The Beheading of John the Forerunner

Today while the virtue of John and the ferocity of Herod are related to us, our innards were shaken, our hearts trembled, our sight grew dim, our mind became dull, our hearing deserted us. For is there anything within human sensation that remains undisturbed when a large amount of vice destroys a large amount of virtue?
Herod, it says, apprehended John, and had him bound, and put in prison (Mt 14:3). John was the school of the virtues, the instructor of life, the model of sanctity, the pattern of morality, the mirror of virginity, the epitome of purity, the example of chastity, the way of penitence, the pardon of sins, the discipline of faith. John was greater than a human being, equal to the angels, the apex of the Law, the seed of the Gospel, the harbinger of the Apostles, the silence of the prophets, the lamp of the world, the herald of the Judge, the forerunner of Christ, the preparer for the Lord, the witness of God, the mediator of the whole Trinity.
But Herod is the very one who desecrated the Temple, ruined the priesthood, disturbed its proper order, profaned the kingdom, corrupted anything that had to do with religion, the Law, life and morals, faith, and discipline. Herod was ever an assassin toward his fellow citizens, a brigand toward people of any distinction, a ravager toward his allies, a robber toward those of his own household, a killer of the common folk, a murderer of his children, a slayer of foreigners, a murderer towards his own, drenching the land with gore in his bloodthirstiness. And, so it is that he gulped down the hallowed blood of John from his enormous cup of cruelty.
St. Peter Chrysologus

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