The Nativity of the Lord – St. Anthony of Padua

St. Anthony of Padua, doctor of the Church, usually portrayed holding infant Jesus in his arms (because of the vision he had and his sermons on Incarnation) will blow your mind with his sermons. Here is one of them. Good old Catholic preaching, not for the fainted of hearts.

Vision of St Antony of Padua,1631; Carducho, Vicente; St. Petersburg - Hermitage

THE FESTIVAL SERMONS: THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD

1. At that time: There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. [Lk 2.1]

In this Gospel three things are noted: the enrolment of the world, the birth of the Saviour, and the announcement to the shepherds. With God’s help, we shall say something about each of these, briefly and clearly.

[THE ENROLMENT OF THE WORLD]

2. The enrolment of the world, as it says: There went out a decree. Note that in this first clause there is moral teaching, about how anyone who wants to repent of the sins he has committed should first take a census of his life in contrition, and afterwards hasten to confession.

So it says: There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus. Caesar means ‘possessor of the chief place’, and Augustus is ‘standing with dignity’. He represents almighty God, the owner of the whole of creation; as in Isaiah 66: My hand made all these things; [Is 66.2]

and Job 9: Under whom they stoop that bear up the world, [Job 9.13]

meaning the prelates of the Church and the princes of the world who bear its weight. God stands with dignity, because, as Daniel 7 says: Thousands of thousands ministered to him, and ten thousand times a hundred thousand stood before him. [Dan 7.10]

He is said to ‘stand’ when he gives help to his people, and to ‘sit’ when he passes judgement; and in either case he has dignity, glory and nobility. This our Emperor sends out his decree every day, by means of his heralds who are the preachers of the Church, so that the whole world may be enrolled. We speak of the ‘globe’, because the earth is round and the encircling Ocean flows round it and sets its bounds. The ‘globe’ is also human life, which comes full circle as Genesis 3 tells: Earth thou art, and to the earth thou shalt return. [Gen 3.19]

Each man must review this entire globe, recalling in bitterness of soul the things he did in childhood, in adolescence, in his youth and in his age. Note that it says ‘the whole world’, implying that the record includes sins of thought, word and deed, things done and things left undone, together with their circumstances. This is reinforced when we note that the word used means not just ‘written down’, but ‘described’, recorded in all the variety of their manner and circumstances.

This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria [Lk 2.2]. Cyrinus means ‘heir’, and he is the penitent, who is heir of God and fellow-heir with Christ [Rom 8.17], who says, My inheritance is goodly to me [Ps 15.6]. He makes the first census of his sins when he firstly in contrition makes a detailed examination of what he has done or left undone. He is ‘governor of Syria’ (meaning ‘sublimity’) because he has mastered pride and arrogance. Job 40 says of the devil:

He beholdeth every high thing. He is king over all the children of pride. [Job 41.25]
What more laudable governorship can there be, than to be in control of oneself and to humble one’s own pride?

3. And all went [Lk 2.3]. You see here the right order of penitence: first, to examine oneself; and then go to confession. They all went to be enrolled. Alas! How few go today! Jeremiah 1 bewails: The ways of Sion mourn, because there are none that come to the solemn feast. [Lam 1.4] There was only Joseph, the true penitent, of the house and family of David, who was truly penitent, and to whose house the Lord promised in Zechariah 13; in that day there shall be a fountain open to the house of David. [Zech 13.1]

The fountain of divine mercy stands open to the congregation of the penitent, for the washing of the sinner and the unclean woman, [ibid] that is, purging both manifest and hidden sins in them. This Joseph went up from Galilee (which means ‘a wheel’, and refers to the aforementioned examination of his life), out of the city of Nazareth (‘flower’). After the flower is the fruit, indeed from the first comes the second. In the same way contrition should be followed by confession, so that confession is as it were the fruit of contrition, together with absolution and reconciliation. And note that Joseph went up to be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. Mary means ‘bitter sea’, and she signifies the double bitterness with which the penitent should go up to Judea (‘confession’), wherein is the city of David which is called Bethlehem (‘house of bread’). This is the food of tears, as is said: My tears have been my bread, etc. [Ps 41.4]

There is a concordance to this in Isaiah 15: By the ascent of Luith they shall go up weeping, and in the way of Oronaim they shall lift up a cry of destruction. [Is 15.5]

Here is the ‘bitter sea’. Luith means ‘cheeks’ or ‘jaws’, Oronaim is ‘the cleft of their sadness’. The weeper, i.e. the penitent, goes up to confession bedewed with tears, which go up from his cheeks to God, as Ecclesiasticus 35 says: Do not the widow’s tears run down the cheek, and her cry against him that causeth them to fall? For from the cheek they go up even to heaven: and the Lord that heareth will be pleased with them. [Ecclus 35.18-19]

The ‘cleft of sadness’ is the sorrow of a contrite heart, from which should proceed the cry of confession which the penitent should raise, so as to confess everything nakedly and openly.

4. And note that he goes up with Mary who is with child. The soul is made pregnant with a two- fold bitter sorrow by the fear of God, as Isaiah 26 says: As a woman with child, when she draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain and crieth out in her pangs: so are we become from thy face, O Lord (or according to another translation: from thy fear). We have conceived and have been as it were in labour, and have brought forth the spirit of salvation. [cf. Is 26.17-18]

The face of Christ, when he comes to judgement, impregnates the soul with holy fear, that it may conceive and bring forth the spirit of salvation.

[THE BIRTH OF THE SAVIOUR]

5. The birth of the Saviour: And it came to pass that when they were there [Lk 2.6]. Where? In the house of bread; and Mary is the house of bread. The bread of angels has become the milk of little ones, that the little ones may become angels.

Suffer the little children to come unto me, [Mk 10.14]
that they may suck and be filled with the breasts of her consolations. [Is 66.11]

Note that milk is sweet to the taste and pleasant to look at. In the same way, as the Golden Mouth says, Christ draws men to himself by his sweetness, as a magnet draws iron, saying in Ecclesiasticus 24: They that eat me shall yet hunger: and they that drink me shall yet thirst. [Ecclus 24.29]

He is pleasing to look at, for the angels long to gaze on him [1Pt 1.12].

Her days were accomplished that she should be delivered [Lk 2.6]. See, here is the fulness of time, the day of salvation, the year of goodness [cf. Gal 4.4; 2Cor 6.2; Ps 64.12]. From the fall of Adam until the coming of Christ, there was an empty time. Jeremiah says: I beheld the earth, and lo it was void and nothing [Jer 4.23]

because the devil had wholly laid it waste. It was a day of pain and weakness, as the Psalm says: Thou hast turned all his couch in his sickness, [Ps 40.4] an accursed year, as Genesis 3 says: Cursed is the earth in thy work; [Gen 3.17]

but today, the days are accomplished that she should be delivered. From the fulness of this day we have all received, and so the Psalm says: We shall be filled with the good things of thy house. [Ps 64.5]

To you, O blessed Virgin, be praise and glory, for today we are filled with the goodness of your house, that is, of your womb. We, who were empty before, are full; we who were sick are healthy; we who were cursed are blessed, because as Canticles 4 says: Thy fruits are paradise [Cant 4.13].

6. So there follows: And she brought forth her firstborn son. What goodness! What a paradise! Run, then, you famished, you avaricious and usurious people to whom money is dearer than God, and buy without money and without price [Is 55.1] the grain of wheat which the Virgin has brought fort this day from the storehouse of her womb. She brought forth a son. What son? God the Son of God. “O happiest of the happy, who has given a Son to God the Father.”1 What an honour it would be for some poor woman to give a son to a mortal Emperor! How far, far greater the glory of the Virgin, who gave a Son to God the Father! She brought forth her son. “The Father gave deity, the mother humanity; the Father gave majesty, the mother weakness.”2 She brought forth her son, Emmanuel, God-with-us. Who then is against us? [Rom 8.31] Isaiah 59 speaks of A helmet of salvation upon his head [Is 59.17]. This helmet is his humanity, upon the head of his divinity. The head is hidden beneath the helmet, the divinity beneath humanity. There is no cause for fear. Victory belongs to our side, because God in armour is with us! Thanks to you, O glorious Virgin, because through you God is with us. She brought forth his firstborn son, begotten of the Father before all worlds, first begotten from the dead, first begotten among many brothers [cf. Col 1.18; Rom 8.29].

7. There follows: And she wrapped him up in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger [Lk 2.7]. O poverty! O humility! The Lord of all is wrapped in a scrap of cloth! The King of angels lies down in a stable! Blush, insatiable avarice! Be ashamed, human pride! She wrapped him in cloth. Note that Christ is wrapped in cloth both at the beginning and at the end of his life. Mark 15 says: Joseph bought fine linen, and taking him down wrapped him up in the fine linen. [Mk 15.46]

Happy the man who ends his life in baptismal innocence. The old Adam, when he was cast out of paradise, was clad in animal skins, which become more discoloured the more they are washed, and represents the fleshly nature of Adam and his race. The new Adam is wrapped in linen, whose whiteness represents the purity of his mother, the innocence that comes from Baptism, and the glory of the general Resurrection.

And she laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. [Lk 2.7]

See here, as Proverbs 5 says: The dearest hind, and most agreeable fawn. [Prov 5.19]

Natural History tells that the female deer gives birth at the roadside. In the same way, the blessed Virgin gave birth at a roadside inn, where many roads meet.

[THE ANNOUNCEMENT TO THE SHEPHERDS]

8. The announcement to the shepherds:

And there were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the night-watches over their flock. [Lk 2.8]

Keeping watch may be a matter of sitting up at night, or standing guard by day; that is why the ancient Romans used to divide the night between four ‘watches’, who took it in turns to guard the City. The night stands for our present life, in which we walk about as in the deceiving night. We do not see ourselves (our consciences) as one to another. Our feet (our minds’ affections) often stumble. The man who wants to keep good watch over his city must be on the alert throughout the four watches of the night.

The first watch is uncleanness in which we were born.
The second watch is the malice of our deliberate wrong-doing. The third watch is the misery of our earthly pilgrimage.
The fourth watch is the remembrance of death.

In the first watch a man must stay alert, so as to have a low opinion of himself; in the second, so as to afflict himself; in the third, so as to weep; in the fourth, so as to fear. Happy those shepherds who keep the night-watches in this way, for they are providing their flock with an excellent defence! Note that the shepherd keeps watch for two reasons: so that the thief may not steal, and so that the wolf may not devour. We are all shepherds, and our flock is the multitude of our good and simple thoughts and desires. We must keep careful watch over this flock, in the way mentioned, so that the thief (the devil) may not steal by suggesting sin; and the wolf (carnal appetite) may not devour by consent to sin. To all those keeping watch like this, the joy of the Nativity is announced today.

9. So there follows: And the angel said to them: Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy. For this day a Saviour is born to you, etc. [Lk 2.10-11]

There is a concordance to this in Genesis 21:
Isaac was born; and Sara said: God hath made a laughter for me. Whosoever shall hear of it will laugh with me. [Gen 21.5-6]

Sara means ‘princess’ or ‘a coal’. She represents the glorious Virgin, our princess and Queen, set on fire like a coal by the Holy Spirit. Today, God has made a laughter for her, because from her is born our mirth. I bring you good tidings of great joy, for laughter is born, Christ is born. This is what we have heard today from the angel: Whoever shall hear of it will laugh with me. Let us laugh together, and rejoice together with the blessed Virgin, because God has made a laughter for us, that is, a cause for laughter and rejoicing for her and in her: Today a Saviour is born to you. If anyone were on the brink of death, or imprisoned in dungeon deep, and the news were brought to him: “Behold, he who shall save you is here”- would he not laugh? Would he not rejoice? He would indeed! So let us rejoice with a pure conscience and unfeigned charity, because today is born for us the Saviour who has rescued us from the devil’s power and from the Pit of Hell.

10. The sign whereby we may find this joy is given in the words that follow:

This shall be a sign unto you: You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. [Lk 2.12]

Note these two things: humility and poverty. Happy the man who receives this sign on his forehead and in his hand (that is, in word and deed). What do the words, You shall find the infant, mean, if not: You will find wisdom babbling, power made weak, majesty laid low, the immense made small, the rich made poor, the Lord of angels lying in a stable, and the Food of angels made like the fodder of animals, the unlimited confined to a narrow manger? This, then, will be a sign to you, so that you do not perish like the Egyptians or the people of Jericho.

And so, glory be to God the Father on high, and in earth peace to men of good will, for the Word Incarnate, for the Virgin giving birth, and for the Saviour being born. May he who is blessed for ever deign to bestow that same glory on us. Amen.

[AN ALLEGORICAL SERMON]

11. A child is born to us, and a son is given to us,
and the government is upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of peace. [Is 9.6]

This is in Isaiah 9; above, in chapter 7, he had said:
Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son:
and his name shall be called Emmanuel. [Is 7.14]

that is, God-with-us. This God is made a little child for us, is born for us today. There are many reasons why Christ is called a little child; and for briefness’ sake here is just one: if you hurt a child, make him cry, or smack him; but then show him a flower, a rose or something like that, and after showing it give it to him- then he will not remember the hurt, he will put away his indignation and run to embrace you. In the same way, if you offend Christ by mortal sin, or inflict any kind of injury on him, but then offer him the flower of contrition or the rose of tearful confession (“Tears are the soul’s blood”)3, then he will not remember your offences, he will take away your guilt and run to embrace and kiss you. So Ezekiel 18 says: But if the wicked do penance for all the sins which he hath committed, I will not remember all his iniquities. [Ezek 18.21,22]

And Luke 15 says of the prodigal son: His father saw him and was moved with compassion; and running to him fell upon his neck and kissed him. [Lk 15.20]

And in II Kings 14 it says that David received Absalom to his grace, and kissed him, though he had killed his brother [cf. 2Kg(Sm) 14.33]. A child is born to us, then.

And what use to us is the birth of this child? Much indeed, and in every way. Hear Isaiah 11: The sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp:
And the weaned child shall thrust his hand into the den of the basilisk.
They shall not hurt, nor shall they kill in all my holy mountain. [Is 11.8-9]

The basilisk (‘basileus’ or king of serpents) is the devil; and also the asp. His hole and den are the hearts of the wicked. On these, our little child puts his hand, when by the power of his divinity he draws out the devil from them. So Job 26 says: His obstetric hand brought forth the winding serpent. [Job 26.13]

A mid-wife’s job is to bring the child out of darkness into the light; so Christ with his powerful hand pulls the ancient serpent out of the dark hearts of the wicked, so that he and his minions may do no harm to the body without permission (they could not enter the swine without permission [cf. Mk 5.13]), and may not kill souls with eternal death. Before the coming of the Saviour, the exercised power over the human race, to foully harass the bodies of men and pull down souls to misery in hell. In all my holy mountain refers to the Church, my holy place in which I dwell.

12. There follows: and a son is given to us. There is a concordance to this in II Kings 21:

There was a third battle in Gob against the Philistines, in which Adeodatus the son of Forest an embroiderer of Bethlehem slew Goliath the Gethite. [2Kg(Sm) 21.19]

Note that the first battle was in the desert: Jesus was led into the desert, etc [Mt 4.1]; the second was in the open field (that is, in his public ministry): Jesus was casting out a devil [Lk 11.14]; the third was on the Cross, nailed to which he defeated the ‘Philistines’ (i.e. the spiritual powers). This third battle took place ‘in Gob’ (which means a lake or hollow) referring to the wounds of the Redeemer, and especially to the wound in his side, from which flowed the twin streams of our redemption. In this low-lying area Jesus is given to us simply by the mercy of God the Father, to be our champion. He is ‘son of Forest’, because, as Mark says, he was in the desert with the beasts; or because he was crowned with thorns. He is ‘an embroiderer’, having adorned with the sevenfold gifts of grace the ‘coat of many colours’, human nature, which he made ready for himself in the Virgin’s womb. He is ‘of Bethlehem’, because he was born of the Virgin this very day in Bethlehem. Alternatively, he is ‘son of Forest’ in his Passion, ‘an embroiderer’ in the general Resurrection (when he will clothe us in a robe adorned with four gifts), and ‘of Bethlehem’ in the eternal banquet. This our champion, though knocked down at the low point of his Passion, in turn struck down Goliath of Geth (the devil).

13. So there follows: and the government is upon his shoulder. There is a concordance to this in Genesis 22: Abraham took the wood for the holocaust, and laid it upon Isaac his son. [Gen 22.6]

It says in John 19:
And bearing his own cross he went forth to that place which is called Calvary. [Jn 19.17]

How great the humility of our Redeemer! How great the patience of our Saviour! Alone, for all of us, he carried the wood on which he was hung, on which he was crucified, on which he died. As Isaiah 57 says: The just perisheth and no man layeth it to heart. [Is 57.1].

The government is upon his shoulder; and so the Father says in Isaiah 22: I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder. [Is 22.22]

The ‘key’ is the Cross of Christ, which opens for us the gate of heaven. The Cross, note, is called both ‘key’ and ‘government’: a ‘key’ because it opens heaven to the elect; ‘government’ because by its power it thrusts the demons down to hell.

14. There follows: and his name shall be called Wonderful (in his Nativity), Counsellor (in his preaching), God (in his working of miracles), the Mighty (in his Passion), the Father of the world to come (in his Resurrection). When he rose, he left us the sure hope of rising ourselves, as it were an inheritance for his children after him. He will be the Prince of peace in eternity. May he, the blessed God, graciously grant us this. Amen.

[A MORAL SERMON]

15. A child is born to us. Morally. Matthew 18 says of this little child: Unless you be converted and become as this little child, etc. [Mt 18.3]

Note that when a little child wakes up during the night, he cries; when he is naked, he is not embarrassed; when he is hurt, he runs to his mother’s arms. When his mother wants to wean him from her milk, she puts a bitter ointment on her breasts. He is inexperienced in the world’s malice, he does not know how to sin. He does no harm to his neighbour, he does not bear a grudge, he hates no-one. He does not seek riches, he is not bedazzled by worldly glory, he is not impressed by human dignity. The ‘little child’ is the penitent who is converted, who was previously puffed up with pride of heart, given to boastful words, ostentatious in worldly wealth. Now he a little child, humble and of little account in his own eyes. When he awakes to the remembrance of his former life, he weeps bitterly. He is not ashamed to be naked and poor for Christ’s sake, nor to strip himself bare in confession. When he suffers an injury, he does no hurt in return, but has recourse to the Church and pours out his prayer for those who persecute him or speak ill of him. Mother Church weans him from her milk when she puts the ointment of bitter penance upon the breast of carnal pleasure which he used to suck. The other points are obvious, and need no comment.

So, when some worldly person is converted and becomes one of Christ’s little ones, we ought to burst forth in joy of heart with exultant voice, and say: A child is born to us! So John 16 says:

A woman (Holy Church),

when she is in labour (in preaching or in showing compassion to sinners), hath sorrow;

but, when she hath brought forth (by contrition and the sinner’s confession)

the child (the newly converted),

she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. [Jn 16.21]

Of John (‘the grace of God’) was said: Many shall rejoice in his birth [Lk 1.14].

16. And a son is given to us. Thanks be to God! Because from a slave of the world and of the devil we have derived a son of God. Such a one says in the Psalm: The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee, [Ps 2.7]

by grace: who were yesterday a slave of guilt; and because you are a son,

Ask of me, and I will give thee the Gentiles (rebellious thoughts) for thine inheritance,

and the utmost parts of the earth (your bodily senses) for thy possession; [Ps 2.8]

so that you may prevail over both. A son, as referred to in Genesis 49: Joseph is a growing son, a growing son and comely to behold. [Gen 49.22]

He is ‘growing’ in virtue of his poverty; as Joseph says in Genesis 41: God hath made me to grow in the land of my poverty. [Gen 41.52]

He is ‘comely to behold’ by his humility; so that Genesis 29 says of Rachel (meaning ‘sheep’, that is ‘humble’): she was well favoured and of a beautiful countenance. [Gen 29.17]

He is ‘given to us’; for, He was dead and is come to life again, was lost and is found [Lk 15.24].

For what purpose is he given and found? Surely, for the labour of penance.

17. So there follows: And the government is upon his shoulder. There is a concordance to this in the last but one chapter of Genesis: Issachar shall be a strong ass lying down in the borders. He saw rest that it was good: and the land that it was excellent. And he bowed his shoulder to carry. [Gen 49.14-15]

Issachar (meaning ‘man of reward’) is the penitent who serves manfully for an eternal reward, and so is called ‘a strong ass’. Ecclesiasticus 33 says of him:

Fodder and a wand and a burden are for an ass. [Ecclus 33.25]

Fodder of any kind, so that he does not grow weak; the wand of poverty, so that he does not get skittish and kick with his hoof; the burden of obedience, so that he does not become unused to labour. The medicine of penance is compounded from these three ingredients.

He lies down ‘in the borders’. The two borders are the entry and the exit of life. He lies down in these, because he abases himself in the first and weeps for himself in the second. The foolish man does not live ‘on the borders’, but in the middle. So Judges 5 says: Why dwellest thou between two borders, that thou mayest hear the bleatings of the flock? [Jg 5.16]

Between birth and death there is only the vanity of the world. The ‘flocks’ are the movements of the flesh, and their ‘bleating’ is their allurement, which the man who takes his ease in the vanity of the world hears. But the penitent man, living on the borders, lifts up the eyes of his mind and sees the repose of happiness and glory, that it is good in the glorification of the body; and he sees the land of eternal stability, that it is very good in the contemplation of the Trinity. He bows his shoulder to bear government, namely the yoke of penance whereby he governs both himself and his temptations. So Ecclesiasticus 6 says: Bow down thy shoulder and bear her [Ecclus 6.26].

18. There follows: and his name shall be called Wonderful, etc. Note that in these six words is summed up the whole perfection of the penitent or just man. He is ‘wonderful’ in his thorough and frequent self-examination, and he sees wonders in the deep places of his heart. Thus Job was ‘wonderful’, because the whole world wonders at his patience. Chapter 7 says: I will not spare my mouth, I will speak in the affliction of my spirit: I will talk with the bitterness of my soul. [Job 7.11]

Such affliction of spirit and bitterness of soul leave nothing unexamined, when they sift and search everything to the bottom.

He is ‘counsellor’ in the spiritual and bodily needs of his neighbour, as Job 29 says: I was an eye to the blind and a foot to the lame. [Job 29.15]

The blind man is one who does not look into his conscience; the lame man is one who deviates from the straight road of justice. The just man gives counsel to both, because he is ‘an eye’ to the former, instructing him so that he can recognise the defects of his own conscience; and ‘a foot’ to the latter, supporting him and guiding him to put his steps in the way of justice.

There follows: ‘God’. The just man is called ‘God’ figuratively, in the rule over subjects. Thus in Exodus 7 the Lord says to Moses: I have appointed thee the God of Pharao;

and in Exodus 22: If the thief be not known, the master of the house shall be brought to the gods (i.e the priests); and shall swear that he did not lay his hand upon his neighbour’s goods. [Ex 22.8]

And again: I have said: You are gods [Ps 81.6].

Alternatively, ‘God’ in Greek is ‘Theos’, that is ‘He who sees’, since ‘theoreo’ means ‘I see’; ‘theo’ also means ‘I run’, because he traverses everything. The penitent is called ‘God’ because he sees and runs: he sees the things that are above in contemplation, and so he runs towards the goal set before him in the race of penitence.

He is ‘mighty’ in fighting against temptation; as in Judges 14: A young lion met Samson, raging and roaring; and the spirit of the Lord came upon Samson, and he tore the lion as he would have torn a kid in pieces. [Jg 14.5-6]

The young lion is the spirit of pride, or lust, or something of the sort. It rages in its vehemence, it roars in its cunning. It appears suddenly and attacks with force. But when the spirit of contrition, of divine love or fear, falls on the penitent, he tears the spirit of pride (represented by the lion), as he tears the spirit of lust (represented by the goat-kid, because it stinks) in pieces, because he destroys it utterly in itself and in its concomitants.

He is ‘Father of the world to come’ in preaching by word and example. So the Apostle says: My little children, of whom I am in labour again, until Christ be formed in you. [Gal 4.19] And: By the Gospel of Christ I have begotten you, [1Cor 4.15], namely to eternal life.

He is ‘Prince of peace’ in the tranquil dwelling together of mind and body. So Job 5: The beasts of the earth (i.e. the motions of your flesh) shall be at peace with thee: and thou shalt know that thy tabernacle is in peace. [Job 5.23-24]
And chapter 11: Being buried (i.e. hidden from the world in contemplation) thou shalt sleep secure. Thou shalt rest, and there shall be none to make thee afraid. [Job 11.18-19]

May he who is blessed for ever be pleased to grant us this. Amen.

NOTES
1 ARISTOTLE, De somno et vigilia, 3
2 AUGUSTINE, Sermo 351,4,7; PL 39.1512
3 JEROME, Letter to the monk Rusticus, 125,8; PL 22.1076

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The copyright in this translation belongs to the author, Revd Dr S.R.P. Spilsbury