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EXEGESIS -- ANNUNCIATION AND INCARNATION(CONT.)

"Pray, that we may be made perfect light; that we may together praise thee in the glory of thy Son: to whom is honour, and power, through all ages of ages. Amen. *

"The Son, Eternal Light, came forth from Eternal Light: a lamp unfailing, He shone forth from that invisible brightness, when the Virgin Mary, the afore-announced Mother of the Judge Eternal, conceived of the Holy Ghost, and, remaining Virgin in chastity, brought forth the Son of God to earth; and after admirable childbirth, still continuing in virginity, nourished Christ Jesus with divine milk. O that holy angelic pronouncement! The Angel Gabriel is sent to the Virgin, who knows not the mystery. The Mother of the Redeemer is made like to a handmaid, as she gives answer to the Angel, saying, Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word. The Son of God, therefore, made Flesh, that the Angel's word might be fulfilled, is born of the glorious Virgin by divine inspiration; is laid in the manger, then is announced to shepherds by an angel. He rules all things reigning in heaven; and, a little one, the Son of God lies in the manger. He is nourished by the Virgin Mother, and by the Magi is adored with gifts...."**

HESYCHIUS.

"When the Blessed Virgin heard Gabriel address her with the words, Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, she received not the salutation with tranquil mind; but on hearing such sort of speech, and beholding the archangel Gabriel unexpectedly in her house, troubled in her thoughts at what he said about child-bearing -- we may imagine her speaking to the archangel in some such words as these: 'Every thing appears to me very strange and extraordinary in thy coming here to-day.' And again: 'How is it that thou hast presumed thus boldly to intrude upon an unwedded Virgin, and to utter in her presence these thy incredible words? For thou sayest that I am to bring forth a child, and to conceive without marriage.... How am I to believe this thy romancing to me (pos pisteuso soi pros eme komphdounti)?' What answer then does Gabriel make to her diffidence? 'What I learnt I said, what I heard I speak. The Holy Ghost will come upon thee, and the power of the Most High will overshadow thee. And therefore the Holy that shall be born shall be called the Son of God.... More than this I am unable to announce. For I have no mandate to say the manner how, O Virgin, but to be the minister of what regards the good tidings sent to thee. Be in amazement therefore with me at the mystery, and receive the good tidings without doubting.' She then says: Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word."***

S. AMBROSE.

"And all that heard wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds." -- Luke ii. 18.


* Serm. in Annunt. Fest. Tom. 65, pp. 96-99.

** Oratio B. Eleutherii, animam agentis ad Deum pro Fide et Ecclesia Tornacensi. Ib. p. 99.

*** Serm. iv., De Sanct. Maria Deip., Patr. Gr. Tom. 93, p. 1453.

 

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