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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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The Blessed Virgin was superior to any of the Angels in the fullness of 
grace, and as an indication of this the Angel showed reverence to her by 
saying: "Full of grace." This is as if he said: "I show thee reverence 
because thou dost excel me in the fullness of grace."
The Blessed Virgin is said to be full of grace in three ways. First, as 
regards her soul she was full of grace. The grace of God is given for two 
chief purposes, namely, to do good and to avoid evil. The Blessed Virgin, 
then, received grace in the most perfect degree, because she had avoided 
every sin more than any other Saint after Christ. Thus it is said: "Thou 
art fair, My beloved, and there is not a spot in thee."9 St. Augustine 
says: "If we could bring together all the Saints and ask them if they were 
entirely without sin, all of them, with the exception of the Blessed 
Virgin, would say with one voice: 'If we say that we have no sin, we 
deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.'10 I except, however, this 
holy Virgin of whom, because of the honor of God, I wish to omit all 
mention of sin."11 For we know that to her was granted grace to overcome 
every kind of sin by Him whom she merited to conceive and bring forth, and 
He certainly was wholly without sin.

. Cant., iv. 7.

. I John, i. 8.

. "De natura et gratia," c. xxxvi. Elsewhere St. Thomas says: "In the 
Angelic Salutation is shown forth the worthiness of the Blessed virgin for 
this conception when it says, 'Full of grace;; it expresses the Conception 
itself in the words, 'The Lord is with thee'; and it foretells the honor 
which will follow with the words, 'Blessed art thou among women' " ("Summa 
Theol.," III, Q. xxx, art. 4).

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