Mirror Of The Blessed Virgin Mary by Saint Bonaventure. CHAPTER VIII


"Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum." It has been shown above how Mary,
because of the purity of her life, is rightly saluted by the Ave. It has
also been shown how, because of the abundance of her graces, she is rightly
called "full of grace." We have now to show how, because of a most special
presence of God within her, it is rightly said to her: "The Lord is with
thee." But tell us, in what measure, O great Gabriel, thou bringest tidings
of a great thing to the great Mary from the great God! But tell us, in what
measure, or how He is with her ? Behold St. Augustine answering this
question, as it were in the person of Gabriel: "The Lord is with thee, but
more than with me. The Lord is with thee, but not as He is with me. For
although the Lord is in me, the Lord hath created me; but by thee the Lord
is to be born." The Lord, therefore, O Mary, but who, how great? The Lord
of the earth and of all things in general, the Lord who is especially the
Lord of mankind, the Lord who is thine in a singular manner, O Mary. The
Lord, I say, of all creatures in general, the Lord in a special manner of
rational creatures, the Lord especially of thy virginal court, O Mary. We
must consider, therefore, that this Lord, who is with thee, is in general
the Lord of all creatures. Judith says: "The Lord of the heavens, the
Creator of the waters, and the Lord of all creatures" (IX, 17.) And the
Wise Man: "The Lord of all things loved her" (Wisd. VIII, 3.) Therefore,
the Lord of all things universally, of all things visible and invisible.
This universal Lord of all things was in Mary in such a manner that He made
her the universal Lady of all things--the Lady, I say, of Heaven, and the
Lady of the world. St. Anselm saith: "The Queen of heaven, and the Lady of
the World, to the Mother of Him, who cleanseth the world, I confess that my
body is exceedingly impure." But lo! this universal Lord of all things is a
most powerful Lord, a most wise Lord, a most rich Lord, a most unfailing
Lord. A lord without power, without wisdom, without wealth, without
permanence, would be a most imperfect lord. A feeble lord, one needy and
insipid, or unable to keep his position, would be little esteemed. But Our
Lord is universal, most powerful, most wise, most wealthy; His eternity is

First note that the universal Lord, who is with Mary, is a Lord most
powerful in will, and it is well said of Him: "All whatsoever the Lord hath
willed, the Lord has done, . . . even in all abysses" (Ps. CXXXIV, 6.)
Therefore, neither in Heaven, nor on earth, nor in all the infernal
abysses, can anyone resist the will of so powerful a Lord, as Mardochai
testifies, saying: "Lord King Almighty, in thy dominion are all things, and
there is none who can resist thy will" (Esth. XIII, 9.) Behold, Mary, how
great, how powerful is the Lord who is with thee! And because He is a most
powerful Lord, He is most powerfully with thee: therefore, art thou most
powerful with Him, by Him, through Him, so that thou canst truly say, "My
power is in Jerusalem" (Ecclus. XXIV, 15 . ) Jerusalem signifies the Church
triumphant in Heaven; it signifies also the Church militant upon earth. For
truly both in Heaven and on earth the Mother of the Creator has power. How
very powerful she is, Anselm recognizes when he says: "Hear us, loving one;
be with us, be favorable to us; help us, most powerful one, that our minds
may be cleansed from stains and our darkness illuminated." The Lord,
therefore, is with thee, O most powerful Mary.

Secondly, note that the universal Lord, who is with Mary, is a Lord most
wise in truth. For He is the Lord, of whom it is said in the Psalm, "Great
is our Lord, and great is His strength, and of His wisdom there is no
number" ( Ps. CXLVI, 5. ) Oh, how wise is the Lord, whose wisdom nothing
can deceive, nothing can be concealed from, because He knows all things.
All our works, both good and bad, all our words, good and bad, all our
thoughts and all our desires, good and bad, the Lord knows. Whence St.
Peter says: "Lord, Thou knowest all things." Behold, Mary, what kind of a
Lord, what a most wise Lord, is He who is with thee. And because the most
wise Lord is most wisely with thee, therefore, thou too art most wise with
Him and through Him. Thou art typified by that Abigail, of whom it was
said: "She was a woman most prudent and most beautiful." Mary was so
prudent and so beautiful that St. Anselm does not hesitate to say of her:
"All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Mary." The Lord,
therefore, is with thee, O most wise Mary.

Thirdly, consider that the universal Lord, who is with Mary, is most
wealthy in His possessions, as the Prophet testifies, saying: "The earth is
the Lord's, and all that dwell in it." Not only is the earth and its
fullness the Lord's, but also the Heavens and their fullness. For Thine, O
Lord, are the Heavens, and thine is the earth, because "the heaven of
heavens is the Lord's." Everything is the property of this Lord, Heaven and
earth, bodies and spirits, all nature, all grace, all heavenly glory, all
is the Lord's own. Therefore, the Lord is most rich, as the Apostle says:
"He is the Lord of all, rich unto all that call upon Him" (Rom. X, 12.)
Behold, Mary, how rich, how great is He who is with thee ! And because the
most rich lord is with thee so richly, therefore art thou most rich
together with Him and because of Him, so that it can be truly said of thee:
"Many daughters have gathered together riches, thou hast surpassed them
all" (Prov. XXXI, 29.) The daughter Agnes, the daughter Lucy, the daughters
Catherine, Cecilia, Agatha, and many other holy virgins and just souls,
have gathered together riches of virtue and grace, of merits and rewards,
but thou, O Mary, by thy universal riches hast surpassed them all. Oh, how
rich is Mary in glory, who was so rich in misery! Oh, how rich is she in
Heaven, who was so rich in this world! Oh, how rich is she in her soul, who
was so rich in her body, that even St. Bernard exclaims: "O Mary, rich in
all and above all, of whose substance a small part being taken, was enough
to pay the debt of the whole world!" The Lord is with thee, therefore, O
Mary most rich.

Fourthly, consider that the universal Lord, who is with Mary, is the
unfailing Lord of eternity. Whence we read in Exodus: "The Lord will reign
in eternity and beyond." And in the Psalm it is said: "But thou, O Lord,
remainest for ever." Behold, O Mary, how great a Lord, how unfailing a Lord
is He who is with thee ! And because He is unfailingly with thee,
therefore, thou also art unfailing with Him in eternity. For thou art that
unfailing, that everlasting throne, the throne of the Son of God, of whom
the Father saith by the Prophet: "His throne is like the sun in my sight,
and like the moon perfect for ever and truly in eternity." Hence, we cannot
only say with truth: "Thou, O Lord, endurest for ever," but we can also
truly say: "Thou, O Lady, endurest for ever." What wonder if Mary, in her
Son, remains forever, when even the benefits of Mary in her servants remain
forever ? For St. Bernard says: "In thee, O Mary, angels find joy, the just
grace, sinners pardon forever." The Lord, therefore, is with thee, O
never-failing Mary! Rejoice, O Mary, rejoice! Behold the most powerful Lord
is with thee in such a manner that thou art most powerful with Him. The
most wise Lord is with thee in such a way that thou art most wise with Him.
The most rich Lord is with thee in such wise that thou art most rich with
Him. The never-failing Lord is with thee in such wise that thou, together
with Him, shalt never fail or be deficient.

Now, therefore, most powerful Lady, be a helper to us who are so impotent !
Now, most wise Lady, be to us who are foolish a helper and a counselor ! O
most wealthy Lady, be to us who are poor a benefactress ! O most unfailing
Lady, be to us feeble, failing creatures a perpetual support in every good