Mary in the Epistles by Thomas Stiverd Livius. Comments on the Epistles part 35


5 Now the end of the commandment is charity, from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an unfeigned faith.

To attain this end, let us frequently meditate on what is said of Mary in the Gospels; for the qualities of charity here mentioned are specially characteristic of her.  See supra, 2 Thess. iii. 9.


1 I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men :

2 For kings, and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity.

3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour,

4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the know ledge of the truth.

5 For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Jesus Christ :

6 Who gave himself a redemption for all, a testimony in due times.

The words in v. 5 are equivalent to : As there is one only God, so there is one only Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. This however, according to S. Paul, does not exclude other mediators in another and most true sense. For all those who pray, and by their prayers obtain graces in behalf of others, are really mediators between God and men: and S. Paul had just before said that Christians should thus be mediators by interceding for all men: this being well-pleasing to God and conducive to man's salvation (v.v. 1, 3, 4); and just for this very reason, because there is one only Mediator (that is, of justice, and per se), the Man Christ Jesus, in and through Whom all others must mediate. " For there is one God," etc. (v.v. 5, 6). The fact is, the more exclusively, in a right sense, we look to Jesus Christ as our one only Mediator with God, the more efficacious may we consider the mediation of others, and pre-eminently that of His holy Mother. And the more we exalt, in a right sense, Mary as our mediatress (by grace), and trust in the power of her intercession, the more do we exalt and attribute efficacy to the one only mediation (of justice) of our Lord Jesus Christ, through and from which all other mediation with God derives its efficacy. In the same way Our Lord says that there is none good but God alone; and yet He says too, " Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." And the Church says, Tu solus Sanctus; and yet God says, "Sancti eritis quoniam Ego sanctus sum." So too Jesus Christ says : "Call none your father upon earth : for one is your Father who is in heaven ;" yet S. Paul speaks of himself as a father to his converts.

9 In like manner, women also in decent apparel: adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety, not with plaited hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly attire,

10 But as it becometh women professing godliness, with good works.

11 Let the woman learn in silence, with all subjection.

12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to use authority over the man : but to be in silence.

How completely are these Apostolic injunctions (incident ally, as it were) conformable to the Catholic traditional idea of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as expressed by S. Ambrose and other Fathers, and as shown forth by all those Catholic women, who have in every age endeavoured to take Mary as their model, and professed to walk in her footsteps. It was doubtless, because Mary was to be the ideal of a perfect Christian woman, whose character was entirely conformed to that of her Divine Son, and because such a view of her was from the beginning deeply impressed in the mind of the Catholic Church, that so little is explicitly said of her in Holy Scripture. We may note the prudent silence of our Lady from the words: "Mary kept all these things in her heart;" [Luke ii. 31] and from her silence with regard to the doubt of S. Joseph.

15 Yet she shall be saved through childbearing ; if she continue in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety.

Mary, through her glorious childbearing, was made to us the instrument of our salvation, and was thereby herself the more sanctified, magnified, and glorified. Through her blessed child-bearing comes, as it were, the reversal to Christian mothers of the primeval sentence pronounced on the daughters of Eve : " In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children : " [Gen. iii. 16.] and now amongst the faithful, since women are children of Mary, the Second Eve and true Mother of the living, child-bearing and the rearing up of Christian children have become to them a source of glory and merit, and a means of salvation. And Christian mothers are themselves also, in a certain sense, after Mary mothers of the living, that is, of Christian children, who shall live to God here on earth by faith, and for ever in heavenly glory.

"Theophylact says that some understand through childbearing (dia tes teknogonias) to mean the childbirth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which effected women's salvation: for she gave birth to Christ, and in Him to many Christian sons and daughters. . . . The preposition, through (per), here denotes the cause and merit — that is to say, through the labours which the woman undergoes in childbirth, and in the bringing up of children in the faith and in a good Christian life; by the merit whereof she will be saved." [Cornelius a Lapide, in loc.]