Mary in the Epistles by Thomas Stiverd Livius. Comments on the Epistles part 21


15 But when it pleased him, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,

16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles, immediately I condescended not to flesh and blood.

What was S. Paul's predestination and call by grace com pared with Mary's, who, conceived immaculate, was full of grace from her Mother's womb ? How far more excellently was the Eternal Son of God revealed in Mary ! Not that she might preach Him, but that, as the fruit of her womb, He might be made of her, be suckled, nourished, guarded, educated, offered up in sacrifice by her. Mary condescended not to flesh and blood. From tenderest years she gave herself entirely to God, forgetting her kindred, and her parents' home. She condescended not to natural affection, even for her Jesus, fore going much of His dear companionship during the three years of His public ministry : and at last on Calvary she sacrificed Him to death, as she allowed the sword of sorrow to pierce her Mother's heart for the salvation of sinners.

19 Saving James the brother of the Lord. 

See what is said supra, 1 Cor. ix. 5.

24 And they glorified God in me.

Much more in our praises of Mary, may we glorify God in her.


19 For I, through the law, am dead to the law, that I may live to God: with Christ I am nailed to the Cross.

20 And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered himself for me.

In a far higher sense than S. Paul, could Mary say : With Christ I am nailed to the Cross — that Mother who stood those three hours by the Cross whereon her own Son was hanging nailed, whilst their two hearts one sword was piercing. What else was her heart's language on Calvary, but, With Christ I am nailed to the Cross ? " By the King of Martyrs stood the Martyrs' Queen, wounded with her Son's wounds, crucified together with the Crucified, transfixed with the same sword of sorrow, so that better could she say than S. Paul With Christ am I nailed to the Cross" [Summa Aurea, De Laud. B.M. V. Tom. 4, p. 1337.] What else her language during those long lingering years that followed, but, I live, now not I, etc.? Who loved me, and delivered Himself for me. If the Apostle could thus, so to say, individualise to himself his Saviour's redeeming love, in a far higher sense could Mary do this, as being redeemed and loved in a more excellent way than the Apostle. Hence she exclaims : " Exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo"


1 Before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been set forth, crucified among you.

If to have Jesus crucified vividly represented before their eyes were a great grace for the Galatians, and a motive and means of their loving obedience : had not Mary this and much more ? Stabant juxta crucem. " You," says S. Ambrose, "behold indeed a painful funeral. But holy Mary, too, stood close to the Cross of her Son, and the Virgin gazed at the passion of her only Child. I read of her standing, I read not of her weeping. Hence her Son said to her: ' Woman, behold thy son ;' and to the disciple He said: 'Behold thy Mother,' [John xix. 26, 27.] bequeathing to them the inheritance of His charity and grace," [De obitu Valent. Consolatio, 39.]

6 Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him unto justice.

7 Know ye therefore, that they who are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

8 And the Scripture foreseeing, that God justifieth the Gentiles by faith, told unto Abraham before: In thee shall all nations be blessed.

9 Therefore they that are of faith, shall be blessed with faithful Abraham.

See supra, Rom. iv. 3, 18. How much more in Mary, than in Abraham, are all these promises fulfilled. How much more blessed are we as children of Mary, than as children of Abraham. All the blessing that attaches to the seed and children of Abraham culminates in Mary [Luke i. 28, 42 ; xi. 27, 28.] : and she appropriates it peculiarly to herself. [Luke i. 48.] From her it is derived to her children. [Ih. v. 50, 54, 55.] The type has given place to the antitype. Now it is Mary's, rather than Abraham's, blessed seed. If we keep part in Mary's living faith, we shall lie blessed with faithful Mary.

14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ: that we may receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.

16 To Abraham were the promises made, and to his seed. He saith not, And to his seeds, as of many: but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise. But God gave it to Abraham by promise.

22 But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise, by the faith of Jesus Christ, might be given to them that believe.

26 For you are all the children of God by faith, in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many of you as have been baptised in Christ, have put on Christ.

29 But if you be Christ's, then are you the seed of Abraham, heirs according to the promise.

To Mary, may we say, the promises were fulfilled, and to her own Son Jesus Christ, that the blessing of Mary might come upon all generations through Jesus Christ: that we might receive the promise of the Spirit by faith, being baptised into Christ, and putting on Christ. Made thus one in Christ Jesus, and being Christ's, we are all the children of Mary, His Mother and ours, and heirs according to the promise: "He that believeth, and is baptised, shall be saved." [Mark xvi. 16.]