O Lord, how should we address your mother?
If we call her "virgin", a child stands up,
If we call her "married", a woman stands up,
Yet she was both a virgin, and she was married.
O Lord, what is Mary to you?
Certainly she, and she alone, is your mother.
Yet she is also your sister and your friend.
And, together with your whole Church, she is your lover.
She is all things to you.
She was betrothed to you before you came.
Then she conceived you when the Spirit brought you.
She became your mother when you were born.
And she became your first disciple when you preached.
She conceived you without sexual union,
And she produced milk in her breasts for you to drink.
Her breasts were a sign of your ministry,
Bringing spiritual milk to parched, thirsty souls.
You entered her, and became a servant.
You, whose Word was the agent of all creation,
Fell silent in her womb.
By this means your voice could be heard by all humanity.
You entered her, and became weak and vulnerable.
You, who is the nourished of all creation,
Became hungry and thirsty within her.
In this way all humanity could receive the bread of life.
You, the King of Kings became lowly within her.
You, the source of all wealth, became poor within her.
You, the mightiest of all warriors, became powerless within her.
You, who clothe even the birds, became naked within her.
Thus you can lift up the lowly,
You can feed the poor,
Give strength to the powerless,
And clothe the naked.
- Ephrem the Syrian