Rorate Caeli

...quorum deus venter est...

Fratres, imitatores mei estote, et observate eos, qui ita ambulant, sicut habetis formam nostram. Multi enim ambulant, quos sæpe dicebam vobis (nunc autem et flens dico) inimicos crucis Christi: quorum finis interitus; quorum deus venter est; et gloria in confusione ipsorum, qui terrena sapiunt. (From the Epistle for the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost - Philippians, iii, 17-19: "Be ye followers of me, brethren, and observe them who walk so as you have our model. For many walk, of whom I have told you often (and now tell you weeping), that they are enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction; whose God is their belly; and whose glory is in their shame; who mind earthly things.")

...[the] lovers of life and the lovers of their bodies are enemies of the Cross. And every one, who is a friend of luxury and of present safety is an enemy of that Cross in which Paul makes his boast, which he embraces, with which he desires to be incorporated, as when he saith, "I am crucified unto the world, and the world unto me."

Yet here he saith, "I now tell you weeping." Why? Because the evil was urgent, because such deserve tears. Truthfully, the luxurious are worthy of tears, who make fat that which is thrown to them (I mean the body) and take no thought of that soul [for] which [they] must give account.

Behold thou livest delicately, behold thou art drunken, today and tomorrow, ten years, twenty, thirty, fifty, one hundred, which is impossible -- but if thou wilt, let us suppose it. What is the end? What is the gain? Nothing at all! Doth it not then deserve tears, and lamentations, to lead such a life?

God hath brought us into this course, that He may crown us, and we take our departure without doing any noble action. Paul weepeth, while others laugh and live in pleasure. So sympathetic is he: such thought taketh he for all men. "Whose god," saith he, "is the belly."

For this have they a God! That is, "let us eat and drink!" Dost thou see, how great an evil luxury is? To some, their wealth, and to others their belly is a god. Are not these too idolaters, and worse than the common?


"Let us build houses." Where, I ask? "On the earth," they answer. "Let us purchase farms." "On the earth," again. "Let us obtain power"; again on the earth. "Let us gain glory"; again on the earth. "Let us enrich ourselves"; all these things are on the earth. These are they, whose god is their belly; for if they have no spiritual thoughts, but have all their possessions here, and mind these things, with reason have they their belly for their god, in saying, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."


Thou hast received a belly, that thou mayest feed, not distend it, that thou mayest have the mastery over it, not have it as mistress over thee; that it may minister to thee for the nourishment of the other parts, not that thou mayest minister to it, not that thou mayest exceed limits.

The sea, when it passes its bounds, doth not work so many evils, as the belly doth to our body, together with our soul. The former overfloweth all the earth, the latter all the body. Put moderation for a boundary to it, as God hath put the sand for the sea. Then if its waves arise, and rage furiously, rebuke it, with the power which is in thee. See how God hath honored thee, that thou mightest imitate Him, and thou wilt not; but thou seest the belly overflowing, destroying and overwhelming thy whole nature, and darest not to restrain or moderate it.

Saint John Chrysostom
Homilies on the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Philippians,
Homily XIII