The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 135.


Mother—Maid all-holy,
Throned upon thy knee, 
Evermore the Almighty
Child and Lord we see. 
While with awe thou gazest
On the wondrous Face— 
Blest among all women,
Mary, full of grace.

* * * *

Now, through rest translated
To the realm assigned, 
Crowned with grace we greet thee,
Crown of humankind. 
Yet through all the ages,
Throned upon thy knee, 
Mother-Maid, the Almighty
Child and Lord we see.

FRANCIS PALGRAVE : Virgini Deiparæ.

CATHOLIC Christianity offers to men a double gift: certainty of faith and purity of morals. When Christianity was first given to the world, the turpitude of moral relaxation had become indescribable by a Christian pen. Suffice it to say that the most horrible excesses were glorified by forming part of the worship of deities who were supposed to delight in the extremes of human depravity. Not merely was there no positive ethical standard, but what passed under the name of religion pandered to the grossness of vilest human corruption. Of all this apotheosis of evil the Temple of Diana at Ephesus in its richness and licence and abandonment to lustfulness was for centuries the outward and, as it seemed, the victorious symbol.

It is the glory of Christianity from its earliest days to have condemned evil unflinchingly; it is the boast of Christianity to have raised without compromise the standard of purity, and, far from yielding, like Paganism and Mohammedanism, to the weakness of mankind, to have proclaimed aloud the truth that the grace of God is always at hand, and always suffices those who would keep His Law. Now, as Diana of the Ephesians stood of old for literally the deification of impurity, so all along the Christian ages Mary of Nazareth has been the strength and consolation and ideal of those who would reach after that which is beautiful and good. Even as the worship of Diana plunged men and women deeper and deeper into the mire, so has the worship of Mary raised them to the Heavens where the angels are ranged around the Throne of God.

When St. Paul first entered Ephesus to preach the Gospel, the name of Mary was there unknown, but Diana reigned supreme. " Great is Diana of the Ephesus and Ephesians " was the cry of " Demetrius its goddess, the silversmith, who made silver temples for Diana, bringing no small gain to the craftsman," in his panic lest through the Apostle's denunciation of idolatry, "her majesty shall begin to be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth." (Acts xix.24-27.)