Homily 7

[Based on Holt lines 3,270-4,009]

Orm based this on Luke 2.1 and 2:15. This is a double homily that is listed as “Secundum Lucam VII. [ii. 1.]” and “Secundum Lucam VIII. [ii. 15.]” in the list of Latin texts. However, they are clearly written as one long homily. Thus, my homilies will now be one number behind Holt and White’s list of items (i.e., the next translation will be from Homily 8, not Homily 9).

Latin pericope: Exiit edictum a Cesare Augusto, ut describeretur.

Introductory “blurb” after Homily 6 and before the start of Homily 7

Now will I reveal to you here about our lady Mary, about how she bore the Lord Christ at her proper time so that she, in spite of that, thereafter was a pure virgin throughout. (ll. 3,264-3,269)

Homily 7 begins

A Roman emperor was called Augustus, and he was made emperor of all humankind on earth, and he began to think of himself and of his great realm. And he began to think then, just as the Gospel makes known, of that he wished to know well how much money would come to him if each person of all his kingdom gave him one penny. And he ordered set in writing all humankind to see how much money he could gather in that way from all the world, through which each person should be counted one penny. And then it was set that each person, wherever they were on land, should return home to that town in which they were born, and that he should pay his head-tax there for himself so that he would not become subject to penalty from the emperor.

And in that same time Joseph was with St. Mary in Galilee and in that town that was named Nazareth. And then they both went home to both their families; into the land of Jerusalem, they went together both and came into Bethlehem to both their tribe where it was a tribe to them both because they both were from David, people of the king’s kin, just as the Gospel makes known. And King David’s tribe was in the town of Bethlehem, and it was a tribe for them both through King David’s lineage because they both were from David’s kin and family. And St. Mary’s time was then that she should give birth and there she bore Almighty God who made all this world and wrapped him immediately in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because she knew not where she could place him in a dwelling. And even though God was born there so secretly on earth and wrapped there so wretchedly with clothes in a manger, he wished not to be hidden nevertheless in those clothes but wished to reveal what he was through a heavenly sign.

An angel came from the dwelling-place of heaven in the form of a man to shepherds there where they that night watched their sheepfolds; that angel came and stood by them with heaven’s light and radiance. And as soon as they saw him they became very afraid, and God’s angel began to comfort and encourage them and said to them thus on God’s behalf with very mild speech, “Don’t be afraid of me but be very happy, for I am sent from the dwelling-place of heaven to make known the will of God, to make known to you that great bliss is now come to all folk, for to you is born today the Healer of your sins, a child that is Jesus Christ, which you know truly. And near here he is born in the town of King David that is called Bethlehem in this Jewish tribe. And here I will show you something to clearly signify: you shall find a child wrapped in swaddling clothes, and it is laid in a manger, and there you can find it.”

And as soon as this was said through one of God’s angels, a great host of angel creatures was coming out of heaven, and all that flock of shepherds saw them and heard what they sang. They all sang one song to the Lord in praise and worship, and thus they sang all together, just as the Gospel makes known: “Worship and praise and glory be to the Lord up in the dwelling-place of heaven, and upon earth peace and love, through God’s mild-heartedness, to each person that shall have God in heart and always good will.”

And as soon as this was declared there through God’s angels, they went from those watchmen completely out of their sight. Those shepherds took immediately to speaking among themselves: “Shall we go now to that same town that is named Bethlehem, and shall we look at that same word that is now made on earth, which Lord God has made for us and declared through his grace?”

And immediately they went forth to the town of Bethlehem and found St. Mary there and her mate Joseph, and they also found the child there where it was laid in a manger. And then they understood well the word that God’s angels had declared to them about that child, which they had found there; and then they turned themselves back with proper faith in Christ and took inwardly to praising and thanking God for all that they had heard of him and seen by his grace. And immediately they made known among the Jewish people all that they had heard of Christ and seen well with their eyes; and each person that heard it was astonished by it. And our lady Mary received all that she saw and heard, and she held it all in her thoughts, just as the Gospel makes known, and laid it all together always in a very thoughtful heart, all that she saw and heard of Christ, whose mother she was made.

And on the same night that Christ was born here to people, he was moreover, as it was his will, declared in another way. He placed a star up in the sky, very broad and bright and shiny, on the east side of this middle-earth, just as the Gospel makes known, among the folk who know the account of many things through the stars, among the Chaldean people who know the narrative of the stars. And that people were a heathen people to whom Christ gave that same symbol because he wished for them then to turn to the right faith. And as soon as they saw that starlight there up in the sky, three kings of that same land very well understood it and knew clearly through that that a new king was declared, which was true God and true man also, one person of two natures. All this they understood well because God granted it to them, and all three came together and set between them that each should have one gift of three with him on the way and that they should go forth to inquire and to seek that new king that was born among the Jewish people. And immediately they went forth each with one of the three gifts because those gifts should signify to us a great good. And their star was with them to lead the way for them, for it always flew up in the sky before them a little to teach them the right way that led them toward Christ. But from the Chaldean land, where they were coming from, was a great way to that land in which Christ was born; and therefore there was need for them to make good time on that way, for right on his thirteenth day they came to that town where our Lord Jesus Christ was born here to people.

Thus was the Lord Jesus Christ declared in two ways immediately in that he was born here to people because people should know him and praise him and worship him and come to the Christian faith and to the right faith and gain in that way coming up to the bliss of the kingdom of heaven. Here ends two Gospels thus, and we ought to seek through them, to look at what they instruct us about our soul’s need.

Immediately when the time came that our lord wished to be born in this middle-earth for all of humankind’s need, he chose for himself immediately kinsmen just as he wished and where he would be born; he chose all at his will. And as it was his dear will, his mother St. Mary came right into that same town and to that same dwelling, in which he wished to be born and declared here on earth. And therefore the life of virginity is the highest of all life because our Lord Christ chose a virgin to be a mother to him, for he loves all those who follow true cleanness. And because he was born here to place reconciliation and peace between the Lord, the king of heaven, and humankind here on earth, therefore he chose to become human in that emperor’s time, who held his kingdom on earth with great peace and prosperity. And because he was made human to give people on earth his own holy flesh and blood, true bread to their souls, therefore he chose that same town to be born in that is called Bethlehem because it signifies that house in which bread is made and that is Christ’s church, for Christ’s flesh and blood is hallowed in his church, there to become the bread of life to all servants of Christ.

And as soon as that was set through the Caesar’s command, that each person should come home to his own family, there to reckon to the king one penny for himself and that person should there place his name in writing at home, just as our king bids, the Lord Christ from heaven, that each person should come home into his own family, which is into the right Christian faith and into the right belief, into that home of truth in which humans were shaped and count him as that penny there that signifies righteousness; and he shall write all those that please him in life in the eternal writing of the book of life to enjoy heaven’s bliss. And also because Joseph came with our lady Mary to Bethlehem, the city of David, to reckon with silver for Mary and for himself also, according to the king’s command, through which we can see very well that Jesus did not wish to be born anywhere in the land except in his own family, for our lady Mary was that same king’s relation for she was from David’s kin that was very dear to the Lord. And her son was similar to him in many ways: for Christ was strong enough with hands to cast down the devil, and Christ was ever such to see and always will be without end that good people yearn to see him and ever shall yearn. And this is that name of David that signifies to us clearly strong with hands and pleasant to look upon, and Christ is both: strong with hands and pleasant to look upon.

And Christ is just as David was: shepherd and king and champion, for Christ is King of all kings and Lord of all creation. And King David slew Goliath, the champion of the heathen folk, and Christ bound the loathsome spirit for us, all the strength of hell’s inhabitants. And David, when he was a young man, then he was a shepherd of sheep, and Christ is a shepherd of his sheep, of his dear servants. And Christ was a good enough shepherd that gave his own soul to release his sheep immediately out of the devil’s power. Those good people who love Christ and uphold his laws, they all are Christ’s sheep because they are all humble and meek and mild people, all according to the nature of sheep. And the Lord Jesus Christ was born here to people, at that time that his mother was in the service under the lord, which he did to show such unspeakable meekness to teach through himself in that way, and through his holy example, that you ought to endure happily the service of your lord; and also because he wished to release all those who should follow him well from the devil’s service in that way through his service.

And the lady Mary became with child in Nazareth, and she came from Galilee to the town of Bethlehem at that time that she should bear Jesus Christ to people, which is now fulfilled each day through Jesus Christ’s servants. For Nazareth in English is as if you name “blossom”; and Galilee means “wheel,” just as the true book makes known to us; and Bethlehem signifies that house that life’s bread is in; and God’s servants bloom always in good practices here in this life of middle-earth that is signified through the wheel. For all these things of middle-earth always turn here and change, now up, now down, just as the wheel, and nothing stands it still. And Christ’s servants ever and ever neglect and reject all the foul lust of worldly things and all the foul practices, and come out of Galilee spiritually in such a way and come into Bethlehem, which signifies Christ’s church that Christ’s flesh and Christ’s blood, the soul’s bread, is in. And Jesus Christ is born there just as if it were from his mother because his servants there make sermons for unlearned folk to show some part of God’s instruction and make them understand that Christ is God and Christ is human, one person of two natures.

As soon as Jesus Christ was born from his mother, she wound him immediately in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, but we ought to know that he became, all with his own will, a plain and wretched and miserable child in our human nature because he wished to make us all rich in heaven’s dwelling place. And he who clothed all this middle-earth in all ways, he wished to be wound for us in wretched swaddling clothes because he wished to clothe us with heavenly clothing. And he who shaped all the world and steers all creation, he let himself be bound with bonds both his feet and hands because he wished to unbind us from the bonds of hell-pain. And that same child fills heaven and the sky and land and the sea with godliness who was laid in a very narrow manger because he wished to give us all the wide kingdom of heaven. And he who feeds the angel creatures and all living creatures, he lays completely, as was his will, before an ass in the manger, just as if he were given to him to be food for him because he wished to bring us up into heaven’s bliss and give us himself there with angels as eternal food.

Thus God’s Son, Almighty God, was a wretched human on earth to bring to humankind yearning for little because he loves all who uphold his laws and love, for love of him, to live here on earth very wretchedly in deprivation of food and of clothes. And the Lord Jesus Christ was laid in an ass’ manger, which signifies to us that he came here to become human on earth with humankind, which was stupid and dull and without reason, just like an ass. And an ass, though it is little, it has great strength to hold well a great load if a person puts it on there, and in that way all folk was near that day that Christ came here to people, near it all were those strong enough to serve hateful spirits, to hold that hateful load, to do all their will. And therefore God was made human for our great need because he was, which you know well, completely with his dear will, humbled and diminished wonderfully and laid in himself, because on that side in which he was human, a human could seize and torment with hot and cold, with soft and hard, with pain of thirst and hunger, and a human could well kill him in our human nature. And God was made in that way for us still less than an angel because a human cannot see or take or bind an angel, nor torment him, nor kill him because he never dies. But Lord God was here for you still less than his angel, and lower enough, because he wished to give an example: that you always ought to lower yourself here through true meekness and think very meanly and little of yourself.

Those shepherds watched on that night that Christ was born, which was just as was his will, because it should signify that he therefore was made human because he wished to assemble a flock of people into Christianity and the right belief, which should become his sheep through their innocence and should have over them bishops, priests, deacons because they should be shepherds to keep and preserve them, and also because he wished to be a chief shepherd himself so that he would forsake his own life for his sheep. That angel of God came at night, just as the Gospel makes known, to speak with those watchmen who watched their folds, and he came that night to them with heaven’s light and radiance, and they were, because of that light and the sight of that angel, immediately very firmly afraid, just as the Gospel makes known, and also God’s angel began to comfort them with words. All that was done through Jesus Christ to signify a great thing. It signifies to us that our God very often sends angels into this middle-earth, which is all full of darkness, which is of all that evil that is in all kinds of sin. It signifies to us that he sends them into this darkness to comfort those who watch well against hateful spirits and continue to shield them from the devil’s deceits. And all that flock is set to protect and watch over them; God sends angels and holy souls to comfort such, and they always come down to those with heaven’s light and radiance, which is with knowledge and good perception in all kinds of things, for the Lord gives here to his servant good knowledge and might and will to stand against the hateful spirit and against all that he teaches.

But they are always, nevertheless, really very sorely afraid of the stark doom of doom’s day, and of the ire of the Judge, just as those watchmen were very greatly afraid of heaven’s bright light and radiance, and of that angel’s sight; but joy and hope in Lord God and in his mild-heartedness, which comforts them and encourages them to follow God’s instruction, to try, if they can in such a way, to obtain the mercy of the Judge. And that was signified to us well because God’s angel began immediately with mild words to comfort those watchmen because he knew well that they were afraid of him; for God’s angel comforts a person if he sees him afraid because God’s angel is very meek, and soft, and mild, and blithe, and the devil is completely full of malice, and full of rage, and full of hate towards humanity, and full of pride, and if he sees the person afraid, he will scare him more, and rob him of his proper intellect, and harden in his heart. But whosoever it is who is armed with full faith in Christ, though he sees the grisly devil, he is not right terrified. That angel said that he was then coming to make known on God’s behalf to them there that should be to all the folk a very great bliss, which he said because then was coming in this middle-earth a very great bliss and blessing to all those who should believe well in God’s Son, in Jesus Christ who was born that same night to people.

He said that the Lord Christ was born here to people not in the night but in the day to signify a great thing, for the light of day signifies to us all the bliss of eternal life, and does not signify all that woe that is in hell-pain. And Christ was born in this life to release us from hell because he wished to give us eternal bliss with the angels, and that was signified to us also throughout that God’s angel was shown to those watchmen with heaven’s light and radiance, for God’s Son Jesus Christ was made human on earth to give heaven’s light and radiance to that folk that should follow him. Because God Almighty was made a young child in our nature, and a wretched child from wretched kin, it makes us understand that we ought to greatly love Christ, and praise and worship him because he wished to fasten himself in such a way for our love, and from that he became a wretched human to create for us a kingdom with angels up in the dwelling place of heaven in bliss without end. And because there was shown a host of God’s angels, that time that the Lord Christ was born here to people, through that was done there very well for us to see and to understand that angels stand ever and ever to praise and worship God. And through that same [thing] was also done very well for us to understand that we ought to praise the Lord always with inward tongue of the heart, and thank him for that great good that he does for us on earth. And through that same [thing] was also done very well for us to understand that Christ, the king of all angel creatures, was born here for people, as if he would fight against the loathsome spirit with a host to win Adam and his kin out of the devil’s power, and placed angels over them to guard and protect them and to shield them from the devil’s loathsome tricks. And God’s angels were then very greatly glad to be made from that which God was made human because they knew completely that their gang should be increased with good souls and made also, and therefore they were all so blithe, and therefore they all sang then this song with great bliss:

“Honor and praise and glory be to God up in the dwelling place of heaven, and upon earth, peace and love through God’s mercy to each person who shall have God in the heart and always good will.”

This they sang because they understood very well there that their gang should be increased through holy souls, through what before Lord God, if it might grow, should be honor and glory, just as if it were grown, and also because they knew well that God came here to people because he wished to set peace and love and true reconciliation between the Lord, king of heaven, and humankind here on earth so that humankind should well be able to come up into heaven, so that the host of heaven could in such a way grow through holy souls, through what before Lord God should grow honor, if something could grow in him and become better and more. That peace was set to all those, just as the Gospel makes known, who should become good people and always have good will to those who should receive Christ’s coming with bliss, and not to those who should neglect and reject him; for God’s peace is not with those who resist God again, but hell-woe is to those all according to their fault.

And here one can understand that each person is pleasing to the Lord; that same person is dear to the Lord that has good will, for whosoever it is that same person that always has good will, that same person neither sins nor transgresses of his accord, neither toward God nor toward people, if he can secure himself. And if it is that he misdoes in any kind of way, it grieves him and immediately he perseveres to atone.

That angel of God came one night with heaven’s light on earth, which means that this middle-earth was full of darkness through the heathendom of the same kind in each uncleanness, that time that the Lord Christ was born here to people, to give heaven’s light and radiance to the folk that should please him. And the angel came not to kings nor to earls, nor to that loathsome rich folk that follows pride, which does us well to understand that Lord God rejects all pride and greed and ire and gluttony and all who follow whoredom and treachery on earth, which a person can find most of all in those who are rich.

That angel of God was shown in the form of a person, which was because that angel can, with his Lord’s will, show himself as if he were a human entirely in a man’s limbs, in a body in which he makes himself from heavenly nature. And God give us forever to enjoy heaven’s bliss with angels. Amen.

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