4 May 2010

Mary's Month of May (1)

I plan to reprint during this Marian month, bit by bit (because it is a very dense piece of Byzantine rhetorical theology and repays careful study section by section) a passage of a homily which, I feel, has interest as explaining, from an Orthodox point of view, why our Lady should be deemed Mediatrix of All Graces. The author was S Gregory Palamas, sometimes thought of as a defender of the Orthodox theological tradition against 'Latin error'. I'll probably say a bit more about him as May goes on (Greek at PG CLI 472C Seqq).
Just as through [Mary] alone, [Christ] came to be with us and was seen upon earth and dwelt among men - he who before her was invisible to all - so, unto the coming endless age, every advance of divine enlightenment, every revelation of divine mysteries, and every kind of spiritual gift, cannot be encompassed (achoreton) by any without (choris) her. She it was who first received the fulness of him who fills all things, and made him encompassable by all, distributing powerfully to each, proportionately according to the measure of the purity of each: so that she is the treasury (tamieion) and Controller (prytanis) of the riches of the Godhead.
I welcome comments, both on the theology and on my attempt to render the highly mannered Greek in comprehensible yet faithful Enlish.

3 comments:

Fr LR said...

Our God is the God of the living and Mary is God's living font from which all graces spring forth. Her soul magnifies the Lord.

As Fr. Frost spoke of our Lady, Mater Divinæ Gratiæ:

“Grace is eternal life as given through our Lord. S. Paul says, ‘We are saved by His life,’ and, ‘We are saved by grace.’ S. John that ‘Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,’ and this through Mary, Mother of Jesus Who is our Grace. For the Sacred Humanity, Mary’s gift to God, is the instrumental cause of our salvation.

“Full of grace. The gracious, diffusive happiness of the divine life of God overflowed in creation and sought for low places into which to pour itself, regarded ‘the lowliness’ of Mary and filled her emptiness with grace. Immediately, as we see in the Visitation, Mary begins to fulfil her vocation, to be not only Mother of grace but the channel of grace.

“Mediatrix of all grace. A mediator is one who stands between, not to hinder access but to make it possible. God is the sole Giver of grace, but He has chosen to bestow grace through Mary. ‘She giveth food to her household.’ The fountain of living water flows through the conduit, as S. Bernard calls our Lady. ‘He that findeth me findeth life,’ drinks of ‘the river whose streams make glad the city of God,’ drinks and thirsts for the living God Who alone assuages the desire of men.”

O God, who from the beginning of our infant Church didst make us the dowry of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and subject unto Peter the Prince of the Apostles: mercifully grant; that, in the steadfastness of the Catholic Faith, we may be enabled constantly to love the same most blessed Virgin, and to remain in the obedience of Peter. Amen.

Philip said...

Father,
You may have good reason to render your own new translation of this, but I wanted to ask if you were aware of the translation of the complete Homilies of S. Gregory done by Dr. Christopher Veniamin. They are available from Amazon:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Saint-Gregory-Palamas-Homilies/dp/0977498344/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1272970709&sr=8-2

Gideon Ertner said...

And how does this impact our ecclesiology - if Our Lady is the ikon or 'type' of the Church?

"...so, unto the coming endless age, every advance of divine enlightenment, every revelation of divine mysteries, and every kind of spiritual gift, cannot be encompassed by any without her."