The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 112.

Thus St. Ephrem writes:

"Hail Mother of all. Hail fountain of grace and the solace of all. Hail refuge and hospice of sinners. Hail mercy seat of the afflicted. Hail place of sanctuary in Jerusalem. Hail most glorious abode of our Creator. . . . Hail Queen of heavenly citizens and Mistress of the Angels. Hail gate of Heaven, the Ladder whereby all may ascend on high. Hail most safe port of voyagers here on earth. Hail firm salvation of all Christians who in truth and sincerity have recourse to thee."

In like manner, in a sermon attributed to St. Eleutherius, Bishop of Tournay, who lived in the fifth century:

"Thou art made the heavenly Ladder. . . . Thou hast become the Ladder whereby the Glory of Heaven has descended to earth, that thus humility may be borne aloft to the heights of heaven. . . . Let us, therefore, beseech the Virgin to reconcile God to men, and cause concord betwixt the things of earth and of heaven. May she intercede for the past, may she supplicate her Son for the future. O Virgin, give us not only food for the body, but also the Bread of Angels that hath come down to the sanctuary of thy womb. Make us to fear the Son of God. ' For the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.'"

If we reflect on this Ladder seen by Jacob we shall see how strikingly it typifies our Lady and her powerful intercession.

"And Jacob saw in his sleep a Ladder standing upon the earth and the top thereof touching heaven —the Angels of God also ascending and descending by it."

The Ladder stood upon the earth ; its summit reached the sky. Mary by her nature belongs to the earth ; by her dignity of Mother of God, she touches Heaven. Through her, Jesus our Lord has come down to us. Through her, we may ascend to Him. Through her, our prayers from earth reach the throne of the Eternal, for she is the mystic Ladder on which the Angels of God ascended on high; and, as on the same ladder they descended to the earth, so through Mary, all blessings from above and all graces purchased by the Saviour's Blood come down to men.

I have had the privilege of questioning Mgr. Paul Abi-Murad, Archbishop of Damietta and Patriarchal T T Delegate in Jerusalem, as to the Tradition tion of the of the Greek Catholic Church on this Greek subject He dictated to me in French the following observations, which I told him that I should publish, after translating them into English: " From the times of remotest Antiquity the Oriental Church has shown a great veneration towards the Holy Virgin Mother of God. In all the Christian Churches of the East may be seen in the Iconastases—by the side of the Image of our Saviour—the Image of the Holy Virgin ; and during our religious functions after having incensed the Image of our Saviour we incense that of the Holy Virgin. Our office books are filled with antiphons and collects in honour of the Holy Virgin. Our Faithful have great confidence in the Holy Virgin, and are greatly attached to her worship. During Lent we chant on Fridays, in the evening, the office on the Mediation of Mary called Akathistos, containing the praises of the Holy Virgin. This office is attended by a great crowd of people—the churches are filled with the Faithful. A preacher, preaching on the Merits and the efficacy of the intercession of the Holy Virgin, would be able to say, without astonishing the Faithful:  O Virgin Mary, you are the Mother of our Saviour. Our Saviour will grant you all graces, if we ask them by you. You are all-powerful with the Saviour. You are the Channel by which we receive the grace of our Saviour.' .Preaching after this manner he would be preaching in accordance with our Greek Catholic Tradition and custom."

As the Archbishop proceeded to observe, the Tradition inherited by the Greek Catholics is that of St. Ignatius, St. Athanasius, St. Basil, St. Gregory the Theologian, St. John Chrysostom, St. Epiphanius, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Germanus and St. John Damascene, to mention the names only of the greatest of their Fathers and Doctors.

Anyone who will examine the Greek Liturgy and Office books for himself will see at once that they are penetrated throughout by belief in the universal intercession of our Lady.  If the Greeks did not believe that the Blessed Virgin is the ordinary channel of grace, how account for the fact—to which there is no parallel amongst us Latins—that in all the Liturgical offices, at all the canonical Hours, at Mass, even at grace before and after meals, every prayer to our Lord is followed immediately by a Theotokion or prayer to the Mother of God, in which she is entreated to present our prayers to her Divine Son. Prayer to His Blessed Mother is everywhere so interwoven with prayer to our Lord as to become one indivisible whole.