Apocalypse 12:1, 5, 14-16
A great sign appeared in Heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. And she brought forth a ManChild, Who was to rule all nations with an iron rod: and her Son was taken up to God, and to His throne. And there were given to the woman two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the desert unto her place. And the serpent cast out of his mouth after the woman, water as it were a river: that he might cause her to be carried away by the river. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the river, which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
Verse 1. A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet. By this woman, interpreters commonly understand the Church of Christ, shining with the light of faith, under the protection of the sun of justice, Jesus Christ. The moon, the Church, hath all changeable things of this world under her feet, the affections of the faithful being raised above them all. — A woman: the Church o_f God. It may also, by allusion, be applied to our blessed Lady. The Church is clothed with the sun, that is, with Christ: she hath the moon, that is, the changeable things of the world, under her feet; and the twelve stars with which she is crowned, are the twelve apostles: she is in labour and pain, whilst she brings forth her children, and Christ in them, in the midst of afflictions and persecutions. Ch. — Under the figure of a woman and of a dragon, are represented the various attempts of Satan to undermine the Church. — On her head … twelve stars, her doctrine being delivered by the twelve apostles and their successors. Wi.
Verse 5. A man child; that is, a masculine race of Christians, willing to confess the name of the Lord, and to fight his battles; who, through the merits of Jesus Christ, should triumph over all the attempts of the world. Calmet. — Her son (or children) was taken up to heaven, guarded by the special favour of God. They always overcome the devil, and all their adversaries, by reason of the blood of the Lamb, by the merits of Christ. And they loved not the life of the body, so as to preserve it, by incurring the death of the soul. Wi.
Verse 14. There were given to the woman two wings of a great eagle. By these two wings, some understand the love of God, and the fear of offending him; others, piety, prudence, &c. Wi. — The Church, on account of the severe pressure of the persecution, obtained from the Almighty a special protection and assistance. Past.
Verse 15. The serpent (the dragon, the devil) came out of his mouth, &c. He endeavoured to destroy the Christian religion; but the earth, that is, the princes of the earth, as God was pleased to turn their hearts, helped to turn away the persecutions. Wi. — As a last effort, the devil raises a more bloody persecution than was ever known before. See Euseb. Hist. Eccles.
Verse 16. And the earth helped the woman. A prince of the earth, Constantine, came to the succour of the Church, and caused the persecution to cease.