EXEGESIS - PROVERBS. - ECCLESIASTES. -- CANTICLES.
"What sufficiently worthy praises shall we bestow on her whose merit is above all things of earth? For if Paul could say of other saints, of whom the world was not worthy,* what shall we say of the Mother of God, who shone as much beyond all the martyrs in splendour, as the sun surpasses with its blaze the twinkling rays of the stars? Right meet it is that we should cry out in that eulogy of Solomon, Many daughters have wrought virtue, but thou art pre-eminent, and hast surpassed them all, O sacred Virgin, on whose account with reason the angels, sent for the ministry of man, exult; who of old turned away from the human race. But now Gabriel rejoices that to him is entrusted the news of the Conception, and with much honour presents himself to the Virgin."+
"Blessed is the land whose king is noble," etc. -- x. 17.
"Blessed art thou, O land, whose king is son of the noble-born. Blessed
land of the Church, whose King is Christ, Son of the noble-born; coming
down from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, of the lineage also of the prophets,
and all the saints over whom sin had not ruled; for which reason they were
truly free. Of whom was born the Virgin, yet more free, holy Mary, having
no shoot, no germ at his side; but all her fruit broke out into the flower,
that speaks in the Canticle of Canticles: I am the flower of the field, and the
lily of the valleys.++
"Let Him kiss me with the kiss of His mouth." i. 1.
"Hereby is signified the grace of the Holy Spirit coming down from above, as the Angel said to Mary: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee."**
"The Church ceases not to kiss the feet of Christ: and hence in the Canticle of Canticles, she is not content with one but many kisses. For like holy Mary,|| she is intent on all His utterances, and takes in all His words. When the Gospel or a Prophet is being read, she keeps all His sayings in her heart."***
"Thy name is as oil poured out." v. 2.
"With this unguent it was that Mary was anointed. Virgin she conceived, and Virgin brought forth a good odour, even the Son of God... She who has the unguent receives Christ: hence says that spouse who had Him: I opened to my brother, my brother passed in.+++ How did He pass in? He entered into the interior of the mind; as was said to Mary; Thine own soul also a sword shall pass through.||| For the word of God is living, penetrating as a sharp sword, and searching into the innermost senses, and the secrets of the heart."++++
* Heb. xi. 38.
+ S. Basil of Seleucia. Orat. in Deip.
++ Cant. ii. 1. S. Jerome, Comment. in Eccles. Opp. T. iii. Col. 476, 7.
** S. Ambrose, in Ps. cxviii. Serm. ii., n. 16.
|| Luke ii. n. 16.
*** Epist. xli. 18.
+++ Cant. v. 6.
||| Luke ii. 35. Heb. iv. 12.
++++ De Virginitate, 65, 57. In Ps. cxviii. Serm. xii.