Saturday, 14 January 2012

St Hilary on the Holy Virgin...

My soul breaketh out for the very fervent desire: that it hath always unto thy judgements (Psalm 119:20).

''A sword will pierce the soul of blessed Mary, so that the thoughts of many hearts might be laid bare (cf. Luke 2:35). If this Virgin, made capable of conceiving God (capax illa Dei Virgo), will encounter the severity of His Judgement, who will dare to desire this Judgement?''(St Hilary of Poitiers, Tractatus super Psalmum 118, 12).

What could St Hilary mean by this? That man must be redeemed after a fashion consonant with his nature, in all respects? Clearly, but I confess myself wholly ignorant of the Fathers.


  1. It seems to me to be hyperbole. The Fathers often exagerated, as was very much the custom in former times, in order to make a point. The point being here, it seems to me, that no man, even the holiest , will be absent at the Great Judgement Day, when all of mankind will be gathered together for the first time to be witness to God the Son's glory, and to each other's total bodily and ghostly nakedess, and subsequent rewarding and full glorification.

  2. What Albertus said, though my patristic ignorance runs fairly deep as well, alas.

    It's a "how much the more" argument, isn't it? If not even the Mother of God will be spared judgment, how much the more should we regard the judgment with solemn fear -- let alone earnestly desire God's judgment on anyone else? "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God," says Hebrews, and I think we forget that when we (as we all sometimes do) assume that we are of course righteous in God's sight(I mean on our own, apart from Christ), while our enemies, those of other or no faiths, etc. are, of course, not. "Why do you desire the day of the Lord?" as Amos asks.

    The "trick" or question is, how do we hold in tension fear of God's judgment and confidence that the Judge has been judged in our place, and that "there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus"?