The Everlasting Joy

From the Blickling Homilies (10th century)

Eve bore tears in her womb. Mary brought forth through herself the everlasting joy for all the world. Eve brought forth her child in pain because she had conceived in sin. The Holy Spirit sowed the pure seed in the undefiled womb, wherefore she, being a virgin became a mother… Let us hear now in what manner, rejoicing and exulting in her song, the pious and holy virgin sang: “He fills the hungry with good things, and the rich he sends away empty”…

Let us love our Creator, and praise him according to our means with all our might, even as we may hear that the holy virgin did, who loved him with sincerity of heat. And with a joyful mind she sang in her psalm: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior; for he has seen the meekness of his handmaiden, and from thenceforth all generations have called me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things to me, and holy is his name; and his mercy is great toward Israel and towards all people who fear him.”…

And after an interval of nine months, he came forth, as the prophet declared concerning him: “The Lord has set his house in the sun, and from it has gone out as a bridegroom from his bridal chamber.” That came to pass when the king of glory, upon this earth, came forth from the womb of the ever-pure virgin… Let us love him now and magnify his name, not only in prosperous circumstances but also in adverse circumstances.

The Blickling Homilies are a set of anonymous tenth century sermons, written in Old English. They are named for Blickling Hall, a manor house in Norfolk, in whose library they were discovered by nineteenth century scholars. Among the oldest surviving English sermons, little is known about their audience, though scholars assume they came from the Kingdom of Mercia, in present-day central England.


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