Not only is Christ’s mercy celebrated, but his judgment as well, because even if he learned compassion from the things that he suffered so that he was merciful, he had also the power of judgment. In short, our God is a consuming fire. How can sinners not fear to come near? As sure as wax melts when exposed to the fire, won’t they perish in the presence of God?
So, then, that the woman who is blessed among women will not be seen to have no purpose, a place will be found for her in this restoration. For we have need of a mediator to this Mediator, and there is none more expedient for us than Mary. Eve, through whom the old serpent poured his poisonous venom onto humankind, was very cruel, but Mary, who gave to men and to women the saving antidote to drink, is faithful. The one was the servant of seduction, the other of propitiation. The one instigated rebellion, the other forced in redemption.
Why should human frailty waver before Mary? There is no sternness in her, no terror: she is altogether gentle, offering milk and wool to all. Attentively review the entire sequence of gospel events and see whether there is any chiding, any harshness, or any sign of even the slightest anger in Mary, let alone anything that should cause you to be suspicious or afraid to approach her. But if you find that she is full of every kind of pity and grace, of mercy and gentleness, as indeed she is, then give thanks to him who of his tender mercy foresaw your need of such a mediator. In short, she became all things to all, and of her great charity she made herself debtor to all, both wise and foolish. She opened her bosom of mercy to all, so that of her fullness all might receive: the captive redemption, the sick healing, the sad consolation, the sinner pardon, the just grace, the angel joy, the whole Trinity glory, and the Son, the substance of human flesh, so that no one should be hidden from her warmth.
Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons for the Autumn Season, Sunday within the Octave of the Assumption, v, 1-2 (CF 54, p. 56-57)