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EXEGESIS -- ANNUNCIATION AND INCARNATION (CONT.)

S. ZENO.

"God, the Son of God, at the time appointed, concealing for the while His majesty, comes forth from His ethereal throne, and prepares for Himself a tabernacle in the temple of the predestined Virgin; wherein He hides Himself, about to become man; and there whilst preserving what He was, He meditates to be what He was not. Mingled thus with human flesh He forms Himself an infant. The womb of Mary swells forth with pride, not by conjugal gift, but by faith; by the Word, not by seed. She knows not the tediousness of the ten months,* since she has conceived within herself the world's Creator; she gives birth not in sorrow, but in joy. O prodigy! Exultingly she brings forth (exponit) an Infant more ancient than all nature. Withal, a mother for the first time, she utters no groans at her childbirth. The new-born Infant on coming into the world, does not, as is naturally the wont, enter upon weary life with anticipatory tears. His Mother does not lie exhausted through the weight of so great a childbirth, grown pale, her bowels all weakened. The Son is not defiled by any uncleanness of His Mother, or His own; for in truth nought could there be unclean about Him, who had come to cleanse from filth and stains, that is, the sins of the human race. His Mother needed not those things that are customary for mothers after childbirth; nor could she need them, she who had merited to receive into her womb as her Son, the Saviour of all souls....

"According as God had promised by the prophets that He would send His Son as a meet Saviour for the human race in fulness of time, laying aside meanwhile the dignity of His Divinity, but not of His power, He came forth from heaven, and entered, a chaste guest, into the sanctuary of the virginal temple, and then carried out what it was His will to be. Yea in hidden manner He assumed that which of old He had appointed to be accomplished. With glad will He reposes in that all-flowering home of chastity, and prepares for Himself in the womb of the holy Virgin a body wherein He will be born at His own will. Fashioned into a man, God is inclosed in the covering of flesh, and borrows a human life from time, He who bestows eternity on times. O prodigy! Mary conceives of Him whom she brings forth: her womb swells with majesty, not from seed: and the Virgin holds Him, whom the world and the fulness of the world, cannot contain. Meanwhile limbs add growth to their Maker, and the work clothes the Workman with its shape. Mary brings forth not in sorrow but in joy. The Son is born without father, not indeed all the Mother's, but owing it to Himself that He has been conceived, and born. The Mother is astounded most of all that to her lot has fallen such a Son whom she would not believe to be born of her, were it not that as she was an incorrupt Virgin after conception, such she remained also after the birth.

"Oh, the new order of things! Constrained by love for His image to become an Infant, God cries; and suffers Himself to be bound in swathing-bands, He who was come to loose the debts of the whole world. He is laid in the manger of the stable, to show that He is the Shepherd and Food of the peoples. He subjects Himself to successive steps of age, He whose eternity admits not age."+

"Him, whom the heavens contain not, the bosom of a single woman bore. Our Ruler did she rule. Him, in Whom we are, she carried. To our Bread she gave suck."++

TITUS BOSTRENSIS.

"And Mary said to the Angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man," etc. -- Luke i. 34-38.


* "Matri longa decem tulerat fastidia menses." Virg. AEn. iv. 61.

+ Lib. ii., Tractatus viii. et ix., Pat. Lat. Tom. 11, pp. 413-417.

++ In Natal. iv., ap. Morris, p. 28 f.

 

 

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