99
EXEGESIS - CANTICLES.

"This one calls her Mother of light; that one, Star of the sea; another, Throne of God; another, Temple greater than heaven; another, the Chair inferior to the Cherubic Chair; then another, the garden unsown, fertile, untilled, the vine fruitful with grapes, flourishing exceedingly, intact; the chaste turtle, the dove undefiled; the cloud without corruption, conceiving showers; the sample whose gem is more splendid than the sun; the quarry whence comes forth the uncut stone that covers the whole earth; the ship freighted with merchandise, yet needing no pilot; the treasure that maketh rich."*

"Thou alone, Lady Mother of God, art most high above all the earth. But we with true fidelity bless thee, O Spouse of God, with love we honour, and with honour we worship thee, ever magnifying and with veneration proclaiming thee blessed. For thou art the honour of honours, the reward of rewards, and the sublimity of sublimities."+

"To-day, then, Mary is made for us a heaven bearing the divinity which Christ, without leaving His Father's glory, shut up within the narrow limits of her womb, that He might raise up men to a higher dignity. Her alone did He choose from the universal band of virgins, that she might be the instrument of our salvation. In her the predictions of the just and of all the prophets had their fulfilment. From her went forth that most splendid star, under whose guidance the people that walked in darkness, saw a great light. Mary may be most fitly called by divers names. She is, for example, the temple of the Son of God, who from her went forth in quite another guise from what He entered; for in entering into her womb He was without body; but He came forth clothed with a body. She is that mystical new heaven,++ wherein dwelt the King of kings as in His mansion, from which He shot forth to earth, bearing about Him a certain earthly form and likeness. She is the vine bringing forth a pleasant odour;** and since her fruit differed much from the nature of the tree, it was necessary that it should borrow a likeness from the tree. She is the fountain going forth from the house of the Lord,|| from which for the thirsty flowed the streams of living water, of which if any one but only once shall taste, he shall not thirst for ever.*** He verily is mistaken, my dearly beloved, who should suppose that this day of reparation can be compared with that other of creation. For in the beginning the earth was formed, to-day it is renewed: in the beginning, on account of Adam's crime, it was cursed in his work,+++ but to-day peace and security are restored to it: in the beginning by the sin of our first parents death passed to all men,||| but to-day through Mary we are translated from death to life: in the beginning the serpent getting possession of the ears of Eve, thence spread his poison throughout her whole body; to-day Mary through her ears received the champion of everlasting bliss. Hence what was the instrument of death, the same has proved to be that of life."++++

"The Blessed Mother of God, whose planting is as of a rose in Jericho,****


* Hesychius, Orat. De Deip. laudib.

+ S. Ephrem, Orat. ad Deip. Opp. Gr. T. iii., p. 544.

++ Apoc. xxi. 1.

** Eccli. xxiv. 23.

|| Joel iii. 18.

*** Eccli. xxiv. 29; John iv. 13, 14.

+++ Gen. iii. 17.

||| Rom. v. 12.

++++ S. Ephrem, De diversis Serm. iii.; De laud. Deip. Opp. Syr. Tom. iii., p. 607 a-f.

**** Eccli. xxiv. 18.

Next Page
Previous Page
Back to Table of Contents