Mary in the Epistles by Thomas Stiverd Livius. Comments on the Epistles part 9


4 I give thanks to my God always for you, for the grace of God that is given you in Christ Jesus.

5 That in all things you are made rich in him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

6 As the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,

7 So that nothing is wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

8 Who also will confirm you unto the end without crime, in the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 God is faithful: by whom you are called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

To encourage the Corinthian converts, the Apostle reminds them of God's faithfulness : that He who had been pleased to call them to the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ, would assuredly not fail to confirm them by His grace, and enable them to persevere to the end in their Christian vocation. For whenever God calls anyone to a particular state or office, He gives at the same time graces proportioned thereto ; whereby he who is thus called may duly carry out his vocation and worthily fulfil its duties. So did God deal with Mary. He was faithful to her. In choosing Mary not alone for fellowship with Jesus Christ, but for the divine Maternity, He bestowed upon her the fulness of grace ; and in all things she was made rich in Him, so that nothing was wanting to her in any grace that might befit her to be the worthy Mother of His Son. He continued as He began. He confirmed her unto the end ; and the glory of her Assumption corresponded to the grace of her Immaculate Conception.

24 But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men ; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For see your vocation, brethren, that there are not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble :

27 But the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the wise; and the weak things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the strong.

28 And the base things of the world, and the things that are contemptible hath God chosen, and things that are not, that he might bring to nought things that are :

29 That no flesh should glory in his sight.

30 But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and justice, and sanctification, and redemption :

31 That, as it is written : He that glorieth, may glory in the Lord.

Mary is the ideal type of Divine vocation and election. In God's choice of the humble maiden of Nazareth to be the Mother of His Only-begotten Son, is perfectly exemplified all the Apostle here says, even according to her own words: "Ecce ancilla Domini. Respexit humilitatem ancillae suae. Fecit mihi magna qui potens est. Fecit potentiam in brachio suo. Dispersit superbos mente cordis sui. Deposuit potentes de sede, et exaltavit humiles."

"The more illustrious Mary and Joseph were by true and perfect nobility of birth, the more were they gentle, meek, mild, and humble. , . . The Apostle is here speaking especially of the preachers, by whom the world was to be converted to the Faith : and it was fitting that these should be plebeian and uneducated, lest to their own power and wisdom or dignity might be ascribed what God Himself wrought by His grace, and through their ministry, and thus 'the Cross of Christ should be made void.' But it was not fitting that in His domestic service the King of kings should be nurtured by the ignoble in mind or body : nor was it meet, that He, to whom myriads of angels minister, should select for His reputed father, one who was ignoble ; nor that He who chose out a Virgin—whom the sun and moon, and all the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem admire—for His Mother, should suffer her to be espoused to a man of mean origin. It, moreover, became Christ the Lord to exalt the Blessed Virgin as much as He was able, and she herself was capable, and to ennoble and magnify her, since it was unfitting that He should expose His own Mother to reproach of lack of nobility." [Morales, L. ii. Tr. 9.]

"The sacerdotal line," says S. Austin, "differed from the royal line, which had its origin in one of David's sons, who, according to the custom, married a wife from the sacerdotal line. Hence Mary belonged to both tribes, and had her descent in the royal and sacerdotal lines." [De divert. Qucest. 61, n. 2.] " Christ was born, " says the Saint again, " of a Mother, who—although she conceived in perfect purity, and ever remained inviolate, a Virgin conceiving, a Virgin giving birth, a Virgin at death—yet was espoused to a carpenter, and thus extinguished in herself all pride of noble birth." [De catechisand. rudib. n. 22.] If Jesus Christ has come to be, by so many titles, the glory of all Christians (see v.v. 24, 31), what has He not become to His own most blessed Mother ?