Thursday, September 8, 2011

Saint Augustine on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From a Sermon of Saint Augustine, the Bishop.

Dearly beloved, the day for which we have longed is come, even this holy-day of the praiseworthy and Blessed Ever-Virgin Mary.  Let our land laugh and sing with merriment, bathed in the light of this great Virgin's rising.  She is the flower of the field, from her the priceless Lily of the valley hath blossomed.  With her that dolorous sentence which was pronounced over Eve ended its course.  To her it was never said: In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.  She brought forth a child, even the Lord, but she brought Him forth, not in sorrow, but in joy.

Eve wept, but Mary laughed. Eve's womb was big with tears, but Mary's womb was big with gladness.  Eve gave birth to a sinner, but Mary gave birth to the Sinless One.  The mother of our race brought punishment into the earth, but the mother of our Lord brought forth Salvation.  Eve introduced sin, but Mary righteousness.  Eve gave a welcome unto death, but Mary welcomed Life.  For Eve's disobedience, Mary offered obedience.  For Eve's unbelief, Mary offered faith.

Mary singeth, as it were, to an instrument of ten strings, and between its quick notes soundeth the timbrels of those who celebrate this new kind of motherhood.  Therefore let the gladsome choirs join with her, to sing antiphonally her lovely hymn. O hearken to the melody which she maketh as she proclaimeth: My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour; for He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; for He that is mighty hath magnified me. The song of Mary hath brought to an end the lamentations of Eve.

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