A quote from St. Basil that advocates of the sinfulness of the Blessed Virgin Mary incorrectly use against her

May 21, 2023 • 2 min

From St. John Henry Newman’s Letter to Dr. Pusey in reply to his Eirenicon, page 132
By St. John Henry Newman

I. First I set down the passages which create the difficulty, as they are found in the great work of Petavius, a theologian too candid and fearless, to put out of sight or explain away adverse facts, from fear of scandal, or from the expedience of controversy.

1. St. Basil then writes thus, in his 260th Epistle, addressed to Optimus:—

“[Symeon] uses the word ‘sword,’ meaning the word which is tentative and critical of the thoughts, and reaches unto the separation of soul and spirit, of the joints and marrow. Since then every soul, at the time of the Passion, was subjected in a way to some unsettlement (διακρίσει), according to the Lord’s word, who said, ‘All ye shall be scandalized in Me,’ Symeon prophesies even of Mary herself, that, standing by the Cross, and seeing what was doing, and hearing the words, after the testimony of Gabriel, after the secret knowledge of the divine conception, after the great manifestation of miracles, Thou wilt experience, he says, a certain tossing (σάλος) of thy soul. For it beseemed the Lord to taste death for every one, and to become a propitiation of the world, in order to justify all in His blood. And thee thyself who hast been taught from above the things concerning the Lord, some unsettlement (διάκρισις) will reach. This is the sword; ‘that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed.’ He obscurely signifies, that, after the scandalizing which took place upon the Cross of Christ, both to the disciples and to Mary herself, some quick healing should follow upon it from the Lord, confirming their heart unto faith in Him.”

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