"A woman received from God the leaven of faith; since a woman had received from the devil the leaven of unbelief. She hid it in three measures, that is to say, in the three periods of mankind, viz., from Adam to Noe, from Noe to Moses, from Moses to Christ; that woman, who had corrupted by the leaven of death the whole mass of mankind in Adam, might by the leaven of the resurrection repair the whole mass of our flesh in Christ; that woman who had made bread of groans and sweat, might provide the bread of life and salvation; and might be Mother of all the living by Christ, she who was mother of all the dead in Adam. Since for this cause Christ willed to be born, that as death came to all by Eve, so life might return to all by Mary. Mary it is who fulfills the type of this leaven, sets off the parable, and verifies the figure; in that she received from on high the leaven of the Word, and in her virgin womb, yea in her virgin womb, brought together into a one whole (in massam) His human flesh."

What the holy doctor goes on to say illustrates a later chapter of this work, Mary and the Church, but we give it here in order not to separate it from its context: --

"Let us now show another allegorical meaning of this parable. The woman who took the leaven is the Church: the leaven she received is the mystery of heavenly doctrine: the three measures in which she is said to have hid the leaven are the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospel," etc.*

"Blessed art thou amongst women: for amongst women, on whose womb Eve, who was cursed, brought punishment, Mary being blest, rejoices, is honoured, and looked up to. And now through grace is truly made mother of the living, woman, who had been by nature mother of the dying... Heaven feels awe of God, angels tremble at Him, the creature sustains Him not, nature sufficeth not, and yet one maiden so takes, receives, entertains Him as a guest within her bosom, that, for the very hire of her home, and as the price of her womb, she asks, she obtains peace for the earth, glory for the heavens, salvation for the lost, life for the dead, a heavenly parentage for the earth-born, and the union of God Himself with human flesh."+

"The good Shepherd, the kind Shepherd, who had put in one sheep, that is to say, in Adam, the whole flock of mankind, set this sheep amidst the delights of paradise, in the region of living pasture. But it forgot the Shepherd's voice, through giving ear to the howling of wolves; it lost the salutary fold, and was all-wounded with deadly wounds. Christ, then, coming into the world to seek it found it in the Virgin's womb."++


"Let the woman haste hither, for the woman shows not the tree of death, but brings forth the tree of life: the virgins... the mothers also, for the Virgin Mother has amended the tree of disobedience by the tree of life. The female sex is no longer in execration, for it has obtained whereby it shall surpass even the angels in glory. Eve has been healed... and Mary is venerated (adored), because she has become mother and handmaid, cloud and chamber, and ark of the Lord... For this cause let us say to her: Blessed art thou amongst women, who alone hast healed the grief of Eve; who alone hast borne the world's price."**

* Serm. 99, Ib. p. 478 sq.

+ Serm. 140, Ib. p. 576. See especially Serm. 117, p. 520.

++ Serm. 68, Ib. p. 641.

** Orat. iv. and v. In Natal. Dom. P. G. Tom. 65, p. 710.



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