EXEGESIS -- ANNUNCIATION AND INCARNATION(CONT.)
to speak to the point without redundancy, and unnecessary to go outside what he has in hand, by entering upon what is merely incidental. Hence the Evangelist, whose object was to show that the Mystery of the Incarnation was incorrupt and pure, deemed it inopportune to dwell more at length on the proof of Mary's virginity, lest he should be credited with being rather the Virgin's advocate, than the assertor of the mystery. At all events, by teaching us, as he does, that Joseph was a just man, he sufficiently indicates how impossible it was for Joseph to violate that temple of the Holy Ghost, and womb of mystery -- the Lord's Mother...."
"And the Angel being come in, said, Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: Blessed art thou among women. But when she saw him she was troubled at his entrance." -- vv. 28, 29.
"Learn the Virgin here by her conduct, learn the Virgin by her modesty, learn the Virgin by the divine oracle, learn her by the mystery.... She is alone in the inner chamber, to be out of sight of man, so that only an angel may find her. She is alone without companion, alone without witness. That she may not meet with any less noble accosting, she is saluted by an angel. Learn, O virgin, to shun much freedom of speech, since Mary was in fear at even an angel's salutation."*
"I am never less alone, than when I seem to be alone.... Mary was alone, and she was speaking with the Angel. She was alone when the Holy Ghost came upon her, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her. She was alone, and she wrought the world's salvation, and conceived the redemption of all." **
"Think how great was Mary, and yet she was found nowhere else when sought for but in her chamber. Let her teach thee what thou shouldst follow. She saw the Angel in the form of a man, was fearful in heart, and shunned his look. And hence it was that the Angel said to her, Fear not, Mary." ***"She thought with herself what manner of salutation this might be." -- v. 29.
"And this with reverent modesty, because she feared; with prudence, because she marvelled at the new style of benediction, such as nowhere else is read of, nowhere before found. For Mary alone was this salutation reserved. And well is she alone called Full of grace, since she alone obtained the grace, which no other woman had merited, to be filled with the Author of grace...."
"And Mary said to the Angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?" -- v. 34.
"Here, unless thou payest diligent attention, it might seem as though Mary did not believe. And indeed, it would not be right for her, who was chosen to give birth to the Only-begotten Son of God, to seem to have been incredulous."
*** Exhort. Virg., cap. xii. 71. "The Angel found Mary, not wandering abroad, but alone by herself, engaged in contemplation. And because she sought not favour with the world, she found grace with God." S. Chrysost., ap. Ludolph. de Sax. P. i. c. 5.