Let us consider that wonderful sign [of the resurrection] which takes place in Eastern lands, that is, in Arabia and the countries round about. There is a certain bird which is called a phœnix. This is the only one of its kind, and lives five hundred years. And when the time of its dissolution draws near that it must die, it builds itself a nest of frankincense, and myrrh, and other spices, into which, when the time is fulfilled, it enters and dies. But as the flesh decays a certain kind of worm is produced, which, being nourished by the juices of the dead bird, brings forth feathers. Then, when it has acquired strength, it takes up that nest in which are the bones of its parent, and bearing these it passes from the land of Arabia into Egypt, to the city called Heliopolis. And, in open day, flying in the sight of all men, it places them on the altar of the sun, and having done this, hastens back to its former abode. The priests then inspect the registers of the dates, and find that it has returned exactly as the five hundredth year was completed (1 Clement 25; note: This fable respecting the phœnix is mentioned by Herodotus (ii. 73) and by Pliny (Nat. Hist., x. 2.) and is used as above by Tertullian (De Resurr., §13) and by others of the Fathers).
The Roman Poet Ovid also has a strikingly parallel account:
Most beings spring from other individuals; but there is a certain kind which reproduces itself. The Assyrians call it the Phoenix. It does not live on fruit or flowers, but on frankincense and odoriferous gums. When it has lived five hundred years, it builds itself a nest in the branches of an oak, or on the top of a palm tree. In this it collects cinnamon, and spikenard, and myrrh, and of these materials builds a pile on which it deposits itself, and dying, breathes out its last breath amidst odors. From the body of the parent bird, a young Phoenix issues forth, destined to live as long a life as its predecessor. When this has grown up and gained sufficient strength, it lifts its nest from the tree (its own cradle and its parent’s sepulchre), and carries it to the city of Heliopolis in Egypt, and deposits it in the temple of the Sun.
Christian authors typically refer to the Pheonix as a symbol of the resurrection and the resurrected life (cf. Psalm 92:12 and Job 29:18). And in all traditions the story of the Phoenix symbolizes rebirth. In more modern times, in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, the phoenix dies and rises again. I say this because there are a lot of lessons that can be taken from this story that is applicable to the pornography addict; mainly from the motif, “rising from the ashes.”
How have you risen from the ashes? Or are you like me still in a heap of ashes?