BY ST ILDEPHONSUS OF TOLEDO (7th CENTURY):
O my Lady, my ruler, you who rule me, Mother of my Lord, Handmaid of your Son, Mother of the world’s maker, I pray you, I beg you, I beseech you, that I may have the spirit of my Redeemer, that I may truly and worthily know you, that I may speak truly and worthily about you, that I may say whatever true and worthy thing needs to be said about you.
For you have been chosen by God, taken up by God, called by God; you are near to God, clinging to God, joined to God. You were visited by the angel, hailed by the angel, called blessed by the angel, troubled by his words, absorbed in reflection, astonished by his greeting, and you marvelled at the words he spoke.
You hear that you have found favour with God, and you are commanded not to be afraid; you are strengthened with confidence, instructed in knowledge of miracles, promoted to a new state of glory, hitherto unknown…
Who is to be born of you is holy and will be called Son of God – so the angel instructs you – and in a wonderful way you learn how great will be the power of the King to be born…
Behold, you are blessed among women, intact among women in childbirth, mistress among handmaids, queen among sisters.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call you blessed; all the powers of heaven recognise you as blessed; all the prophets preach you as blessed; all the nations celebrate you as blessed.
Blessed are you for my faith; blessed are you for my soul; blessed are you for my delight; blessed for my heraldings and preachings. I would preach you as much as you should be preached, love you as much as you should be loved, praise you as much as you should be praised, and serve you as much as your glory should be served… You have been instructed about what you should know, taught what to believe, reassured about what to hope, made strong to choose what you should hold without loss.