The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Month of Mary: May 4~Tertullian, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Ephraim

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 4, 2010

Note: Yesterday I published a post containing Marian exegesis from the Fathers on Genesis 2:5-9, I continue with that today.

Gen 2:5  And every plant of the field before it sprung up in the earth, and every herb of the ground before it grew: for the Lord God had not rained upon the earth; and there was not a man to till the earth.
Gen 2:6  But a spring rose out of the earth, watering all the surface of the earth.
Gen 2:7  And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.
Gen 2:8  And the Lord God had planted a paradise of pleasure from the beginning: wherein he placed man whom he had formed.
Gen 2:9  And the Lord God brought forth of the ground all manner of trees, fair to behold, and pleasant to eat of: the tree of life also in the midst of paradise: and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Tertullian: Above all is to be commended the reason which prescribed that the Son of God should be born of the Virgin.  In a new way it behooved to be born the dedicator of a new birth; the sign whereof the Lord is by Isaiah proclaimed as giving.  And what is this sign? Behold, a Virgin shall conceive in her womb and bring forth a Son Isa 7:14; cf. Matt 1:23).  The Virgin therefore conceived and brought forth Emmanuel, God with us.  This is that new birth, whereby man is born in God, and God is born in man–in flesh of olden seed, yet conceived without olden seed, in order that with new seed, that is to say, spiritually, He might form that flesh anew, now expiated by the exclusion of the filth of its oldness.  Now this entire newness was figured forth–as indeed in all things of old-by the rational disposition of the Lord being born by means of the Virgin.  The earth was still virgin, not yet broken up by labor, nor yet prepared for sowing, and therefrom, we are told, man was made by God into a living soul.  If then the first Adam was taken from the earth; with good reason, likewise from earth, that is, from flesh not yet given over to generation, was the next, even the last Adam, in the words of the Apostle, made by God into a quickening spirit.  De Carne Christi, cap. xvii.

St John Chrysostom: The word Eden signifies virgin land.  Now such was that region in which God planted paradise.  For it is written that God planted a paradise in Eden towards the East, that thou mayest understand that paradise was not a work of human hands; since the earth was virgin, and had known no plough-share, nor was cut up by furrows; but without any tillage, at the command of God alone it put forth its vegetation and trees.  For this cause He called it Eden, which means virgin soil.  Now this Virgin (earth) is a type of the Virgin (Mary).  For as that land, without having received any seed, blossomed forth for us a paradise; so too Mary, without having conceived of man, blossomed forth for us Christ.  When then a Jew says to thee, How did a Virgin bring forth? say to him, How did the virgin earth put forth those marvelous trees? De Mutatione Nominum ii.

St Ambrose: The first man was created from virginal earth which had been formed and created of recent origin at the word of God, and was not yet congealed with parracidal blood and slaughters, polluted with crimes and shame, nor as yet with this flesh of ours condemned by the curse of guilt heredity. Ennarat. in Cap. ii. Genes. de paradiso. Ad Sabinum.

St Ephraim: O Mary, most holy paradise in Eden, bearing fruit more beautiful and most pleasant…Rejoice, O most blessed one, for ever and ever.  Rejoice, O Virgin maid, thou tree of goodly foliage, whence we all gather frruit, of which when we eat we are refreshed with gladness and do not die…Hail, paradise of delights; hail tree of life; hail fountain of grace and immortality. Orat. ad Deip.

6 Responses to “Month of Mary: May 4~Tertullian, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Ephraim”

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