96
EXEGESIS - CANTICLES.

"Rejoice thou entirely immaculate divine throne of God. Rejoice, splendid sole Mother of God. Rejoice thou most holy bed of Solomon... Rejoice thou Queen of Adam's race. Rejoice thou sword of evil spirits."*

"Go forth and see King Solomon in the crown, wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the joy of his heart, because he made for himself, says he, charity from the daughters of Jerusalem." -- vv. 10, 11.

"....Blessed Mother Jerusalem, and blessed womb of Mary which crowned so great a Lord. She crowned Him, when she formed Him; she crowned Him, when she brought Him forth. For though she formed Him without any work of her own -- since the Holy Ghost came upon the virgin, and hence He Himself says, Thine eyes did see My unwrought being (Inoperatum meum viderunt oculi tui)+ -- yet, by the very fact of her conceiving and bringing Him forth for the salvation of all, she placed upon His head a crown of eternal piety, so that by the faith of them that believe, Christ might become the head of every man.++ Hence unwrought was even the flesh of Christ; for that the Virgin might conceive Him, He, by the, so to say, strange and new mystery of the Incarnation, through the grace of a divine disposition, Himself assumed all His flesh from the Virgin, without any human co-operation, and in her formed the members of the last Adam, the spotless man."**

"Let Thy Mother adore Thee, and place upon Thy head the ornaments of the diadem, as his mother placed of old on Solomon what were his; though he, for the rest, by following heathen pravity, debased the honour of his dignity. But Thou hast most amply adorned her the offspring of David from whom Thou hast Thyself come. Thou hast magnificently exalted her throne, propagated her family far and wide, and everywhere advanced her lyre. May this same glorious parent of Thine flourish in the mouths of all to the end of time. May the womb that bore Thee be filled with benediction. No one, moreover, can worthily praise Joseph, whom Thou, the true and natural Son of the Eternal Father, didst not refuse to have for Thine adopted father: Thou most loving Pastor, who wert sent to seek the sheep that were lost, and didst so long labour until Thou hadst found them and brought them back to the fold.

"That I should have conceived a Son so great -- we may imagine the Virgin Mary saying to herself -- has marvellously gladdened me beyond all who have obtained salvation. That I have given Him birth, has graced me beyond all that are eminent for sanctity. Now shall I enter into the verdant orchards of Paradise, and there praise God, where Eve unhappily fell. This will be perhaps of little account, since He has chosen me for His Mother, and Himself condescended to be my Son, because I was pleasing to Him beyond all other women."||

"Thy lips, my spouse, are as a dripping honeycomb, honey and milk are under thy tongue." -- iv. 2.


* S. Ephrem, Orat. in Deip. Opp. Graec. T. iii., p. 535.

+ Ps. cxxxviii. 16.

++ 1 Cor. xi. 3.

** S. Ambrose, De Inst. Virg. cap. xvi. 97, 98.

|| S. Ephrem, De divers. Serm. i. De Nativ. Dom. Opp. Syr. T. iii., p. 600.

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