual things with the guards and other prisoners.
If your childhood was like mine you were raised to give the flesh its due with trips to the ice cream truck, to the movies, to the ballpark and skating rink. But, to strengthen the spirit you were instilled with habits of getting dressed up for church, of doing your homework, and of not doing or saying nasty things.
Let me mention the influence of my seminary rector. Like everyone else he liked parties, sports, and good food. He saw them as needed for keeping himself sharp for honest work. He just kept them in their place.
Each of our parents and teachers had some particular evil they were keen on our avoiding. One of those elders wanted us to avoid laziness, another sloppiness. Most of them asked us to watch our diet.
What our rector was constantly asking us to avoid was getting dissipated. For him dissipation was like rust or clog in our drains. Too much phone time, too much TV time, too much couch time takes the edge off our ability to study or pray. Herod’s downfall came from a lifestyle that encouraged dissipation. When you feel dissipation coming on get up and get to work.
I repent for my dissipation.
Thank you very much for your teaching, Father!
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