Boldly the Virgin replied to the Archangel Gabriel,...
"The paradox of your declaration
seems incomprehensible to my mind.
You announce a conception without seed, and cry "Alleluia."
Groping to grasp this concept, the Virgin sought light
and spoke with force to God's minister:
"How is it possible for a son to be born
from immaculate loins? Tell me that."
The archangel replied in fear, but his words were jubilant:
"...Hail, willing devotee of silence-shrouded faith.
Hail, prelude to the miraculous works of Christ....
Hail, celestial ladder on which God descends...
Hail, incessantly chanted wonder of the angels.
Hail, unceasingly lamented wound of the demons.
Hail, mysterious deliverer of the Light.
Hail, consternation of those who ask "How?"
--Romanos the Melodist