"Deem not that the words of the shepherds are to be despised as though of little worth. For from the shepherds Mary gathers faith. From the shepherds a people is congregated for the worship of God. They were, too, in admiration, all who heard what was said to them by the shepherds."

"But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart." -- v. 19.

"Let us here learn the chastity of holy Mary in all things, who no less modest in speech than in body, pondered over the arguments of faith in her heart. If Mary learns from the shepherds, why doest thou decline to hear from priests? If, before the Apostolic precepts, Mary keeps silence, why dost thou, after the Apostolic precepts, desire rather to teach than to learn? Understand that the fault is one of the person, not of the sex: for the sex is holy. In a word, Mary had not received the precept: she set the example." *




Section 2. -- THE VISITATION.
Luke i. 39-58.

"Such as are more excellent come to those who are less so, that by their coming they may confer upon them some benefit. Thus it was the Saviour came to John, to sanctify his baptism. And Mary, as soon as she heard the Angel announce to her that she had conceived the Saviour, and that her cousin Elisabeth was with child, rising up went with haste to the hilly parts, and entered the house of Elisabeth. Meanwhile Jesus who was in her womb, hastened to sanctify John, who lay as yet in his mother's womb. Hence it was, that not until Mary came and saluted Elisabeth did the infant leap in the womb, but at once when Mary spoke the word, which the Son of God in His Mother's womb suggested to her, the infant leapt for joy, and then Jesus first made his precursor a prophet. It was moreover befitting that Mary, who had now with her the most august Son of God, should, afater the colloquy of God with her, ascend to the mountains and dwell in higher parts. And so we read: Mary, rising up in those days, went to the mountain parts. It was befitting, too -- since she was prompt and not slow -- for her to hasten with eagerness, and, full as she was of the Holy Ghost, to be drawn to what was more sublime, and to be protected by the power of God, wherewith she had been overshadowed...."

"Whence is this to me? This Elisabeth says, not because she did not know -- especially now that she was filled with the Holy Ghost -- that by the will of God the Lord's Mother had come to her; but in this sense: What good have I done? What deeds of mine are so great, that the Lord's Mother should come to me?

* In Luc. L. ii. c. ii. See also S. Jerome and Eusebius of Emisa, supra, on Is. viii. 3.


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