On the Blessed Virgin Mary

Author: St. Anthony of Padua


St. Anthony of Padua

Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231), is one of the most famous saints in the Roman Catholic Church. He is renowned not only for the innumerable miracles that he worked both in life and throughout the last 800 years since his death, but also for his lucid and inspiring sermons which he left in writing. Like his spiritual father St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony had the most ardent devotion to the Immaculate Mother of God. Indeed, he was instrumental in reinforcing faith in the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin at a time when many doubts were raised against the doctrine.

From a Sermon on the Purification of our Lady, #1

As sweet smelling incense in summertime, and as a bright fire and frankincense burning in the fire (Eccl. 50,8-9).

It is said in Genesis: the Lord God planted a paradise from the beginning, in which He planted man to dress and keep it (2,8.15). But he dressed and kept it badly. Thus it was necessary that the Lord God plant another and far better paradise, that of the blessed Mary, unto which the exiles of the first might return. In this paradise was placed the second Adam, who dressed and kept it. He worked great things, as She Herself says: He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name (Lk. 1,49). What we term holy (sanctum) the Greeks term hagion, etymologically "without land," because those consecrated to his name must hold their conversation not on earth but in heaven. He kept Her, preserving Her integrity; He dressed Her, making Her fecund; He kept Her, not violating Her virginity. Cursed in the work of Adam, the earth first produced thorns and thistles on being cultivated. Our earth, that is, the blessed Virgin, without the labor of man, brought forth that blessed fruit, whom today She offered to the God and Father in the Temple. Hence it is written: As sweet smelling incense in the summertime...

From a Sermon on the Nativity of Our Lady, (2,4)

Like the morning star in the midst of the cloud and as the moon at its full she shines (Eccl. 50,6).

The morning star is named Lucifer—"Lightbearer," because among all the stars it shines more brightly, and so is rightly described as splendid. Lucifer, preceding the sun and announcing the morning, dispels the darkness of night with the light of its splendor. The morning star, viz. Lucifer, is the blessed Mary, who, born in the midst of the cloud, announces the morning of grace, the Sun of justice, to those sitting in darkness. Hence, of Her the Lord speaks to Job (38,32): Can you bring forth the daystar in its time? When the time of mercy came, the time for building the house of the Lord, the acceptable time and day of salvation (Ps. 101,14; Agg. 1,2; II Cor. 6,2), then the Lord made Lucifer, that is, the blessed Mary, as a light unto the people. They must say of Her what they said of Judith, as recorded in that book (13,22.23-25): The Lord has blessed you by His power, because by you He has brought our enemies to naught. Blessed are you, Daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women on earth. Blessed be the Lord who created heaven and earth, who has directed you to the beheading of the prince of our enemies; because He has so magnified your name today, that your praise shall never depart out of the mouths of men. The blessed Mary was, therefore, like the morning star in Her birth. About this Isaiah says (11,1): There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise out of his root.

And as the moon at its full she shines. The blessed Mary is said to be the full moon, because in every way perfect. The moon is imperfect when a half-moon, because it is stained or horned. But the glorious Virgin neither in Her birth had any stain, because sanctified in Her mother's womb, guarded by angels, nor in Her days had She the horns of pride. Hence, She shone fully and perfectly. She is said to be light because She dispels the darkness.

We beseech You, our Lady, that You who are the morning star, cast out the cloud of diabolical suggestion shrouding the land of our minds; that You who are the full moon fill our emptiness, dispel the darkness of our sins, that we might merit to come to the fullness of eternal life, to the light of unending glory. May He grant this who made You our light, who to be born of You made You be born today. To Him be the glory and honor for ever. Amen.

This short excerpt gives only a brief introduction to the mind and theology of this famous Doctor of the Church. It forms part of the Little Marian Library of the Blessed Virgin Mary the Home Page of the Immaculate. This site is maintained by Immaculate Mediatrix, Inc., under the direction of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.

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