The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 17

"O Virginity through which Angels that were aforetime averse from our race, now rejoice at being sent to minister thereto ; and Gabriel is gladdened at being entrusted with the annunciation of the divine Conception. Wherefore from that joy and from that all-hail let our address begin. 'Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.' . . . Hail, full of grace, hail thou who didst mediate between God and men, that the partition wall of enmity might be taken away and that which is of earth be made one with that which is of heaven." 1

After some such fashion as this are the Fathers of the Church accustomed to join together the thought of Mary's Virginity with that of her Motherhood, and vie one with another in celebrating the lustre of her spotless Maidenhood, together with the incomparable glory of her Maternity. In this matter, to quote one is to quote the rest. "What Gabriel," asks Optatus of Milevis, "has spoken a second time to a second Mary ? What other Virgin has given birth to a child ?" 2 " Mary's Privilege," writes St. Bernard, shall be given to no other ; nor shall it be taken from her. She alone is Virgin and Mother — the Virgin Mother of God." 3

Mary, Mother of Christ, stands alone in God's creation. By God's grace she possesses the unshared privilege of Divine Motherhood as the crown of unstained virginity. She is the Virgo Singular is. Immaculate, Virgin, Mother ! There is none beside her.

Let us listen to a voice from the beginning of the fifth century:

"In place of the Virgin Eve, who had been the minister of death, is chosen a Virgin, most pleasing to God and full of God's grace, for the service of life—a Virgin included in woman's sex, but without part in woman's fault, a Virgin innocent, without stain, free from all sin, spotless, undented, holy in spirit and body, as ' a lily blossoming amongst thorns,' (Cant. ii. 2.) unlearned in the evil ways of Eve . . . worthy of her Maker was she given to us by the Providence of God, not to encourage disobedience, but to lead the way to obedience; not to offer the fruit of death, but to furnish the Bread of Life. . . . Hail full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou most beautiful and fairest of women. The Lord is with thee, thou that art altogether venerable, altogether glorious, altogether good. The Lord is with thee, O thou worshipful, incomparable One, surpassing all brightness, resplendent with the glory of light, worthy of God, ever-blessed. . . . On thine account Eve's sadness has ceased; through thee error has departed; through thee has the curse been abolished; through thee Eve has been redeemed. For Holy is that which was born of her who is holy—Holy, and the Lord of all who are holy; Holy, even He, to whom it belongs to impart holiness. Singular is He who was born of her who is singular. Inexplicable He who comes from her who cannot be explained. The Son of the Most High is the offspring of her who is most high. . . . Hail thou Virgin, full of grace, amongst virgins a Mother, and amongst mothers a Virgin ! Of virgins and of mothers thou art the figure and the type, whilst in very truth thou hast surpassed the twain." 4

1 Oral. X. de Annuntatione Deiparae.

2 Con. Don., iii. II.

3 B.V.M., In Assumptione, Sermo. II. 5.

4 St. Theodotus, Hom. VI. II, 12, In S. Deip. et in Natal. Dom.