Monday, July 17, 2006

Reading from the "Common of the Saints - Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary"

Proverbs of Solomon ch.8, 12-25; 34-36
I wisdom dwell in counsel, and am present in learned thoughts. The fear of the Lord hateth evil: I hate arrogance, and pride, and every wicked way, and a mouth with a double tongue. Counsel and equity is mine, prudence is mine, strength is mine. By me kings reign, and lawgivers decree just things. By me princes rule, and the mighty decree justice. I love them that love me: and they that in the morning early watch for me, shall find me. With me are riches and glory, glorious riches and justice. For my fruit is better than gold and the precious stone, and my blossoms than choice silver. I walk in the way of justice, in the midst of the paths of judgment. That I may enrich them that love me, and may fill their treasures. The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before he made any thing from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived. neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out: The mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors. He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord

Sermon of St. John Chrysostom.

The Son of God did not choose for his mother a rich or wealthy woman, but that blessed Virgin, whose soul was adorned with virtues. For it was because the blessed Mary had observed chastity in a way that was above all human nature, that she conceived Christ the Lord in her womb. Let us then fly to this most holy Virgin and Mother of God, and avail ourselves to her patronage. Therefore let all you, who are virgins, flee to the Mother of the Lord; for she, by her patronage, will guard in you that beautiful, precious, and incorruptible possession. The Blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, dearest brethren, was in truth a great wonder. For what greater or more wonderful one has ever at any time been discovered? She alone is greater far than heaven and earth. What is holier than she? Not the Prophets, not the Apostles, not the Martyrs, not the Patriarchs, not the Angels, not the Thrones, not the Dominations, not the Seraphim, not the Cherubim; in truth no creature whatever, whether visible or invisible, is to be found greater or more excellent than she. She is at once the handmaid of God, and his Mother; at once a Virgin and a parent. She is the mother of him, who was begotten of the Father, before the beginning of all things; whom Angels and men acknowledge to be the Lord of all things. Would thou know how much greater is this Virgin than any of the heavenly Powers? They stand in his presence with fear and trembling, and veiled faces; she offers human nature to him whom she brought forth. Through her we obtain the forgiveness of our sins. Hail, then, O mother, heaven, maiden, virgin, throne, ornament, glory and foundation of our Church: pray without ceasing for us to Jesus, thy Son and our Lord, that through thee we may find mercy in the day of judgment, and may be able to obtain those good things which are prepared for those good things which are prepared for those who love God, through the grace and loving-kindness of Jesus Christ our Lord: to whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory, and honour, and dominion, now and for ever, world without end. Amen.