THE EPISTLE OF S. PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE ROMANS. CHAPTER XVI.
1 And I commend to you Phebe, our sister, who is in the ministry of the church, that is in Cenchre:
2 That you receive her in the Lord as becometh saints; and that you assist her in whatsoever business she shall have need of you. For she also hath assisted many, and myself also.
3 Salute Prisca and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus,
4 (Who have for my life laid down their own necks: to whom not I only give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles),
5 And the church which is in their house. Salute Epenetus, my beloved: who is the first fruits of Asia in Christ.
6 Salute Mary, who hath laboured much among you.
7 Salute Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and fellow-prisoners : who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
8 Salute Ampliatus, most beloved to me in the Lord.
9 Salute Urbanus, our helper in Christ Jesus, and Stachys, my beloved.
10 Salute Appelles, approved in Christ.
11 Salute them that are of Aristobulus's household. Salute Herodian, my kinsman. Salute them that are of Narcissus's household, who are in the Lord.
12 Salute Tryphena and Traphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute Persis, the dearly beloved, who hath much labour in the Lord.
13 Salute Rufus, elect in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
14 Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hernias, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren that are with them.
15 Salute Philologus and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympias; and all the saints that are with them.
16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. All the churches of Christ salute you.
Our Lord Jesus Christ made another commendation through the beloved disciple, to all His faithful, as He was on the point of expiring on the Cross: I commend to you Mary, My Mother, whom I give to be your Mother — " After that, He saith to the disciple : Behold thy Mother." [John xix. 27.] —that you receive her for My sake, look upon her, love, cherish, confide in her, honour her as your Mother, after My example, and precept, as becometh My disciples. For she also hath assisted many through her prayers, and is now assisting at My death. Should we not all imitate the example of that beloved disciple, who heard our Lord's commendation: " From that hour the disciple took her to his own " ? [John xix. 27.] In these words of the Apostle we may find by analogy great motives of devotion to our Lady, if we consider (1) the act which S. Paul enjoins, (2) by whom it is to be performed, (3) the reasons given. 1. Salute. An act of love, an act of reverence, an act of gratitude ; a token of communion, as S. John says. [2 John i. 10, 11.] Salutation belongs by right to Mary ; for it was the salutation she merited from heaven which was the beginning and cause of every loving Christian salutation. As Suarez says, there would have been no Dominus vobiscum in the Church, had not the word been spoken to Mary, Dominus tecum. 2. The Apostle writes to a whole Church, clergy and laity. The whole Church is to perform this public act of salutation. All were to salute each other with a holy kiss, but certain eminent members were to receive a more honourable and public salutation ; 3. Why ? They had eminently deserved it. (a) But what is it to have helped S. Paul, compared with having helped Jesus Christ as Mary did ? If to have risked life for an Apostle merits the thanks of the whole Church, how much more to have offered up the life of an only son, and such a Son as Jesus, and to such a death. (b) If Epinetus was the first-fruits in Asia, what was Mary ? Think of the thirty years she was in Christ before any one of the Apostles knew Him even by name, (c) If the Roman Mary laboured much, how had the Mary laboured and suffered ? "All for us did she prefer the lily of virginity, and offer up her Son, the fruit of her fecundity, and pay for us the entire merit of her virtue." [B. Albert. Magn., super Missus est.]
It was in the full realisation of the Communion of Saints that the Apostle saluted with such affectionate greetings so many of the faithful at Rome, naming each by name, and recounting the individual claims of each one on his memory. He and they were separated from bodily presence, but they were closely knit together in soul and spirit by the Communion of Saints. And is that communion lost, when the soul is set free, released from the prison of the flesh, and united to God in Paradise ? Or, is not then the communion strengthened between the souls of those who are in God's grace on earth, and the souls of the Blessed in heaven 1 ? Hear our great Apostle : " You are come," he says, " to Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many thousands of angels, and to the Church of the first-born, who are written in the heavens, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the New Testament, and to the sprinkling of the Blood which speaketh better than that of Abel." l We are come then to Mary the glorious Mother of Jesus Christ, the Queen of Angels and of Saints ; and we love to salute her, to give her thanks, to show her the devotion of our most tender love. If we recount the claims that she has on our heart's affections, we find them manifold more, and higher far than those of Prisca and Aquila and Epenetus and Apelles 011 the memory of S. Paul. How has Mary not helped us in Jesus Christ by her compassion and intercession with Him ! Was she not ready to lay down her own life, and did she not in fact offer up a life ten thousand times more precious to her than her own, for our sakes [Heb. xii. 22-24.] We salute her, then, and also all the Churches of the Catholic world salute and give her thanks : Hail, Holy Queen, our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope ! Shall we not greet her as, Most beloved to us in the Lord; the first-fruits of Redemption ; that Mary who has laboured so much for us by her dolours, watchful care, and prayers ; the Queen of Apostles, the elect, and first, and most approved of the disciples of Christ. As we salute Jesus our .Redeemer, so do we salute also His Mother and ours —and Joseph her Spouse, together with our special patrons and protectors, and all the Saints that are with them. And do you, 0 blessed ones, salute one another for us in your bliss above, and obtain for us by your continual prayers that one day we may join you. We with all the Churches of Christ on earth salute you.
20 The God of peace crush Satan under your feet speedily. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
The Apostle prays that God may crush Satan under their feet shortly, and for this end supplicates for them the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. He here refers to Genesis iii. 15. Where God promised that " the Woman," that is, Mary the Second Eve, should crush the serpent's head. From the first moment of her conception the grace of God was with Mary. Dominus tecum. She found grace, and was full of grace, so that she had not to wait to crush Satan under her feet, but did so effectually in the first moment of her existence, so that he never had any power against her, nor can have now against those whom she defends.