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
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

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