From all Eternity |
Solemnity of the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
Comprehensive Catholic Commentary
Fr. George Leo Haydock
Editor's Note: This special feature, provided by John Gregory with the Haydock Commentary found at the bottom of each page of the Douay-Rheims Bible, With the type so small in most bibles, we publish it here in larger type in conjunction with the Epistle and Gospel for the Sunday Mass provided by John Gregory with the cogent comprehensive Catholic Commentary penned by Father George Leo Haydock on the Douay-Rheims version of the New Testament. The commentary for the Solemnity of the Double of the First Class Feast of the Immaculate Conception show how from all eternity God had chosen the most pure Star of the sea, the light of the heavens reflected in the purest human tabernacle ever created - the Blessed Virgin Mary. Though not specifically identified in Proverbs, we see in the Gospel of St. Luke that she is indeed named, not only specifically as Mary, but "full of grace" and "blessed"..."among all women." This confirmation comes directly from God via His Archangel Gabriel and is all the more stunning since Mary is truly a virgin, at the time of her conception through her Assumption she remains forever ever virgin, ever pure, ever Immaculate.
Epistle: Proverbs 8: 22-33
The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways, before He made any thing from the beginning.
Commentary on Verse 22 Possessed. As Christ was with God, equal to Him in eternity, John 1. Sept. “created,” which many of the Fathers explain of the word incarnate, (see Corn. a Lapide; Bossuet) or He hath “placed me,” (Saint Athanasius 3 con. Arian. Euseb.) a pattern of all virtues. The Septuagint generally render kana, “possessed,” as Aquila does here. (C.)
I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made.
Commentary on Verse 23 Up. Hebrew, “anointed.” Sept. “He founded.” Christ was appointed to be the foundation, on which we must be built. (Saint Athanasius 3 Orat.)
The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived: neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out:
Commentary on Verse 24 Conceived. Having yet manifested none of my works. Since the creation, wisdom only seeks to communicate itself to us. (C.)
The mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth:
He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world.
Commentary on Verse 26 Poles. Heb. “head or height of the dust of the world.” (H.) – I subsisted with the chaos, before things appeared in their present form. (C.) – The poles denote the north and south, or the four quarters of the world. (M.)
When He prepared the heavens, I was present: when with a certain law and compass he enclosed the depths:
When He established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters:
Commentary on Verse 28 Sky. Prot. “clouds.” Pagn. “the air.” Vulg. oethera. Sept. “the clouds above.” (H.) – Moses assigns the higher and lower waters the same origin. Genesis 1: 7.
When He compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits: when be balanced the foundations of the earth;
Commentary on Verse 29 Pass. This is often remarked, Psalm 41: 8. – Earth. See Job 38: 8. (C.)
I was with Him forming all things: and was delighted every day, playing before Him at all times;
Commentary on Verse 30 Forming. Hebrew, “one nursed,” (C.) or nursing, nutritious. (Pagn.) – He was not an idle spectator. – Playing. With ease and surprising variety. (C.)
Playing in the world: and my delights were to be with the children of men.
Commentary on Verse 31 Men. God saw that all was good, but delighted most in His own image. (M.) – He prefers man before all other corporeal creatures. (W.) – To Him alone below He has granted understanding, and a soul capable of virtue. The son has also assumed our nature. Baruch 3: 37.
Now therefore, ye children, hear me: Blessed are they that keep my ways.
Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not.
Gospel: St. Luke 1: 26-28
At that time, in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
Commentary on Verse 27 The word Miriam, or Mary, is expounded by Saint Jerome from different etymologies, to signify in Hebrew, star of the sea, and in Chaldaic, lady. Both interpretations admirably well agree with her, who is the glorious Queen of Heaven, our patroness and star, to direct us in the stormy ocean of this world. – “O you,” cries out Saint Bernard, “who find yourselves tossed to and fro in this tempestuous life, turn not your eyes away from the brightness of this star, if you would not be overwhelmed in these storms. If the winds of temptations arise; if you fall among the rocks of tribulation; look up to the star, call upon Mary. If you are agitated, and hard driven with the surges of pride, ambition, detraction, jealously, or envy; look up to the star, call upon Mary. If anger, covetousness, or lust, beat furiously on the vessel of your soul; look up to the star, call upon Mary. If you are beginning to founder, and are just sinking into the gulf of melancholy and despair; think on Mary. In dangers, in distresses, in perplexities, think on Mary, call on Mary. Let her name be never absent from your mouth; from your mouth let it constantly descend into your heart; and, that you may obtain the suffrage of her prayers; both in life and death, never depart from the example of her pious conversation.” (Saint Bernard, homily 2 super Missus est.)
And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
Commentary on Verse 28 Hail, full of grace: by the greatest share of divine graces granted to any creature. This translation, approved by the ancient Fathers, agrees with the ancient Syriac and Arabic versions. There was no need therefore to change it into gracious, with Erasmus; into freely beloved, with Beza; into highly favored, with the Protestant translators. For if seven deacons (Acts 6: 3) are said to be full of the Holy Ghost, as it is again said of Saint Stephen, (Acts 7: 55) and also of the same Saint Stephen, (Acts 6: 8) that he was full of grace, (as the learned Dr. Wells translates it in his amendments made to the Protestant translation) why should any one be offended at this salutation given to the blessed mother of God; who would not have been raised to this highest dignity, had not her soul been first prepared for it by the greatest share of divine graces? – The Lord is with thee, by His interior graces; and now, at this moment, is about to confer upon thee the highest of all dignities, by making thee truly the mother of God. (Witham) – The Catholic Church makes frequent use of these words which were brought by the archangel from heaven, as well to honor Jesus Christ and His virgin Mother, as because they were the first glad tidings of Christ’s incarnation, and man’s salvation; and are the very abridgment and sum of the whole gospel. In the Greek Church, they are used daily in the Mass. See the Liturgy of Saint James, and that of Saint John Chrysostom.