He Who Is Desired
Sermo in Dominica prima Adventus
Sermon on the First Sunday of Advent
Veniet desideratus cunctis gentibus et implebit domum istam gloria.
He who is desired by all the nations together will come, and he will fill this house with glory.
Sicut dicit Augustinus ad Optatum: a damnatione quae facta est per Adam, nullus liberatur nisi per fidem Iesu Christi. Hoc probat sufficienter Apostolus ad Hebreos XI, ubi ostendit quod nemo unquam Deo placere potuit sine fide. Ex quo colligitur quod omni tempore post lapsum fuit necessaria fides de reparatione, quia nec peccati originalis nec actualis infirmitas aliter habuit medicinam. Et ideo omnes sancti ab origine mundi semper optabant et desiderabant Salvatoris adventum.
It is as Augustine says to Optatus: nobody is freed from the damnation that came through Adam but through faith in Jesus Christ. This is sufficiently proven by the Apostle in Hebrews 11:6, where he shows that no one has ever been able to please God without faith. From this it follows that at all times after a lapse faith has been a necessity for recovery, for there is no other medicine for the weakness of original or actual sin. And therefore all the saints always, from the beginning of the world, longed for and desired the coming of the Savior.
Et hoc bene et plane ostenditur in verbo proposito in quo Propheta ostendit tria per ordinem:
And this is shown well and plainly in the saying mentioned in which the Prophet shows three things, in this order:
primo, ipsum Dei Filium de caelis venientem: veniet;
first, he shows God’s Son himself who is coming down from the heavens: he will come;
secundo, patrum desiderium misericorditer adimplentem: desideratus cunctis gentibus;
second, he shows the one who mercifully fulfills the desires of the fathers [patriarchs]: who is desired by all the nations together;
tertio, gratum beneficium liberaliter largientem: et implebit gloria domum istam.
third, he shows the one who freely bestows his pleasing benefit [upon us]: and he will fill this house with glory.
In primo ostenditur advenientis vel adventus humilitas ex parte itineris; in secundo adventus necessitas ex parte humani generis; in tertio adventus utilitas ex parte oblati muneris.
In the first part the lowliness of the coming one or of the coming is shown in view of the way; in the second the necessity of the coming in view of the human race; in the third the utility of the coming in view of the gift offered.
Primum proponitur ut ei preparemus nostri cordis hospitium; secundum ut offeramus ei nostrum desiderium; tertium ut recipiamus oblatum beneficium.
The first brings to the fore that we should prepare a warm welcome for him; the second, that we should focus our desire on him; the third, that we should receive the benefit offered.
Primo ergo ostendit Dei Filium de caelis humiliter descendentem cum dicit: veniet.
So, first, he shows that the Son of God comes down humbly from the heavens when he says: he will come.
Veniet, inquam, in humilitate nobis admodum necessarius. Erat autem necessarius adventus Salvatoris tripliciter:
I interpret he will come as: insofar as it is absolutely necessary for us. Well, the coming of the Savior was necessary, for three reasons:
primo, quia mundus erat imperfectus multipliciter;
first, because the world was imperfect in many ways;
secundo, quia homo erat a proprio honore deiectus uiliter;
second, because man was cast down from his rightful honor in a foul way;
tertio, quia Deus erat contra hominem offensus mirabiliter.
and third, because God was offended by man in a wondrous way.
Et ideo venit ut universo tribueret altissime dignitatis gradum; ut hominem reduceret ad proprium hominis statum; ut offensam tolleret inter hominem et Deum.
Therefore, he came in order to grant to the whole world the highest grade of dignity, in order to lead man back to his proper human state, and in order to take away the offense of man against God.
Triplex autem gradus perfectionis in universo deficiebat,
Now the grade of perfection in the world fell short in three respects:
scilicet unus modus generationis ceteris sublimior,
one way of generation is more sublime than the others;
unus gradus unionis ceteris mirabilior,
one grade of union is more wonderful than the others; thers.
unus modus perfectionis ceteris excellentior.
one way of perfection is more excellent than the others.
Christus autem veniens in hunc mundum perfecit novam unionem, suscepit novam generationem, contulit novam perfectionem.
Yet, when Christ came into this world, he accomplished a new union, he took on a new generation, and he brought along a new perfection.
Deficiebat ergo in universo unus gradus unionis ceteris mirabilior. Quadruplex enim unio est in universo: prima corruptibilis cum corruptibili, ut in rebus naturalibus; secunda corruptibilis cum incorruptibili, ut in hominibus; tertia incorruptibilis cum incorruptibili, ut in spiritualibus ut essentiae et potentiae.
So in the world one grade of union was lacking, the one more wonderful than the others. For in our world there are four kinds of union: the first is the union of something corruptible with something corruptible, as in natural things. The second is the union of something corruptible with something incorruptible, as in human beings. The third is the union of something incorruptible with something incorruptible, as in spiritual things: a union of essentia and potentia.
Quarta autem deficiebat, scilicet temporalis et aeterni. Haec autem unio facta est quando Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis, Iohannis I; quando exinanivit semet ipsum etc., <ad> Philippenses II; quando rex Israel mutavit habitum, Regum XXII; Isaiae XLIII: ecce nova facio omnia.
The fourth, however, was lacking: the union of something temporal with something eternal. Well, this union was made when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, as it says in John 1:14; when he emptied himself and took on the form of a slave; made in the likeness of human beings he was, through his way of life, found a man, as Philippians 2:7 reads; that is when the king of Israel disguised himself, as it is said in 1 Kings 22:30; and Isaiah 43:19 reads: behold, I make all things new.
Deficiebat etiam unus modus generationis ceteris mirabilior. Est enim quadruplex generatio large sumendo: prima ex Patre sine matre, quae fit aeternaliter; secunda sine patre et sine matre, originaliter ut in primis parentibus; tertia ex patre et matre, quae fit communiter.
Also, the one way of generation was lacking that is more wonderful than the others. For there are four kinds of generation in the broad sense of the word: the first is from the Father without a mother, the generation that occurs eternally. The second is without a father and without a mother, in the beginning, as with the first parents. The third is from a father and a mother, the generation that occurs all around us.
Quarta nundum fuerat, scilicet ex matre sine patre temporaliter. Ista autem generatio facta fuit quando Virgo concepit, Isaiae X; quando lapis abcissus est de monte sine manibus, qui factus est mons magnus et implevit universam terram, Danielis X: lapis abcissus de monte sine manibus est Christus natus de Virgine sine operatione hominis; tunc enim novum fecit Dominus super terram etc, Ieremiae XXI.
The fourth did not exist before, namely, the generation from a mother without a father in time. Well, this generation was made when the Virgin conceived, when, as we read in Isaiah 10, the stone is hewn from the mountain without hands, which, according to Daniel 10 became a great mountain and it filled the whole earth. The stone hewn from the mountain [without hands] is Christ, born from the Virgin without a human action. Indeed, then the Lord made a new thing upon the earth: the woman will encompass the man, as Jeremiah 31:22 (Jer 31:22) puts it.
Deficiebat etiam unus gradus perfectionis ceteris excellentior, cum unumquodque perfectum sit cum suo fini coniungitur. Ideo nunc creatura perfectissima est quando suo Creatori est unita.
Also lacking was the one grade of perfection that is more excellent than the others, although anything that is connected with its end is perfect. Hence, a creature is most perfect when it is united with its Creator.
Triplici autem coniunctione creatura coniuncta est suo Creatori: prima est virtualis per dependentiam quae est in rebus omnibus, unde secundum Gregorium: omnia in nihilum deciderent nisi manu Omnipotentis conservarentur; secunda est specialis pre gratiam quae est in iustis hominibus quia secundum Dionysium amor est vis unitiva. Tertia est realis per essentiam; haec nundum fuerat, sed tunc facta est quando humana natura a Dei Filio assumpta est in unitate suppositi vel persone; in cuius assumptione totum quodam modo universum fuit assumptum quia secundum Gregorium: iuxta aliquem modum omnis creatura est homo.
Well, with a triple connection a creature is conjoined with its Creator: the first is a union in respect of strength, by reason of a dependency that is in all things. Hence all things would fall into nothingness, unless they were kept by the hand of the Almighty, according to Gregory. The second is in respect of the [human] species: through the grace that is in just people, since according to Dionysius love is a unifying force. The third union concerns the thing itself, by essence. This did not exist before, but it came into being when the human nature was taken on by the Son of God in unity of supposit or person. In taking on the human nature in a certain way the whole world was taken on, because, according to Gregory, in a way every creature is a human being.
Secundo venit ut dispersos colligeret et ad proprium hominis statum vel ad unius religionis cultum reduceret.
Second, he came to gather the scattered and to lead them back to the proper state of man or to the practice of the one religion (cf. John 4:20–23, Eph 1:10).
Homines enim diversis subdebantur regibus,
For the people were subjected to different kings,
diversis utebantur legibus,
adopted different laws,
diversis corrumpebantur erroribus,
and were corrupted by different errors.
Iudicum XI: in diebus illis non erat rex in Israel et Oseae x: dies multos sederunt filii Israel sine rege, sine principe etc.
We read in Judges 11: in those days there was no king in Israel (Jud 17:6) and in Hosea 10: many days the children of Israel sat down, without a king or a ruler, as well as without sacrifice or altar, as without priestly garb or house gods.
Et ideo Christus venit ut ipse esset unus rex universis imperans, cuius esset universale dominium, universale imperium, cuius esset aeternum regnum; quod bene ostensum est in eius nativitate quia tunc ostendit se regem hominum quando reges adoraverunt, regem angelorum psallentium quia exultaverunt, regem Iudeorum expectantium quia pastores audierunt, regem corporum supercaelestium quia stelle cognoverunt. Et ideo dicitur Zachariae IX: ecce rex tuus venit tibi etc.
And therefore Christ came, in order to be the one reigning king of the whole world himself, whose dominion would be universal, whose empire universal, and whose reign eternal. And this is shown clearly in his birth, because then he manifested himself as the king of the people when kings adored him (Matt 2:11); as the king of the angels playing on their stringed instruments as they rejoiced (Luke 2:13–14); as king of the [Jews] awaiting him because the shepherds listened (Luke 2:15–16); as king of the heavenly bodies because the stars knew him (Ps 148:3). Thus it is said in Zechariah 9:9: behold, your king comes unto you, the just one and the Savior himself.
Iste rex dispersos in unum coniunxit quando Iudeos et gentes ad fidem vocauit, Ezechielis XXXVII: rex erit unus omnibus imperans et non erunt ultra due gentes, et in eodem capitulo: erunt michi populus et ego ero eis Deus, et servus meus David rex super eos et pastor erit unus omnium.
This king has conjoined the scattered and made them one when he called Jews and gentiles to the faith. Ezekiel 37:22 reads: there will be one reigning king for all and there will be two nations no more; and in the same chapter: they will be my people and I will be their God, and my servant David will be king over them and shepherd of all (Ezek 37:23–24).