THE FIRST EPISTLE OF S. PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS. CHAPTER III.
9 We are God's coadjutors: you are God's husbandry, you are God's building.
S. Paul could take to himself the title of God's coadjutor, on account of the work that he did in the vineyard of the Lord, and in edifying the faithful. With how much greater meaning may we give this title, or that of co-redemptress, to Mary, who co-operated in the divine work of our Redemption, by giving birth to the Lord of the vineyard, and in raising the true Temple of God, the Incarnate Word, [See John ii. 21. Heb. viii. 2 ; ix. 11; x. 20.] and also in forming the Mystical Body of Christ, as delegated Mother of the faithful, in a sense higher than S. Paul could be said to do. The part of the Apostles was to help in applying the Redemption, while that of Mary was to aid in accomplishing it.
16 Know you not, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ?
17 But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.
What then must be the sanctity of Mary, who is the Temple of God, not alone in a degree far surpassing that of all other Christians, but in a way in which no other could be ? Not only was it said to Mary, Ave gratia plena, Dominus tecum, but also, spiritus sanctus supervemet in te, et virtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi. Ideoque et quod nascetur ex te Sanctum vocabitur Filius Dei. If S. John could say : Verbum caro factam est, et habitavit in nobis : how much more might he say, Habitavit in Maria.
1 Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God.
2 Here now it is required among the dispensers, that a man be found faithful.
S. Paul claimed veneration for himself as an Apostle on account of his being a minister of Christ, and a dispenser of divine mysteries. Mary is the true Mother of Jesus Christ : by her we have received not divine mysteries, but God Incarnate Himself, and He has made her the dispenser of His graces. Hence, at once on her becoming the Mother of God, she dispensed His graces of justification and sanctification to S. John the Baptist and S. Elizabeth. Mary, the " Virgo fidelis," was found faithful. How then do our Lord and His Church will that we should account of her ?
7 For who distinguished thee ? Or what hast thou that thou hast not received ? And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it ?
Mary in her Magnificat glories not in herself, but in Him who distinguished her, and from whom she had received all. If we glorify her as receiving, we give glory to God.
14 I write not these things to confound you; but I admonish you as my dearest children.
15 For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you.
16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ.
How much more is Mary our Mother than S. Paul our Father. And with how much more touching force might Mary say: " If you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet no other Mother : for at the foot of the Cross did I give you spiritual birth in Jesus Christ. Wherefore I admonish you as my dearest children, and beseech you, listen to the precept of our Saviour, who when dying said : 'Behold your Mother.' Be ye, then, followers of Me, as I also am of Christ."