In Menander’s One-line Opinions (Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι), we find the following aphorism:
A bride without dowry has not freedom of speech (παρρησίαν).
Why should this be so, unless the Groom cares little for her? Why with a dowry should she gain such freedom or boldness, unless it is boldness to lord it over her husband.
This one-liner reveals, perhaps cynically, the nature of marriage in Ancient Greece; it was not always love or homophrosyne which united bride and groom.
All the more should we wonder at what we are told about the marriage between Christ and his Church.
For though we had no dowry, He yet set his his heart firmly upon our union. He himself became our dowry, supplying the wealth of riches which is to be our inheritance. And the wondrous result of Christ’s courtship is the unprecedented boldness with which we, his bride without dowry, may now approach Him:
“In Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness (παρρησίαν) and access with confidence by the faith of him” (Eph. 3:12).
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness (παρρησίαν) to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Heb 10:19).