The Purification Of The Blessed Virgin Mary Sermo 13 De Tempore, Post Init. Sancti Augustíni Epíscopi

WEYDEN, Rogier van der
St Columba Altarpiece (detail)
c. 1455

Sermon by St. Augustine the Bishop

Sermo 13 de Tempore, post init.

Concerning that time it was written : And of Sion it shall be reported that he was born in her, and the Most High shall stablish her. O how blessed is the omnipotence of him that was born! Yea, how blessed is the glory of him that came down from heaven to earth! Whilst he was yet in his Mother's womb, he was saluted by St. John the Baptist. And when he was presented in the temple, he was recognized by the old man Simeon, a worthy who was full of years, proved and crowned. This ancient one, as soon as he knew him, worshipped and said : Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.

He had lingered in the world to see the birth of him who made the world. The old man knew the Child, and in that Child became a child himself, for in the love wherewith he regarded the Father of all, he felt his own years to be but as yesterday. The ancient Simeon bare in his arms the new-born Christ, and all the while, Christ ruled and upheld the old man. Simeon had been told by the Lord that he should not taste of death before he had seen the birth of the Lord's Christ. Now that Christ was born , all the old man's wishes on earth were fulfilled. He that was come into a decrepit world now also came to an old man.

Simeon wished not to remain long in the world, but with great desire he had desired to see Christ in the world, for he had sung with the Prophet : Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation. And now at last, that ye might know how that, to his joy, his prayer was granted, he said : Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. The Prophets have sung that the Maker of heaven and earth would converse on earth with men. An Angel hath declared that the Creator of flesh and spirit would come in the flesh. The unborn John, yet in the womb, hath saluted the unborn Saviour yet in the womb. The old man Simeon hath seen God as little Child.


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