Later in his life, towards the end of his famous “Letter to Dr. Pusey” (p. 86) Newman addresses this theme in what I have heard called the most brilliant paragraph of all his work:
“And did not the All-wise know the human heart
when He took to Himself a Mother?
Did He not anticipate our emotion
at the sight of such an exaltation
in one so simple and so lowly?
If He had not meant her to exert
that wonderful influence in His Church,
which she has in the event exerted,
I will use a bold word,
He it is who has perverted us.
If she is not to attract our homage,
why did He make her solitary in her greatness
amid His vast creation?
If it be idolatry in us to let our affections respond to our faith,
He would not have made her what she is,
or He would not have told us that He had so made her;
but, far from this,
He has sent His Prophet to announce to us,
‘A Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son,
and they shall call His name Emmanuel,’
and we have the same warrant for hailing her as God’s Mother,
as we have for adoring Him as God.”