The Bridegroom Calls to the Virgin: “Come, You Will Be Crowned!"

"After, however, the virgin-bride-mother (virgo Sponsa mater) has been taken up gloriously by the Son, and has taken her glorious seat with the Bridegroom above the angels, I think that I ought to be silent, rather than dare to speak concerning the honor in which she rejoices and the joy with which she sees herself to be honored. For what my intellect or one similar to mine does not grasp, what manner or effect of revelation is possible, when whatsoever that intellect thinks to contemplate, cannot be explained easily in suitable words? This much clearly can be said, that where the Son is--who set up the flesh he assumed to the right of the Father (whatever it is that Scripture calls the right)--there also is his mother, who gave to him of her own flesh, who gave birth from her womb to the God-man without loss of her corporeal integrity.

"There, it is said, she is crowned with glorious honor and honorable glory, and from him, and in him, and with him whom she bore, she glories, partaking of her desire; and the Bride thus cleaves to her Bridegroom with true and sincere embraces, so that, her love having been satiated, she abides in the irremissible desire of love. The mother is therefore with her Son not only in spirit (about which there can be no doubt whatsoever), but also in body, which does not seem at all incredible, for although canonical Scripture does not declare it with evident proofs, pious faith is however led to this belief with truthful arguments, and which, although he does not prove it sufficiently who is hasty in word and knowledge, our Augustine asserts is worthy to be believed.

"Nor is it troublesome to the angels if they see the Bride to occupy the royal throne with the Bridegroom, the mother with the Son--he whom she held before in her bosom, now holding her on a celestial throne--or if they see human flesh to be honored gloriously about themselves in the mother and the Son, and the nuptials, which were begun joyously in our presence, there to be consummated all the more joyously."

--Philip of Harvengt (d. 1183), Commentaria in Cantica canticorum, book VI, chapter 50, commenting on Song of Songs 8:14 (PL 206, col. 488), trans. Rachel Fulton, From Judgment to Passion: Devotion to Christ and the Virgin Mary, 800-1200 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), pp. 388-89.

Image: "Hodie gloriosa semper uirgo Maria celos ascendit." Illustration for the Office of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Liber matutinalis (1180), copied by Johannes and Uldaricus of Admont for the nuns of Admont. Admont: Stiftsbibliothek, MS 18, fol. 163r.

Comments

  1. We celebrated the festival of St Mary, the Mother of our Lord, at my Lutheran congregation. When I read the gradual and noticed that it was a text from the Song of Songs I immediately thought of you....I must be a medievalist.

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