EXEGESIS -- ANNUNCIATION AND INCARNATION (CONT.)
"How shall this be done, because I know not man? Mary the most holy Virgin and Mother of God asks this question, not as though she were incredulous, but as one wise and prudent who desires to learn the way and manner of what was declared. For neither had anything of the kind happened before that a virgin should conceive, nor would ever be again. And hence the Angel takes the question in good part, and explains the manner as follows: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. Now Christ is the power of God as the Apostle teaches.* The way indeed whereby will come upon thee He who is to come, thou wilt not see: but He will operate, though He does not Himself appear. And the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; that is, shall on all sides surround thee, shall clothe thee, shall fence thee around, shall embrace thee. We should observe here, how on naming the Holy Ghost, and the Power, and the Most High, he sets plainly before the Virgin the whole Most Holy Trinity....
"Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word. The prayer of the most holy Virgin is in effect: Lo, I am but a tablet, ready indeed to receive writing, let then the Scribe write on me whatsoever seemeth good to Him, may the Lord of all do with me whatever He will."+
"And the Virgin's name was Mary." -- Luke i. 27.
"From the root of Jesse sprung king David, and from the family of king David the holy Virgin: holy, I say, and daughter of holy men. Her parents were Joachim and Anne, who pleased God in their life, and bore like fruit, even the holy Virgin Mary, at once the temple and Mother of God. Those three, moreover, Joachim, Anne, and Mary, offered to the Trinity a sacrifice of praise. For Joachim is interpreted the preparation of the Lord, since from him it was that the temple of the Lord was prepared, namely, the Virgin. Anne is interpreted grace, because Joachim and Anne received grace, after having prayed, to bear such fruit, by obtaining the holy Virgin. For whilst Joachim prayed on the mountain, Anne prayed in her garden. Anne then conceived, and gave birth to a heaven and throne of cherubim, the holy child Mary.++ For she will be found to be a heaven, a temple, and a throne, since we are wont to interpret Mary, Lady and also hope. For she gave birth to the Lord, who is the Hope of the whole world, that is, Christ. Again, this name of Mary is interpreted the myrrh of the sea, and by myrrh may be understood immortality, since she brought forth an immortal gem in the sea, that is, in this world. Moreover, to the sea, meaning the whole world, the Virgin brought serenity and calm, by giving birth to Christ, who is a haven of rest. The blessed name of the glorious Virgin Mary is also interpreted, she who is full of light, since she was illuminated by the Son of God, and has enlightened all even to the ends of the earth who believe in the Trinity...."**
* 1 Cor. i. 24.
+ Hom. in Deip. Annunt. Patr. Gr. Tom. 85, pp. 1779-83.
++ "As soon then as Mary was grown into a little girl, and no longer needed her mother's breast, holy Anne, taking her to the temple restored her to God." S. Gregory of Nyssa, Orat. in Nat. D.N.J.C.
** Orat. De laudib. S. M. Deip. Int. Opera S. Epiphanii.