As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been reading Symeon the New Theologian. He has a section where he rewrites the prodigal son story with an emperor that forgives and accepts an opposing general. The emperor receives the humble and contrite general with a celebration and a feast, with a crown and robe for him. He goes on:
And this is not the whole tale, but day and night he rejoices and is glad with him, embracing him and kissing his mouth with his own. So much does he love him exceedingly that he is not separated from him even in his sleep, but lies together with him embracing him on his bed, and covers him all about with his own cloak, and places his face upon all his members.
Symeon the New Theologian, Ethical Discourse 10, Section 6 (pg 150-51).
I thought, wow, did I just read that? Fortunately the translator offers this footnote:
Sometimes the saint’s gift for images will exceed his discretion and good sense. This appears to be one such instance. We leave it in solely out of respect for the text. It is, however, consistent with the New Theologian’s uses of nuptial imagery elsewhere. See also his warning against taking his metaphors in a literal, sexual sense: ‘Understanding this spiritually, you who read, lest you be wretchedly defiled’ Hymn 46, lines 29-31.
Sometimes you’ve got know when to say when.