During Vespers this evening, a reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans began “Therefore….” As soon as the word was uttered I knew that one of St. Paul’s beautiful and carefully-wrought passages would follow on the pivot of that one word. I couldn’t help but hear the careful reasoning of Romans 5 in light of the mystery we celebrated today, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The beautiful antiphons of the Divine Office have been ringing in my ears all day as I’ve pondered the mysteries of this great feast. And now, the nuanced beauty of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. This interplay of mystery and reason, faith and understanding, is a wonderful interplay, with reason ultimately bowing before the mysteries of God.
Therefore, as this wonderful feast day draws to a close, let’s let St. Anselm, 11th century Benedictine monk, scholar, and Doctor of the Church, have the last word, as the theologian bows before the mystery of God’s grace:
“The sky and the stars rejoice; the earth and the waters rejoice; day and night rejoice… O Lady, full and more than full of grace, to you I cry praise…To you I sing hail, Virgin favored of God and more than favored, you in whose blessing every nature is blessed, not only creatures by their Creator, but the Creator by his own creatures…”
(From the Office of Readings for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception)