Like a child's book to read,
Or like a friend's face seen in a glass.
He looked, and there Our Lady was;
She stood and stroked the tall live grass
As a man strokes his steed.
Her face was like a spoken word
When brave men speak and choose,
The very colours of her coat
Were better than good news . . .
'The gates of heaven are tightly locked,
We do not guard our gain,
The heaviest hind may easily
Come silently and suddenly
Upon me in a lane.
'And any little maid that walks
In good thoughts apart,
May break the guard of the Three Kings,
And see the dear and dreadful things
I hid within my heart.'
G. K. Chesterton, Ballad of Alfred
- - - - - - - - - -Today's feast, recalling the extraordinary way in which the Virgin conceived, celebrates the beginning of our reconciliation and proclaims the unerring disposition of God's mercy and power. There is a profound and wonderful mystery hidden in this conception by which the bond of our transgression is canceled, the divine is joined to the human, and two, that is Christ and the Church, become one body. The Virgin's womb was the bridal chamber for this union, and at the end of the normal period for carrying a child, Christ together with his spouse, our flesh, like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, placed his dwelling, the body he had assumed, in the sun; for he made his body through which he was to vanquish the foe visible to all.
Let us ponder all this with care and with deep longing savor the graciousness of God, considering how wonderful are the rewards promised us in heaven. Let us model ourselves on the one who gave his life on earth as a pattern of Christian living.
-- Ivo of Chartres, Sermo 15 de Annunciatione B. Mariae: PL 162, 583-586