A spouse is wanted, that, even then, Christ's spouse, the Church, may be signified according to the words of the prophet Osee (Hosea): I will espouse thee to Me in justice, and judgment, and in mercy, and in commiserations; and I will espouse thee to Me in faith.* Hence John says, He that hath the bride is the bridegroom;** and the blessed Paul, I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.*** Verily a spouse; who with virginal childbirth brings forth again the new infancy of Christ....

"Mary is called a Mother. And when is Mary not a Mother? The gathering together of the waters He called Seas (Maria).**** Was it not she who conceived in her single womb the people going out from Egypt, that it might come forth a heavenly progeny re-born to a new creation, according to the words of the Apostle: Our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea. And all in Moses were baptized in the cloud, and in the sea.***** And that Mary might always lead the way in man's salvation, she, by her own right, with a canticle, went before that same people, whom the generating wave had given forth to light. Mary, it is written, the sister of Aaron, taking a timbrel in her hand said: Let us sing to the Lord, for gloriously is He magnified.****** This is a name germane to prophecy, salutary to those born again, the standard of virginity, the grace of modesty, the sign of chastity, God's sacrifice (hoc Dei sacrificium), the virtue of hospitality, the reunion (collegium) of sanctity. With reason then is this maternal name, that of Christ's Mother. We have said why the Mother is a bride, why Joseph is a spouse, why Mary has the maternal name, in order to show that all about the birth of Christ is mystical...."*******

May our vision now be sufficiently pure and keen to be able to view the brightness of the rising sun. For if our eyesight when most strong and perfect can hardly bear the early sun's ray, with what singleness of inward vision should we prepare so as to be able to support the splendour of our rising and radiant Creator?

"And in the sixth month the Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee called Nazareth to a Virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, and the Virgin's name was Mary," etc. -- Luke i. 27-30.

The holy Evangelist marks the circumstances of place, time, and person, that the truth of the account may be evident by clear and detailed facts. The Angel is sent to a Virgin espoused. God sends to the Virgin a winged carrier, who in conveying grace, gives the marriage portion (dat arrham), and bears the dowry; that is, he brings faith, and delivers gifts of virtue, being about to arrange the pledging of virginal consent. With haste the angelic agent flies to the bride, to ward off from the spouse of God, and to suspend, any affection to human espousals. Not indeed to take away the Virgin from Joseph, but to restore her to Christ, to whom she was pledged in the womb, when first she was created (cum fieret). Thus Christ receives His own spouse, He carries not off another's; nor does He make separation, when He joins to Himself His own entire creature in one body.

* Osee ii. 19,20.

** John ii.29.

*** 2 Cor. xi. 2.

**** Gen. i. 10.

***** 1 Cor. x. 1, 2.

****** Exod. xv. 20, 21.

******* Serm. 146, Patr. Lat. Tom. 52, p. 592.


Next Page
Previous Page
Back to Table of Contents