A PORTRAIT OF MARY
From the Legion of
Lady is beautiful, beautiful
so beautiful that when one has seen her once, one would wish to die so
as to see her again; so beautiful that when one has seen her, one can
longer love anything earthly."
"St. Epiphanius, quoted by Nicephorus, has left us a charming portrait of the Virgin. This portrait, sketched in the fourth century from traditions now effaced, and from manuscripts which we no longer possess, is the only one which has come down to us.
"The Virgin, according to this bishop, was not tall of stature, though her height was a little above the middle size; her color, slightly bronzed like that of the Sulamite by the sun of her country, had the rich tint of ripe ears of corn: her hair was light, her eyes lively, the pupil being rather of an olive color, her eyebrows perfectly arched and black; her nose, remarkably perfect, was aquiline; her lips rosy; the shape of her face a fine oval; her hands and fingers long. She was utterly full of Divine grace and loveliness; all the Fathers eagerly attest, with one accord, this admirable beauty of the Virgin.
"But it was not to this assemblage of natural perfections that Mary owed the power of her beauty; it emanated from a higher source. St. Ambrose understood it well when he said that this attractive covering was but a transparent veil which let all the virtues be seen through it, and that her soul, the most noble, the most pure that ever was, next to the soul of Jesus Christ, was entirely revealed in her look. The natural beauty of Mary was but the remote reflection of her intellectual and imperishable beauties. She was the most beautiful of women, because she was the most chaste and most holy of the daughters of Eve.
"The greatest propriety reigned in all the actions of the Virgin; she was good, affable, compassionate, and never tired of hearing the long complaints of the afflicted. She spoke little, always to the purpose, and never did an untruth defile her lips. Her voice was sweet and penetrating; and her words had something gracious and consoling which shed calm over the soul. She was the first in watchings, the most exact in fulfilling the divine law, the most profound in humility, the most perfect in every virtue. She was never seen in anger; she never offended, afflicted, or railed at anyone. She was an enemy to pomp, simple in her attire, simple in her manners. Never had she a thought of displaying her beauty, her ancient nobility, or the rich treasures of her mind and heart. Her presence seemed to sanctify all around her, and the sight of her banished the thought of the things of earth. Her politeness was no vain formality, made up of words of falsehood; it was an expansion of universal benevolence which came from the soul. In fine, her look already revealed the Mother of Mercy." --- Orsini: History of the Blessed Virgin
"Identity of blood
implies between Jesus Christ
and Mary a similarity of formation, of features, of inclinations, of
of virtues; not only because identity of blood very frequently creates
such a similarity, but because in Mary's case --- her maternity being
altogether a supernatural fact --- the effect of
overwhelming grace --- this grace took
hold of this more or less general principle
of nature and developed it in her in such a manner as to make her the
image and portrait of her divine Son in every way; so that whoever
see her, could admire the most exquisitely formed image of Jesus
This same relation of motherhood established between Mary and her Son
intimacy not only as to intercourse and communion of life, but as
an interchange of hearts and of secrets; so that she was the mirror
all the thoughts, feelings, aspirations, desires and purposes of Jesus,
as He in turn reflected in a more eminent manner, as in an unspotted
the miracle of purity, of love, of devotedness, of immense charity
was the soul of Mary. Mary could, therefore, say with greater reason
the Apostle of the Gentiles; I live, now not I; it is Jesus who lives
me." --- De
The Knowledge of Mary