Proclus_of_ConstantinopleOur present gathering in honor of the Most Holy Virgin inspires me, brethren, to say of Her a word of praise, of benefit also for those come unto this churchly solemnity.

It comprises a praise of women, a glorying of their gender, which (glory) is brought it by Her, She Who is at one same time both Mother, and Virgin.

O desired and wondrous gathering! Celebrate, O nature, that wherein honour be rendered to Woman; rejoice, O human race, that wherein the Virgin be glorified.

“For when sin did abound, grace did superabound” (Rom 5:20).

The Holy Mother of God and Virgin Mary has gathered us here. She is the pure treasure of virginity, the intended paradise of the second Adam.

She is the place wherein was accomplished the co-uniting of natures, wherein was affirmed the counsel of salvific reconciliation.

Who has ever seen, who has ever heard, that within a womb the limitless God – whom the heavens cannot circumscribe, whom the womb of a Virgin limits not – would make for Himself a habitation?

He who was born of woman is not only God and He is not only Man.  He made woman, who had been the ancient gateway of sin, into the gateway of salvation.

Where evil poured forth its poison, bringing on disobedience, there the Word made for Himself a living temple, into which He brought obedience. From whence the arch-sinner Cain sprang forth, there without seed was born Christ the Redeemer of the human race.

The Lover-of-Mankind did not disdain to be born of woman, since this bestowed His life.  He was not subject to impurity, being settled within the womb, which He Himself arrayed free from all harm.

If perchance this Mother did not remain a Virgin, then that born of Her might be a mere man, and the birth would be no wise miraculous. But since she after birth remained a Virgin, then how could it be that He who is born in this way be other than God?

It is an inexplicable mystery, since in an inexplicable manner was born He who without hindrance went through doors when they were locked.

When confessing in Him the co-uniting of two natures, Thomas cried out: “My Lord, and my God!” (Jn 20:28). The Apostle Paul says, that Christ is “to the Jews indeed scandal, and to the Gentiles yet folly” (1 Cor 1:23).

They did not perceive the power of the mystery, since it was incomprehensible to the mind: “for had they understood, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory” (1 Cor 2:8).

Proclus of Constantinople (d. 446 or 447): Sermon on the Annunciation; full text @ Preachers Institute.