The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 52.

I in no way submit these considerations as disposing of the whole of the difficulty. This is far from being the case, but they do help us to understand how St. Cyril, the great champion of the Theotokos, can have ascribed some imperfection of weakness to the Blessed Virgin, (although as Newman has pointed out, " he does not, strictly speaking, say more than that our Lady was grievously tempted,") and yet have written such glowing panegyrics as the following :

"Hail Mary, Mother of God, through whom John and the Jordan are sanctified and the Devil is cast out. Hail Mary, Mother of God, through whom every faithful soul is saved."

Once more, in another sermon also preached before the Fathers assembled for the Council of Ephesus :

"Hail from us O Mary, Mother of God. Hail thou that didst contain Him, who cannot be contained, in thy virginal womb; thou, through whom the Holy Trinity is sanctified ; through whom the precious Cross is celebrated and venerated throughout the world; through whom heaven rejoices, through whom angels and archangels are made glad; through whom devils are put to flight; through whom Satan, the tempter, fell from Heaven; through whom the fallen creature is received up into the Heavens ; through whom all creation that was held fast by the madness of idolatry, has come to the knowledge of the truth; through whom holy Baptism has come to believers, and the oil of gladness; through whom the nations are brought to repentance.

And what shall I say more? Through whom the Only-begotten Son of God has shone forth for those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death ; through whom the Prophets prophesied, through whom the Apostles preach salvation to the nations, through whom the dead are raised and kings reign — by the power of the Holy Trinity. But who is able to speak of the much-hymned Mary?"

During the ceremony known as the office of Tenebræ (Matins and Lauds of the last three days The of Holy Week) fourteen candles are extinguished one by one; but the fifteenth is left unextinguished. After this manner the Church is held by some to show forth symbolically her belief that, whilst for a while the Faith even of the Apostles wavered, and was almost extinct (they all were scandalised at the Passion and Death of their Master), the light of Mary's Faith remained undimmed.

It does not, however, follow from this that our Lady was not tempted against Faith, nor does it even follow that, to quote Origen, her " thoughts did not tear her asunder," when she beheld her Son " crucified and dying, and subject to human torments," and knew that He " at last had with tears complained and said : ' Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me.' "