EXEGESIS -- ISAIAS.
"This great doctor plainly regards the proof of the fulfilment of the prophecy alluded to to be as clear as that of the others. Eusebius and Cyril of Jerusalem mention a similar tradition.* The same seems to be alluded to by S. Austin.+ But the Latin Fathers generally understand it of the destruction of idols, by the coming of Christ into the world, of which Egypt is the type.++ Yet this does not gainsay the belief in a more particular and immediate influence upon the idolatry of Egypt. Nor does it seem likely that Our Lord should have singled out that country without some special and immediate object, or that persons of such sanctity as Our Lady and S. Joseph should have exercised no influence upon the people amongst whom they lived.** Yet it is possible that the place in which they sojourned may have been long after Christ's Ascension regarded by Him with favourable eyes for His parents' sake, and that the wonderful doctors of the Trinity and Incarnation, Athanasius and Cyril, may have owed their lights and graces to her, who looked from heaven upon the country which had afforded a refuge in trouble, with eyes of affectionate recollection: for the whole race of Saints is full of natural affection.|| And as it is commonly believed that the Saints of the desert owed their existence to this visit, why should not Egypt's doctors also be indebted to it? Nay, who can say that Mary's intercession in consequence of that visit did not obtain for S. Eulogius the inspiration to pray for the conversion of England?"***
"Now that pillar of cloud went indeed visibly before the children of Israel, but mystically it signified the Lord Jesus who was to come on a light cloud, as said Isaias, that is, in the Virgin Mary, who was a cloud according to her descent from Eve, but light on account of her virginal integrity. She was light since she sought not to please man but the Lord. She was light since she had not conceived in iniquity, but was a mother by the coming down of the Spirit, and had not brought forth in sin but with grace. In a cloud came He whom the nebula of His body cast in shade; but light was that flesh which no sins of His own weighed down. For how should He be weighted with sins of His own who took away the sins of all peoples?"+++
*** Jesus the Son of Mary, vol. ii., p. 15 sq. S. Gregory ascribed the conversion of England to the prayers of his friend S. Eulogius, the holy and learned patriarch of Alexandria. S. Greg. M. Ep. 8 -- Morris, vol. i., p. 250.