shines forth more brightly, and the whiteness of her virginity appears with more splendid lustre, when the excellence of the Saints and their charity are set side by side with her; since thus will be more fully seen and commended the brilliancy and glory of her who, raised as she is above the choirs of angels, is now proclaimed blessed, aye, now most blessed. For albeit the nature of the angels is higher, yet not greater is their grace, for they too have been saved by gratuitous grace that they might not fall. Hence David says: By the word of the Lord the heavens were established; and all the power of them by the spirit of His mouth.* Now if by the spirit of His mouth all their power subsists, it is certain that the blessed and glorious Virgin Mary, on whom the Holy Ghost came down, and who bore God entire in her womb for nine months merited, as we must believe, more ample privileges of virtues, and received grace that was extolled even by the angels. Hence though their virtue and firmness of perpetuity is wonderful, yet more wonderful is this in Mary whom the power of the Most High overshadowed, so that beyond all angelic power was what was done in her, even the mystery that should be admirable for all ages. Hereby moreover greater grace was henceforth bestowed even upon the angels, since by her were being re-established (quum instaurantur ab ea),+ all creatures that venerate and adore above them Christ as King and Lord, who was born of the same Virgin. Hence, too, Mary is the more worthy of veneration, the more she is full of grace; and the more highly she is raised by the power of the Most High, the more splendid is she in glory. Since being full of grace, full of God, full of virtues, she cannot but possess fully the glory of the Eternal, which she received most fully in order to become Mother of the Saviour. She it is whom all the daughters of Sion saw, and declared most blessed, and the queens praised her. Since they saw her so great, that, how great, no mortal could ever finish telling; but how much more great that God, who made her such and so great, that by her He Himself was made."++

"One may interpret in another way the Spouse to mean the Lord's spotless flesh, for the sake of which He left the Father, came down hither, and cleaved to it, and becoming man dwelt therein. It is in truth one: in a word, stainless and undefiled, and excelling all in beauty and grace of sanctity, so that none of those who even much pleased God, can come near to it, if virtue is taken into account."**

"Of this God then, Only-begotten, she, Mary, is Virgin Mother, worthy of God; the spotless one of the Holy and Spotless; the one of Him who is One; the one alone, of Him who is One Alone."||

"Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?" -- v. 9.

* Ps. xxxii. 6.

+ Eph. i. 10.

++ Serm. de Assumpt. Int. Opp. S. Hieron.

** S. Methodius, Conviv. dec. Virg. Orat. vii. 7.

|| Hom. i. in Matt., Int. Opp. Origenis.



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