139
EXEGESIS -- ANNUNCIATION AND INCARNATION(CONT.)

"For Eve was cursed, but now we believe that through Mary she is gone back to the benediction of glory. Come then, ye virgins, to the Virgin, and rejoice: lay aside the curse of the transgression, and take to yourself the benediction of reparation. Cast away the sorrows Eve had through the serpent, and take the honours Mary received through the Angel. Banish the sadness of her who conceives, drive away the groans of her who brings forth, that this Son of the Virgin may alone have dominion over you. Come, virgins, to the Virgin; come, ye who conceive, to her who conceives; come, you who bring forth, to her who brings forth; come, mothers, to a Mother; come, you who give suck, to her who gives suck; come, maidens, to a Maiden. For this cause it was that the Virgin Mary underwent in our Lord Jesus Christ all these stages of nature, that she might succour all women who have recourse to her, and thus the new Eve might repair every class of women that come to her by preserving virginity, just as the new Adam our Lord Jesus Christ had recovered every class of men, He who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth God for ever and ever. Amen."*

S. ELEUTHERIUS TORNACENSIS.

"The Eternal Father, considering the ruin of the human race through the serpent's deceit, was pleased to liberate the world by the Incarnation of His Only-Begotten Son; that as woman had been cast forth from the abodes of paradise through the suasion of the devil, she might through the Angel's salutation merit to receive the glory of immortality. The enemy's suasion deceived Eve, Gabriel's salutation comforted Mary. The Angel announces, in order that the devil's deceit may be destroyed: the Virgin is overshadowed by the power of the Most High, at the Angel's announcement, that woman, deceived of old by the messenger of Satan, may be restored. God incorruptible is clothed with flesh and comes down, that, by means of this Second Man, Jesus, the old man who on tasting the forbidden fruit found his way to misery and a valley of tears, may ascend on high. For we read that, when the woman had deceived her husband, it was said to her by the Lord: In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and to thy husband shall be thy turning (et ad virum conversio tua), and he shall have dominion over thee. These three disadvantages all those suffer who imitate not Mary's virginity. As though the Lord said to Eve: When thy turning shall be to thy husband, thou wilt be subjected to his servitude; when too thou shalt bring forth, thou wilt suffer the ills of sorrow and sadness. Now these three are excluded from the Virgin Mary's blessedness, and not only from the Virgin herself, but from all those who have vowed their virginity to Christ.** Come then virgins, you who make vow of virginity to the Virgin, vow the integrity of your body to the Virgin, who made the offering of inviolate chastity to the Lord. Hear how great was the merit of this same Virgin. For not only did she merit to be visited and addressed by the Angel, but to contain within the sanctuary of her virginal womb Him who can no way be contained. Our mother Eve was weighed down by three ills, but from these the blessed Mary is excluded, whilst she joys in a threefold happiness.


* Serm. xxxvi., De laudibus Mariae ex partu Salvatoris. Int. Opp. S. Fulgentii (Appendix), Tom. 65, p. 899.

** See S. Peter Chrysologus, Serm. 148, quoted supra, p. 72.

 

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