The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 2

An ancient writer, whose works are to be found amongst those of St. Epiphanius, writes as follows:

"From the root of Jesse sprung King David and from the family of King David the holy Virgin— holy I say and the daughter of holy men. Her parents were Joachim and Anne, who pleased God in their life, and bore fruit also pleasing to Him— even the holy Virgin Mary, at once the Temple and the Mother of God. These three, moreover, Joachim, Anne and Mary, offered to the Trinity a sacrifice of praise. For Joachim is interpreted the Preparation of the Lord, since it was from him that the Temple of the Lord was prepared, even the Virgin. Anne is interpreted Grace, because Joachim and Anne received grace, after having prayed, to bear such fruit, by obtaining the holy Virgin. For whilst Joachim prayed on the mountain, Anne prayed in her garden. Anne then conceived and gave birth to Heaven and the Throne of the Cherubim, the holy child Mary. For she will be found to be Heaven, a Temple and a Throne, since she, whose name of Mary we are wont to interpret Lady and also Hope, gave birth to the Lord—who is the Hope of the whole world—that is, to Christ. Again, this Name of Mary is interpreted Myrrh of the Sea. By myrrh may be understood—and this is my opinion—immortality, since she was to bring forth the immortal Pearl in the sea—that is, in the world. Moreover, the Virgin brought serenity and calm to the sea, that is to the whole world, by giving birth to Christ, who is a Haven of rest. The Blessed Name of the Glorious Virgin Mary is also interpreted, She who is full of light, since she was illumined by the Son of God and has enlightened all who believe in the Trinity, even to the ends of the earth." (Oratio v. In laudes S. M. Deiparae inter opp. S. Epiphanii.)

And St. Peter Chrysologus :

" The Angel treats with Mary about man's salvation, because an Angel had treated with Eve about his ruin. ... 'Fear not, Mary. 1 Before the mystery is accomplished, the Virgin's dignity is announced by her Name. For Miriam in the Hebrew tongue, in Latin is Domina or Lady. The Angel, therefore, calls her Lady, that all trepidation of servitude may leave the Mother of the Lord." (Serm. cxlii. De Annuntiatione B.V.M.)

On the words of the Gospel, " The Virgin's Name was Mary," St. Bernard writes as follows :

" Let me speak a few words upon this Name, which, being interpreted, means Star of the Sea, and marvellously fits the Maiden-Mother. For most fitly may she be likened unto a star. A star sends forth its ray without any harm to itself; and the Virgin brought forth her Son without any hurt to her virginity. Neither does the ray lessen the brightness of the stars, nor does her Son lessen the inviolateness of the Virgin. She, then, was that noble Star, which has risen out of Jacob, whose ray enlightened the whole world, whose glory both shines in the heavens and reaches to those that dwell below, for it sheds its light throughout all lands, and, giving warmth to the mind rather than to the body, nourishes virtues and destroys vices. She, I say, is the most illustrious and splendid Star, raised over the vast deeps of the mighty ocean, shining by her merits, guiding us by her example. O thou, whoever thou art, that knowest thyself to be here below not so much walking upon firm ground, as tossed to and fro by the gales and storms of this life's ocean, if thou wouldest not be overwhelmed by the tempest, keep thine eyes fixed upon this Star's clear shining. Should the winds of temptation assail thee, shouldst thou encounter the rocks of tribulations, look upon the Star, call upon Mary." (Homilia ii. 17, super Missus est.)

The Virgin, then, received the Blessed Name of Mary.

In considering the external life of our Lady we must be reconciled to the fact that we  know very little of its tenor. For the most part it is hidden from our view.

This is true also of the Life of our Lord Himself. At first sight we shall, perhaps, be astonished to see how few are the details of the Life of And of our Lord Jesus Christ recorded in the Gospels. Apart Christ. from what we are told of His preaching, of His parables, of His public miracles, the events— so to speak—in the Redeemer's sojourn upon the earth can be mentioned in a few lines. He was born at Bethlehem, was circumcised and presented in the Temple, fled into Egypt, returned to Palestine, disputed with the Doctors in Jerusalem, lived at Nazareth subject to Mary and Joseph, engaged in the Public Ministry, ate the Passover for the last time with His Apostles, instituted the Holy Eucharist, was betrayed, suffered the ignominies of His Passion and died. During forty days He appeared in His Risen Body on various occasions to His Apostles, " speaking to them of the Kingdom of God." He committed His sheep and lambs to the pastoral care of Blessed Peter. He ascended into Heaven. How extraordinarily little it appears in bulk !

Of set purpose, then, our minds should be concentrated, when we think of the lives of Jesus and Mary, not so much on their outward circumstances, as on the lessons which they inculcate, and the supernatural Mysteries which they enshrine. This is suggested to us by the reserve of the Evangelists. It has been written for our instruction that the beauty of the King's daughter is within. Of Mary's life it is pre-eminently true that it was hidden with Christ in God.

We shall be wise, therefore, if, as a general rule, we confine ourselves to the few facts that have been told us expressly in Holy Scripture concerning the lives of our Lord and His Blessed Mother, without desiring to wander further afield. Above all, we should be on our guard against attaching any importance to the fanciful, and often grotesque, details to be found in much profusion in the Apocryphal Gospels.