On the Nobility of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Author: St. Bernadine of Siena


St. Bernadine of Siena

On the Exceedingly Wonderful Grace and Glory of the Mother of God

That the Blessed Virgin is the noblest Woman in the whole world according to the flesh.

The first star, or grace, is called nobility. For the Blessed Virgin was the noblest individual and noblest creature of all the individuals or creatures which have been, could be, or could have been begotten with human nature. Indeed, Matthew (1,17), in outlining the three groups of fourteen generations from Abraham to Christ, describes Her as born of fourteen patriarchs, of fourteen kings, of fourteen leaders. The first group from Abraham to David inclusive, fourteen patriarchs; the second from David to the Babylonian Exile, fourteen kings; the third, from the Babylonian Exile to Christ inclusive, fourteen leaders. Luke also (3,23-38), describing the nobility of Her origin beginning with Adam and Eve, extends his genealogy to God the Christ. Here it is demonstrated that the Lord Jesus Christ, who in heaven was without mother and on earth without father, received His entire humanity from the Virgin; and the dignities attached to this humanity—namely, familial so as to be called a son of David, and consanguinal so as to have brethren of a noble line—all these He received from His Blessed Mother. And whence came it that He is the final Leader, the final King, the final Patriarch of the entire people of Israel, if not from the glorious Virgin? Thus, it is quite evident that every bodily perfection granted the human race in Adam by the Lord was principally given so as to descend through many generations to the Virgin, and through the Virgin Mother to terminate in Christ. Hence, God commanded such cleanliness to the letter in His Law, not only in human bodies, but also in vessels, homes, camping places, and all things belonging to God's people, so that the people might preserve that nobility and cleanliness for the sake of the Christ...After Christ, that people had no other patriarch or king or leader...so that what Christ says of Himself (Apoc. 2,8) might be verified: the First and the Last says this. The First, namely, whom God principally intended in His people; and the Last, namely, patriarch, king, or leader in that people. Because, therefore, the Evangelists describe in this Maiden every distinction, gift, power, nobility, and dignity which might be in any human individual born according to the flesh, it is incumbent upon us, following their witness, to prefer Her to all princes and princesses, queens and kings, emperors and empresses, and all powers, tribes, and tongues of the whole universe.

That the whole world, after the fall of our first parents, was kept in being by God out of love of the Blessed Virgin.

The second star (or grace) is called conservation. For Mary alone, for many thousands of years before She was born, primarily and principally preserved Adam and his posterity in being. Indeed, in virtue of their transgression, Adam and Eve merited not only the penalty of death, but extermination. Divine Justice, which knows no respect of persons, should not have left the sin of man (just as It did not leave the angelic sin) uncondemned in hell. But for the sake of that special reverence and unique love which He had for the Virgin, God kept the world in existence. Because God loved Her above all creatures...the first human beings were preserved from extermination and not returned to nothing, as they deserved. The explanation of this is as follows: The blessed Maiden was in the loins of Adam, and his seed, and the power of producing the Maiden was inherent in our first parents, until it should be realized in the act. For of this Maiden was to be born the Son of God, Jesus, who, existing in Adam only in respect to His corporal substance, was only to be brought forth from the Virgin and from no other person. The merciful God pardoned our first parents and did not annihilate them because, in so doing, the Virgin would not have arisen and, consequently, neither would Christ have been clothed with human flesh...To recapitulate everything in a few words: I do not hesitate to affirm that God effected every liberation and granted every pardon in the Old Testament solely out of reverence and love for the blessed Maiden. In virtue of this reverence and love, God predestined Her, foreordaining from all eternity that She be honored before all His other works.

St. Bernadine of Siena (b. 1380; d. 1444 A.D.), one of the most renowned Franciscan preachers and reformers of the Fifteenth Century left an immense collection of sermons and writings. He is most famous throughout Christendom for popularizing devotion to the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary and to St. Joseph. He also, like his spiritual father St. Francis of Assisi, had an ardent devotion to the Immaculate Mother of God.

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

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