A Little Treatise on Mary
by St. John Damascene


John introduces the concept of Mary's mediation with the Old Testament image of Jacob's ladder. As already cited, he loves to use this image for Mary:

That man [Jacob] contemplated Heaven joined to earth by the two ends of a ladder and saw Angels going up and down upon it and saw himself symbolically wrestling with the Strong One, the Invincible. So you have assumed the role of a mediatrix, having become the ladder by which God comes down to us, assuming the weakness of our nature, embracing it and uniting Himself to it, and thus making man into a mind that can see God. Thus [O Mary] you have reunited what had been divided. [
Homily 1 on the Dormition, 8]

He attributes great efficacy to the holy Virgin's mediation in the plan of salvation. Mary has a very active part in causing the fruits of the Incarnation to be applied. Accordingly, he ascribes the benefits of salvation to her and to her Divine Son, almost without distinction:

Through her, the long warfare waged with the Creator has been ended. Through her, the reconciliation between us and him was ratified. Grace and peace were granted us, so that men and Angels are united in the same choir, and we, who had been deserving of disdain, have become sons of God. From her we have harvested the grape of life; from her we have cultivated the seed of immortality. For our sake she became Mediatrix of all blessings; in her God became man, and man became God.
[Homily 2 on the Dormition, 16]

Damascene does speak of Mary's compassion on Calvary . . . her sorrowful experience of Mary is linked to Simeon's prophecy:

It was necessary that she who contemplated her own Son on the Cross, and who had been pierced through the heart by the sword she had avoided while giving birth, should contemplate Him reigning with the Father. [Ibid, 14]

Speaking of the Divine favors that the Mother of the Lord distributes to Christians in copious measure throughout the world, our doctor exhorts his audience to acquire the dispositions that will render them open to Mary's mediation:

If we firmly abstain, then, from past vices and love the virtues with all
our heart, taking them as our companions in life, the Virgin will frequently visit her servants, bringing all manner of blessings. She will  be accompanied by Christ her Son, the King and Lord of all, Who will dwell in our hearts.
[Ibid, 19]

In this passage, the author sums up the ways in which Mary exercises her power on our behalf: In giving us the incarnate Word to be our Redeemer, she has obtained for us all the graces we need for salvation, and, like an inexhaustible spring, she continues to pour them out upon us.

[Source #2, pp. 405-406]


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