THE EPISTLE OF S. PAUL TO PHILEMON.
10 My son whom I have begotten in my bonds.
Much more, and in a more excellent sense, did Mary become our Mother through her Dolours.
THE EPISTLE OF S. PAUL TO THE HEBREWS. CHAPTER I.
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the figure of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, making purgation of bins, sitteth on the right hand of the majesty on high
4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath inherited a more excellent name than they.
5 For to which of the angels hath he said at any time, Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee ? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son ?
6 And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith: And let all the angels of God adore him.
7 And to the angels indeed he saith: He that maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
8 But to the Son: Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of justice is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
9 Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity: therefore, God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
10 And : Thou in the beginning, O Lord, didst found the earth: and the works of thy hands are the heavens.
11 They shall perish, but thou shalt continue : and they shall all grow old as a garment.
12 And as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: but thou art the self-same, and thy years shall not fail.
13 But to which of the angels said he at any time : Sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool.
14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation ?
Is Mary the brightness of her Son's glory ; or, is Jesus the brightness of His Mother's glory ? Both. Here we may apply to Jesus and Mary those words of the Apostle: " The Man is the image and glory of God, but the Woman is the glory of the Man. For the Man is not of the Woman, but the Woman of the Man : for the Man was not created for the Woman, but the Woman for the Man. But yet neither is the Man without the Woman, nor the Woman without the Man." [1 Cor. xi. 7-11] Besides if S. Paul could write to his disciples : " You have known us in part that we are your glory, as you also are ours in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ," [2 Cor. i. 11.] could not the Son of God say to his Mother : I am thy glory, as thou also art Mine ? But 0 what a glory for Mary, to possess Him, to be able to boast of as her very own, the Blessed Fruit of her womb, Him Who is the brightness of His Father's glory! No wonder that she was seen " clothed with the Sun." [Apoc. xii. 1.]
S. Ephrem, especially, speaks frequently of Jesus being the glory of Mary, thus : " With everything didst Thou adorn her, Thou ornament of Thy Mother." " Because He put His Mother's garment on, she clothed her body with His glory." " Thy Mother put on in her virginity the garment of Glory that sufficeth for all." [Rhythm viii., Morris p. 41 ; R. xii. p. 51 ; R. xii. p. 53.]
Mary's Son sitteth on the right hand of the Majesty on high. Of this the Angel told the Blessed Virgin at the moment when the Son of God was about to take flesh of her, in order to make purgation of sins: " He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High . . . and of His kingdom there shall be no end." [Luke i. 32.] Gabriel had spoken, indeed, of "the throne of David His father ;" but Mary knew the words of David : "The Lord said to My Lord : Sit Thou on My right hand." Mary also has her throne at the right hand of Jesus. James and John had coveted that place, but they forgot His Mother's claims.
The Apostle contends that Jesus Christ is so much better and greater than the angels, in that He has inherited a far more excellent name than they, that is to say, of Son of God. By parity of reason, though of course on other grounds—not by virtue of hypostatic union and of right, but by grace-Mary is greater and higher than the angels, on account of the so much more excellent name which belongs to her, viz., that of Mother of the Son of God, in virtue of her Divine Maternity : " Of whom was born Jesus." To which of the angels could He say at any time : Thou art My Mother, to-day was I born of thee ? [" The Maker of all things, and the Father of ages He saith that He hath to-day begotten; that by attaching a term indicative of time to the season of His Generation, the words may bring before one not the Existence before the ages, but the Generation in time by the Flesh for man's salvation" (S. Greg. Nyss. i. p. 386 d). "One saith, As for this Child, this day was His birth (Is. ix. 6 ; Ps. ii. 7): and another, The Ancient of Days, and the Elder of all the Creation " (Dan. vii. 6 ; Eccles. i. 4.)— S. Ephrem, Rhythm against the Jews. Morris, p. 67.] And again : I will be to her a Son, and she shall be to Me a Mother ? And again : Let the Son of God be subject to Mary ? If the Son has His throne for ever and ever, is anointed King, and exalted above all creation at the right hand of the Eternal Father, His enemies being made His footstool, where shall be the place for Mary, the Mother of this Divine Son, of this anointed King — for her who gave Him that Humanity which is thus exalted in His Divine Person? David shall tell us where, in the very passage to which S. Paul here refers : " The Queen stood on thy right hand in gilded clothing ; surrounded with variety . . . her beauty the King shall greatly desire . . . All the glory of the King's daughter is within, in golden borders, clothed round with varieties . . . After her shall virgins be brought to the King . . . her neighbours shall be brought." [Ps. xliv. 9-16.] S. John also will tell us of her in her glory, as " a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars." [Apoc. xii. 1.] Verily is the glory of Mary exalted above that of all the Angels ; for are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them who shall receive the inheritance of salvation ; and is she not the true Mother of Him, Who is the head of all principality and power, the Redeemer and the Author of salvation 1 We should here bear in mind that when the Eternal Father brought in the First-begotten into the world at His birth in the stable of Bethlehem, and all the angels of God adored Him, Mary, His Mother was there. How profoundly must they then have venerated her. This is S. Bonaventure's thought. " But if," says a devout writer commenting on it, "those blessed spirits paid veneration to Mary whilst she was still on earth, what honour think you, do they render to her now that she holds the first place in heaven after God, in splendour of unimaginable glory on her throne at the right hand of her most dearly beloved Son ?" [Alexius a Salo, De art. amandi Deip. c. i.]