Thursday, 20 March 2014

Through Mary by St. Sophronius

Through Mary the Father’s blessing 
has shone Forth on Mankind
A sermon by 
Saint Sophronius, bishop

Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you. What joy could surpass this, O Virgin Mother?  What grace can excel that which God has granted to you alone?  What could be imagined more dazzling or more delightful?  Before the miracle we witness to you, all else pales; all else is inferior when compared with the grace you have been given.  All else, even what is desirable, must take second place and enjoy a lesser importance.
The Lord is with you.  Who would dare challenge you?  You are God’s mother; who would not immediately defer to you and be glad to accord you a greater primacy and honor?  For this reason, when I look upon the privilege you have above all creatures, I extol you with the highest praise: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.  On your account joy has not only graced men, but is also granted to the powers in heaven.

Truly, you are blessed among women.  For you have changed Eve’s curse into a blessing; and Adam, who hitherto lay under a curse, has been blessed because of you. 
Truly, you are blessed among women. Through you the Father’s blessing has shone forth on mankind, setting them free of their ancient curse.
Truly, you are blessed among women, because through you your forebears have found salvation. For you were to give birth to the Savior who was to win them salvation.

The Visitation: by Raphael
Truly, you are blessed among women, for without seed you have borne, as your fruit, him who bestows blessings on the whole world and redeems it from that curse that made it sprout thorns.
Truly, you are blessed among women, because, though a woman of nature, you will become, in reality, God’s mother.  If he whom you are to bear is truly God made flesh, then rightly do we call you God’s mother.  For you have truly given birth to God.
Enclosed within your womb is God himself.  He makes his abode in you and comes forth from you like a bridegroom, winning joy for all and bestowing God’s light on all.
You, O Virgin, are like a clear and shining sky, in which God has set his tent. From you he comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber.  Like a giant running his course, he will run the course of his life which will bring salvation for all who will ever live, and extending from the highest heavens to the end of them, it will fill all things with divine warmth and with life-giving brightness.

Taken from the Liturgy of the Hours.