The Little Office Of Our Lady – At Matins, Or Night Song, pt 7. By E. L. Taunton.


(6) Because of Truth and Meekness and Righteousness : and Thy right hand shall lead Thee wondrously.

Thou shalt reign because of Truth and Meekness and Righteousness. Here commentators find a glorious application to the three orders of the saints : the truth of martyrs, the meekness of confessors, the righteousness of just men. And these all reflect back upon Him Who is the Martyr's crown, Whose meekness was learnt by confessors and Whose righteousness gives merit to all godly souls. Denis the Carthusian explains the words : Because in truth, meekness, and righteousness Thou wert confirmed, O Christ, from Thy Mother's womb, therefore in all Thy conversation without fault shall Thy right hand, that is, Thy Divine Nature, lead Thee wonderfully. Or, Thy right hand, that is, the works of Thy right hand, shall lead Thee wondrously ; from the form of a servant and the death of the Cross to the express Image of the Father and the sharing of His Throne. For here, the Psalmist gives, as it were, a summary of the teaching of St. Paul, showing how the suffering of the Incarnate Word merited the elevation of the sacred Humanity.

(7) Thine arrows are sharp : the people shall fall under Thee : into the hearts of the King's enemies.

Verily, sharp are the arrows of love which subdue the hardest hearts among the people that imagine a vain thing against the Lord and against His Anointed [Ps. ii. 2.] ; O glorious wound, cries St. Gregory Nyssen (c. 394), O sweet stroke whereby life and love penetrate into the inner man ! Thine arrows in very deed : Thou art the true Eliseus that must command Joas to take bow and quiver [4 Kings, xiii. 16.]; Thou must lay Thy hands, Thy wounded hands, on his to strengthen them, before each Joas among Thy people can shoot the arrow of the Lord's deliverance. And all their virtue comes from Thy Bed of Death, the hard Bed of the Cross. These were the arrows that pierced the hearts of the martyrs, and therefore we fools counted their life madness, and their end to be without honour [Cf. Wisdom v. 4.].

(8) Thy seat, 0 God, is for ever: the rod of rule is the rod of Thy kingdom.

Unto the Son He saith it [Heb. i. 8.]. The Holy Ghost, therefore, teaches Who it is that speaks and Who it is that is spoken to. It is not wonderful that the Jews and Arians should have been perpetually pressed with the beginning of this verse as a formal proof of the Divinity of the expected Messiah ; as a proof, too, which no art of the devil or man can gainsay.

Thy seat. What seat is meant ? Is it the Seat of Judgment which at the consummation of all things the Son, according to St. Paul, will resign to the Father [Cf. I Cor. xv. 24.], Or is it the Seat of Kingly Authority which will last for ever ? He shall reign over the house of Jacob, and of His kingdom there shall be no end [Luke i. 33.].

The rod. This is the rod that devoured the serpents of the spiritual Pharaoh, itself esteemed as one of them when they said, He hath a devil [John x. 20.], This is the rod which divided the Red Sea in two parts and made its depths a way for the ransomed to pass over. This is the rod which, stretched out against Pharaoh and his hosts, overwhelmed them in the mighty waters. This is the rod that smote the stony rock and the waters gushed out and the streams flowed withal. This is the rod that, laid up in the Tabernacle, bloomed blossoms and yielded almonds. This is the rod or sceptre which every trembling Esther must touch to live. This is the rod we must hold forth in our hands when we eat the spiritual passover. This is the rod wherewith we must pass with Jacob over Jordan. This is the rod that breaks the staff of His shoulder, the rod of His oppressor [Isaias ix. 4.] ; that shatters the Assyrian, the rod of His anger [Ibid. x. 5.] ; through which the rod of the ungodly shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous [Ps. cxxiv. 3.] ; that causes the wicked to exclaim concerning the spiritual Moab : How is the strong staff broken and the beautiful rod that overthrows the rod of pride in the mouth of the foolish [Jer. xlviii. 17.]. Finally, the rod is the Sceptre rising out of Israel [Numbers xxiv. 17.] that Balaam saw in the vision.

(9) Thou hast loved righteousness and hast hated iniquity: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.

Thou hast loved righteousness [These, in the first person, were the last words of St. Gregory VII., and he added, " and therefore I die in exile."], An oriental commentator says : Thou, O Christ, the King, hast loved righteousness. To whom else should we address it ? How He loved it He showed by the fulfilment of the promise made as soon as the earthly paradise was lost, that the heavenly Eden should be won by His own sufferings; that promise on which so many prophets and righteous men anchored their hopes ; that promise which, tried in Gethsemane, on the Way of Sorrows, at Calvary, was triumphant over all the agony, endured all the shame, lived through and prevailed by death.

Therefore. And that, the Angelical says, either as a final or effective cause, therefore hast Thou wrought righteousness that God might anoint Thee; or, to this end hath God anointed Thee as King, Priest and Prophet; that Thy sceptre might be the golden sceptre of mercy, or the iron one of severity; that Thy staff might bring forth living waters for Thy people as did that of Moses; and, as did not that of Eliseus, raise the corpse, the human race, dead in sins, to a better life.

The oil of gladness. We may take this clause in two senses. The first, Wherefore, O God, Thy God hath anointed Thee ; where we have, as St. Hilary (368) remarks, a manifest reference to the Blessed Trinity; the address being to the Son, 0 God, the action from the Father, Thy God; and the Holy Ghost represented by the oil of gladness, as it is written : How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost [Acts x. 38.]; and as the Church sings in the hymn: Tu spiritalis unctio. But others, as St. Athanasius, see in the redoubled nominative the Father and the Holy Ghost, taking the oil of gladness rather of the grace of that Blessed Spirit than Himself, and considering our Lord's Person sufficiently expressed, though not absolutely named. In this second explanation it may be asked : Why is the Holy Ghost called Thy God ? The reason is not far to find. It is on account of the particular relation the Third Person has with the Sacred Humanity of Jesus. The work of the Incarnation, the forming of the Sacred Body from the most pure blood of our ever dear and blessed Lady was the work of the Holy Ghost. "He was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary," as we sing in the Credo. Thus the Human Soul of Jesus Christ was sanctified not only by Its union with the Godhead, but also by the special indwelling of the Holy Ghost, the Sanctifier, Who filled it with His created grace, adorned it with His seven Gifts, and produced in it His Twelve Fruits. The act of oblation by which our Lord redeemed the world was wrought by the help of the Holy Ghost; for our Lord, as the Apostle says, offered Himself by the Holy Ghost [Heb. ix. 14.]. So in a very special sense the Third Person can be called, in reference to the Man Jesus, Thy God. It was this sanctifying grace which was the oil of gladness which anointed the Sacred Humanity.

Above Thy fellows. Who are the fellows of Christ but His brethren, who are co-heirs with Him in the kingdom of God [Cf. Rom. viii. 17.] ? We may take the words in the sense of a comparison of the Human Nature of our Lord with that of all those who have been made partakers of the same grace, angels as well as men ; they partly and imperfectly, He in fulness from the beginning, though the manifestations grew more and more glorious, as St. Luke formally teaches [Luke ii. 40.].

(10) Myrrha, and aloes, and cassia from Thy garments, out of the ivory palaces : whereby kings' daughters in Thine honour have delighted Thee.

What is myrrh but the bitterness of mortification and self-denial. A Bundle of Myrrh is my beloved to me says the Spouse in the Canticles [i. 13.]. Count up, says the Carmelite, this bundle, O Christian, and reckon all the sufferings, all the rejections, the fasts, the vigils, the doing good and bearing ill of the Lord : My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death [Matt. xxvi. 38.] ; Now is My soul troubled and what shall I say [John xii. 27.].

Aloes. Good, say the physicians, against tumours and swellings. What do they set forth but that humility which is the antidote of swelling pride ? Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me : for I am meek and lowly of heart [Matt. iv. 29.].

And cassia : a reed that grows by the running brooks and rises to an immense size, is a type of Faith which fixes its roots in the waters of Baptism and extends until it fills the world. Not that our Lord, in the strict sense, possessed or could possess the virtue of Faith, because on account of the Beatific Vision which filled His soul, He could not believe that which He saw : but, being the Author and Finisher of our Faith, He may be said thus to set it forth to us.

Thy garments represent the Sacred Humanity whence we are to take the example of penance, humility and faith. Out of the ivory palaces. Hear St. Augustine : Would you understand the spiritual sense of ivory palaces. Understand by them those magnificent houses and tabernacles of God, the hearts of the saints. Whereby kings' daughters in Thine honour have delighted Thee: the Carmelite takes instead of palaces, the word cabinets, and sees in the kings' daughters the bearers of rich, precious ointments, who were very early at the sepulchre ; and in the caskets the vessels in which they brought them to anoint the Body of that dear Lord. Kings' daughters. If He Whom they follow is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Apostles are kings over whom and by whom He rules ; as it is written : All kings shall fall down before Him [Ps. Ixxi. II]. And it was through their preaching, such as that saying of St. Paul, I count all things as loss so that I may gain Christ [Phil. iii. 8.], that the daughters are gathered together and set in their place among the hundred and forty and four thousand who sing the New Song before the Throne of God, by leading here lives of penance, of humility, and of faith after the example of Him their soul loveth, and having these virtues enshrined in the ivory palace of chastity, they delight and honour Him Whose gracious Voice they have followed.

(11) Upon Thy right hand did the Queen stand in golden array : girt about with variety.

And to whom are we to give that glorious title ? Some will behold the Church triumphant, the Jerusalem above that is mother of us all [Gal. iv. 26.], the happy assembly, so glorious with the blood of the martyrs, so illustrious with the confessions of snow-white virgins ! O former humility ! says St. Bernard, O present sublimity ! O whilom earthly dwelling, now a heavenly mansion. O house once of clay, now temple of light. O slave, once defiled and miserable with Egyptian bondage, now glorious, now peerless, now beautiful, now all beauty, now free. But together with most of the mediaeval commentators, who is the Queen but our ever dear and blessed Lady ? What the golden array but her peerless sanctity ; what the variety with which she is girt about but the assemblage of all those faithful souls who have ordered their life towards God in imitation of her who kept all the words in her heart [Cf. Luke ii. 19.]. Thou, O Queen, art thyself the immaculate law, the faithful testimony of the Lord, the lucid precept, the right judgment, the holy fear of God, the sweet meditation, herald and interpreter of the entire God. It is to be noted, as St. Basil (379) remarks, that the Hebrew word for queen here used means a "queen consort"; thereby teaching us that her dignity is derived from Christ and not inherent of her own right or merit. And observe, she stands at the King's right hand, denoting the unassailable firmness of her position ; but she does not sit, as our Lord does, at the Father's right hand. But the place, as Bellarmine (1621) points out, denotes not only precedence of honour, ranking above the angels themselves, but her blessed and prosperous state in His kingdom. St. Gregory and others behold in this queen every faithful soul ; but more especially those blessed ones who, having embraced the religious life here, are nearest to the Bridegroom of the virgins there. Upon Thy right hand. O happy estate (cries a mediaeval writer), which we know is incapable of change. O most blessed place, which so many saints have gone through fire and water to attain, which so many martyrs have, after the manner of men, fought with beasts at Ephesus to come at, which so many confessors have wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins so as to possess at last.

(12) Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear: forget also thine own people and thy Father's house.

If we interpret the Queen of our Lady, we may see here two persons who speak. It may be the Psalmist speaking according to the flesh to her who was his descendant; or it may be God, the Father, speaking to her, the immaculate Bride. But truly this is one of the passages which above all others shows how inexhaustible are the meanings of the Psalter. An Eastern writer calls this verse, and the following, the bridal song of the Mother of God. St. Athanasius, comparing the words of the Angel Gabriel with those of the Psalmist, dwells on the daughter of the one contrasted with the Mary of the other. If we take the Church to be the " Queen" (and, indeed, the one explanation does not interfere with the other, Mary being the Mother of the whole Church, the " Neck " which joins the Body on to its Divine Head), we may see here, with St. Augustine, an exhortation to forget her Judaic origin, to cast behind her the coldness of the letter and to enter into the liberty of the spirit. They who see in it every penitent soul, find a magnificent exhortation to the same effect as that of the Apostle : Old things are passed away : behold all things are become new [2 Cor. v. 17.] ; the old desires, the old pleasures, the old hopes; and after the struggle, arrayed with that beauty in which the King delights.

Forget also thine own people. St. Bernard says that the Christian soul must not take pattern by the tribe of Manasses, for half of that tribe, satisfied with the pasture and cornfields of the eastern side of Jordan, asked to remain there ; and only the other half pressed on to the Land of Promise [Josue xiii. 29.]. The prayer to be allowed to remain among the good things of this life is frequently answered in anger; just as when the Gadarenes, having lost their swine, besought our Lord to depart out of those coasts. He yielded at once and never more returned [Matt. viii. 34.].

And thy Father's house. Yet, that the Queen may not suppose that she is thus made an orphan, she is accosted as daughter in the beginning of the verse; for she becomes God's own child by adoption and grace. Those who are called to follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth must forget the ties of earthly loves, which keep them back from obeying the Vocation : A man's enemies are those of his own household, says our Divine Master: and again: I am come to set a man at variance against his father and the daughter against her mother. . . . He that loveth father and mother more than Me is not worthy of Me [Matt. viii. 34.]. The creature's duty is God alone.

(13) So shall the King have pleasure in thy Beauty : for He is the Lord thy God, and they shall worship Him.

The call to the mystic espousals. The Carmelite, following many of the mediaeval interpreters, takes thy beauty to refer to the Blessed Sacrament, the Sacrament of all beauty as well as of all love. The gift to the Bride is so much her own, that He who gave it, as it were, desires it and has pleasure in it. So they compare the text : With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you [Luke xxii. 15.]; and the words of this verse ; that is, this Passover, this better than Passover, which is the source of every great act of endurance or of daring, this Passover which has prepared every elect soul for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb—this belonging now rather to the Bridegroom to be His special beauty—this I have pleasure in. As how should He not, when such a multitude of petitions, arising from every corner of the earth, are accepted in heaven by the beauty and might of that Sacrifice in which, though Christ being risen from the dead, dieth no more, yet He still vouchsafes to offer Himself under the hands of sinful priests and, as the great High Priest, to offer that same Sacrifice at the throne of God the Father.

And they shall worship Him. Although the King of our heart is so gracious and tender in His love, yet we must never forget that He is the Lord our God. As a holy anchoress of the days of Edward III., Julian of Norwich, says in her Revelations : "Flee we to our Lord and we shall be comforted, touch we Him and we shall be made clean ; cleave we to Him, and we shall be secure and safe from all manner of perils; for our courteous Lord willeth that we be as homely with Him as heart may think or soul may desire. But be we ware that we take not so recklessly this homeliness, for to leave courtesy ; for our Lord Himself is sovereign homeliness, and so homely as He is so courteous is He, for He is very courteous. [Sixteenth Revelation, chap. Ixxvi. I.]

(14) And the daughters of Tyre entreat Thy favours with gifts; and all the rich among the people.

St. Augustine thus explains this passage: They who came from the East to bring their offerings to Christ were not its daughters but its sons. Why then does it speak of the daughters of Tyre, the meaning being the same ? Because, as the Apostle says, In Christ there is neither male nor female [Gal. iii. 28.]. And, again, says the great Carmelite expositor, why the daughters of Tyre ? Because Tyre, as the Empress of the Sea, is a type of the powers of this world, seeing that in the next there shall be no more sea [Apoc. xxi. I.]. But more truly, perhaps, the Carthusian, who beholds in the daughters of Tyre, famous for its purple, the self-oblation of the martyrs, according to that saying of Nahum the prophet : The shield of His mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet [ii. 3.]. There is much force, too, in the meaning of the word Tyre, strictly a " rock," and thus taken for " strong" or " mighty." The daughters of Him who was made the Rock of Holy Church bring to our ever dear and blessed Lady the gifts which have come to them from her intercession. They recognise her as the Queen of Virgins, and honour and reverence her as such. They are the rich among the people as being in a state of perfection and the objects of God's intimate love. The closer the union which exists between the Bride and the Bridegroom the closer must be the bond existing between them and His mother ; and daily do they bring their tribute of love and homage, their gifts, whereby they entreated her face to be gracious unto them with her Son.

(15) The King's Daughter is all glorious within : in golden embroideries surrounded about with diversity.

And first observe how this King, Who made the Marriage for His Son, calls the Bride His daughter. O blessed soul, so says an old writer, lifted up from the more earthly love, raised above the wretched cares of this world, changed from Leah into Rachel, having the heritage of Israel instead of the toils of Jacob, who art received in the loving arms of such a Bridegroom, and made partaker of the kingdom of such a Father. And why should it be said that the King's daughter rather than the King's Bride is all glorious ? Truly, because that most loving Bridegroom wooed and obtained His Bride, not on the throne of His glory but in the depth of His humility. The new Eve was created out of the side of an Adam who slept no sleep of rest, but the hard slumber of the Cross.

Within; that is, as nearly all commentators take it, within the palace, the inner chamber whereof the Spouse sings in the Canticle : The King hath brought me unto His chamber [Cant. i. 3.]. An emblem, this inner chamber, of the interior and contemplative life in which is the real beauty which ravishes the heart of the Beloved. All external work is as nothing in His eyes, save and except as it is the outward manifestation of the beauty within. The Carmelite remarks that in this verse there is a prophecy of the history of the Church.

The King's daughter is all glorious within. There you have the holiness of the Church so glorious with martyrs, so illustrious with confessors, so resplendent with ascetics. In the rest of the verse we have that more dangerous period of her history when the world bestowed her treasures on the Church, and so many of her children, by receiving them, became worldly and lost their savour. St. Gregory of Tours (595) saw and lamented this, and said : In the days of old there were crosses of wood, but bishops of gold.

In golden embroideries. The royal robe of God's kingly love which He throws over His Spouse.

Surrounded about with variety. The spirit of the Church is not that of a hard, mechanical uniformity ; for where the faith is one the outward expressions, or rather the practical workings out of that inward unity, can be left to the Spirit Who breatheth where He willeth [John iii. 8.]. The wonderful variety which surrounds the heavenly Spouse ; the ever varying sequence of fast and festival, the sevenfold hours, the grades of the heirarchy, the natural instincts of various nations manifesting itself in the liturgies, architecture, painting, sculpture, music, and ceremonial; all these are differences in oneness, all unity in multiplicity [It was the largeness of mind, that eminently benedictine characteristic, which made the monk, Pope Gregory the Great, write thus to St. Augustine when that saint was laying deep the foundation of the English Church. "You know, my brother, the custom of the Roman Church in which you remember you were bred up. But it pleases me that if you found anything either in the Roman, or the Gallican, or any other church which may be more acceptable to Almighty God, you carefully make choice of the same and sedulously teach the Church of the English, which, as yet, is new in the Faith, whatsoever you can gather from the several churches. For things are not to be loved for the sake of places, but places for the sake of good things" (Beds. Hist, EccL, Book i. cap. 27). This was the principle of girting the heavenly Spouse about with diversity, each nation after its own kind giving forth praise to God,].

(16) After her shall virgins be brought unto the King : her fellows shall be brought unto Thee.

The Church, or our Lady, is fruitful to her Divine Spouse, and brings to Him other virgins in her train whose spiritual beauty gladdens His heart.

Her fellows. St. Bernard, in his sermons on the Canticle of Canticles, which he preached to Cistercian nuns, thus comments on these words: O Lord how am I to interpret this fulness of meaning ? Am I to say that these my children are her fellows, her equals, who is the fulness of Him that filleth all in all ! Or, how can I say that they are equals of Her who is the Mother of my Lord and my God ? So let us rather take her as the type and representative of every faithful soul; the likeness and pattern of them, as Abraham is called the Father of the faithful. The Virgins then, and what a multitude they are, who follow her as she follows the King and Lord of the Virgins, shall bear her company. Sweet society of them that are called by the same name ; of them that profess the same desire ! O most foul reproach and ignominy of them who, while they profess the same wish, are yet torn asunder by the various lusts of this world, of their own hearts, or of him (hat is the father and founder of all divisions, Satan.

(17) With joy and gladness shall they be brought, and shall enter into the King's temple.

And oh, what a joy will that be, says a mediaeval writer, when they, who have so struggled among the thorns here, shall be transformed by Him Who now wears the crown of gold there. What when they, who have trod in the King's footsteps below, shall be received to the King's embraces above ! What when they who have thought it so much but to see the print of His feet upon earth, shall be kissed with the kisses of His lips [Cant. i. I.] in the heavenly kingdom ! What words can express, what heart can devise these good things which the true Solomon hath prepared for the soul that, like another Queen of Sheba, comes from a far country to behold His glory ? And what shall we say of them who, because of the six miserable lions that wait on this side and on that, according to the six footsteps of the throne [2 Paralip ix. 18.], shall be afraid to approach to Him, the Lion of Juda Who sitteth upon the Throne.

(18) Instead of thy fathers thou shalt have children whom thou make princes in all lands.

Theodoret remarks that the Hebrew shows that these words are spoken to the King, not to the Queen. Following St. Augustine, we may here compare the Synagogue with the Church, the Law with the Gospel, the letter with the spirit.

Thy fathers. The types, the prophecies, the histories, the miracles ; everything that might lean forward to Him in Whom all types form their antitypes, in Whom all histories find their fulfilment, in Whom all miracles are turned into that chief of all miracles—God Incarnate. Or, with the Carmelite, we may take this verse as recalling the doctrine of the Apostolical Succession. As the wise man says: One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh [Eccles. i. 4.] ; and all these are princes to carry on the government of the Church, chiefs to extend its dominions among them that serve other gods ; and yet obedient to that unchangeable Faith and Authority, and offering the unceasing Sacrifice. It has been well said by St. Augustine : Think not thyself undone because thou hast not beheld Paul, because thou cannot see Peter, because thou lookest not upon those through whom thou wast born. Out of thine own offspring has a multitude of fathers been raised up to thee. See how widely diffused is the King's temple of which we read before. This is the universal Church : this is she whose children go to the uttermost islands of the seas, to call men to come to the one Body and be led to the glorious temple of the King.

Princes in all lands. All those who share in the Kingly priesthood of intercession, those who are chosen to be official representatives of the Church, and are privileged to join in the Liturgical Prayer. These words are used in both Office and Mass in reference to the Apostles, and therefore to all who share in the Apostolic work of teaching Christ and Him crucified [I Cor. ii. 2.].

(19) They shall be mindful of Thy Name from generation to generation.

Thy name. That name which was prophesied in Josue, the leader of the children of Israel into the promised land ; still further honoured by Jesus, the son of Josedech, the high priest, him who stood before the Lord, Satan standing at his right hand to resist him [Zack. iii. I. ] ; and lastly, as foretold by the angel to St. Joseph, as of Him who should save His people from their sins. It is of this name the Spouse speaks in the Canticles, Let me hear Thy voice, for pleasant is Thy Name [Cant. ii. 14.]. Thus the Carthusian.

They shall be mindful. We have here the Church's promise to her Lord, calling all her children " Christians," and bringing His Name in at the close of all her petitions before the Father's throne.

(20) Wherefore shall the peoples give thanks to Thee for ever and ever.

The peoples; that is, says the Carmelite, the ransomed peoples who have cast off the dross and the dregs of this world. Here is fulfilled what is written of the wise man : The remembrance of Josias (Jesus) is like the composition of a perfume that is made by the art of the perfumer, it is sweet as honey in all mouths, and as music at a banquet of wine [Eccles. xlix. I.] ; or in the same chapter : So was Jesus, the son of josedech, Who in His days builded the house and set up a holy temple to the Lord which was prepared for everlasting glory [Ibid. v. 54.].


Glory be to the Father, the God Who anoints the Christ; and to the Son the King, Who is the Bridegroom of our souls ; and to the Holy Ghost the heavenly Unction, the Spirit Who saith to the Bride, Come [Apoc. xxii. 17.].


God shall help her with His regard : God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved.

If the last antiphon shadowed forth the spiritual beauty of the Spouse of the Lamb, and pre-eminently that of our ever dear and blessed Lady, the present one, which is also taken from its own Psalm, gives us the source of it all. He hath regarded the lowliness of His handmaiden [Luke i. 48.], sang our Lady in the joy of the Visitation, confessing that it was through no merit of her own that she was chosen to the peerless dignity of the Divine Maternity. Our good Master teaches us the same ; for when a woman in the crowd, lost in admiration at His teaching, called out, Blessed the womb that bear Thee and the paps that gave Thee suck, He turned and said, Nay, rather, blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it [Luke ii. 28.] ; meaning thereby that Mary had been chosen to be His Mother by the free choice of God ; but it was by her hearing the Word of God, when spoken by the angel, by her free and generous consent, by her sincere submission of her whole being to the designs of her Maker, that she merited blessings. Her ceaseless union with God, ever keeping the Word of God in her heart, that is, fashioning herself upon the model of her divine Son, and making Him live in her, kept her immovable ; so that though the storms came, and the wind blew, and the rain beat upon that house, it stood—for it was founded on a Rock [Matt. vii. 25.].

From - The Little Office of Our Lady; a treatise theoretical, practical, and exegetical - Taunton, Ethelred L. (Ethelred Luke), 1857-1907