Advent 4: ‘Blessed is the fruit of your womb’

She [Elizabeth] cried out and said, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb‘. ‘Blessed are you among women’ — not only blessed among women, but specially distinguished among blessed women by a greater blessing. ‘Blessed the fruit of your womb’ — not that he was blessed in a general way of saints, but, as the Apostle [Rom 9:5] says, To them belong the patriarchs, [and] from them, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who above all, God blessed for ages.

Of the origin of this fruit, the psalmist bears witness in a mystical utterance, saying, For indeed the Lord will give his generosity, and our earth will gives its fruit. [Ps 85:12] The Lord indeed gave of his generosity in that he arranged to liberate the human race from the crime of its transgression through his only-begotten Son. He gave of his generosity because with the grace of the Holy Spirit he consecrated for his entry the temple of a virginal womb. And our earth gave its fruit because the same virgin who had her body from the earth bore a son who was coequal to God the Father in his divinity, but by the reality of [his] flesh consubstantial with her. Concerning this, Isaiah [4:2] also, looking toward the time of human redemption, said, On that day the bud of the Lord will be in magnificence and in glory, and the fruit of the earth will be sublime. The bud of the Lord was in magnificence and glory when the undying Son of God, appearing temporally in the flesh as a bright light, poured out upon the world the greatness of his heavenly virtues. The fruit of the earth became sublime when the mortal flesh which God received from our nature, already rendered immortal in virtue of the resurrection, was raised up to heaven.”

Bede, Homily 1.4 (Advent 4), p. 32-33.

Bede the Venerable, Homilies on the Gospels: Book One Advent to Lent. L. Martin & D. Hurst, trans. Cistercian Publications, 1991.


Psalm 85:7-13 from the Book of Common Prayer:

“Show us your mercy, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.

I will listen to what the Lord is saying, for he is speaking peace to his faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to him.

Truly, his salvation is very near to those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.

Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Truth shall spring up from the earth, and righteousness will look down from heaven.

The Lord will indeed grant prosperity, and our land will yield its increase. [12]

Righteousness shall go before him, and peace shall be the pathway of for his feet.”

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