52
THE SECOND EVE

"As a cloud Mary rained upon the earth the grace of Christ... The shower of this sacred cloud our fathers announced to us would be the world's salvation... This rain quenched the appetite of Eve: this unguent wiped away the stench of hereditary error."*

"Reflect, my children, who it was that the Lord Jesus, in coming upon earth, chose to be His Mother. When about to give salvation to the world, He came by a Virgin, and by a Virgin's childbirth He undid the woman's faults. May also your virginal integrity undo my errors... Who will not call blessed... who will not honour the Mother of so many virgins? Who will not venerate the Court of chastity?"+

"It is no wonder if the Lord, being about to redeem the world should begin His work with Mary; that she by whom salvation was prepared for all might herself first receive the fruit of salvation as a pledge (ex pignore)."++

"By a woman came on trouble, by a Virgin took place salvation."**

"But if that first man who conversed with God when in paradise could fall so easily, though created of earth that was virgin, which had at the word of God been formed and created of recent origin, and was not as yet through our flesh condemned to the curse of obnoxious heritage, how much more we," etc."||

"But why should I speak of how great is the grace of virginity, which merited to be chosen by Christ, to be even the corporeal temple of God, wherein, as we read, dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead? ... In the Virgin Christ found what He wished to be His, what the Lord of all should assume to Himself. By a man and a woman was flesh cast forth from paradise; by a Virgin is it united to God."***

"Hear, most dearly beloved brethren, what is the mystery of the Law. The first man was from earth and heaven; the Second from heaven and earth; the latter from God and Mary, and so from earth; the former from the earth and the Spirit, and so from heaven. Yet both one and the other from a virgin, and without carnal intercourse. One from an inviolate Virgin, the other from pure unsown earth, that knew nor plough nor rain. By the first man life was lost, by the second restored. The first man lost grace received, the second with life brought back grace; the first fell by the suasion of a virgin; the second by a Virgin's childbirth raised up what lay fallen: the first by sinning brought the punishment of death, the second by suffering bestowed pardon: the first for guilt was cast forth from paradise, the second for glory was crucified by the world.

"Hence evil by woman, nay rather by woman good; for by Eve we fell, by Mary we stand: prostrated by Eve, raised up by Mary; by Eve reduced to slavery, by Mary made free. Eve took from us length of days, Mary restored to us immortality; Eve caused us to be condemned by an apple of the tree, Mary wrought our pardon by the gift of the tree; because Christ also hung upon the tree as fruit.


* De Instit. Virg.xiii. 81-84.

+ Exhortatio Virginitatis, cap. iv. 26, 27.

++ In Luc. iii. 17, P. L. Tom. 17, p. 1640.

** Ep. 42, 3.

|| Ep. n. 45.

*** Ep. 63, n. 33.

 

 

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