Respondeo dicendum quod congruum fuit beatae virgini annuntiari quod esset Christum conceptura. Primo quidem, ut servaretur congruus ordo coniunctionis filii Dei ad virginem, ut scilicet prius mens eius de ipso instrueretur quam carne eum conciperet. Unde Augustinus dicit, in libro de virginitate, beatior Maria est percipiendo fidem Christi, quam concipiendo carnem Christi. Et postea subdit, materna propinquitas nihil Mariae profuisset, nisi felicius Christum corde quam carne gestasset.
I answer that, It was reasonable that it should be announced to the Blessed Virgin that she was to conceive Christ. First, in order to maintain a becoming order in the union of the Son of God with the Virgin—namely, that she should be informed in mind concerning Him, before conceiving Him in the flesh. Thus Augustine says (De Sancta Virgin. iii): Mary is more blessed in receiving the faith of Christ, than in conceiving the flesh of Christ; and further on he adds: Her nearness as a Mother would have been of no profit to Mary, had she not borne Christ in her heart after a more blessed manner than in her flesh.
Secundo, ut posset esse certior testis huius sacramenti, quando super hoc divinitus erat instructa.
Second, that she might be a more certain witness of this mystery, being instructed therein by God.
Tertio, ut voluntaria sui obsequii munera Deo offerret, ad quod se promptam obtulit, dicens, ecce ancilla domini.
Third, that she might offer to God the free gift of her obedience: which she proved herself right ready to do, saying: Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Quarto, ut ostenderetur esse quoddam spirituale matrimonium inter filium Dei et humanam naturam. Et ideo per Annuntiationem expetebatur consensus virginis loco totius humanae naturae.
Fourth, in order to show that there is a certain spiritual wedlock between the Son of God and human nature. Wherefore in the Annunciation the Virgin’s consent was besought in lieu of that of the entire human nature.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod prophetia praedestinationis completur sine nostro arbitrio causante, non tamen sine nostro arbitrio consentiente.
Reply Obj. 1: The prophecy of predestination is fulfilled without the causality of our will; not without its consent.
Ad secundum dicendum quod beata virgo expressam fidem habebat incarnationis futurae, sed, cum esset humilis, non tam alta de se sapiebat. Et ideo super hoc erat instruenda.
Reply Obj. 2: The Blessed Virgin did indeed believe explicitly in the future Incarnation; but, being humble, she did not think such high things of herself. Consequently she required instruction in this matter.
Ad tertium dicendum quod spiritualem conceptionem Christi, quae est per fidem, praecedit Annuntiatio quae est per fidei praedicationem, secundum quod fides est ex auditu, ut dicitur Rom. X. Nec tamen propter hoc aliquis pro certo scit se gratiam habere, sed scit veram fidem esse quam accipit.
Reply Obj. 3: The spiritual conception of Christ through faith is preceded by the preaching of the faith, for as much as faith is by hearing (Rom 10:17). Yet man does not know for certain thereby that he has grace; but he does know that the faith, which he has received, is true.
Utrum Beatae Virgini debuerit annuntiatio fieri per angelum
Whether the Annunciation should have been made by an angel to the Blessed Virgin?
Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod beatae virgini non debuerit Annuntiatio fieri per Angelum. Supremis enim Angelis fit revelatio immediate a Deo, ut dicit Dionysius, VII cap. Cael. Hier. Sed mater Dei est super omnes Angelos exaltata. Ergo videtur quod immediate a Deo debuerit sibi annuntiari incarnationis mysterium, et non per Angelum.
Objection 1: It would seem that the Annunciation should not have been made by an angel to our Blessed Lady. For revelations to the highest angels are made immediately by God, as Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. vii). But the Mother of God is exalted above all the angels. Therefore it seems that the mystery of the Incarnation should have been announced to her by God immediately, and not by an angel.
Praeterea, si in hoc oportebat servari communem ordinem, secundum quem divina hominibus per Angelos revelantur, similiter divina ad mulierem per virum deferuntur, unde et apostolus dicit, I Cor. XIV, mulieres in Ecclesiis taceant, et si quid velint discere, domi viros suos interrogent. Ergo videtur quod beatae virgini debuit annuntiari mysterium incarnationis per aliquem virum, praesertim quia Ioseph, vir eius, super hoc fuit ab Angelo instructus, ut legitur Matth. I.
Obj. 2: Further, if in this matter it behooved the common order to be observed, by which Divine things are announced to men by angels; in like manner Divine things are announced to a woman by a man: wherefore the Apostle says (1 Cor 14:34, 35): Let women keep silence in the churches . . . but if they would learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home. Therefore it seems that the mystery of the Incarnation should have been announced to the Blessed Virgin by some man: especially seeing that Joseph, her husband, was instructed thereupon by an angel, as is related (Matt 1:20, 21).
Praeterea, nullus potest congrue annuntiare quod ignorat. Sed supremi Angeli non plene cognoverunt incarnationis mysterium, unde Dionysius VII cap. Cael. Hier., ex eorum persona dicit esse intelligendam quaestionem quae ponitur Isaiae LXIII, quis est iste qui venit de Edom? Ergo videtur quod per nullum Angelum potuit convenienter Annuntiatio incarnationis fieri.
Obj. 3: Further, none can becomingly announce what he knows not. But the highest angels did not fully know the mystery of the Incarnation: wherefore Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. vii) that the question, Who is this that cometh from Edom? (Isa 63:1) is to be understood as made by them. Therefore it seems that the announcement of the Incarnation could not be made becomingly by any angel.
Praeterea, maiora sunt per maiores nuntios annuntianda. Sed mysterium incarnationis est maximum inter omnia alia quae per Angelos sunt hominibus annuntiata. Ergo videtur quod, si per aliquem Angelum annuntiari debuit, quod annuntiandum fuit per aliquem de supremo ordine. Sed Gabriel non est de supremo ordine, sed de ordine Archangelorum, qui est penultimus, unde cantat Ecclesia, Gabrielem Archangelum scimus divinitus te esse affatum. Non ergo huiusmodi Annuntiatio per Gabrielem Archangelum convenienter facta est.
Obj. 4: Further, greater things should be announced by messengers of greater dignity. But the mystery of the Incarnation is the greatest of all things announced by angels to men. It seems, therefore, if it behooved to be announced by an angel at all, that this should have been done by an angel of the highest order. But Gabriel is not of the highest order, but of the order of archangels, which is the last but one: wherefore the Church sings: We know that the archangel Gabriel brought thee a message from God. Therefore this announcement was not becomingly made by the archangel Gabriel.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Luc. I, missus est Gabriel Angelus a Deo, et cetera.
On the contrary, It is written (Luke 1:26): The angel Gabriel was sent by God, etc.
Respondeo dicendum quod conveniens fuit matri Dei annuntiari per Angelum divinae incarnationis mysterium, propter tria. Primo quidem, ut in hoc etiam servaretur divina ordinatio, secundum quam mediantibus Angelis divina ad homines perveniunt. Unde dicit Dionysius, IV cap. Cael. Hier., quod divinum Iesu benignitatis mysterium Angeli primum edocti sunt, postea per ipsos ad nos cognitionis gratia transivit. Sic igitur divinissimus Gabriel Zachariam quidem docebat prophetam esse futurum ex ipso, Mariam autem, quomodo in ipsa fieret thearchicum ineffabilis Dei formationis mysterium.
I answer that, It was fitting for the mystery of the Incarnation to be announced to the Mother of God by an angel, for three reasons. First, that in this also might be maintained the order established by God, by which Divine things are brought to men by means of the angels. Wherefore Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. iv) that the angels were the first to be taught the Divine mystery of the loving kindness of Jesus: afterwards the grace of knowledge was imparted to us through them. Thus, then, the most god-like Gabriel made known to Zachary that a prophet son would be born to him; and, to Mary, how the Divine mystery of the ineffable conception of God would be realized in her.
Secundo, hoc fuit conveniens reparationi humanae, quae futura erat per Christum. Unde Beda dicit, in homilia, aptum humanae restaurationis principium ut Angelus a Deo mitteretur ad virginem partu consecrandam divino, quia prima perditionis humanae fuit causa cum serpens a Diabolo mittebatur ad mulierem spiritu superbiae decipiendam.
Second, this was becoming to the restoration of human nature which was to be effected by Christ. Wherefore Bede says in a homily (in Annunt.): It was an apt beginning of man’s restoration that an angel should be sent by God to the Virgin who was to be hallowed by the Divine Birth: since the first cause of man’s ruin was through the serpent being sent by the devil to cajole the woman by the spirit of pride.
Tertio, quia hoc congruebat virginitati matris Dei. Unde Hieronymus dicit in sermone assumptionis, bene Angelus ad virginem mittitur, quia semper est Angelis cognata virginitas. Profecto in carne praeter carnem vivere non terrena vita est, sed caelestis.
Third, because this was becoming to the virginity of the Mother of God. Wherefore Jerome says in a sermon on the Assumption: It is well that an angel be sent to the Virgin; because virginity is ever akin to the angelic nature. Surely to live in the flesh and not according to the flesh is not an earthly but a heavenly life.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod mater Dei superior erat Angelis quantum ad dignitatem ad quam divinitus eligebatur. Sed quantum ad statum praesentis vitae, inferior erat Angelis. Quia etiam ipse Christus, ratione passibilis vitae, modico ab Angelis minoratus est, ut dicitur Heb. II. Sed quia tamen Christus fuit viator et comprehensor, quantum ad cognitionem divinorum non indigebat ab Angelis instrui. Sed mater Dei nondum erat in statu comprehensorum. Et ideo de divino conceptu per Angelos instruenda erat.
Reply Obj. 1: The Mother of God was above the angels as regards the dignity to which she was chosen by God. But as regards the present state of life, she was beneath the angels. For even Christ Himself, by reason of His passible life, was made a little lower than the angels, according to Heb. 2:9. But because Christ was both wayfarer and comprehensor, He did not need to be instructed by angels, as regards knowledge of Divine things. The Mother of God, however, was not yet in the state of comprehension: and therefore she had to be instructed by angels concerning the Divine Conception.
Ad secundum dicendum quod, sicut Augustinus dicit, in sermone de assumptione, beata virgo Maria vera existimatione ab aliquibus generalibus excipitur. Quia nec conceptus multiplicavit, nec sub viri, idest mariti, potestate fuit, quae integerrimis visceribus de spiritu sancto Christum suscepit. Et ideo non debuit mediante viro instrui de mysterio incarnationis, sed mediante Angelo. Propter quod etiam ipsa prius est instructa quam Ioseph, nam ipsa instructa est ante conceptum, Ioseph autem post eius conceptum.
Reply Obj. 2: As Augustine says in a sermon on the Assumption (De Assump. B.V.M.) a true estimation of the Blessed Virgin excludes her from certain general rules. For neither did she ‘multiply her conceptions’ nor was she ‘under man’s, i.e., her husband’s,’ power (Gen 3:16), who in her spotless womb conceived Christ of the Holy Spirit. Therefore it was fitting that she should be informed of the mystery of the Incarnation by means not of a man, but of an angel. For this reason it was made known to her before Joseph: since the message was brought to her before she conceived, but to Joseph after she had conceived.
Ad tertium dicendum quod, sicut patet ex auctoritate Dionysii inducta, Angeli incarnationis mysterium cognoverunt, sed tamen interrogant, perfectius scire cupientes a Christo huius mysterii rationes, quae sunt incomprehensibiles omni creato intellectui. Unde maximus dicit quod utrum Angeli cognoverint futuram incarnationem, ambigere non oportet. Latuit autem eos investigabilis domini conceptio, atque modus qualiter totus in genitore, totus manebat in omnibus, nec non et in virginis cellula.
Reply Obj. 3: As may be gathered from the passage quoted from Dionysius, the angels were acquainted with the mystery of the Incarnation: and yet they put this question, being desirous that Christ should give them more perfect knowledge of the details of this mystery, which are incomprehensible to any created intellect. Thus Maximus says that there can be no question that the angels knew that the Incarnation was to take place. But it was not given to them to trace the manner of our Lord’s conception, nor how it was that He remained whole in the Father, whole throughout the universe, and was whole in the narrow abode of the Virgin.
Ad quartum dicendum quod quidam dicunt Gabrielem fuisse de supremo ordine, propter hoc quod Gregorius dicit, summum Angelum venire dignum fuerat, qui summum omnium nuntiabat. Sed ex hoc non habetur quod fuerit summus inter omnes ordines, sed respectu Angelorum, fuit enim de ordine Archangelorum. Unde et Ecclesia eum Archangelum nominat, et Gregorius ipse dicit, in homilia de centum ovibus, quod Archangeli dicuntur qui summa annuntiant. Satis est ergo credibile quod sit summus in ordine Archangelorum. Et, sicut Gregorius dicit, hoc nomen officio suo congruit, Gabriel enim Dei fortitudo nominatur. Per Dei ergo fortitudinem nuntiandum erat quia virtutum dominus et potens in praelio ad debellandas potestates aereas veniebat.
Reply Obj. 4: Some say that Gabriel was of the highest order; because Gregory says (Hom. de Centum Ovibus): It was right that one of the highest angels should come, since his message was most sublime. But this does nat imply that he was of the highest order of all, but in regard to the angels: since he was an archangel. Thus the Church calls him an archangel, and Gregory himself in a homily (De Centum Ovibus 34) says that those are called archangels who announce sublime things. It is therefore sufficiently credible that he was the highest of the archangels. And, as Gregory says (De Centum Ovibus 34), this name agrees with his office: for Gabriel means ‘Power of God.’ This message therefore was fittingly brought by the ‘Power of God,’ because the Lord of hosts and mighty in battle was coming to overcome the powers of the air.
Utrum angelus annuntians debuerit virgini apparere visione corporali
Whether the angel of the Annunciation should have appeared to the Virgin in a bodily vision?
Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod Angelus annuntians non debuerit virgini apparere visione corporali. Dignior enim est intellectualis visio quam corporalis, ut Augustinus dicit, XII super Gen. ad Litt., et praecipue ipsi Angelo magis conveniens, nam visione intellectuali videtur Angelus in sua substantia; visione autem corporali videtur in assumpta figura corporea. Sed sicut ad annuntiandum conceptum divinum decebat venire summum nuntium, ita etiam videtur quod decuerit esse summum genus visionis. Ergo videtur quod Angelus annuntians apparuit virgini visione intellectuali.
Objection 1: It would seem that the angel of the Annunciation should not have appeared to the Virgin in a bodily vision. For intellectual vision is more excellent than bodily vision, as Augustine says (Gen ad lit. xii), and especially more becoming to an angel: since by intellectual vision an angel is seen in his substance; whereas in a bodily vision he is seen in the bodily shape which he assumes. Now since it behooved a sublime messenger to come to announce the Divine Conception, so, seemingly, he should have appeared in the most excellent kind of vision. Therefore it seems that the angel of the Annunciation appeared to the Virgin in an intellectual vision.
Praeterea, visio imaginaria videtur etiam esse nobilior quam visio corporalis, sicut imaginatio est altior potentia quam sensus. Sed Angelus apparuit Ioseph in somnis, secundum imaginariam visionem, ut patet Matth. I et II. Ergo videtur quod etiam apparere debuerit beatae virgini imaginaria visione, et non corporali.
Obj. 2: Further, imaginary vision also seems to excel bodily vision: just as the imagination is a higher power than the senses. But the angel . . . appeared to Joseph in his sleep (Matt 1:20), which was clearly an imaginary vision. Therefore it seems that he should have appeared to the Blessed Virgin also in an imaginary vision.
Praeterea, corporalis visio spiritualis substantiae videntes stupefacit, unde etiam de ipsa virgine cantatur, et expavescit virgo de lumine. Sed melius fuisset quod a tali turbatione mens eius esset praeservata. Non ergo fuit conveniens quod huiusmodi Annuntiatio fieret per visionem corporalem.
Obj. 3: Further, the bodily vision of a spiritual substance stupefies the beholder; thus we sing of the Virgin herself: And the Virgin seeing the light was filled with fear. But it was better that her mind should be preserved from being thus troubled. Therefore it was not fitting that this announcement should be made in a bodily vision.
Sed contra est quod Augustinus, in quodam sermone, inducit beatam virginem sic dicentem, venit ad me Gabriel Archangelus facie rutilans, veste coruscans, incessu mirabilis. Sed haec non possunt pertinere nisi ad corpoream visionem. Ergo corporea visione Angelus annuntians beatae virgini apparuit.
On the contrary, Augustine in a sermon (De Annunt. iii) pictures the Blessed Virgin as speaking thus: To me came the archangel Gabriel with glowing countenance, gleaming robe, and wondrous step. But these cannot pertain to other than bodily vision. Therefore the angel of the Annunciation appeared in a bodily vision to the Blessed Virgin.
Respondeo dicendum quod Angelus annuntians apparuit matri Dei corporea visione. Et hoc conveniens fuit, primo quidem, quantum ad id quod annuntiabatur. Venerat enim Angelus annuntiare incarnationem invisibilis Dei. Unde etiam conveniens fuit ut ad huius rei declarationem invisibilis creatura formam assumeret in qua visibiliter appareret, cum etiam omnes apparitiones veteris testamenti ad hanc apparitionem ordinentur, qua filius Dei in carne apparuit.
I answer that, The angel of the Annunciation appeared in a bodily vision to the Blessed Virgin. And this indeed was fitting, first in regard to that which was announced. For the angel came to announce the Incarnation of the invisible God. Wherefore it was becoming that, in order to make this known, an invisible creature should assume a form in which to appear visibly: forasmuch as all the apparitions of the Old Testament are ordered to that apparition in which the Son of God appeared in the flesh.
Secundo, congruum fuit dignitati matris Dei, quae non solum in mente, sed in corporeo ventre erat Dei filium receptura. Et ideo non solum mens eius, sed etiam sensus corporei erant visione angelica refovendi.
Second, it was fitting as regards the dignity of the Mother of God, who was to receive the Son of God not only in her mind, but in her bodily womb. Therefore it behooved not only her mind, but also her bodily senses to be refreshed by the angelic vision.
Tertio, congruit certitudini eius quod annuntiabatur. Ea enim quae sunt oculis subiecta, certius apprehendimus quam ea quae imaginamur. Unde Chrysostomus dicit, super Matth., quod Angelus non in somnis, immo visibiliter virgini astitit. Nam quia magnam valde relationem ab Angelo accipiebat, egebat ante tantae rei eventum visione solemni.
Third, it is in keeping with the certainty of that which was announced. For we apprehend with greater certainty that which is before our eyes, than what is in our imagination. Thus Chrysostom says (Hom. iv in Matth.) that the angel came to the Virgin not in her sleep, but visibly. For since she was receiving from the angel a message exceeding great, before such an event she needed a vision of great solemnity.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod intellectualis visio est potior quam visio imaginaria vel corporalis si sit sola. Sed ipse Augustinus dicit quod est excellentior prophetia quae habet simul intellectualem et imaginariam visionem, quam illa quae habet alterum tantum. Beata autem virgo non solum percepit visionem corporalem, sed etiam intellectualem illuminationem. Unde talis apparitio nobilior fuit. Fuisset tamen nobilior si ipsum Angelum intellectuali visione in sua substantia vidisset. Sed hoc non patiebatur status hominis viatoris, quod Angelum per essentiam videret.
Reply Obj. 1: Intellectual vision excels merely imaginary and merely bodily vision. But Augustine himself says (De Annunt. iii) that prophecy is more excellent if accompanied by intellectual and imaginary vision, than if accompanied by only one of them. Now the Blessed Virgin perceived not only the bodily vision, but also the intellectual illumination. Wherefore this was a more excellent vision. Yet it would have been more excellent if she had perceived the angel himself in his substance by her intellectual vision. But it was incompatible with her state of wayfarer that she should see an angel in his essence.
Ad secundum dicendum quod imaginatio quidem est altior potentia quam sensus exterior, quia tamen principium humanae cognitionis est sensus, in eo consistit maxima certitudo; quia semper oportet quod principia cognitionis sint certiora. Et ideo Ioseph, cui Angelus in somnis apparuit, non ita excellentem apparitionem habuit sicut beata virgo.
Reply Obj. 2: The imagination is indeed a higher power than the exterior sense: but because the senses are the principle of human knowledge, the greatest certainty is in them, for the principles of knowledge must needs always be most certain. Consequently Joseph, to whom the angel appeared in his sleep, did not have so excellent a vision as the Blessed Virgin.
Ad tertium dicendum quod, sicut Ambrosius dicit, super Luc., perturbamur et a nostro alienamur affectu, quando restringimur alicuius superioris potestatis occursu. Et hoc non solum contingit in visione corporali, sed etiam in visione imaginaria. Unde Gen. XV dicitur quod, cum sol occubuisset, sopor irruit super Abraham, et horror magnus et tenebrosus invasit eum. Talis tamen perturbatio hominis non tantum homini nocet ut propter eam debeat angelica apparitio praetermitti. Primo quidem, quia ex hoc ipso quod homo supra seipsum elevatur, quod ad eius pertinet dignitatem, pars eius inferior debilitatur, ex quo provenit perturbatio praedicta, sicut etiam, calore naturali ad interiora reducto, exteriora tremunt. Secundo quia, sicut Origenes dicit, super Luc., Angelus apparens, sciens hanc esse humanam naturam, primum perturbationi humanae medetur. Unde tam Zachariae quam Mariae, post turbationem, dixit, ne timeas. Et propter hoc, ut legitur in vita Antonii, non difficilis est bonorum spirituum malorumque discretio. Si enim post timorem successerit gaudium, a domino venisse sciamus auxilium, quia securitas animae praesentis maiestatis indicium est. Si autem incussa formido permanserit hostis est qui videtur.
Reply Obj. 3: As Ambrose says on Luke 1:11: We are disturbed, and lose our presence of mind, when we are confronted by the presence of a superior power. And this happens not only in bodily, but also in imaginary vision. Wherefore it is written (Gen 15:12) that when the sun was setting, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a great and darksome horror seized upon him. But by being thus disturbed man is not harmed to such an extent that therefore he ought to forego the vision of an angel. First because from the very fact that man is raised above himself, in which matter his dignity is concerned, his inferior powers are weakened; and from this results the aforesaid disturbance: thus, also, when the natural heat is drawn within a body, the exterior parts tremble. Second, because, as Origen says (Hom. iv in Luc.): The angel who appeared, knowing hers was a human nature, first sought to remedy the disturbance of mind to which a man is subject. Wherefore both to Zachary and to Mary, as soon as they were disturbed, he said: Fear not. For this reason, as we read in the life of Anthony, it is not difficult to discern good from evil spirits. For if joy succeed fear, we should know that the help is from the Lord: because security of soul is a sign of present majesty. But if the fear with which we are stricken persevere, it is an enemy that we see.
Ipsa etiam turbatio virginis conveniens fuit verecundiae virginali. Quia, ut Ambrosius dicit, super Luc., trepidare virginum est, et ad omnes viri ingressus pavere, omnes viri affatus vereri.
Moreover it was becoming to virginal modesty that the Virgin should be troubled. Because, as Ambrose says on Luke 1:20: It is the part of a virgin to be timid, to fear the advances of men, and to shrink from men’s addresses.
Quidam tamen dicunt quod, cum beata virgo assueta esset visionibus Angelorum, non fuit turbata in visione Angeli, sed in admiratione eorum quae ei ab Angelo dicebantur, quia de se tam magnifica non cogitabat. Unde et Evangelista non dicit quod turbata fuerit in visione Angeli, sed, in sermone eius.
But others say that as the Blessed Virgin was accustomed to angelic visions, she was not troubled at seeing this angel, but with wonder at hearing what the angel said to her, for she did not think so highly of herself. Wherefore the evangelist does not say that she was troubled at seeing the angel, but at his saying.