Within the Octave of the Immaculate Conception



At that time: The Angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a Virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the Virgin's name was Mary. And so on, and that which followeth. Luke Chap. 1, 26-38
A Homily by http://www.bartleby.com/210/3/112.htmlSt. Sophronius the Bishop

When this blessed Angel was sent to the most pure Virgin what did he say? In what words did he break the happy news of Redemption? Hail, thou that art full of grace, the Lord is with thee. The messenger of joy in his first word biddeth her rejoice. He knew well that his message was a message of good tidings of great joy to men, yea, to all creatures, a message of healing to all sicknesses. He knew well that his message was a message of God's light to a dark world. He knew well that it proclaimed the end of error. He knew well that it blunted the sting of death. He knew well that it broke the power of corruption. He knew well that it brought victory over hell. He knew well that it told of salvation to all the fallen children of Adam, groaning under that yoke of malediction which fell on them when they were thrust out of Eden, and banished from that happy home. Therefore, when he began to speak, he spake in tones of rejoicing, and opened his message with sounds of gladness. Therefore made he the name of joy to herald the tidings of good, which were to be for a joy unto all people, whosoever should believe.

And, of a truth, it was fitting that God's proclamation of joy should open with the accents of gladness. And this is the reason why the angel nameth joy first, because he knew the coming fruits of his message, and that his converse with the Virgin was to bring joy to the whole world. Can we find any joy or any brightness of that salutation addressed to the Blessed Mother of gladness? Rejoice, O mother of joy more than heavenly! Rejoice, O thou that nourishest joy in the highest! Rejoice, O Lady, full of the joy of salvation! Rejoice, O thou that bringest a joy that passeth not away! Rejoice, O mysterious treasury dispensing unspeakable joy! Rejoice, O most blessed fountain, overflowing with unfailing joy! Rejoice, O store-house of God, filled with the everlasting joy of eternity! Rejoice, O fair tree, bearing fruit of life-giving joy! Rejoice, O Maiden Mother of God! Rejoice, O thou that after child-birth remainest a Virgin! Rejoice, O wonder, who, after all wonders, art still the most wonderful!

Who shall worthily set forth thy glory? Who shall make bold to say what thou art? Who will hold himself able to tell of all thy splendour? Thou art the exaltation of humanity; thou art made much higher than the Angels; thy brightness hath thrown the brightness of the Archangels into shadow; thou lookest down upon the lofty seats of the Thrones; thou makest the height of the Dominations to seem low; thy rank taketh precedence before the rank of the Principalities; compared with thee the Powers are weakness; thou art a Mighty one mightier than all the Mighty Virtues; thine earthly eyes see further than the contemplation of the Cherubim can reach; the Seraphim have six wings, but thy flight is nobler than theirs; in a word, thou hast far excelled every other work of God; thou wast far purer than any other creature; and thou hast conceived the Creator of all creatures, carried him in thy womb, and brought him forth; thou hast been chosen, out of all that he hath made, to be his Mother.