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Mary is full of grace and blessed among all women

3 min • Digitized on March 23, 2022

#Doctors of the Church #Doctrine #Mary

From The Life and Glories of St. Joseph, in file "The Life and Glories of St. Joseph", page 170
By Edward Healy Thompson, M.A.

So Gabriel bowed low before the Virgin of Nazareth, and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women.” Sublime salutation, with which, as St. Ambrose says, the Virgin alone could be saluted, for she alone obtained that grace which no other ever merited; that is, to be full of Him who is the author of grace.

Mary is saluted as full of grace, says St. Jerome, because to others grace is given in part and by measure, but in Mary the whole fulness of grace was infused; whence, as St. Bernard adds, she is full of grace for herself and has a superabundance of grace for us. Mary, then, being so full of grace from the moment of her conception, it was meet that the Lord should be with her, not in an ordinary and common manner, but in one that was extraordinary and unprecedented.

God is with all by His essence, His power, and His presence, and with the just by His grace; but He was with Mary, not only in all these modes, but in one altogether new and singular. He was with Mary by a certain peculiar union, since the Son of God was about to take human flesh in her womb and, with a human soul united to the Person of the Word, was to be called and truly to be the Son of Mary, wherefore Mary was to be truly called and truly to be the Mother of God.

No one in the world, whether among angels or among men, was ever so closely united to God as was Mary, no one was so near to the Divinity; so that the Angelic Doctor does not scruple to affirm that the dignity of Mary has something in it of the infinite. Well, therefore, might she be styled blessed by the angel, blessed among all women.

All other women shared the malediction of Eve; Mary alone was exempt. From Eve began malediction, and benediction began from Mary. From the first instant of her being she triumphed over the infernal serpent, and was in herself and in her children eternally blessed.

Jahel, it is true, who was a figure of Mary, was saluted by Debbora as “blessed among women,” because she had slain Sisara, the enemy of God’s people, but this blessing of Jahel was simply one of words, whereas the blessing of Mary was in very deed; it was intrinsic and full of measureless grace, from the peculiar presence of that God who is the author of grace; so that, as St. Ambrose says, the form of blessing used by the angel to Mary was reserved for her alone.

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