Bede’s Song of Songs

Oh look what showed up in my mailbox yesterday! I’ve been asking after this translation for years and now it’s here. I wish I had the time now to dive in; I’m sure I won’t be able to resist dipping in a little.

Along with the first modern translation of Bede’s Commentary on the Song of Songs, Arthur Holder has also given us new translations of sections of three of Bede’s homilies and selections from the Ecclesiastical History including selections on  Edwin, Oswald, Hild, Cuthbert and others. He has also re-translated for the Heavenfield episode. 🙂

“This place is called in the English tongue Heavenfield, which in Latin can be translated as Caelestis Campus, a name that it certainly received in former time as a portent of things to come, doubtless signifying that a heavenly trophy would be set up there, a heavenly victory begun, and heavenly miracles celebrated there until this day.” (Bede, HE III.2; Holder, p. 289).

Note one significant difference in the translation is “a heavenly victory begun” rather than “a heavenly victory won” in Colgrave’s translation. This shifts the emphasis from the forthcoming battle to Oswald’s Christian mission, even beyond Oswald’s Christian kingdom but to the church that out lasts his reign. This fits with Bede’s emphasis on miracles there up to his day. For Bede, the cross at Heavenfield was still working for that victory.  Holder (p. 32) says that a new translation is justified by “this translation’s more literal approach to Bede’s theological vocabulary and imagery.”

In flipping through the introduction, one surprise is Holder’s dating of Bede’s On the Song of Songs to before 716, suggesting that it could be his first Old Testament work. If On Revelations was his first New Testament work, what an odd pair for his earliest scriptural works. It certainly says something about Bede’s bravery.

O’Loughlin’s Celtic Theology

Thomas O’Loughlin’s Celtic Theology: Humanity, World, and God in Early Irish Writings, Continuum, 2000.

Going through my backlog of drafts and I just realized that I never came back and finished this book review. Better late than never!

This really is quite a valuable book that dispels some common myths and gives you a real sense for what we know of the Irish church. I know my book will be used until it is dog-eared. This book should be a must read for anyone interested in early medieval theology.

This book covers such a wide range of topics that the only way I can think to review is fully is chapter by chapter.


  1. Celtic Theology?: Discusses the concept of Celtic theology and more importantly what it is not. O’Loughlin’s attitude is that celtic theology is a type of local theology.
  2. Patrick the Missionary: Analyzes Patrick’s work through the two documents that are genuinely accepted as being written by Patrick, notably his Confessio and the Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus. His discussion of Patrick’s world view and personal theology is very interesting.
  3. The Penitentials: The Human Dilemma: He discusses the development and rationale behind the penitentials, and pays special attention to the Penitential of Finnian (Uinniau) and the penitential of Cummean,
  4. Adomnan: A Theologian at Work: O’Loughlin is best known for his work on Adomnan and this chapter does not disappoint. Adomnan was very much on par with Bede as an influential churchman and this chapter highlights all of Adomnan’s other accomplishments other than writing the Life of Columba. I think you would be hard pressed to find a more influential churchman anywhere in the British Isles in the 7-8th century than Adomnan, Abbot of Iona. His three main works, the Cain Adomnan / Law of the Innocents, On the Holy Places, and the Life of Columba are just now really becoming appreciated for the skill and depth of knowledge they reflect.
  5. Muirchu: Dramatist or Theologian? Muirchu is the author of the First Life of Patrick. He notes that Muirchu was skilled at narrative theology, and this is what the Life of Patrick really is. Narrative theology, teaching theology through a story, is fairly rare today but this is the form taken by Scripture itself. The different narrative theologies of the four evangelists acccounts for much of the differences between the four gospels. O’Loughlin also discusses Muirchu’s biblical models for Patrick, such as Daniel.
  6. The Collectio canonum hibernensis: Marriage and Sexuality Ireland had a well developed legal system that was independent of Roman law and this legal system influenced the Irish canons. He shows that contrary to popular opinion that Ireland was a female friendly, Augustine-free zone, the canons were quite the opposite and influenced by the theology of Augustine. (Just to back this up, read the 9th century treatise on Cain Adomnan and you’ll see how anti-female it could be!)
  7. The Stowe Missal: The Eucharist as Refreshment: The Stowe Missal is one of the only liturgical sources we have for the rites of the Celtic church dating to c. 800, probably at Tallaght. While the Eucharistic rite was Roman, other aspects of the celebration differed more modern practices. Attitudes toward community and communion of the saints was more intense that any we experience today. They really felt strongly in communion with the saints how have already departed this life, especially those of their community, and this is reflected in their liturgy. For example, they stressed that all present must share one loaf of bread at the Eucharist and in the prayers chanted by the congregation while the priest breaks the loaf into as many as 65 pieces arranging them in special patterns on the patten.
  8. The Litanies: Petition, Procession, Protection: This is a specialized section on the differences between early medieval litanies and modern litanies in text, form and function. He particularly focuses on how medieval litanies were processions, such as the litany Augustine of Canterbury led as he approached Æthelberht, King of Kent, for the first time. I would add that we also see these processional litanies occurring in times of pestilence when processions would snake through large communities in an effort to end the plague. Gregory the Great led such a procession in Rome to end the Plague of Justinian. Although not often mentioned in insular sources, we must imagine that frequent processional litanies must have occurred during the plague of 664 and other plagues.
  9. The Cycles of Prayer: This chapter focuses the calendar and daily office among the Irish. He spends some time talking about alternative perceptions of time and how ordinary and festal time was viewed. There is a short discussion of how the daily office is reflected in Adomnan’s Life of Columba and in the Navigatio Sancti Brendani, and on the Teachings of Mael Ruain.
  10. Jerusalem: Our Mother and Home Above This last chapter is a part of a departure from the rest of the book because this chapter focuses on eschatology. O’Loughlin takes Jerusalem as his theme as a “taster” of Irish eschatology. What did Jerusalem mean to the Irish and what symbolism did they invest in it? O’Loughlin focuses on the presentation of Jerusalem in three different works: Jerusalem in Adomnan’s De Locus Sanctus (On the Holy Places), Barrand’s Island in the Navigiatio Sancti Brendani, and the plan of New Jerusalem in the Book of Armagh.
  11. Conclusions

One of the areas that O’Loughlin left out was a discussion of the literature on St Bridget and is generally light on female topics. Likewise he did not really treat Irish Marian theology which is surely present. It has been suggested that Adomnan’s attitudes toward the the Virgin Mary influenced Cain Adomnan, the first law for the protection of women from violence in Ireland. Marian theology has also influenced the literature and traditions about St Bridget. While Bridget is a fairly common topic in Irish scholarship, we still await a systematic survey and Marian scholarship for this period, is even further behind. Given the breadth of topics he did cover, this is not a major detraction.

Do not look to this book for a history of monastic families or even of monastic movements. O’Loughlin’s purpose here is the study of theology more than history. He chooses examples that fit his topic, but makes no attempt to be systematic surveying all possible examples. Hagiography is also not a major topic outside of chapter 5. Here, as in the chapter on Adomnan, he is more concerned with examining the author than his work. His basic question is how was theology done in early medieval Ireland? What was the personal theology of Patrick, Adomnan and Muirchu? How was theology put into practice? I believe that you will find his answers fascinating.

Bede’s Book of Hymns II

In my continuing quest to learn more about 8-9th century breviate psalters I’ve came across a couple interesting papers:

Thomas H Bestul (1986) “Continental Sources of Anglo-Saxon Devotional Writing” p. 103-126 in Sources of Anglo-Saxon Culture. P Szarmach with V. Oggins, eds. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications.

Leslie Webber Jones. (1929) “Cologne MS.106: A Book of Hildebald” Speculum 4(1): 27-61.

They are interesting papers. Finally a description of one of the three manuscripts that contain the oldest surviving edition of Bede’s Abbreviated Psalter (Cologne MS 106)! AlcuinBede’s three surviving psalters all come from c. 825 and apparently all passed through Alcuin (pictured).

There was apparently once quite a bit of discussion over this manuscript because it was thought that it might be the set of works sent by Alcuin to Bishop Arno of Salzburg before 805. Webber Jones has proven that this is not Alcuin’s manuscript. However, it does seem to contain the vast majority of the works that Alcuin sent to Arno, along with other materials.

So, it was apparently written in Cologne during the tenure of Bishop Hildebald of Cologne from 794-819 (who helpfully had all books produced during his tenure labeled as such). It includes Alcuin’s letter to Arno as a preface, as if to explain where most of the original text came from.

Cologne MS 106 contains a formidable list of Bede’s devotional materials: 12 hymns or metrical prayers including the hymn on Aethelthryth and his abbreviated psalter. Bede’s note that his hymns are in “various meters and rhythms” could be an explanation for the variety of metrical prayers and hymns included in his prayer book. In other words, it more a book of verse/poetry than a hymnal in today’s sense. His title seems to reflect the medieval norm that poetry was to be sung rather than recited. Given that I know of no cult of Aethelthryth on the continent and the manuscript isn’t reported to contain any excerpts from the Ecclesiastical History, Aethelthryth’ s hymn appears to be transmitted as one of a set of Bede’s hymns. This gives me some more confidence that we may have a portion of Bede’s ‘Book of Hymns’.

Bestul suggests that devotional books prior to the Book of Cerne were all or primarily verse (as the Cerne is, excepting the Passion narratives). All of Bede’s devotional works done for himself or friends were verse including his verse Life of Cuthbert and the hymn on Aethelthryth. For his personal uses, these verse versions were sufficient. He only writes the prose Life of Cuthbert to fulfill a specific commission from Lindisfarne. This answers the nagging question of why he didn’t write a prose life of Aethelthryth when he was clearly devoted to her memory. The answer may be that he simply didn’t get a commission to do so, and the hymn was sufficient for his use. Of course, the vast bulk of Bede’s works were not devotional materials; they were teaching texts. While these teaching texts may reveal windows into his theology and devotional practices, that was not their purpose.

This all begs the question: does Bede’s ‘Book of Hymns’ – currently best represented by Cologne MS106- represent Bede’s personal prayer book? If so, then it is the best window into his personal devotional practices.

Breath of the Psalter

One of the specific steps in the distilled prayer project on Bede’s Abbreviated Psalter is to reformat Browne’s text in a single paragraph without all the spaces between the abbreviated psalms and remove verse numbers, and make observations. Medieval manuscripts shown in Browne’s book show the text this way, with no separation or marks to indicate individual psalms. The only format that I left was a superscript to indicate which psalm the verse or phrase came from. In Browne’s translation the abbreviated psalter runs 4632 words.

I really didn’t expect that this reformatting would do much for me, but I was wrong. I decided to do this little experiment because I noticed that some of the smaller abbreviations made sense when read with the proceeding or succeeding abbreviation. At most I expected that there would be a few obvious paragraphs composed of several abbreviations. I had barely read through a third of it for the first time reformatted when I realized that I had underestimated how important the format was to at least my perception of the text.

There is a Jewish belief that the Torah is one long breath of God, one long utterance. What Bede has done is to discern, or indeed distill, the breath of the Jewish people in an unending cycle of praise and pleading within the psalter. Isn’t that the basis of human interaction with the divine? Praise/love and pleading. Generally, much heavier on the pleading – hear me, forgive me, help me, defend me, save me.

It is a collective stream of consciousness. As such it does flit about from topic to topic somewhat and becomes repetitive, just as real streams of consciousnesses do. Our praise never lasts for very long without thinking of something we need or want.

At the same time, the Abbreviated Psalter is also the breath of Bede, his own stream of consciousness because he chose these verses. He has systematically removed the Anointed One/Messiah and made this his own song. He chose direct statements between himself and God making his psalter clear and present. Ps 2.10-12 is one of the few verses that he addresses someone other than God – instructing secular kings– and yet, he still retains his voice.

“Now therefore, you kings, understand; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and exult him with trembling. Worship him in purity, lest perchance he become angry, and you perish from the way.”

In fact this address to secular kings reminds me of the dedication to the Ecclesiastical History. Bede had two very pious kings, Aldfrith and Ceolwulf, during his adulthood. He might expect that a work like the abbreviated psalter might to fall into one of their hands. Yet, this is the only direct statement to or about secular kings.

Bede has carefully edited these psalms so that they do flow into a stream of consciousness, one long breath of the people, a chorus he joins. The psalm and verse numbers have been stripped out of the following extract. Can you tell where each psalm starts or ends, or even which psalms they are from?

“From my secret faults cleanse me; from the presumptuous sins too deliver your servant. Let the words of my mouth be pleasing, Lord my strength and redeemer. But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. Be exulted, Lord, in your strength; we will sing and praise your strengths. But you Lord, do not be far; my strength, hasten to my help. Rescue my soul from the sword; save me from the mouth of the lion. And goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will receive blessing from the Lord. To you, Lord, I will lift up my soul. Show me your ways, Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are God my savior. Do not remember the sins of my youth, and my crimes. In accordance with your mercy remember me. On account of your name, pardon my iniquity, for it is great. Look upon me and have mercy on me; for my distresses bring me forth. Behold my humility and my toil, and bear all my sins. Guard my soul and deliver me.” (Browne trans, p. 28-30)

Did you recognize our beloved psalm 23 [Vulgate 22]? He only took one line from it…”and goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”. This is the entirety of abbreviated psalms 18-24 [modern 19-25].

I am convinced that the abbreviated psalter is intended to be read/prayed straight through. It is not Bede’s intention for it to be used piecemeal, or the individual abbreviations studied or meditated on isolation. We do not have to necessarily follow Bede’s intentions; some chunks of the text can be usefully excised for a variety of purposes. Critically for modern use, we don’t have to confine our snippets to a single psalm.


Browne, Gerald M. trans. (2002) The Abbreviated Psalter of the Venerable Bede. Wm B Eerdmans.

The Psalms Today

Walter Brueggemann, Praying the Psalms: Engaging Scripture and the Life of the Spirit. Second edition. Cascade books, 2007. 97 pages.

One of the specific aims of the distilled prayer project is to review modern scholarship on the psalms. There is quite a diversity of material available, much of it devoted to discussing individual psalms. This little book by Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann is one of the best I have found so far.

In the first chapter he introduces his theory that the psalms can be divided into three categories: secure orientation (status quo), painful disorientation, and surprised reorientation. Most of the psalms are disorientation, where the world is turned upside down for the psalmist. Reorientation occurs when things suddenly reverse course and psalmist is in thanksgiving. Orientation, or psalms of the status quo, are the least common and this state is best reflected in Proverbs. Overall I think these categories work well and are in terms that appeal to our generation.

The second and third chapters deal with the language of the psalms. Brueggemann wants us to appreciate the raw power and candor of the language. The depth of the language and the metaphors allows a catharsis that is necessary to move on beyond the crisis. He warns us that this catharsis is necessary and that we should not sanitize or edit offending verses. Metaphors are meant to have full range of our imagination, not restricted to mere descriptors. Brueggeman gives a rich discussion of some of the metaphors found in the psalms.

His fourth chapter focuses on Christian attitudes toward the Jewishness of the psalms. He believes that Christians must embrace this Jewishness, rather than avoid the most awkward verses. He gives a useful discussion of the meaning of Jerusalem as a place and a metaphor.

Brueggemann’s last chapter is on vengeance in the psalms. Here I think he makes two very important points. First, for all the raw, cathartic vitriol in the psalms, ultimately, vengeance is yielded to God. The psalmist never asks God to help him take vengeance or asks for forgiveness for vengeance he has already taken. Vengeance is God’s to dispense. This leads to the second point on the sovereignty of God. It is God’s decision on whether to dispense vengeance or show compassion. Several of the psalms express confusion on why God has not taken vengeance. Brueggemann stresses that judgment and vengeance are discussed in the New Testament in the same ways as the psalms. He quotes Hebrews 10:30-31: “For we know him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay’. And again, ‘the Lord will judge his people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’ This last line should be familiar to those who study the venerable Bede, as Cuthbert’s letter claims that this verse is one that Bede repeated over and over in his last days.

Bede on St John the Beloved

When I first started paying attention to the liturgical calendar and I saw that the feast of St John is during ‘Christmas week’, I thought it was such a shame that it would get lost in all the hustle and bustle of the holidays. But the more I think about it, locating John’s feast here is quite an honor. When the Christmas season was overwhelmingly a liturgical season, placing John’s feast in the midst of the Christmas season made him part of those great festivities. (Recall that in antiquity and the early middle ages, January 1 was not New Years day!) Four feasts of biblical saints or events are placed between Christmas and Epiphany — St Stephan the Protomartyr, St John, feast of the Innocents, (in three successive days) and then the feast of the Holy Name/Circumcision. The week that begins with the Nativity is the second holiest week of the year. It is significant here that the beginning of John’s gospel is also the reading for the only Sunday in Christmas season.

The feast of John has been set for December 27 from the early days of the church. It was originally reserved for both John and his brother James the Greater, but soon it was for John alone. According to the Online Catholic Encyclopedia the only death date (assumption) ever given for John is September 26th. The feast of John and Paul on June 26 refer to two Gaullic men who were martyred under Julian the Apostate.

Bede wrote two homilies on St John. The first is as expected his homily for today, the feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist. The second is the homily on the feast of “St Paul and St John (or St James)”. Although this feast is supposed to be on two Roman martyrs in the time of Julian, thanks to the lectionary choice (Matt 20:20-23) Bede really wrote about John and his brother James.

Bede on the Feast of St John (Homily 1.9; John 21:19-24)

Bede’s homily on John is focuses on the contrast between Peter and John, unusually between an active and contemplative life. Bede acknowledges that John was quite active as an Apostle, but sees him primarily as an example of the contemplative life. If Bede is reflecting a common belief about John, it may also explain why John was so honored at Lindisfarne and among the Anglo-Celtic party in Northumbria.

Bede reviews John’s activities in the Gospels, defends the tradition that John is the beloved disciple, and focuses on the tradition of his chastity.

“This disciple’s leaning upon the master’s breast was not only a sign of present love, but also of future mystery. Already at that time it was prefigured that the gospel which this same disciple was going to write would include the hidden mysteries of divine majesty more copiously and profoundly than the rest of the pages of sacred scripture…. Indeed we know that the rest of the evangelists spoke more about the Savior’s miracles and less about his divinity. John, however, wrote very little about [Christ’s] human acts, and instead applied himself of explaining the hidden mysteries of his divine nature, unmistakably suggesting [by this] what great matters of heavenly teaching he had imbibed from Jesus’ breast, from which he was pouring forth for us.” (p. 88)

Bede then tackles what John means by saying that the beloved disciple will ‘remain until I come‘.

[Christ’s] saying about John, ‘I wish him to remain thus until I come,’ suggests the state of contemplative virtue, which is not to be ended through death, as the active life is, but after death is to be more perfectly completed with the coming of the Lord. Now active labor, when it comes to an end with death, will receive an eternal reward after death. For who gives bread to the hungry in that life where no one hungers? Who gives water to the thirsty where no one thirsts? Who buries the dead where it is the land of the living? Who carries out the rest of the works of mercy where no is found to be in need of mercy? And so no laborious action will be there, but only the everlasting fruit of past action. Contemplative happiness, however, which commences here, will be made perfect without end when the presence of the heavenly citizens and of the Lord himself will be seen, not through a mirror and in a dark manner as now, but face to face. Hence about this [life], Jesus properly said under the image of the disciple whom he loved and whom he made to lean on his breast, ‘I wish him to remain thus until I come‘. It is as if he were clearly saying, ‘I do not want the taste of contemplative delight, which I especially love in my saints, who are hoping in the protection of my wings, inebriated by the abundance of my house, and who have been made to drink from the torrent of my refreshment — I do not want this to be ended by dying, as [happens after] laborious action, but [I wish it] to be more sublimely perfected after death, when I will appear and lead them into the sight of my majesty.’

He then mentions that John waited so long to write his gospel after the death of Domitian because he was answering critics who questioned Jesus’ divinity before his incarnation in the Virgin Mary.

Feast of John and Paul (or James) (Homily 2.21; Matt 20:20-23)

This is the ‘sons of thunder’ episode. First Bede feels he must explain why either of them wanted to sit on Christ’s left hand in heaven because in the final separation, those on his left are damned. He also careful to explain Jesus’ deference to the Father and how Jesus speaks of a distinct separation between himself and the Father. Lastly he writes about John’s death:

“Concerning John, trustworthy histories tell that when he was aware that the day of his death was near, he called his disciples together at Ephesus. Declaring Christ by many proofs and signs, he let himself down into the place that had been hallowed out for his burial, and when he had made his prayer he was gathered to his fathers, as free from the sorrow of death as he was a stranger to the corruption of the flesh. How, then, is he said to have drunk from the Lord’s chalice, since it is sure that he did not depart this body by a death caused by suffering? Is it not because this chalice is drunk in two ways: one when death is inflicted by a persecutor is patiently endured, the other when the mind is held ready for suffering, when a life is led that is worthy of martyrdom?

John himself taught how he was prepared to drink of the chalice of death for the Lord’s sake when he bore prison and beating with the rest of the apostles with a joyful mind, as we read in their acts; when he was exiled to the island of Patmos on account of [his speaking] the word of God and on account of [his bearing] witness to Jesus; when, as Church history tells us, he was cast into a pot of boiling oil by the emperor Domitian: by the Lord’s favor he emerged from it as unscathed and clean as he had been chaste in mind and body — just as when he was in exile, by [the Lord’s] favorable disposition, the more he seemed to be deprived of human solace, the more abundantly did he merit to be consoled by the company of citizens from on high. Hence he too is truly understood to have drunk the Lord’s chalice, along with his brother James who was killed by the sword, for one who underwent great [torments] for the sake of the truth showed how ready he was to accept even death, if it were offered to him.

But we too, dearly beloved brothers, even if we endure nothing of his sort… nevertheless we are capable of receiving the Savior’s chalice and obtaining the psalm of martyrdom if we take care to chastise our bodies and subdue them; if we accustom ourselves to supplicating the Lord in the spirit of humility and with a contrite heart, if we attempt to accept with a calm mind insults inflicted by our neighbors; if we rejoice in loving even those who hate us, who inflict injustice upon us, and in doing good to them and praying earnestly with the virtue of patience and also with the fruits of good works. If we live our lives in this way, and in according to the Apostle’s words, display our bodies as a living heavenly condenscension deign to see to it that we are rewarded with the same glory as those who have given their bodies up to death for the Lord’s sake. Just as their death is precious in the sight of the Lord, so will our lives become precious [in his sight], and once the chains of the flesh have been broken, we too will be worthy to enter into the courts of the city on high, and, together with the chorus of the blessed martyrs, to render our prayers of thanksgiving to our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with the Father in unity with the Holy Spirit, God throughout all the ages. Amen.

Homily 2.9, p. 218-219.



Bede the Venerable. Homilies on the Gospels. Two volumes. L. Martin and D. Hurst, trans. Kalamazoo,MI: Cistercian Publications, 1991.

  • Book One: Advent to Lent
  • Book Two: Lent to the Dedication of the Church.


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.”