EXEGESIS - ECCLESIASTICUS. - ISAIAS.
"A woman was cause of the world being originally taken captive in
paradise, and of its since growing old, and growing old in the filth of vice.
For so it is written: From the woman came the beginning of sin, and by her we
all die. And says the Apostle Paul, The man was not seduced; but the woman
being seduced came in the transgression.* Through her then the world, oppressed
by miserable bondage, bent its aching neck under the yoke of the devil. And
whilst the world's chariot was rolling on through circling ages, there was none
to heal: and whilst with sins multiplying, and the entire world rushing
headlong to ruin, and its members crumbling to dust, there was no one to
succour. Hence the cause comes back to woman, and the old source must
find its end by means of another like source (et origo per originem detruncatur).
The origin of sin was extinguished by Christ's Mother, the generation
of impiety was cut off by the generation of piety, the stock of death by the
stock of life."+
"The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is sad. From the sole of the foot unto the top of the head, there is no soundness therein: wounds and bruises," etc. -- i. 5, 6.
"Most great was the wound of the human race, from the foot even to the head nothing in it was sound."++
Compare with this the following:--
"And as the Son Himself alone knew the manner of His conception and birth, that is to say, by preserving His Mother incorrupt, from her feet to her head blessed (apo podon eos kephales eulogemenen)."**
"And in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared on the top of mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it." -- ii. 2.
"Under the name of this mountain may also be signified the most Blessed ever-Virgin Mary Mother of God: since a mountain was she, who by the dignity of her election transcended all height of elected nature. Is not Mary a lofty mountain, who, to reach to the conception of the Eternal Word, raised the summit of her merits above all the choirs of angels, even to the throne of the Deity? Isaias, prophesying of the all-surpassing dignity of this mountain, says: In the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared on the top of the mountains.|| She was indeed the mountain on the top of the mountains, because the height of Mary shone forth above all the Saints. And as a mountain denotes height, so does a house denote dwelling.
* 1 Tim. ii. 14.
+ Serm. 120, In Nat. Dom. iv. 2, Int. Opp. S. Augustin.
++ S. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. xii. 7.
** Epist. ad Paul. Samos., of the 4th cent., under the name of S. Dionysius of Alexandria.
|| S. Cyril interprets this of the Church, which he calls "chaste, holy, immaculate, high above all creatures."