Sarah, Elizabeth and Mary by John Chrysostom

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Here St. John compares Virgin Mary with other barren women who gave birth at an old age, such as Sarah and Elizabeth. He wants to affirm the wonder that transcends all-natural order. The same God who did these wonders can also do wonders in your life.

“ When a Jew asks you: “How did the Virgin give birth?” say to him, “How did the old and barren woman give birth?” For, in this case, there were actually two obstacles: the woman’s great age and the weakness of nature. In the Virgin, instead, there was only one obstacle: her abstention from marital relations. In this way, the barren woman prepares the way for the Virgin. But so that you might understand why there were sterile women previously, so that the virginal birth might be believed in, hear the words Gabriel spoke to the Virgin. He appeared to her and said, “You shall conceive in Your womb and bear a son and call him Jesus” (Lk 1:31).

She remains troubled and amazed, then she says, “How will this happen to me, since I do not know man?” (Lk 1:34). How does the angel reply? “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Lk 1:35).

Do not look for conformity with the natural order of things, since what has happened transcends the natural order. “

John Chrysostom,Homily on Genesis 49, 2;, PG 54, 446.

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 in 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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