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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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The Blessed Virgin exceeds the Angels in purity. She is not only pure, but 
she obtains purity for others. She is purity itself, wholly lacking in 
every guilt of sin, for she never incurred either mortal or venial sin. So, 
too, she was free from the penalties of sin. Sinful man, on the contrary, 
incurs a threefold curse on account of sin. The first fell upon woman who 
conceives in corruption, bears her child with difficulty, and brings it 
forth in pain. The Blessed Virgin was wholly free from this, since she 
conceived without corruption, bore her Child in comfort, and brought Him 
forth in joy: "It shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy 
and praise."26
The second penalty was inflicted upon man in that he shall earn his bread 
by the sweat of his brow. The Blessed Virgin was also immune from this 
because, as the Apostle says, virgins are free from the cares of this world 
and are occupied wholly with the things of the Lord.27
The third curse is common both to man and woman in that both shall one day 
return to dust. The Blessed Virgin was spared this penalty, for her body 
was raised up into heaven, and so we believe that after her death she was 
revived and transported into heaven: "Arise, O Lord, into Thy resting 
place, Thou and the ark which Thou hast sanctified."28 Because the Blessed 
Virgin was immune from these punishments, she is "blessed among women." 
Moreover, she alone escaped the curse of sin, brought forth the Source of 
blessing, and opened the gate of heaven. It is surely fitting that her name 
is "Mary," which is akin to the Star of the Sea ("Maria - maris stella"), 
for just as sailors are directed to port by the star of the sea, so also 
Christians are by Mary guided to glory.

. Isa., xxxv. 2.

. I Cor., vii. 34.

. Ps. cxxxi. 8.

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