Man and Woman restored in Christ by Augustine of Hippo

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“To fulfil this plan, our Lord Jesus Christ became the Son of man, precisely by being born of a woman. If, instead, he had not been born of the Virgin Mary, what would have been lost? “He wanted to be man”, someone will say. I agree, but he could have been a man without being born of a woman, since when he created the first man he did not need a woman.

Observe how to answer this objection. You ask, “Why did he choose a woman from whom to be born?” The answer comes, “To the contrary, why did he have to avoid a woman? Suppose I could not show you why he decided to be born of a woman; show me what he would have to avoid in a woman.” But it has already been stated that, if he had shunned the womb of a woman, it would have indicated the possibility of being contaminated by her somehow. On the other hand, the more he was invulnerable by his nature to any contamination, the less he should have feared a womb of Flesh, as if he could have been stained by it.

Instead, by being born of a woman, he had to show us a great mystery. In truth, brothers, we too admit that, if the Lord had wanted to become man without being born of a woman, it surely would have been easy for his majesty. For just as he was able to be born of a woman without the cooperation of a man, even so, he could have been born without the cooperation of a woman. Instead, he wanted to show us something: namely, that the human creature, no matter whether male or female, did not have to lose the hope of being saved.”

Augustine of Hippo, Sermo 51, 3; PL 38, 334-35; NBA 30/1, 7-9

If you are interested in more quotes on Virgin Mary, you can find them in Mary and the Fathers of the Church on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats.


Gambero, L., 1999. Mary and the Fathers of the Church 1st ed. Translated by Buffer, T., San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

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