Aurora: Praises of the Virgin

More from the Aurora today, this time on the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Praises of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Wrought in the Language of Scripture

She was the Ark,[1] Noe’s dove,[2] Moses’ bush,[3] Aaron’s staff,[4]

Jacob’s ladder,[5] Joseph’s seven sheaths of grain,[6]

The cloud raining Manna,[7] the rock gushing an abundant Stream,[8]

The Serpent’s healing pole,[9]

David’s sling bearing the Stone that struck the enemy,[10]

 Bethlehem’s spring, for whose water David thirsted,[11]

Solomon’s throne made of flashing white ivory,[12]

The scallop shell wet with Dew by Gedeon’s work,[13]

The amber vessel which the prophet saw in the fire,[14]

The ever-closed door in the Lord’s house,[15]

The lamp that gleams brighter than the seven other lights

Which Zacharias saw,[16] a blooming olive,[17]

One of the two staves, which is called Beauty,[18]

The earth spawning the worm which killed Jonas’s shade,[19]

The woman clothed with the sun’s brightness, her head adorned

By a gleaming crown of twelve stars.[20]

Let us go over each of the sentences I have just now gathered about the Virgin

In order; our errant speech seeks a plain path.

May the Golden Virgin gild this writer’s pen,

So that elegant order might grace our speech.

Mary was the Ark, wherein seed was saved;

She rules, saves, and covers her own.

She was a dove: like a dove’s eyes,

Simple, meek, with no gall of evil.[1] 

She is Moses’ burning bush: the fire does not harm the bush,

No lust touched the Virgin’s beauty.

The Virgin is the staff: without a bud that staff bore

Flowers, and without a man she bore God.

She is Jacob’s ladder, whose prayer, intercession,

And example lead you up to the stars of heaven.

She was at once Joseph’s seven sheaves and his store-house, who

Conceived by the Holy Ghost, as mother of the Sacred Bread.

This cloud gives manna, this rock water, when she bears Him

Who was heavenly Food and the Fount of everlasting water.

The Virgin was the pole that raised that Serpent

That saved us, harboring no venom.

The sling David bore, which bore the Stone that bore into the enemy’s brow:

The Virgin bore God, who killed the evil enemy.

She is Bethlehem’s spring, which the king thirsted for, because

In the House of Bread[21] she gave birth to the Bread of Heaven.

When the scallop shell brims with Dew removed from the sodden fleece,

Judea rejoices; the Virgin brims with God.

She is Solomon’s ivory throne, the seat of chastity,

Made God’s chair, white as ivory.

She is the vessel of amber, gleaming with silver, beaming with gold,

When she gives birth to him who is God and man.

The door stays closed because no man could cross

Its threshold: the Virgin conceived without a man.

She is the lamp which seven lights surrounded,

Shining and full of Christ’s seven-fold gift;

She is also the blooming olive because she is light, food, remedy—

Light to the blind, food to the poor, remedy to sinners;

She is also the beautiful staff because the Virgin exceeds the sun’s light

And all heaven’s candles in her beauty.

Earth creates the worm, withering the ivy, because the Virgin

Bore Christ, who cast down the teary Synagogue.

As for the woman bright like the sun and crowned with twelve stars:

I think the stars were the twelve disciples.

Such a beloved Virgin, so noble, was born into the world,

At her rising, light dawned upon our sinful race.


[1] Genesis 6:14–22.

[2] Genesis 7:8–12.

[3] Exodus 3:2.

[4] Numbers 17.

[5] Genesis 28:11–16.

[6] Genesis 37:7.

[7] Exodus 16.

[8] Exodus 17:5–6 ?

[9] Numbers 21:8–9.

[10] 1 Kings 17:19.

[11] 2 Kings 23:15–17.

[12] 3 Kings 10:18–20.

[13] Judges 6:36–38.

[14] Ezechiel 1.

[15] Ezechiel 44:1–3.

[16] Zacharias 4.

[17] Ecclesiasticus 24:19.

[18] Zacharias 11:7.

[19] Jonas 4:7.

[20] Apocalypse 12:1.

[21] The meaning of “Bethlehem.”


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