Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"Her ineffable beauty"

Today, the Church celebrates a memorial of the Blessed Mother (Presentation of Mary by her parents in the temple). Here is the "Meditation of the Day" written by Fr. Jacob of Serug (9th cent. A.D.) from Magnificat, a Catholic monthly publication:

"From her childhood, Mary stood firm in unblemished uprightness; she walked in the way without offenses. Her original nature was preserved with a will for good things because there were always tokens of virginity in her body and holy things in her soul. This deed which took place in her gave me power to speak these things concerning her ineffable beauty. Because she became Mother of the Son of God, I saw and firmly believed that she is the only woman in the world who is entirely pure.

From when she knew to distinguish good from evil, she stood firm in purity of heart and in integrity of thoughts. She did not turn aside from the justice which is in the Law, and neither carnal nor bodily desire distubed her. From her childhood, impulses of holiness stirred within her, and in her excellence, she increaed them with great care. The Lord was always set before her eyes; on him she was gazing, so that she mght be enlightened by him, and delighted in him.

Because he saw how pure she was and limpid her soul, he wanted to dwell in her since she was free from evils. Since a woman like her had never been seen, an amazing work was done in her which is the greatest of all. A daughter of men was sought among women; she was chosen who was the fairest of all. The holy Father wanted to make a mother for his Son, but he did not allow that she be his mother because of his choice.

Maiden, full of beauty hidden in her and around her, and pure of heart that she might see the mysteries which had come to pass in her. This is beauty, when one is beautiful of one's own accord; glorious graces of perfection are in her will. However great be the beauty of something from God, it is not acclaimed if freedom is not present. The sun is beautiful but it is not praised by spectators, because it is known that its will does not give it light.

Whoever is beautiful of his own accord and possesses beauty, on this account he is truly acclaimed if he is beautiful. Even God loves beauty which is from the will; he praises a good will whenever this has pleased him. Now this Virgin whom, behold, we speak of her story by means of her good will, she was plasing and was chosen. He was descending to become man by the daghter of man; because she was pleasing, she was chosen that he might be from her".

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