"Let us now hear what the Angel did. Entering in to her, he says: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. In these words there is an offering, an offering of gift, not simply an act of salutation. Ave, Hail. That is, receive grace. Be not afraid; be not solicitous about nature. Full of grace: Because in others is grace; but on thee shall come at once the whole fulness of grace. The Lord is with thee: What is it, the Lord in thee? It is that He comes to thee, not with the intention of merely visiting thee, but He makes His descent in thee by a new mystery of being born of thee. Fitly did He add: Blessed art thou amongst women: because, wherein Eve inflicted punishment on her accursed bowels, therein Mary now joys, is honoured and accounted blessed. And truly is she now made Mother of the living by grace, who was mother of the dying by nature....

"How great God is, he is indeed ignorant, who is not astounded at the Virgin's mind, who marvels not at her soul. Heaven quakes, angels tremble, creation bears it not, nature fails. One maiden alone thus takes God into the home of her bosom, receives, and gives Him pleasure by her hospitality, that -- for earth, peace; for heaven, glory; for the lost, salvation; for the dead, life; for those on earth, family relationship with those in heaven, even the communion of God Himself with flesh -- she may demand in very payment for the lodging, and obtain all this for the hire of her womb. Behold, the inheritance of the Lord, children, recompense, the fruit of the womb...." *

Hail, full of grace. This is the grace which gave glory to heaven, God to earth, faith to the nations, order to life, discipline to morals. This grace the Angel brought to Mary. The Virgin received it that she might restore salvation to the ages. Hail, full of grace. Because to others grace is bestowed in parts. But to Mary is given at once the fulness.**

"The Angel treats with Mary about man's salvation, because an angel had treated with Eve about his ruin.... Fear not, Mary. Before the process, the Virgin's dignity is announced by her name. For Mary in the Hebrew tongue, is in Latin called Domina, or Lady. The Angel therefore calls her Lady, that all trepidation of servitude may leave the Lord's Mother, to whom the high rank and authority of her Offspring has given the right to be Lady, both by her birth and title. Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace. True it is: because he who has found grace knows not fear. Thou hast found grace. With whom? With God. Blessed is she who alone amongst men merited above all others to hear: Thou hast found grace. How much? As much as he had before said: in fulness. And verily in fulness. Since with copious shower, it was to pour itself forth upon all creation...."***


"Mary, though pregnant, joyed with healthful lightness: for the Light she bore within could have no weight. She became the window of heaven, because through her God shed true light o'er the ages. Mary became the heavenly ladder, because by her God came down to earth, that by her men might merit to ascend to heaven. For they may ascend thither, who believe that God descended to earth by the Virgin Mary. Mary has become the restoration of women, because through her it is that they are delivered from the ruin of the primeval curse....

* Ps. cxxvi. 3.

** Serm. 140.

*** Serm. 142.


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