The focus of my research, the Protevangelium of James, is often cited as the earliest expression of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. As a consequence of my research, I have been reading many Patristic homilies on Mary, some of which speak of her birth and childhood.
Today, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I decided it may be fitting to share one. This is from an eighth-century homily, the Canon on the Nativity, by St. Andrew of Crete (translated by Luigi Gambero in Mary and the Fathers of the Church, 394):
Let all creation dance; let David dance as well, for from his line and his seed arose the branch that will bear the Flower, the Lord and Redeemer of all…
Anna was sterile and barren, but not childless in God’s eyes. For from all eternity, she was predestined to be the mother of the chaste Virgin, from whom the Creator was to come forth in the form of a servant.
Unsullied Lamb, who alone, from your womb, gave Christ the wool of our nature, we all celebrate your birth from Anna with songs.