On the Blessed Virgin Mary

Author: St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio


St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio

This short excerpt gives only a brief introduction to the mind and theology of this famous Doctor of the Church. It forms part of the Little Marian Library of the Blessed Virgin Mary the Home Page of the Immaculate. This site is maintained by Immaculate Mediatrix, Inc., under the direction of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.

Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio (b. 1221; d. 1274 A. D.), is one of the most famous theologians and mystics in the Roman Catholic Church. The Popes have repeatedly set St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas before the universal Church as outstanding proponents and expositors of the dogma and doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. Like his spiritual father St. Francis of Assisi, St. Bonaventure had the most ardent devotion to the Immaculate Mother of God.

From the Conferences on the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Who shall find a valiant woman? Far and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her (Proverbs 31,10). This is the price of which the Apostle says: You have been bought at a great price; glorify and bear God in your body (1 Cor. 6,20)...This price had to be great to redeem the whole world and the entire human race. Hence, it was necessary that the price have a divine and human nature. Where is that price found? Nowhere but in the womb of the glorious Virgin. Thus one reads in Isaiah: Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and he shall be called Emmanuel (7,14). Emmanuel is translated: God with us. It was not fitting that a virgin should have anyone as son but God, nor for God to have as a mother anyone but a virgin. That price, then, could only be found in the Virgin. Far and from the uttermost coasts: because in Him is united highest and lowest, first with last. That price is from afar whereby the entire human race is redeemed. Because the lowest is redeemed, it is the highest price; because the last is redeemed, it is the first. Man was the last of the creatures to be made.

Whose is this price? This price by which we are able to reach the kingdom of heaven belongs to this Woman, the Blessed Virgin. It is Hers, because taken from Her, offered by Her, possessed by Her: taken from Her in the Incarnation of the Word; offered by Her in the redemption of the human race; possessed by Her in attaining the glory of Paradise. She brought forth this price, paid this price, and possesses this price.

I. She brought forth this price, namely, God and man. The Blessed Virgin did so as the valiant and holy Woman, holy with the holiness of inviolate chastity, prompt obedience and total generosity. With the holiness of inviolate chastity: A holy and modest woman is grace upon grace (Eccli. 26,19). And the Angel said: Hail! full of grace, because She was holy and chaste: holy in Her body, chaste in Her mind. The Apostle states: The unmarried woman and the virgin thinks on the things of the Lord, that she might be holy both in mind and body (1 Cor. 7,34). And Bernard writes: Gabriel was sent to a Virgin, such as one described by the Apostle, holy in mind and body, not found by chance, but chosen from eternity, foreknown by the Most High and prepared for Himself, guarded by the angels, foretold by the patriarchs, promised by the prophets. To this Virgin Gabriel was to be sent, for She alone had pleased the Most High.

II. The Blessed Virgin brought forth that price by the holiness of Her prompt obedience. As everlasting foundations upon a solid rock, so the commandments of God in the heart of a woman (Eccli. 26,24). To found the Church, it was necessary to lay a foundation, namely, the commandments of God, and to place them in the heart of some person. This could be none but the Virgin...the One who was obedient. Thus, the commandments were rooted in Her heart. Blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it (Lk. 11,28). Not only is the Virgin blessed, but all who follow Her as well. And who are these? All who hear the word of God and fulfill it.

III. The Blessed Virgin, valiant and holy, brought forth that price by the holiness of Her total generosity. Thus Gabriel said: Blessed art Thou among women...The Holy Spirit will come upon You and the power of the Most High will overshadow You. And therefore the One to be born of You holy will be called Son of God (Lk. 1,28-35). St. Augustine comments: The Holy Spirit is love, and although given with His gifts, is not a gift inseparable from any of them, except the gift of love. All the other virtues are common to the good and the bad; the love of God and neighbor is the privilege of the saints and the devout; it alone suffices. Thus Hugh of St. Victor remarks: Because the love of God uniquely burned in the mind of the Virgin, so She worked wonders in Her body. The love of charity preserves from corruption. Thus the One to be born of You, through a pure and immaculate love, will be called the Son of God. As from the love of a man and woman is born a carnal son, so from the love of the Virgin and God is born the Son of God. Whoever wishes to be holy must follow the glorious Virgin in the holiness of inviolate chastity, prompt obedience, and total generosity.

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