Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fr. Antonio Royo Marin's Commentary on the Hail Mary, pt. 4: "The Lord Is With Thee"

The Lord is with thee

1. Exegesis. Let us listen to a contemporary exegete:
This phrase—writes Fr. Juan Leal—is related to the exhortation to rejoice and with the fullness of grace. Fr. Holzmeister has studied its remote context: 
a) In the Bible, the phrase has been applied only to those exceptional persons during special and outstanding circumstances. It is given by God to indicate a singular and difficult mission, which is being realized or about to be realized. 
b) The presence of the Lord is always active and efficacious in the success of the imposed mission.
The remote context is not enough. Its proximate meaning, which makes concrete its general meaning, has more importance. Here the context immediately speaks to us of the foretold Messianic joy and the fullness of grace. The presence of the Lord, which is the cause of joy and grace, determines its supernatural character. Although there are three phrases that grammatically make up the angel's salutation, there is a logical subordination among each. The Virgin could rejoice with this Messianic joy of the prophets because God was pleased to dwell in her in the fullness of grace and "has done great things for her," which is all proof of the exceptional presence of God with Mary. This presence had already been established, for the angel did not say, "The Lord will be with thee" but "the Lord is with thee," now and after as before. The presence of God here is dynamic on the order of the person and on the order of the mission.
 2. Theology. Let us listen in the first place to the commentary of St. Thomas Aquinas [(Expositio salutationis angelicæ, article 1: "The Lord is with you"; trans. by Joseph B. Collins (New York 1939); available here: http://dhspriory.org/thomas/AveMaria.htm)]:
[In the second place,] the Blessed Virgin excels the Angels in her closeness to God. The Angel Gabriel indicated this when he said: “The Lord is with you”—as if to say: “I reverence you because you art nearer to God than I, because the Lord is with you.” By the Lord, he means: 
1) the Father with the Son and the Holy Spirit, who in like manner are not with any Angel or any other spirit: “The Holy which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God” [Lk 1:35]. 
2) God the Son was in her womb: “Rejoice and praise, O you habitation of Sion; for great is He that is in the midst of you, the Holy One of Israel” [Is 12:6]. The Lord is not with the Angel in the same manner as with the Blessed Virgin; for with her He is as a Son, and with the Angel He is the Lord. 
3) The Lord, the Holy Ghost, is in her as in a temple, so that it is said: “The temple of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit,” [Benedictus antiphon from the Little Office of Blessed Virgin], because she conceived by the Holy Ghost. “The Holy Ghost shall come upon you” [Lk 1:35]. 
The Blessed Virgin is closer to God than is an Angel, because with her are the Lord the Father, the Lord the Son, and the Lord the Holy Ghost—in a word, the Holy Trinity. Indeed of her we sing: “Noble resting place of the Triune God.” “The Lord is with you” are the most praise-laden words that the Angel could have uttered; and, hence, he so profoundly reverenced the Blessed Virgin because she is the Mother of the Lord and Our Lady. Accordingly she is very well named “Mary,” which in the Syrian tongue means “Lady.”
And now let us listen, following the custom of our exposition, to the mystical commentary of St. Bernard (Hom. 3 in laud. Virg. Mat., n. 3):
The angel did not say: "The Lord is in you," but "the Lord is with you." Although God is equally in all parts in the simplicity of His substance as with all things, He nevertheless exists in a different mode in rational creatures than with others, and even among rational creatures, He exists through His efficacy in a different way, depending on whether He is in the good or the bad. In the above mode, without doubt, He exists in irrational creatures who are unable to comprehend Him. In rational creatures who can know He is there by concepts, nevertheless He can be truly grasped only by the good who love Him. It can be said that the Lord is with them only among the good who by their manner of life are united in harmony with the will of God. When they have subjected their wills to His justice, there is no indecency done to God, for they desire to do simply what He desires, and they do nothing apart from that will, by which they are especially joined to God. If these things may be said of all the saints, more particularly may they be said of Mary, to whom God was joined not only through her will but even through her flesh so that of His substance and that of the Virgin's, He formed one Christ, or put better, He formed one Christ, who was not entirely the substance of God and entirely the substance of the Virgin, despite belonging fully both to God and to the Virgin. And there were not two sons, but one son from One and the other. The angel, therefore, says, "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with thee." Not only is the Lord, the Son, with you, to Whom you gave your flesh, but also the Lord, the Holy Ghost, by Whom you conceived, and the Lord, the Father, who begot the One you conceived. The Father, I repeat, is with you, who has given you His Son as well. The Son is with you, Who in order to work in you an admirable mystery, closed Himself within you in a most marvelous way in the hidden depths of your womb and for you guarded your virginal seal. The Holy Ghost is with you, Who with the Father and the Son sanctifies your womb. The Lord, then, is with you.

Source: Fr. Antonio Royo Marín, La Virgen María, trans. by R. Grablin (Madrid, Spain: BAC, 1996), 449-451.

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