Ritual for the Good Friday Procession

In collaboration with Restore the ’54, we are happy to offer our readers a ritual for the procession for the Burial of Christ traditionally held on Good Friday, which we have previously written about here, here, and here.

Rónán Ó Raghallaigh of Restore the ’54 explains:

“They took therefore the Body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.” (John 19:40)

From time immemorial, the Church has reënacted the mysteries of Our Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection during the days of Holy Week. The liturgical rites of these days are infused with an ancient beauty and fervour, not seen elsewhere in the ecclesiastical calendar. The Church, as a teaching Mother and an attentive Spouse, instructs her children about the saving work of Christ through various dramatic rites:

• The Palm Sunday Procession,
• Four Passion accounts sung by different characters at varying pitches,
• The Altar of Repose & Adoration,
• The Stripping of the Altars,
• The Ecce Lignum Crucis with the Adoration of the Cross,
• The Lumen Christi,
• The Blessing of the Paschal Candle and Baptismal Water, &c.

One ceremony that was commemorated in many places before the reforms of Trent was the Deposito (Burial of Christ). This rite has survived in the Bragan Missal at the end of the liturgy for the Mass of the Presanctified. In other places it has continued as an extra-liturgical ceremony (in Poland and Germany, and most especially in the Holy Sepulchre itself).

The rite of Burial took place after Vespers on Good Friday. “The first surviving record of this custom…comes from Anglo-Saxon England, in the Regularis Concordia of about 973, though is appears to have originated on the continent at a rather earlier date.’ (Philip Goddard, Festa Paschalia p. 191)

The ceremonial provided here is a condensed version of the original Good Friday Funeral Procession found in the Ordo Processionum (1925) of the Friars Minor in Jerusalem. The rite consists of the following elements:

1. Singing of the antiphon Offerimus Ergo,
2. Funeral Oration (Eulogy) followed by the Miserere Mei Deus,
3. St John’s account of the Burial of Our Lord (the Gospel proper of the Mass of the Presanctified)
4. Removing Our Lord from the Cross, singing of the responsory Velum Templi,
5. Anointing Our Lord with aromatic oils and sprinkling with grains of incense,
6. Wrapping Our Lord in linen cloth and burial, singing of the responsory Sepulto Domino, and
7. Singing of the Christus Factus Est followed by the oration Respice quæsumus.

It is hoped that this ceremonial of the Burial of Christ can, and will, be used in many parishes in order to foster greater devotion to Our Lord and an increased gratitude for the mysteries of His Passion, Death and Resurrection.

“Super Aspidem et Basiliscum Ambulabit”: A Sermon for Palm Sunday from the Speculum Ecclesię

Introduction

Peering into Honorius’ Mirror on Palm Sunday morning, we find some scaly scoundrels from the medieval bestiary leering back out at us. Asps, basilisks, lions, dragons—oh my! it seems we have not yet escaped from the lurid hellscape of Drythelm’s vision related in the sermon for Laetare Sunday. On their scaly bodies, Honorius traces the sordid tale of mankind’s fall from grace; their fire, venom, and death, we are told, symbolize the devil and the sins that threaten spiritual death…Yet beyond the death that we contemplate in unredeemed mankind, we look forward very soon to redemption in Christ, who walked upon the asp and the basilisk when he destroyed sin and death by his own death and trampled under foot the lion and the dragon, casting the devil’s body into Hell.

The mystical zoology, drawn out of Rhabanus Maurus and Isidore, and tropological reflections of Honorius’ own making, are suitably occasioned by the versicles Super aspidem, sung during Lent, and De ore leonis of Passiontide.

The rest of the sermon tells the history of Lazarus’ raising as a backdrop to Christ’s royal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Our preacher reads the story successively through an allegorical, tropological, and anagogical reflection on the “three deaths” of the soul—through thought, word, and deed—showing how Christ raises mankind out of the tomb of its sins to life.

The two parts of the sermon are clearly complementary and, once again, carefully crafted to suit a varied audience. The powerful bestiary imagery provides food for the imagination, pleasing simple and even superstitious minds, while the learned exegesis of Christ’s royal advent and the soul’s three deaths channels the exegetical tradition for the edification of learned clergy. Honorius shows his usual interest in the historical origins of feasts, saying Palm Sunday mirrors the Feast of Tabernacles. In fact, the Jewish people, in their joyful reception of Christ, function as this sermon’s exemplum.

The optional addendum adds two more mystic figures, whose story has been read at Matins throughout Lent: Abraham’s sending for a wife (Genesis 24), and the Hebrews’ escape from Egypt and wandering in the desert: both types of Christ saving his people.

He ends, as usual, with a moral exhortation that leads into a promise of future glory (anagogy).


British Library Sloane MS 278, f. 2v. Hugh of Fouilloy’s De Avibus

Honorius Augustodunensis’
Sermon for Palm Sunday

Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk, and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon.[1] The asp is a species of serpent that flees when it hears a charmer’s songs.[2] When someone sings a charm, it is said to push one of its ears into the ground and block the other with its tail,[3] so as not to hear the voice of the charmer and be forced to obey his words. It poisons springs and trees with its venom, and so kills those who taste them.

The asp is a figure of sin, which blocks the ears of our heart with worldly desires, so that we do not hear the warnings of our God nor obey his words that are unto our salvation. It poisons the fountain of baptism and the tree of the Cross when it pollutes with disgraceful acts those who have been baptized in the faith of Christ’s Passion. It kills those who taste them, because mortal sin slays those who taste the Word of life and the sacraments of Christ’s Body.

In books we read that the basilisk, also called regulus,[4] is a deadly four-footed animal, whose breath instantly kills all who breathe it. Even the birds flying overhead choke and drop dead from the sky, shedding feathers withered as if by some flame. This noxious beast spreads death all about him, and yet when defeated by a small weasel it wastes away and dies. The basilisk signifies death, whose touch cuts off all things from life. Its breath causes birds to fall from the sky because even the righteous, when touched by death, are stripped of life. It walks on four legs, because mankind is dragged into death in four ways, namely by disobeying the primitive commandment, by violating the natural law, by transgressing the written Law, and by despising the Gospel. The small weasel overcomes it because Christ’s flesh slays death by dying.

The lion, most powerful of the beasts, surveys the sylvan woods. It draws on the ground with its tail, and all other beasts fear crossing the line it draws. Then with a roar it charges, rushing into the woods and ripping apart the terrified beasts.

The lion represents Antichrist, whose immense power surpasses that of all kings. And as the lion circles[5] around the forest, so Antichrist encircles the whole globe with his power. He marks a line on the ground with his tail, which the other beasts fear to cross, because he promulgates edicts that all men fear to trespass. He charges into the forest with a roar, falling upon and ripping apart the beasts, because through fear he subjugates all peoples under himself and cruelly tears asunder all who resist him.  

Scripture teaches that the dragon is the greatest of the serpents, and it deals death through its breath, its venom, and the blow of its tail. The force of its venom raises it up into the air as if it were flying, and it stirs up the air. It ambushes the elephant, the most chaste of the animals, and, fettering its feet with its tail, endeavors to suffocate it with its breath, but is crushed by the animal as it falls dead. A precious pigment is extracted from earth which has been soaked with the dragon’s blood.

The dragon, the greatest of the serpents, is the devil, prince of all evil. He kills with his breath, his venom, and the whip of his tail, because he destroys souls by thought, word, and deed.[6] He poisons our thoughts with the breath of pride, pours the venom of malice into our words, and uses his tail to bind us by the performance of evil deeds. He stirs up the air, because he often disturbs spiritual concord. He ambushes a chaste animal, because he persecuted unto death Christ, source of chastity, born of the chaste Virgin, but in dying Christ crushed him. Yea, a precious red pigment is taken up from the earth, because the Church is made lovely by Christ’s precious Blood.

British Library Sloane MS 278, f. 5??

Therefore the Lord walked upon the asp and the basilisk when he destroyed sin and death by his own death,[7] and subjected all harmful things under the faithful’s feet. He shall trample under foot the lion and the dragon, when he shall overcome Antichrist through his elect and damn the devil with all his members in the last judgement.[8] The devil is also called “dragon” and “lion”: dragon because he ambushes us with hidden temptations; lion because he tries to destroy us through overt persecutions. He was a dragon when he hiddenly tempted the Lord; he was a lion when he set upon the Lord in an overt persecution. But the Lord trampled under foot the lion and the dragon when he endured temptation with humility and persecution with patience. We sing of his temptation thus: Thou shalt trample the dragon under foot; but these days of his passion: Free me from the lion’s mouth.[9]

Dearly beloved, I want briefly to tell your charity how the Lord hath wrought salvation in the midst of the earth.[10]

None other than Jerusalem is said to be in the midst of the earth, where the Lord was crucified for the world’s salvation. Although he was rich, he became needy and poor[11] for us, that he might make us sharers in the excellence of his riches.[12] Martha and Maria often received him as a guest in their home, and furnished him with necessities at their own expense. When their brother Lazarus was ailing, they sent to tell Jesus of his friend’s illness. By the time he arrived he found him dead and already four days buried. Now a large crowd of Jews had gathered at Martha and Mary’s, and tried to console them over their brother’s death. But our Lord, seeing the crowd of mourners crying piteously, began to shed tears as well. Previously he had opened the eyes of a man born blind by smearing them with mud, so that the Jews now said: “The one who opened the eyes of a man blind from birth could not also make it that this man should not die?”[13] So he went with the crowd to the tomb, which was covered by a large stone that Jesus ordered to be removed. But by now the dead man stank—consider, he had been buried for four days—, and his hands and feet were tied with bandages. But saying a prayer of thanksgiving to his Father, Christ summoned Lazarus out of the tomb with a loud voice. Forthwith, to everyone’s astonishment, the man who had been dead and bound came forth from the tomb and flooded everyone with great joy.

When the Pharisees, the clergy of the Jews, heard of this unheard of miracle, they gathered a council in Jerusalem at once, and said to each other: “What do we, for we know that this man doth many miraclesIf we let him alone so, the entire world will believe in him. And if the Romans were to consider him a God, they will take away from us our nation and the place where we dwell.”[14] So their high priest brought a sentence against him, saying that it is expedient for one man to die for the people, lest the whole nation perish.[15] Therefore an edict was promulgated by their council, that he should be arrested and put to death. But because there is no wisdom, there is no prudence, there is no counsel against the Lord,[16] they were not allowed to carry out their wicked counsel until it pleased him.

When it did please him to fulfill the work his Father had enjoined upon him, namely to erase with his blood the bond of sin written against us,[17] he made a stop at Martha’s house in Bethania on his way to Jerusalem. Martha prepared dinner for him and his companions, and Lazarus, whom our Lord had raised from the dead, was one of them that were at table.[18] His sister Mary poured an ointment of great price over our Lord’s head as he reclined at table, but Judas was enraged. And since he was unable to sell the ointment for three hundred pence and embezzle the money, he sold our Lord himself for thirty pence.

Now, on account of the feast of Passover, people from all over the globe had flocked to Jerusalem. Hearing that Lazarus had been raised from the dead, they went to Bethania to see Jesus, who had raised him, and Lazarus, who was raised. Whence the Pharisees said: “We prevail nothing. Behold, the whole world is gone after him.[19] They decided therefore to kill Lazarus, but God, who had better things in store for him, kept him for the Church’s benefit. For it is said that later he was bishop of Cyprus for thirty years, and just as our Lord had called him back to life after the death of his body, so he called many back to life with words and examples after the deaths of their souls.[20]

And so our Lord, accompanied by the people, went to mount Olivet and sent two disciples into the city, ordering them to bring to him a tied ass and a colt with her.[21] They went and brought back the ass and the colt, and laying their garments upon them, made him sit thereon. Others spread their garments in the way, and others cut boughs from the olive trees, and strewed them in the way. When word rang out in the city that Jesus was making his entry, sitting on an ass according to the prophecy, a multitude eagerly ran about rendering homage to him with palm boughs, acclaiming him the King of Israel, and crying out “Hosanna” in a loud voice in his praise as they frolicked. It was the custom of these people, following the commandment of the Law, to celebrate solemnities with palm branches.[22]

Jesus, however, wept when he saw the city and foretold its destruction,[23] which afterwards came to pass. For forty years after his passion the Romans besieged Jerusalem during Passover, massacring the people and razing the city to the ground. Now, as Jesus entered[24] the city with the multitude, a crowd of children and all the commoners rushed forth to meet him and welcomed the King of glory with hymns. Surrounded by this retinue he went into the temple, cast out thence with a whip those who bought and sold doves, and foretold that the temple of his body would be destroyed, but rebuilt after three days. And so he performed many miracles in the temple, and daily taught the multitudes about heavenly things. On Wednesday he was betrayed by Judas, on Thursday he consecrated the bread and wine into his Body and Blood, on Friday he was crucified for the salvation of all, on Saturday he rested in the sepulcher, and on Sunday he rose from the dead and gave life and joy to all who hoped in him. These are the solemnities of this holy week, which renew for us the deeds of yore, and recall to our memories future joys, several mysteries whereof I shall explain to you.  

Duccio di Buoninsegna, The Raising of Lazarus (1310–11), Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX. Wikimedia Commons.

The Lord, who shall raise up all the dead on the last day, brought three dead people back to life, through whom he shewed that we are to be restored to life after the three deaths of the soul. For he roused a maid from the  dead in her house as if she had been asleep,[25] and raised up before the people a young man who had been carried outside the city gates,[26] and finally called Lazarus from the grave after he had laid there for four days.[27] 

These three dead people are figures of the soul’s three deaths,[28] by which souls are separated from God, who is life. We move away from God in thinking, speaking, or doing, and make ourselves liable to eternal death. The death of thought kills a soul, when she covets evil through the will. For he who shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.[29] And fornication is the death of the soul. Hence, just as the maid lay dead in her house, so the soul lies dead in conscience. But if she gives herself over to penance, our Lord raises her back to life.

The death of words kills the soul when she speaks evil, for the mouth that belieth, killeth the soul,[30] and railers shall not possess the kingdom of God.[31] Therefore, the soul who malevolently gives evil counsel to others is like the dead young man who was carried outside the gates. But if she has recourse to the tears of penance, she shall rise again from the dead as our Lord rose.

The soul dies the death of works, when, having thought bad thoughts and received worse counsel, it strives, worst of all, to carry them out. Just like Lazarus, she is shut up in a sepulcher when she is plunged into the abyss of sin. She is covered with a stone when she is overwhelmed by bad habits. Her hands and feet are tied up with bandages when her friends and flatterers encourage her evil. Being dead, she stinks withal, because her ill repute harms many. After prayer is made over her, a loud voice cries out and she is raised up, because the Church’s incessant prayers and frequent sermons provoke her, with difficulty, to penance. Now, our Lord did not wish to resurrect a fourth because no one begged him to, and indeed, he stopped someone from burying a body, saying, “Let the dead bury their dead.[32]

Now, our Lord did not wish to resurrect a fourth because no one begged him to, and indeed, he stopped someone from burying a body, saying, “Let the dead bury their dead. This dead body represents those who are glad when they have done evil, and rejoice in most wicked things.[33] The dead who bury them are their accomplices, like unto them in their evil and who cheer them on as they perform their wicked deeds. For when they goad men to commit a crime just for amusement, they heap up earth upon a dead man, as it were. Since these men shall not rise up in the judgement[34] of confession, they shall be buried in Hell and burn alongside Dives.

Lazarus also represents all of mankind, who died in the first man and was shut up in the sepulcher of wicked living, but their Redeemer calls them forth from the grave when he restores them from sin to life. Verily, the four days Lazarus spent in the sepulcher are the four transgressions of the law that led to man’s oppression  under the yoke of death. The first man received the first law in paradise: “Of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.”[35] Had man observed this, he and all his progeny would have remained immortal in body and soul. But when he transgressed by eating of it at the devil’s suggestion, he and all his descendants were sentenced to death. Behold: the first day of death. Having been expelled from paradise, man was introduced to the natural law: “What thou wouldst not have done unto thyself, do not do unto others.” Had he kept this, he would have escaped the death of the soul. But since he failed to do this, he brought death into the world. Behold: the second day of death. Next, man was given written law, so that by observing it he might escape the peril of eternal death. But because he was loath to keep this law, he sank down to death under its weight. Behold: the third day of death. Then man received the preaching of the Gospel that grants eternal life. He despised it, and hence was condemned to death. Behold: the fourth day of death.

Onufri, The Raising of Lazarus (16th century)

Our Lord raised back to life mankind, hitherto overwhelmed by this fourfold death, when he went up to mount Olivet. Mount Olivet is the height of the faithful people, anointed with the oil of joy. Our Lord came to this mount when he came in the flesh and gathered the faithful in the faith. He sent two disciples into the city when he sent into the world teachers who were perfected in faith and works. He sent two of them because he wanted the two Testaments to teach the two peoples, namely the Jews and the gentiles. He sent two of them because he established that those in the active and contemplative lives should observe the two commandments of love. These two brought him an ass and a colt because they converted the circumcision and the uncircumcision to the faith, for the ass denotes Jewry, bound by the yoke of the Law, while the unbroken colt was the gentile people, constrained by no law. They laid their vestments over them when they displayed to them their good examples. They made our Lord sit thereon when they imprinted Christ on their hearts by faith. They spread their garments in the way when they offered them examples to follow. They cut boughs from olive trees when they taught them the words and deeds of the prophets, for olives designate the prophets, who were anointed with oil. They strewed palm boughs when they explained how the battles and victories of their kings against the gentiles represented the spiritual combat against the vices, for palms symbolize the victories of their kings, since the palm signifies victory. The multitudes that ran up to receive our Lord with palms are the gentiles who took to the faith and fulfilled Christ’s commandment with righteous deeds. The children who welcomed our Lord with palms are the martyrs who went to meet Christ with the palm of victory. The rest of the commoners who met our Lord represent those who vanquish the vices and rush up in the triumph of victory to meet our Lord in judgement. Our Lord predicted the razing of the city because he taught that this world would be destroyed. The multitudes cry out “Hosanna” as they joyfully enter the city with our Lord, because when he shall introduce his bride, the Church, from the present Babylon into his Father’s city, he shall command those who praise him to enter with him to the marriage feast. He cast out those who were buying and selling doves in the Temple, because he expels from the temple of the heavenly Jerusalem all those who buy or sell churches, orders, or any other spiritual gift.

This day is called Palm Sunday, because the universal Church celebrates it with palms and flowers following the example of the Jewish people. And so, dearly beloved, praise our Redeemer with a loud voice and beseech him with ceaseless prayers that just as the Hebrew people rushed to meet him on his way to his Passion with palms and flowers and in a way fore-sang of his triumph over death, so we might be able to rush to meet him when he comes in judgement with the palm of victory over the world and the vices and with the flowers of good works, and that we might be made worthy triumphantly to enter the heavenly Jerusalem with him to attend the wedding banquet.

End here, if you wish.

Ezekiel panel, detail of Section A (Yale Univ. Art Gallery), Synagogue of Dura Europos

All of these things came before as figures of yore, and pointed out our age as if with a finger. Abraham ordered his servant to swear on his circumcised member[36]—out of which he foreknew that Christ would descend in the flesh—that he would go to Mesopotamia and bring back thence a wife for his son. Bound by this oath, the servant went to Chaldea, found Rebecca next to a font, and brought her, adorned with gold and jewels, back to Isaac. Thus God sent the order of doctors into the world bound by Christ’s incarnation. They came upon the Church next to the font of baptism, and led her to the true Isaac, who is Christ, bedecked with the gold of charity and the jewels of good works.

Cutting from an Antiphonary: Initial A[spiciens a longe]: The Tree of Jesse, circa 1115-1125. (Photo by Heritage Arts/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

Pharaoh afflicts the Jewish people in Egypt to suffer and Moses is sent to free them. When he performs many miracles, the magicians resist him. The same Moyses commanded that a lamb without blemish be confined on the tenth day of the first month and immolated four days later in the evening. He further enjoined them to sign the doors of their houses with its blood in the form of a cross, putting it in four places, to wit, on the lower and upper door posts and on both side posts, and to roast the lamb and eat it in their houses. When the destroying angel saw this sign, he passed through striking every firstborn of Egypt, and the Lord led his people out exulting and rejoicing in possession of the Egyptians’ gold and silver. He went before them at night in a pillar of fire, and he covered them with a pillar of cloud during the day. He divided the Red Sea, through which the people passed with dry steps. But the waters covered their pursuing enemies, and the Lord rescued his people so that they feared no more. They were glad as he led them to seventy palm trees and twelve fountains of water, and then fed them with bread from heaven. He drew water for them from a rock twice struck, which  accompanied them ever gushing unto the promised land.[37] Some of them ungratefully murmured against all these favors and were killed by fiery serpents.[38] Wherefore the people cried out and Moses prayed to the Lord, who commanded that he hang up a brazen serpent. When those bitten by the serpents looked upon it, they were spared death.  

As they approached the land, they sent twelve spies ahead, who reconnoitered the whole land and brought back some fruit to the main body as proof of the land’s great fertility.[39] They cut a cluster of grapes that two men carried on a pole and brought bread in a basket. When they reached the Jordan, the river ceased to flow, and the people passed over unharmed. At the blowing of the priests’ trumpets Jericho fell, and once their foes had been vanquished by Josue, also called Jesus, the people occupied the land flowing with milk and honey. The whole narrative is explained in the following manner.

The devil oppresses the people in this world, and the Father sends Christ to free them. When he performs many miracles, the malice of the Pharisees resists him. He himself was the lamb without blemish, since he never sinned, and of him it is said: Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world.[40] He died as a sheep led to the slaughter[41] when he, the good shepherd, put down his life for his sheep.[42] He went to Jerusalem on the tenth day of the first month, which is today. The Jews confined him and on the fourteenth day, that is on Wednesday, his body was betrayed. The doors are marked in four places with his blood when our bodies are consecrated in the shape of the cross by baptism in faith in Christ’s passion. The lamb is roasted and eaten in the house when after Christ’s Passion the faithful people feed on his flesh in the Catholic Church. The firstborn of Egypt are struck when the Lamb’s blood destroys the everlasting pains of death, for Egypt, which means “darkness,” is the sins which lead evildoers into the exterior darkness. The angel of great counsel[43] strikes their firstborn when he destroys by his death the pains produced by sin. The joyful people are led out with gold and silver, because for the great price of the spotless lamb they are released from the tyrant. Moreover, the light of the eternal Sun shines upon those who were held in the darkness of hell, and they who were rescued from the prison of death are placed in the palace of life.

A pillar of fire goes before the people at night, because the light of Holy Writ offers us a path through the gloom of this life to the fatherland. A pillar of cloud protects them from the heat during the day, because on Doomsday Christ’s humanity shall defend them from the heat of eternal fire. For just as the sun is hidden behind the clouds, so the Sun of justice is hidden behind human flesh. The Red Sea is baptism, incarnadine with Christ’s blood, in which our enemy, sin, is plunged, while the faithful are rescued from fear of punishment. The seventy palm trees are the seventy books of Holy Writ, by which the seventy disciples taught the people to go from vice to the palm of victory. The twelve springs are the twelve apostles, from whom the streams of Scripture flowed across the globe. The people led out of Egypt came to these when, having been redeemed by the Lord, they placed themselves under the yoke of faith through the apostles and began to study Holy Writ. They ate the bread of angels when they merited to feed on Christ’s body. In this bread they enjoyed all that is delicious[44] and all the flavor of sweetness, since those who receive Christ’s bread worthily shall secure total bliss and all sweetness. A rock twice struck yields water, because the teaching of the Gospel is drawn from Christ stretched on the two beams of the Cross. This water had a honeyed and oily taste, because the Gospel promises us the sweetness of eternal life through Christ’s mercy. The ungrateful who murmur against these favors are killed by serpents, because those who live in wickedness after receiving the divine sacraments shall be slain by demons.

The people were saved from the serpents’ bite by gazing upon the hanging brazen serpent, which is Christ extended on the Cross, by faith in which the people are freed from the wound of sin. The brazen serpent has no venom, just as Christ has no sin. The twelve spies who reconnoitered the land are the twelve apostles who preached eternal life in the world. The cluster of grapes  carried on a pole is Christ who hung upon the Cross. Two men carry this pole, because the orders of prophets and of apostles make Christ’s Passion known to the world. They also brought bread in a basket, because they announced that the bread of angels had come in the flesh and become the bread of men. After the people crossed the river, the priests demolished Jericho with the sound of their trumpets, because after the last persecution this world shall be destroyed with the sound of the angel’s trumpets. After the enemies’ death, Jesus[45] divides the land flowing with milk and money among the victorious people, because after God’s enemies shall be damned in just judgement, the true Jesus shall bestow the land of the living, flowing with streams of joy, upon the people, victorious over the vices.

And so, my beloved, since Christ has freed you by his blood from the devil’s oppression and opened the way to the heavenly fatherland, hasten to meet him by the way of his commandments,[46] so that you may be pleasing to him in the land of the living,[47] where he shall share with you joys that eye hath not seen, &c.

Unknown, The Raising of Lazarus, Folio 1 recto in Purpureus Rossanensis (The Rossano Gospels) (c 550 CE), Diocesan Museum, Rossano Cathedral, Italy. Wikimedia Commons.

[1] Psalm 90:13, sung as a versicle during the Lenten office.

[2] These fabulous accounts of the asp, basilisk, and lion owe much to Rabanus Maurus’ De universo 8.2 (“On Serpents”) and Isidore, Etymologies 12.4, but Honorius conflates the qualities of the asp and the salamander to serve the allegory, and the mystical interpretations are probably his own. The material on the basilisk and the dragon has been falsely ascribed to Hugh of Fouilloy, appearing as it does after his De avibus in the British Library’s Sloane MS 278.

[3] Cf. Psalm 57:5-6: “Their madness is according to the likeness of a serpent: like the deaf asp that stoppeth her ears, which will not hear the voice of the charmers; nor of the wizard that charmeth wisely” (Furor illis secundum similitudinem serpentis, sicut aspidis surdae et obturantis aures suas, quae non exaudiet vocem incantantium, et venefici incantantis sapienter.)

[4] Cf. Isaiah 11:8

[5] Here he invokes the devil’s depiction as a lion in 1 Peter 5:8.

[6] An expression found in many versions of the Confiteor used in the Middle Ages.

[7] Cf. Hebrews 2:14

[8] On the damnation of the devil and his “members,” see Elucidarium 3.4. Gregory the Great often spoke of sinners as parts of the devil’s body in his Moralia, e.g. 13.24.38 (1:689); 3.16.29 (1:133); 13.10.12 (1 :675).

[9] Psalms 90:13 and 21:22, the latter in the Vetus Latina reading used in the liturgy. The former is used daily as a versicle in Lent before Passiontide, when it is replaced by the latter.

[10] Psalm 73:12

[11] Cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9 and Psalm 69:6

[12] Cf. Romans 11:33

[13] Cf. John 11:37

[14] An adaptation of John 11:47-48

[15] Cf. John 11:50

[16] Proverbs 21:30

[17] Cf. Colossians 2:14

[18] John 12:2.

[19] John 12:19

[20] Honorius picks up the Cypriot tradition that Lazarus ruled for thirty years as bishop of Citium on that island, where an eponymous church is built over his alleged tomb. The relics were taken to Constantinope in 898 and lost after the Fourth Crusade. Honorius may have taken this account from the Chronica Clara of Marianus Scotus, who cites an unknown Ammularius as his source. A competing account, widely disseminated in the 13th century and followed by the Golden Legend, holds that Lazarus travelled to Provence with his sisters and became bishop of Marseille. His head is still venerated there, although the rest of his body was taken to Autun in the Carolingian age. The fact that Honorius relates the Cypriot account rather than the Provençal is further evidence that he was not from Autun.  

[21] Matthew 21

[22] I.e., for the Feast of Tabernacles, described in Leviticus 23:40 and Nehemiah 8:15-18.

[23] Luke 19

[24] Cf. the Responsory Ingrediente Domino (Cantus Index 6961).

[25] Luke 8

[26] Luke 7

[27] John 11

[28] The exegesis of the three people raised from the dead by Our Lord as representing three deaths of the soul appears already in the 9th century in commentaries on the psalms by Haymo of Halberstadt (PL 116:198) and Remigius of Auxerre (PL 131:151). In the 10th century it was picked up by Manegold of Lautenbach’s psalm commentary (wrongly attributed to Bede, PL 93:484) and appears in a sermon by Honorius’ contemporary Hildebert of Le Mans (PL 171:475). All these authors, however, name the three deaths differently, and Honorius is original in tying them to the three types of sin mentioned in most Confiteor formulæ. This creativity within tradition was characteristic of mediæval writers, and one could scarce find a better encapsulation thereof than in Honorius’s books.

[29] Matthew 5:28

[30] Wisdom 1:11

[31] I Corinthians 6:10

[32] Matthew 8:22

[33] Proverbs 2:14

[34] See Psalm 1:5, where “the impious” do not rise for the judgment. See Elucidarium 3.14 on the fate of the wicked at the Final Judgment.

[35] Genesis 2:17

[36] Cf. Genesis 24:2

[37]  In 1 Corinthians 10:4, St. Paul reports the oral tradition that the rock struck by Moses in Numbers 20 followed the people through the desert to the promised land.

[38] Numbers 21:9

[39] See Numbers 13

[40] John 1:29; the reading here follows that of the acclamation at Mass.

[41] Isaias 53:7

[42] John 10:11

[43] Isaias 9:6, Vetus Latina (used in the introit Puer natus of the third Mass of Christmas).

[44] Wisdom 16:20

[45] I.e. Josue

[46] See Psalm 118:32

[47] See Psalm 114:9, sung in the Office of the Dead.

Rejoice, Jerusalem, & Celebrate a Feast, All You that Love Her: A Mediæval Sermon for Lętare Sunday

Midway through the rigors of Lent, Honorius tantalizes his audience with a sermon abounding in allegories related to food. 

Rejoice, Jerusalem, and celebrate a feast, all you that love her. The allusion to a “feast” in this alternate textual tradition of the Introit verse from Isaiah 66:10 allows him to direct the minds of the faithful, wearied by fasting, to the feast that awaits them in the Heavenly Jerusalem. Keep your eyes fixed on our mother above, where joy awaits!

Meanwhile, he reminds us that Holy Mother Church offers them the milk of consolation in this life, expressed through the teaching of the two Testaments, where we are promised a “land flowing with milk and honey” “a paradise of delight,” “a river of peace,” and bodies that “shine like the sun” in glory that “eye hath not seen.” They are refreshed also by the teaching and example of the Holy Fathers, as if by bread.

The faithful should therefore “praise the Lord for the benefits they have received” of holy doctrine and exempla, and for the rest of Lent  “prepare themselves for this heavenly repast by cultivating cleanliness of heart and body, for chastity alone frees those who are in peril and reconciles the penitent with God.”

Several exempla serve to strengthen us for this task. The stories of the monk Malchus and the persecuted patriarchs are calculated to encourage laity to keep their obligation of marital continence (chastity) during the Lenten season, so that with the saints we might show marvelously “how much chastity can do.”

Lest we depart with minds too much inebriated with the milk of consolation, Honorius closes with a rendition of the Dantesque Vision of Dryhthelm, a dire warning to sinners to repent before it is too late!


Rejoice, Jerusalem, and celebrate a feast, all you that love her.[1] The divine office[2] we have sung today, dearly beloved, warns us not to covet worldly and perishable things unduly, without betimes directing our minds to our mother, the heavenly Jerusalem. For it says, Rejoice, Jerusalem. Jerusalem, which means “vision of peace,”[3] is the Church, who shall see in heaven the everlasting peace that is Christ. The prophet urges her to rejoice, because she shall be made joyful in gladness with the Lord’s countenance.[4] All that love her, too, are called to celebrate a feast, because in the feast of angels they shall see the Lord’s face with joy.[5] They, also are told to rejoice for joy with her,[6] who were heretofore in sadness on account of their sins, that they might exult in their forgiveness and be sated with the breasts of her consolations

Marco Zoppo, Maria lactans, 15th century

The Church’s breasts represent the two testaments, by which her children are fed with the milk of the letter and of allegory.[7] The Jewish people sucked one, the Christian people suck the other; the former the letter, we allegory. One gives milk when it consoles us in the Law: Hear, O Israel, the commandments of the Lord and write them in your heart as if in a book, and I will give you a land flowing with milk and honey,[8] that is, a paradise of delight[9]overflowing with all sweetness. The other feeds us milk when the New Law thus promises: When Christ shall appear, we shall be like to him, because we shall see God as he is.[10] The prophet presses milk from the old breast when he promises us thus: They shall not hunger nor thirst any longer, neither shall the heat nor the sun strike them, for he that is merciful to them at the fountains of waters shall give them drink.[11] The evangelist draws milk from the new breast when he tells us the Lord’s promise: The just shall shine as the sun[12] and shall be equal to the angels.[13] We suck one: They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.[14] We drink from the other: The eye hath not seen, the ear hath not heard, it hath not entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him.[15] Hasten to these joys, dearly beloved, with all your strength, so that you may flow with delights, from the abundance of her glory; the abundant glory here is that of the Church, when, established in the place of the pasture[16] of eternal life, she lacks nothing. The prophet gives a picture of this glory when he says: Behold I bring upon her as it were a river of peace, and glory as an overflowing torrent. O how blessed are those upon whom the Lord brings down an abundance of peace as a river, and in whom perfect glory is poured as an overflowing torrent!

Giovanni Pisano, Ecclesia lactans, from the pulpit of the Cathedral of Pisa, ca. 1302-1310

Today’s reading [17] tells us who shall be granted this glory on account of a gracious gift, and to whom it shall be denied on account of their lack of merit. Abraham, it says, had two sons, the one by a bondwoman, and the other by a free woman. But the bondwoman and her son are cast out, while the free woman and her son receive the inheritance. Abraham represents God the Father, Agar the Old Law, and Ismael the carnal people; Sara betokens the New Law, and Isaac the Christian people. And so the Law kept in a carnal manner is deprived of the inheritance along with the Jewish people; the Church, on the other hand, established by grace,  comes into the riches of God’s kingdom along with the Christian people. Abraham also designates our spirit, the bondwoman our flesh, and her son carnal works; the free woman is a figure of our soul, and her son of spiritual works. Therefore, just as Sara harassed Agar for disdaining her and ordered Ismael to be cast out for nearly killing Isaac,[18] so let the soul, which is the mistress, afflict the flesh, which as her bondwoman contemns her, with fasts and vigils. Let the soul cast out the flesh’s son who persecutes her own son, that is, the carnal work which impedes the spiritual. Let her beget a lordly son, that is, a good work, who might seize the joy of the Lord’s inheritance.

Abraham expels Agar and Ismael at Sara’s petition. From the Bible Moralisée (1235–1245), Oxford, Bodleian Library 270b fol. 13v

We also read[19] that the Lord went over the sea and went up into a mountain, and a great multitude from the whole area round about came unto him. Taking the boy’s five loaves of bread he handed them out to the crowd, feeding five thousand men, not counting women and children. He then ordered the fragments that remained to be gathered up, and they filled twelve baskets. The crowd gave thanks to God when they saw these things. The sea represents this world, which is ever battered by countless tempests of adversity. The Lord went over it, for while he lived here he committed no sin. He went up a mountain, when he ascended into heaven to the right hand of the Father. A crowd flocked to him from the whole area round about when the apostles’ preaching drew people from every part of the globe to believe in him. They make a repast on five loaves of bread because the five books of Moses instruct them how to obtain eternal life. The additional two fishes are the psalms and the prophets which are given to the faithful. It is written that the loaves were of barley, because as barley-corn is covered by a husk, so the books of the Law are shrouded in many mysteries[20]. The boy who brought the loaves but did not eat them is the Jewish people, whose childish understanding does not comprehend the sense of the Law. Now, Jesus broke the loaves and distributed them to the crowd when he opened the faithful’s minds to understand the Scripture. They eat their fill stretched out on the grass, because only the humble are judged worthy of the Lord’s refreshment. The five loaves also represent the writings and examples of the Fathers who lived during the five ages, on which the faithful feed abundantly every day.

The multiplication of the loaves, from the Lenten veil of Millstatt Abbey (Austria), Oswalt Kreusel, 1591

In the first age, Enoch feeds us with bread of his writing when he writes that the Lord shall come to judge with a thousand saints.[21] He fills us with the bread of example when, as Scripture recalls, he pleased God on account of his justice and was snatched up to paradise. In the second age, Abraham supplies us with bread when, as it is told, he invented Hebrew letters,[22] wrote down what had occurred from the beginning,[23] taught astronomy in Egypt,[24] and obeyed God in all things. In the third age, Moses copiously restores us when his writings teach us the ten commandments and when he is described as having been exceeding meek above all men[25] and having shone with many signs. In the fourth age, David, Solomon, and most of the prophets fill us with sweet bread when they instruct us by their mystical writings and deeds. In the fifth age, Esdras sates us with bread when he renews the Law that had been burned[26] and rebuilds the temple that had been destroyed. These loaves of bread are distributed to the crowd when the doctors expound the allegorical sense of these men’s writings and deeds to the faithful.

Moreover, the two fishes represent the only two persons, who were anointed with holy oil in the Old Testament, to wit kings and the priests. Christ, for his part, used his fishermen, the apostles, to catch the faithful, who were dwelling like fish in the sea of the world, with the net of faith, and had them all anointed with the oil of chrism as kings and priests. Indeed, the alb received at baptism represents the priesthood, and the miter placed on the head represents the diadem of kings. Five thousand men are fed, because those who lived out the Trinitarian faith through the two works of charity in the five senses are restored with Christ’s body, for three plus two make five. Three signifies Trinitarian faith, and two the performance of the twin works of charity. Those whom this number consecrates Christ refects in his banquet. Further, the women and children denote heretics, who participate in the Lord’s sacraments, but since they are not counted in his number, they are not admitted into the Lord’s inheritance. The apostles filled twelve baskets with the fragments left over by those who ate, when in the sixth age they explained the earlier writings in their teaching. A basket is woven from plain wicker, and the order of apostles was chosen from humble stock. They collect the leftovers of those who ate when they give out the literal meaning to the vulgar, reserving the mystical meaning for the wise.

And so, dearly beloved, join the sated crowds in praising God for the benefits you have received. Prepare yourselves for this repast by cultivating cleanliness of heart and body, for chastity alone frees those who are in peril and reconciles the penitent with God. 

Joseph, when he does not give into lust, is freed from prison and is even raised as a prince over all Egypt. Daniel, since he loves chastity, is not harmed by the ferocious lions in the den he was twice cast into, and mighty kings elevated him above the princes. Susanna too, when out of love for chastity she did not sully her husband’s bed, not only escaped from the accusations of the wicked cabal, but even had the false accusers delivered up to a meet punishment once they were convicted by Daniel’s just sentence. The holy widow Judith rescued God’s people from the danger of imminent destruction by cherishing chastity, when she spurned the honors and riches of the generous prince. Moreover, she killed the tyrant and revels in her victory, and even today triumphant she receives due praise from the lips of all men.

Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, Duomo of Milan

A certain monk named Malchus was part of a large group captured by the Saracens.[27] Along with the captured wife of another man, he was handed off by lot to a man who set him to pasture his flocks of grazing sheep and gave the women to him in marriage. But though his master coerced him, for his love of chastity he never lay with her. Eventually, he escaped with the slave woman, but his master and another slave pursued them on camels. Taking flight, the pair sought out a cave in which a lioness was caring for her cubs. Catching up with them, the master orders the slave to drag them from the cave and kill them, while he waits outside with the camels, holding his unsheathed sword. The slave enters the cave with his blade drawn, but instantly the lioness pounced and tore him to shreds before Malchus and the woman’s terrified eyes. Impatient at the slave’s delay, the master goes inside but forthwith meets the same fate. After this, the lioness brings out her cubs, giving the fearful fugitives a chance to slip out. Mounting the camels they went away and made it known everywhere how much chastity can do.

St. Malchus of Syria praying, engraving by Jan Sadeler, ca. 1550, in the book Solitudo, sive, Vitae patrum eremicolarum

There was a certain woman caught in adultery who was brought before our Lord for judgment, but her accusers were confounded and she allowed to go without harm. Dearest, serve the Lord in holiness and justness, and he will set you free from every rage of your enemies. 

My beloved, I desire to make something known to you, to put fear into the sluggishness of the indolent, and gladden the minds of those who devoutly serve God.

There passed away a certain well-born and wealthy man.[28] His family and a large crowd of his neighbors stayed up the whole night mournfully performing his obsequies, when at first light the dead man returned to his body. All there present turned tail and ran in fright and wonder. But he sped immediately to the church, where he lay prostrate in prayer until nearly midday. Upon returning from the church he divided all his property into three parts. One part he gave to his wife and children, one he gave out to the poor, and the last he bestowed on the brethren of a monastery in which he became a monk. When the brethren asked him what he had seen, he told the following story:

“Bright were the dress and countenance of the one who led me. As we headed toward a northern country, on our left ran a vale of colossal depth, exceeding breadth, and boundless length. On one of its slopes an immense fire was raging, while the other was frozen by a horrible chill. On both sides, wretched souls languished in torments, leaping now from the fire into the chill, now from the frost into the flames. Observing this, I thought to myself that this must be hell, about whose unspeakable torments I had often heard tell. My guide answered my thoughts, saying that this was not hell. As we walked along further, everything before us began to darken, and through shadows black as night, we wended our way into the regions below. And lo! a great pit loomed before us, which vomited out sulphurous eddies from its volcanic maw and then greedily guzzled them back down again. Yea more, an unbearable fetor wafted up from that furnace, making the air all around heavy with its stench. Then all of a sudden, my guide vanished, leaving me standing alone before this horrible sight. As I stood there frightened and adread, not knowing where to turn my step or what end awaited me, a pitiful clamor rose abruptly behind me, where the demons were hauling along a throng of souls. The souls wailed dolefully, while the demons cruelly mocked them and cast them into that chasm, cackling all the while. Meanwhile, loathsome spirits emerged from that abyss, breathing out fulsome fire from their mouths and noses, and tried to seize me with fiery tongs. But anon, my guide returned, and the spirits dove back into the pit bellowing frightfully. 

Hellmouth, St. George’s Church, Haguenau, Alsace, painted wood, 1496.

“Free now from the terror of the gloom, I was immediately led by him into the serene light of an eastern country, where another wall with no entrance appeared before us, rising up to heaven. When we  had reached it, we found an exceedingly vast field, wonderful in all its delights, more splendid than the light of day, planted with fragrant flowers, in which white-clad bands made merry, resounding a sweet hymn. I therefore began to think that this was the kingdom of heaven, about whose indescribable joys I had often been told. But my guide answered my heart, and said that this was not the kingdom of heaven. As we passed by those fields of the blessed, even more splendid things appeared before us, and lo! an immense light shone before us with the greatest radiance, emitting a marvelously sweet scent, and moreover resounding with the most sweetly tuneful harmony. 

“This glory was so great that everything I had considered excellent before then seemed aspaltry by comparison. Although I hoped we would enter this light, my guide turned back and coming up to the merry-makers told me, “Dost thou know what the things thou hast seen signify?” When I answered that I did not, he said: “That vale, dreadful for its flames and frost, is the place prepared for those who delay repenting of their mortal sins until the very end. Since they take refuge in penance at the time of their deaths, they escape the woes of hell, but since they did not make sufficient satisfaction for their sins in this world, they are cleansed with these torments and are freed hence by the masses, alms, and prayers offered by the faithful, until they join these thou seest here. Those, however, who die without repenting are forthwith plunged into hell, whence they shall never escape for all eternity. That volcanic pit thou sawest is Hellmouth. Now, those who lead a good manner of life come hither after their death. Those who are found perfect, however, are forthwith admitted into the kingdom of heaven, whose entry is that bright place thou sawest. Now thou shalt return to thy body: if thou livest well, thou shalt join these here.” 

Immediately the man returned to this life, and thenceforth he led such a holy life that even if his tongue had not revealed what he saw the manner of his life would have made it manifest. 

Therefore, my beloved, if you live soberly, justly, and piously in this life,[29] at last you will arrive in those joys where you may exult for everlasting ages and God shall be pleased to make his dwelling within you, whom eye has not seen, etc.[30]


[1] Isaias 66:10. The version of the text Honorius quotes is not the same as that of the Vulgate or the Introit Laetare Jerusalem (Cantus ID g00776), but does appear in the third canticle sung at Mattins on Christmas in a number of monastic breviaries written between the 10th to the 13th centuries. The monastic breviary issued after the Tridentine reform by Pope Paul V imposed the Vulgate reading. See James Mearns, The Canticles of the Christian Church, pp. 81-86.

[2] Officium was another term for the introit. 

[3] Jerome gives this interpretation, which was repeated by Augustine and Isidore, and links it to the Church’s vision of peace in the next world.

[4] Psalm 20:7

[5] Job 33:26

[6] Isaias 66:10-12.

[7] The following meditation is probably inspired by Bede’s allegorical reading of the beloved’s breasts praised in Song of Songs 4:5, in his commentary In Cantica Canticorum 3 (CCSL 119B, p. 251, lines 268-70).

[8] From a responsory sung at Matins on Laetare Sunday (Cantus ID 6143), itself a free adaptation of Deuteronomy 4:1 and 27:3.

[9] Genesis 2:8

[10] 1 John 3:2 

[11] Isaias 49:10

[12] Matthew 13:43

[13] Luke 20:36

[14] Isaias 35:10

[15] 1 Corinthians 2:9

[16] Psalm 22:2

[17] The epistle of the mass, viz. Galatians 4:22-31.

[18] In Genesis 21, Sarah asks Abram to cast out Hagar and Ishmael after seeing him “playing” with Isaac (21:9). To clarify this rather abrupt dismissal, Jewish tradition (recorded by St. Jerome in a gloss from his Questions on the Old Testament) suggested that Sarah caught Ishmael teaching Isaac to play with idols (cf. Exodus 32), or that the older boy was playing roughly in order to harm his half-brother and so steal the inheritance, as hinted by Saint Paul’s use of the word persequere in Galatians 4:25. Some Christian commentators insisted that Sarah acted thus because she was seized by a prophetic foresight of the typological significance of the moment (mysterio prophetiae compulsa, Isidore). In any case, as Bruno of Asti points out (Commentary on Genesis 21, PL 164:196), as a type of the synagogue, it was natural that Ishmael sought to harm Isaac, a type of the Church. 

[19] The gospel of the mass, viz. John 6:1-15.

[20] This interpretation is drawn from St. Augustine (De diversis quaestionibus LXXXIII, 61, 1 [PL 40:48-49]).

[21] The verse from the Letter of Jude 1:14 paraphrased here refers to the extensive Jewish and Christian apocryphal traditions around Enoch, especially the Book of Enoch. It is not clear that Honorius would have had access to any Enochic texts.

[22]This unusual claim was made by the Hellenistic Jewish writer Eupolemus, fragments of whose writings were transmitted in Eusebius’ Preparation for the Gospel. Both Jewish and Christian tradition usually associated the invention of the alphabet with Moses.

[23] Possibly a reference to the

[24] Abraham’s mastery of Chaldean science was a common theme in apocryphal Jewish literature, repeated by Josephus and Philo.

[25] Numbers 12:3, in a version quoted by Jerome rather than the Vulgate text.

[26] Cf. 2 Esdras 14:21.

[27] The story is taken from Jerome’s Life of Malchus the Captive Monk.

[28] The following story is a retelling of Bede’s Vision of Dryhthelm (Ecclesiastical Histories 5.12.), part of a long tradition of vision literature ultimately stemming from the late antique Visio Sancti Pauli. See also his descriptions of Hell in the Sermo Generalis and in Elucidarium.

[29] Titus 2:12

[30] 1 Corinthians 2:9


Edition prepared from PL 172:893-898 and the following MSS:
A: Admont, Benediktinerstift, cod. 131, ff. 43r ff.;
Gr: Graz, Univ. Bibl., Cod. 173, ff. 50r ff.;
SG: St. Gall, Stiftsbibl. 1075, pp. 84 ff.;
Go: Göttweig, Benediktinerstift, Cod. 104 rot / 47 schwarz, f. 56v ff.;
L: Lilienfeld, Stiftsarchiv und Stiftsbibliothek, HS 140,  p. 73 ff.

Honorii Augustodunensis
Sermo
in Dominica in media Quadragesima

Letare, Ierusalem, et diem festum agite omnes qui diligitis eam. Diuinum officium karissimi quod hodie cantauimus,[1] monet nos ne tantum terrenis et caducis[2] inhiemus,[3] nisi aliquando etiam[4] ad matrem nostram cęlestem Ierusalem[5] mentem[6] dirigamus. Ait enim, Letare Ierusalem.[7] Ierusalem,[8] quod dicitur “uisio pacis,” est Ęcclesia quę ęternam pacem xpm uisura est in cęlis. Hęc[9] a propheta letari hortatur, quia in gaudio cum uultu Domini[10] habet letificariDiem quoque agere festum iubentur omnes qui eam diligunt, quia in festo angelorum faciem Domini in[11] iubilo uidebuntGaudere etiam admonentur[12] cum[13] leticia, qui hactenus propter peccata fuerunt in tristicia, ut de uenia exultent et ab uberibus consolationis eius se satient. 

Per ubera Ęcclesię[14] duo testamenta accipiuntur, per quę filii[15] eius lacte litterę et allegorię nutriuntur. Vnum[16] suxit populus Iudaicus, aliud sugit populus xpianus. Ille litteram, nos allegoriam. De uno lac datur,[17] cum nos[18] in lege sic consolatur: Audi, Israel, precepta[19] Domini et ea in corde tuo quasi in libro scribe, et dabo tibi terram lacte et melle manantem,[20] id est paradysum uoluptatisomni dulcedine exuberantem. De alio nobis lac mulgetur, cum lex noua sic nobis pollicetur: Cum xpc apparuerit, similes ei erimus quoniam Deum sicuti est uidebimus. Propheta nobis lac de ueteri ubere premit,[21] cum nobis sic promittit: Non esurient neque sitient amplius, et non percutiet eos sol et estus, quoniam miserator eorum reget eos, et ad uitę fontes aquarum potabit illos.[22] De nouo nobis ęuangelista[23] lac elicit, dum Dominum hęc nobis spondere dicit: Iusti ut sol fulgebunt et angelis equales erunt. De uno sugimus: Obtinebunt gaudium et leticiam, et fugiet dolor et gemitus. De alio haurimus: Oculus non uidit, auris non audiuit, in cor hominis non ascendit[24] quę Deus se diligentibus preparauit. Ad hęc gaudia festinate, karissimi, totis uiribus, ut deliciis affluatis ab omnimoda gloria eius, Ęcclesię gloria quę[25] tunc omnimoda erit, cum in loco pascuę uitę collocatanichil ei deerit. Hęc gloria exprimitur cum per prophetam dicitur: ecce ego declino in eos ut flumen pacis et ut torrens inundans gloriam.[26] O quam beati in quos Dominus habundantiam pacis ut flumen declinat, et in quos omnimoda gloria ut torrens inundans[27] riuulat!

Legitur hodie quibus hęc gloria ob gratiam detur, et quibus ob meritum denegetur. Abraham, inquiens, habuit duos filios, unum de ancilla, et unum de libera. Sed ancilla cum filio suo eicitur,[28] libera cum filio suo hereditate[29] potitur.[30] Per Abraham Deus Pater[31] intelligitur, per Agar uetus lex,[32] per Ismahel carnalis populus;[33] per Saram noua lex, per Ysaac xpianus populus accipitur. Lex ergo[34] carnaliter obseruata, cum Iudaico populo hereditate Domini priuatur; Ęcclesia uero sub gratia constituta, cum xpiano populo regno[35] Dei ditatur. Per Abraham quoque noster spiritus, per ancillam nostra caro, per filium eius carnalia opera designantur; per liberam anima, per filium eius spiritualia opera figurantur.[36] Sicut ergo[37] Sara despicientem se Agar afflixit, et Ismahel ad mortis periculum Ysaac impellentem eici iussit, sic anima, quę est domina, carnem, ancillam suam se contempnentem, ieiuniis et uigiliis affligat;[38] filium eius persequentem filium suum,[39] id est carnale opus impediens spirituale eiciat;[40] herilem[41] filium, id est bonum opus, pariat, qui gaudium hereditatis Domini[42] capiat.

 Legitur etiam quod Dominus trans mare abiit[43] montemque[44] subiit, et maxima multitudo eum undique adiit. Qui V panes et duos pisces a puero acceptos turbę distribuit, et V milia uirorum, exceptis[45] paruulis et mulieribus, satiauit. Iussit uero[46] colligere fragmenta quę manducantibus superfuerunt, et XII cophinos impleuerunt; quod turbę uidentes Deo grates[47] retulerunt.[48] Per mare hoc seculum intellegitur quod innumeris aduersitatum[49] procellis iugiter colliditur. Super hoc Dominus transiit, quia hic uiuens[50]peccatum non fecit. Montem subiit, dum in cęlum ad dexteram Patris conscendit. Turba ad eum undique circumfluxit, dum predicatio apostolorum populum ex omni orbis parte[51] ad fidem eius contraxit. Qui V panibus reficiuntur quia V libris Moysi ad uitam[52]instruuntur. Duo pisces adduntur, dum psalmodia[53] et prophetia fidelibus traduntur. Panes ordeacei scribuntur, quia sicut ordeum folliculis, ita libri legis multis mysteriis inuoluuntur. Puer qui eos portauit nec comedit, est Iudaicus populus pueriliter sapiens qui[54]sensum legis non intellexit. Ihc uero[55] panes fregit, turbis distribuit, dum fidelibus sensum ad intellegendum Scripturas aperuit. Super fenum discumbentes saturantur, quia humiles tantum refectione Domini digni iudicantur. Per quinque panes etiam Scriptura et exempla patrum in quinque etatibus degentium intelliguntur, quibus cottidie fideles habunde reficiuntur. 

In prima etate Enoch pane scripti nos reficit, dum Dominum cum milibus sanctorum ad iudicium uenturum[56] scribit. Pane exempli nos saciat, dum eum ob iusticiam Deo[57] placuisse et in paradysum raptum fuisse Scriptura memorat.[58] In secunda etate panis nobis per Abraham ministratur, dum litteras Hebreas reperisse, transacta ab inicio scripsisse, astronomiam in Egypto docuisse, ac Deo in omnibus obedisse narratur. In tercia etate per Moysen copiose reficimur, dum X preceptis per eius scripta instruimur, et ipse super[59]omnes homines mansuetissimus fuisse[60][61] et multis signis fulsisse[62] describitur. In IIIIta etate, Dauid, Salomon et omnes pene prophetę nos dulci pane saciant, dum nos mysticis scriptis et factis informant. In V etate Esdras nos pane saturat, dum legem incensam reiterat, et templum destructum reedificat.[63] Hii[64] panes turbis distribuuntur, dum horum scripta et facta a doctoribus mystice fidelibus exponuntur.[65]

Per duos quoque pisces duę personę, regis uidelicet et sacerdotis, designantur, quę solę in Veteri Testamento oleo sancto unguebantur. Xpc autem[66] fideles in salo seculi ut pisces latentes per piscatores apostolos rete fidei cepit,[67] et cunctos oleo chrismatis in reges et in sacerdotes unguere fecit.[68] Per albam namque in baptismate acceptam sacerdotium;[69] per mitram uero[70] capiti inpositam designatur diadema regium. Quinque milia uirorum pascuntur, quia qui fidem sanctę Trinitatis per duo opera caritatis V sensibus uiriliter impleuerunt, xpi corpore reficiuntur, quinque enim in tria et duo diuiduntur. Per tria fides Trinitatis, per duo operatio intelligitur geminę caritatis. Quos hic numerus consecrat, hos xpc suo conuiuio recreat. Porro per paruulos et mulieres heretici[71] denotantur,[72]qui in Dominicis sacramentis nobiscum participantur, sed quia ab hoc numero excluduntur, in hereditatem Domini non admittuntur.[73] Apostoli XII cophinos de fragmentis manducantium impleuerunt, dum in VI etate[74] scripta priorum sua doctrina disseruerunt. Cophinus de gracili uimine contexitur, et ordo apostolicus de humili styrpe eligitur. Hic reliquias edentium congregat, qui litteram popularibus erogat, mystica sapientibus reseruat. 

Cum refectis ergo turbis, karissimi, Deum pro collatis beneficiis laudate.[75] Ad ipsius refectionem tota[76] cordis et corporis[77]mundicia uos[78] preparate, quia sola castitas homines in periculis liberat, penitentes Deo conciliat.[79]

Ioseph namque dum a libidine non subiugatur,[80] a carcere liberatur, insuper totius Egypti princeps eleuatur. Daniel, dum castitatem diligit, feritas leonum in caueam bis[81] eum missum non ledit, sed et regum[82] potentia super principes eum extulit. Susanna quoque, dum amore castitatis mariti thorum non uiolauit, non solum manus iniquorum iudicum euasit, sed etiam ipsos falsos accusatores iusta sententia Danielis conuictos debitę penę mancipauit. Iudith sancta uidua, castitatem diligendo, dum honorem et diuitias magnanimi principis spernit, populum Dei ab imminentis[83] mortis periculo eripit. Insuper ipsa, occiso tyranno, de uictoria tripudiat, et omnium ore usque hodie laude digna triumphat. 

Malchus quidam monachus, dum cum multis aliis a[84] Sarracenis capitur, cum uxore alterius uiri capta, uni pro sorte traditur, a quo ei grex pecudum pascendus commendatur, et mulier ei in coniugium datur.[85] Sed ipse[86] amore castitatis a domino suo etiam coactus, numquam ei copulatur. Transacto tempore aliquo,[87] cum eadem muliercula in fugam uertitur, sed dominus cum seruo in[88] camelis insequitur.[89] Illi ob timorem speluncam petebant, qua interius leena catulos fouebat. Dominus insecutus seruum eos de spelunca occidendos extrahere iubet, ipse foris camelos, euaginato tenet gladio. Seruus nudato ense ingreditur, sed ilico ab leena arripitur, ante oculos pauentium discerpitur. Quem tardantem dominus iratus insequitur, sed similem finem protinus sortitur. Hoc facto leena catulos effert, locum abscedendi[90] trepidis[91] offert. Illi ascensis camelis abierunt et quantum castitas ualeat ubique notum fecerunt.

Quędam mulier in adulterio deprehensa, Domini iudicio sistitur, sed accusatoribus eius confutatis, illesa abire sinitur.[92][93] Huic,[94]karissimi, seruite Domino in sanctitate et iusticia, et liberabit uos ab omni inimicorum seuicia. Volo, dilectissimi, ut res dilectioni uestrę innotescat, unde neglegentium ignauia perhorrescat, et Deo[95] deuote seruientium mens hylarescat.

Quidam genere et opibus preditus obiit, cuius exequiis frequens propinquorum[96] turba et lugens familia tota nocte interfuit, sed primo diluculo defunctus ad corpus rediit. Cuncti qui affuerunt in stuporem et admirationem conuersi fugerunt. Ille uero[97] concitus ad ęcclesiam cucurrit, usque ad mediam fere diem in oratione procubuit. Inde[98] reuersus cunctam substantiam suam[99] in tria diuisit, unam partem uxori et filiis dedit, unam pauperibus distribuit, unam fratribus in monasterio contulit in quo se monachum fecit. Sciscitantibus fratribus[100] quid uiderit hoc retulit: 

«Veste et facie lucidus erat, qui me ducebat. Euntibus nobis ad plagam aquilonis, erat a leua uallis immensę profunditatis, nimię latitudinis, infinitę longitudinis, cuius unum latus maximo incendio estuabat, aliud horribili frigore congelabat. In utraque parte miserę[101] animę penis deficiebant, quę nunc de igne in frigus, nunc de gelu in flammas resiliebant. Hoc uiso cogitare cepi hoc infernum esse, de cuius ineffabilibus penis me sepius contigit audire. Ductor[102] meus respondit cogitationi meę[103] dicens hoc infernum non esse. Vltra nobis[104] progredientibus ceperunt omnia ante nos obscurari, et nos per tetras tenebras quasi descendendo ad ulteriora dilabi. Et ecce magnus puteus ante nos apparuit, qui sulphurea uolumina de flammiuomo ore euomuit, et rursus eadem retracta absorbuit. Intolerabilis etiam fetor de illa fornace ascendebat,[105] qui omnia in circuitu replebat. Tunc repente ductor meus disparuit, et me in hoc horrido spectaculo solum statuit. Cumque ibi pauidus ac perterritus[106] starem, et quo gressum uerterem, uel quis finis me[107] expectaret ignorarem, subito post me miserabilis clamor exoritur, ubi turba animarum a demonibus trahitur, animę[108]flebiliter eiulantes, demones crudeliter insultantes, et eas in illud baratrum cum cachinno[109] precipitantes. Interea teterrimi spiritus ab illa[110] abysso emergebant,[111] putidum[112] ignem de ore et naribus efflantes, igneis forcipibus me capere[113] querebant;[114]sed[115] mox ductore meo adueniente in eundem puteum cum diro mugitu se precipites dabant. Qui statim me timore ex tenebris exemptum in serenam lucem orientalis plagę duxit, ubi ante nos alius murus nullum introitum habens ad cęlum usque surrexit.[116]Quo cum peruenissemus, erat campus latissimus,[117] omni amenitate conspicuus, pre diei luce splendidus, odoriferis floribus consitus, suaui odore[118] plenus, in quo letabantur albatorum[119] agmina, dulcem ymnum resonantia. Cepi itaque[120] cogitare hoc esse regnum cęlorum, de cuius inenarrabilibus gaudiis sepius michi est relatum. Ille uero cordi meo respondit, hoc regnum cęlorum non esse dixit.[121] Pretergredientes[122] illa beatorum loca, apparuerunt ante nos omnia[123] splendidiora, et ecce immensa lux ante nos maximo iubare radiabat, de qua miri odoris suauitas fraglabat,[124] insuper dulcissimi concentus armonia resonabat. Et talis erat hęc gloria, ut omnia quę prius uideram conspicua uiderentur esse permodica. Quo[125] cum nos sperarem intraturos, ductor meus reflexit et ad locum letantium perueniens, michi dixit: “Scis quod significant[126] quę uidisti?” Cui cum responderem me ignorare, dixit:[127]“Vallis ardore et algore horrida est locus his[128] preparatus qui usque ad finem[129] differunt penitere sua crimina. Hii quia in morte ad penitentiam confugiunt, inferni supplicia euadunt. Sed quia hic ad satisfactionem non emendantur, in his penis purgantur et inde per missas et elemosinas et orationes fidelium liberantur et his quos uides associantur. Qui autem sine penitentia moriuntur, mox in infernum dimerguntur, unde numquam in euum[130] liberabuntur,[131] cuius introitus erat ille puteus flammiuomus. Porro qui in bona conuersatione uitam ducunt, post obitum huc ueniunt. Qui uero perfecti inueniuntur mox in cęleste regnum introducuntur. Cuius ingressus ille est quem uidisti locus lucidus. Nunc[132] ad corpus reuerteris: si bene uixeris, his associeris.»[133] Protinus ad hanc uitam rediit, tam sanctam deinceps[134] uitam duxit ut lingua tacente uita loqueretur quid uiderit. 

Igitur, karissimi si hic sobrie, iuste et pie[135] uixeritis,[136] ad illa gaudia quandoque peruenietis ubi licet in ęternum exultare, et Deo[137] placebit in uobis habitare, quem oculus non vidit &c.


[1] cantamus SG

[2] rebus add. PL

[3] inhiamus PL

[4] nisi aliquando etquia PL

[5] Hierosolimam PL

[6] nostram add. SG, PL

[7] Hierosolima PL

[8] Hierosolima PL

[9] omit. leg. Hanc SG, PL

[10] Dei SG, PL

[11] cum SG

[12] monentur SG

[13] in PL

[14] Iherusalem Gr

[15] filio PL

[16] finis add. PL

[17] lac daturille lactatur SG, lactatur L

[18] Omit. SG

[19] mandata SG

[20] Audi … manantemAudi Israel Dominus Deus tuus unus est. Et iterum. manantemfluentem SG

[21] promittit PL

[22] eos Gr sed illos in marg., perducet eos SG, eos L, PL

[23] euangelium L

[24] in … ascendit omit. SG, nec in cor hominis ascendit L

[25] omit. Go, SG; ejus PL

[26] Isaiah 66

[27] omit. SG

[28] eicietur Go

[29] haereditatem PL

[30] ibid.

[31] omit. L

[32] intelligitur add. L

[33] omit. SG

[34] quoque SG, uero Go

[35] regnum L

[36] designantur Gr, SG

[37] enim SG

[38] affligebat L

[39] omit. PL

[40] efficiat PL

[41] heredem SG

[42] omit. SG

[43] Galilee SG

[44] montem quoque SG

[45] absque SG

[46] quoque SG, ergo Go

[47] gratias SG

[48] Mark 6

[49] aduersitati L

[50] vivent PL

[51] terrę Gr, Go

[52] fidem PL

[53] plasmodia L

[54] omit. SG

[55] autem PL

[56] aduenturum SG

[57] omit. SG

[58] conmemorat SG

[59] omit. SG

[60] testatur add. PL

[61] Numbers 12:3, in a version quoted by Jerome rather than the Vulgate text.

[62] claruisse A, fuisse L

[63] nos … reedificatsaturandos legem reuelat, et templum destructum cum aliis reedificat SG

[64] Hic PL

[65] distribuntur L

[66] omit. L

[67] accepit Go

[68] precepit SG

[69] sacerdotes SG

[70] omit. SG

[71] omit. L

[72] designantur Gr, Go

[73] intromittuntur SG

[74] VI etateueritate Gr, Go, L

[75] laudare Go

[76] toto PL

[77] et corporis omit. L

[78] omit. L

[79] reconciliat SG

[80] superatur L

[81] omit. SG

[82] regia SG

[83] eminentis PL

[84] inminenti L; omit. Go, PL

[85] et mulier … datur omit. Go

[86] omit. SG, Go

[87] aliquanto L

[88] et PL

[89] sequitur PL

[90] abscedendo PL

[91] trepidantibus SG

[92] permittitur SG

[93] John 8

[94] Hinc PL

[95] ideo PL

[96] proximorum SG

[97] quoque Go

[98] Ille PL

[99] omit. PL

[100] omit. PL

[101] omit. PL

[102] autem add. PL

[103] cogitatione meę] cogitationibus meis L

[104] nos SG

[105] illa fornace ascendebat] illo exiebat SG

[106] tremens PL

[107] Omit. PL

[108] scilicet add. PL

[109] cum cachinno omit. L

[110] illo PL

[111] dimergebantur SG, inmergebant PL

[112] putridum SG

[113] Lacuna hereafter Go

[114] me capere querebantsibi obnoxios adtrahebant SG

[115] et SG

[116] ubi … surrexit omit. SG

[117] letissimus Gr, PL

[118] amenitate SG

[119] beatorum SG

[120] autem PL

[121] omit. PL

[122] autem add. PL

[123] omit. PL

[124] flagrabat SG, L, PL

[125] Quę L

[126] significent A; signant SG

[127] ait Go, L

[128] ibi PL

[129] uitę add. SG, PL

[130] aeternum PL

[131] liberantur PL

[132] Nam PL

[133] sociaberis SG, associaberis PL

[134] omit. SG

[135] vivendo add. PL

[136] uiuetis Go, uiuitis SG

[137] ideo Go