Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Feast of All Saints - 2011: the Virgin Mary, Model of All Holy Women

From the Breviary according to the use of the Roman Curia, 1529, the continuation of the sermon for the second day in the Octave of All Saints.
Since the most blessed Virgin Mary, by a miracle beyond our understanding, became the handmaid of man through the divinity, and the mother of the Word through the flesh, and since She is accordingly our most sure refuge, and also has made ready for us our eternal reward, She merits the constant and everlasting love of our devotion. Taught by Her example, holy virgins strive with great zeal to conform themselves to Her in their actions. Not only in regards to the purity of virginity, but also in the richness of their progeny have they sought to follow Mary, as by the seed of the Divine Word, which is watered by sacred discourse, and by fervent and fruitful prayer, they bear spiritual children, and thus have they gathered a fruitful harvest into the granary of the Lord.
The Virgin and Child with Saints Catherine, Cecilia, Barbara and Ursula, by an anonymous Netherlandish artist known from this painting as the Master of the Virgo inter Virgines, ca. 1485; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Each of the four Virgin Martyrs is identified by her traditional attribute, here shown as a small piece of jewelry around her neck: St. Catherine has a wheel pierced by a sword, St. Cecilia a pipe organ, St. Barbara a tower, and St. Ursula a heart pierced by an arrow. 

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