Medieval Anglo-Saxon homily, Lent and Christ’s Temptation

From the Bodley Ms 343.

The Temptation of Christ

Beloved people, we want to tell you about this holy time that has now arrived, in which we have an especially greater fast and abstinence than in any other common time, when we do this for the help and cleansing of our souls and also because Christ himself established an example of this fast for us. It is written that the Savior went immediately after his baptism to a certain desert and fasted there for forty days and forty nights together before he everywhere openly taught humankind. He did not fast because he ever committed a sin and had need to atone for it with that fast. But he fasted so that he might heal and redeem the sins of humankind and set an example for us so we might know that everyone who thinks that he might obtain the joy of heaven now must by fasting and by alms and by frequent prayers and by bodily abstinence earn it here in the world and by no means by gluttony or by drunkenness or by bodily lusts. Moreover, Christ was suffering in the desert when the accursed Devil found him, as we are about to tell you.

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