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EXEGESIS -- THE VISITATION (CONT.)

"What was that humility of Mary upon which the Lord looked? What was there humble and abject in our Saviour's Mother, who bore in her womb the Son of God? In saying, then, He hath looked upon the humility of His handmaiden, it is as though she said, He hath looked upon her justice; He hath looked upon her temperance; He hath looked upon her fortitude and wisdom. Since it was meet that He should look upon her other virtues also. Some one may answer and say: I understand how God looks upon the justice and wisdom of His handmaid; but how He regards her humility is not quite plain. Let the questioner reflect that properly in the Scriptures humility alone is commended. For the Saviour says: Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you shall find rest to your souls.* ... God, says Mary, hath looked upon me who am humble, and following after the virtue of meekness and self-abasement.

"For behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. If I simply take the meaning of all generations by itself, I interpret it of the faithful. But if I search for something more profound, I shall remark how much more and greater it is to say, For He who is Mighty hath done to me great things, since every one who humbleth himself shall be exalted. ** God regarded then the humility of Blessed Mary, and on that account He who is Mighty did great things to her, and Holy is His Name.

"And His mercy is from generation unto generations. The mercy of God is not on one generation only, nor on two or three, nor even on five, but reaches for ever from generation unto generations to those who fear His power. ***

"John was not filled with the Holy Ghost until she came who carried Christ in her womb. But then he was both filled with the Holy Ghost and leapt (for joy), and made his mother to share with him. And Elisabeth cried out prophetically on account of him whom she bore an infant in her womb, and said to the Virgin: Blessed art thou amongst women. For of so great a grace no other woman was ever partaker, nor can be: since one only is the Divine Conception; one alone the Divine Birth; one alone is she who gave birth to Him who is God and man. Why then doest thou first salute me? Am I then she who bears the Saviour? It behoved me to come to thee, for thou art above all other women blessed: thou, my Lady, who bearest the undoing of the curse. She speaks in accordance with the son. For John spoke of himself as unworthy to come before Christ, and she calls herself unworthy of the Virgin's presence. What such great good, she says, has been done by me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? And she calls her who was yet a Virgin, Mother, prophetically by her word anticipating the event, and names the Saviour the fruit of her womb, because He was not to be from man, but from Mary alone; for they who spring from their parents' seed are their fruits.

"A Divine dispensation therefore led Mary to Elisabeth, that the witness of John to the Lord might be fulfilled even from the womb. For the babe leapt, and the Lord began in a manner thenceforth to show forth John to be a prophet.

"The journey of the Virgin had too its own particular stress (eiche ten oikelian autes spouden).


* Matt. xi. 29.

** Luke xiv. 11.

*** Hom. viii., Ib., pp. 1819-21.

 

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