EXEGESIS -- ANNUNCIATION AND INCARNATION.
"Thereupon the Angel set himself to carry out the commission given him by God and repaired to the Virgin, and addressed her with a loud voice saying, Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. No longer shall the devil be against thee: for where of old that adversary inflicted the wound, there now first of all does the Physician apply the salve of deliverance. Where death came forth, there has life now prepared its entrance. By a woman came the flood of our ills, and by a woman also our blessings have their spring.
"Thou hast heard, O purest one, things whereof even the choir of inspired men was never deemed worthy.... Thou alone, O purest Virgin, art now made the recipient of things of which all these were kept in ignorance.... Appropriately therefore, did the Angel say to the holy Virgin Mary first of all: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; inasmuch as with her was laid up the full treasure of grace. For of all generations she alone hath arisen a Virgin pure in body and in spirit; and she alone bears Him who bears all in His Word. Nor is it only the beauty of this holy one in body that calls forth our admiration, but also the innate virtue of her soul.... Hail, thou that art gifted with grace.... He Himself is with thee, who is the Lord of sanctification, the Father of purity, the Author of incorruption, the bestower of liberty, the curator of salvation, the steward and provider of true peace, He who out of virgin earth made man, and out of man's side then formed Eve. Even the Lord is with thee, and is besides also of thee.
"Come, then, beloved brethren, let us, too, take up the angelic strain and to the utmost of our power return the due meed of praise, saying, Hail, thou that art full of grace, the Lord is with thee. For thine it is truly to rejoice, seeing that the grace of God, as well He knows, has chosen to dwell with thee -- the Lord of glory dwelling with His handmaid; He that is fairer than the children of men, with the fair one; He who sanctifies all things, with the undefiled; God is with thee, and with thee also is the perfect Man in whom dwells the whole fulness of the Godhead. Hail, thou that art full of grace, the fountain of that Light which enlightens all who believe in Him! Hail, full of grace, the ever-blooming vine, that makes glad the souls of those who honour thee! Hail, full of grace, the soil that all-untilled bears bounteous fruit.... by reason that God the Word from above took His abode in thee, and formed from thee the new Adam in thy holy womb.... the pure, and chaste, and undefiled, and holy Virgin Mary....
"And having heard, she was troubled at his saying.... Yet being herself a pure, immaculate and stainless image (agalma), she shrank not in terror from the angelic apparition, as did most of the prophets.... But as one who is clad in a brilliant robe deems it of great moment that no impurity or filth be suffered to touch it anywhere, so did the holy Mary consider with herself. .... Will this word Hail prove a trouble to me, as of old the fair promise of being made like to God which was given her by the serpent devil, proved to our first mother Eve? Has the devil, who is the author of all evil, become transformed again into an angel of light?...