Mary in the Epistles by Thomas Stiverd Livius. Comments on the Epistles part 16


3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.

4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation; that we also may be able to comfort them who are in all distress, by the exhortation, wherewith we also are exhorted by God.

5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us: so also by Christ doth our comfort abound.

6 Now whether we be in tribulation, it is for your exhortation and salvation : or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation : or whether we be exhorted, it is for your exhortation and salvation, which worketh the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer.

7 That our hope for you may be steadfast: knowing that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation.

If S. Paul could speak thus, much more could Mary. If we put his words into her lips, how much greater is their force and meaning. Try Mary by the canon laid down by the Apostle : As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so also by Christ doth our comfort abound. Who can compare with Mary in abounding in the sufferings of Christ ? Where then shall we look for such abounding comfort as in her? In the fulness of her joy on Easter-day, after the anguish of Good-Friday, well might she exclaim : " According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart, Thy comforts have given joy to my soul." [Ps. xciii. 19.] And not only in Mary, but also from her may we look for most abundant comfort. For if S. Paul's own individual tribulations and comfort were all for our salvation and consolation, accomplishing the enduring of the same sufferings in measure in us, much more were Mary's dolours and joys for our salvation and consolation. Since Mary suffered and was consoled, not in general, as a disciple and servant of Jesus Christ, but she, as Mother of the Redeemer, took part in, or rather endured along with Him, all those particular sufferings which He Himself in person underwent for our redemption ; and in like manner all His consolations and joys were her's also. If, then, S. Paul's sufferings and consolations were for the good of the faithful, how much more so were those of Mary the Mother of all the faithful. Should we not, therefore, bless the Father of mercies for giving us our Mother of Dolours to be such an example, hope, and consolation to us in our tribulations.

10 Who hath delivered and doth deliver us out of so great dangers; in whom we trust that he will yet also deliver us.

11 You helping withal in prayer for us : that for this gift obtained for us, by the means of many persons, thanks may be given by many in our behalf.

If the Apostle could ascribe such signal mercies to the prayers of the Corinthians, trust so confidently in their inter cession, and see therein only another great means of glorifying God, what must be the efficacy of the intercession of Mary the Mother of God. What should be our confidence and perseverance in asking it ; and what immense glory will accrue to God therefrom. We see from this that hope in the prayers of Saints, especially of the Blessed Virgin, is not only consistent with, but also a great proof of, trust in God.

14 As also you have known us in part, that we are your glory, as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Mother of Mercy is the glory of us poor sinners, and we poor sinners shall be her glory in eternity.


6 Who also hath made us fit ministers of the New Testament, not in the letter, but in the spirit. For the letter killeth, but the spirit quickeneth.

7 Now if the ministration of death, engraven with letters upon stones, was glorious; so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance, which is made void:

8 How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather in glory?

9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more the ministration of justice aboundeth in glory.

If God rendered the Apostles every way fit for their office of delivering the message of the New Testament of Jesus Christ; He surely made her, by whom came Jesus Christ, in every way a worthy Mother of His Son. [See the citations from S. Bernardine of Sienna, S. Thomas, S. Augustine, and S. Sophronius, supra, p. 89.] How may we compare the ministration of the New Testament with the Divine Maternity? How, then, compare the gifts of the Apostles with those of the Divine Mother ? Much more, then, must she abound in glory.

18 But we all beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.

What astonishing words to be addressed to all Christians ! What language may, then, be too great for her, who lived her life, as it were, for nothing else than to behold, as no other -could, the glory of the Lord ! " The Word was made flesh of me," might Mary say, " and dwelt in me, and with me, and I saw His glory, the glory, as it were, of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." [John i. 14.] From what heights to what heights again of glory was Mary raised ; and — as she lived, and lived beholding the glory of the Lord—how perfectly was she transformed into His image by the Spirit of the Lord, Who came upon her, overshadowed, and remained ever with her. " With reason the Church ascribes to Mary things that literally are spoken of Divine Wisdom, for so wondrously had she part in the Divine Being, drank in so -much of that divine fountain, was made so like to God, in such wise did He form Himself into her, that just as when we see a man endowed with very great wisdom we are wont to say that he seems to be wisdom itself: so divine titles are given to Mary, not that she is God, for she is but a creature, yet one so adorned with divine gifts, and abounding with heavenly riches, that we give her divine names. Every just man, for that matter, partakes of the divine likeness, and is, so to say, a sort of God, since in him is effected what the Apostle says : We are transformed into the same image ; but in various manner, according to the different degree of the participation of God's grace ; and since this in Mary was in all its plenitude, there was also in all its plenitude an assimilation of her to the Divine Wisdom and Goodness." [Osorius, Conc. 3 De Concept. Mariae, ap. Morales, L. iii. Tr. 3.]