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

We must now consider that this Lord, of whom it is said, "The Lord is with
thee," is not alone in a general sense the Lord of every creature, not
alone the Lord of the rational creature, but also in a most special sense
the Lord of the virginal court of His most Holy Mother. Mary is singularly,
both in body and in soul, the court of the Lord, the most holy house of
God, of whom it is said in the Psalm: "Sanctity behooveth Thy house, O
Lord." O singularly blessed House, who alone hast merited so singularly to
have the Lord. St. Bernard saith: "Thou alone hast been found worthy that
in thy virginal court the King of kings and the Lord of lords, coming from
His royal throne, chose thee for His first dwelling among the sons of men."
This singular Lord of Mary was with her in so special a way that He made
her Lady, so that there never was one like her either before or after her.
For she became in a wonderful and singular manner the daughter of the Lord,
the mother of the Lord, the spouse of the Lord, and the handmaid of  the
Lord. If we wish to describe her relation to each Divine Person, we can say
that the Lord who is with Mary is the Lord and Father, the Lord and Son,
the Lord and Holy Ghost, the Lord who is triune and one. He is the Father
and Lord, of whom Mary is the most noble daughter. He is the Son and Lord,
of whom Mary is the most worthy Mother; He is the Holy Ghost and Lord, of
whom Mary is the most just spouse; He is the Lord Triune and One, of whom
Mary is the most submissive handmaid. Mary certainly is the Daughter of the
Most High Eternity, the Mother of the Most High Truth, the Spouse of the
Most High Goodness, the Handmaid of the Most High Trinity.

First, therefore, note, that this Lord, who is so singularly with Mary, is
the Lord of whom Mary is the most noble daughter. Of this Lord and of this
daughter can be understood that which Booz said: "Blessed art thou of the
Lord, my daughter, and thy latter kindness has surpassed the former" (Ruth
iii, 10.) Therefore Mary is the daughter blessed by the Lord; by the Most
High Lord, I say, whose daughter she is. O truly noble daughter of the most
noble King, who hast been so abundantly adorned interiorly with manifold
glory, that truly it can be said of thee: "All the glory of the King's
daughter is from within" (Ps. XLIV.) Therefore Mary, as the most true
daughter of the King, was most abundantly drawn to the kingdom, as St.
Bernard testifies, saying: "Thou, a delicate daughter, and full of all
grace, dearly beloved in thy delights, art drawn to the glory of thy
beauty, and as a sign of love." This blessed daughter surpassed her former
kindness by the latter; for great as the mercy of Mary was while she was
still an exile in this world, much greater is her mercy now that she reigns
in Heaven. Now by her innumerable benefits she shows men a greater mercy,
for she now sees more clearly the untold miseries of mankind. For the
splendor of her former mercy Mary was fair as the moon; but for the
splendor of her latter mercy she resembles the sun. For as the sun
surpasses the moon in the greatness of his splendor, so the latter mercy of
Mary surpasses in greatness her former mercy. Who is there upon whom the
sun and the moon do not shine ? Who is there upon whom the mercy of Mary
does not shine? Hear what St. Bernard thinks of this: "As the sun shines
indifferently upon the good and the bad, so when Mary is petitioned, she
does not discuss the merits of the petitioners, but shows herself ready to
hear them, is most merciful to all, and in fine she compassionates the
misery of all with most abundant affection." The Lord is with thee,
therefore, O Mary, as a father with a most noble daughter.

Secondly, note that the Lord who is so singularly with Mary, is the Lord
whose most worthy mother she is. Of this Lord and of this mother Elizabeth
said: "Whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"
The Mother of the Lord, the Virgin and Mother, is a most worthy mother. She
is the Mother who is most becoming to such a Son. She is the Mother to whom
such a Son is most becoming. She is the one, than whom God could make no
greater. God could make a greater world, God could make a greater Heaven,
but a greater mother than the Mother of God He could not make. St. Bernard
saith: "No other mother was becoming to God than a virgin; nor was any
other son becoming to a virgin than God." A greater among mothers than Mary
and a greater among sons than Jesus could not be born. This mother is,
therefore, the flower of mercy, the mother of the Sun of justice, the
mother of the Fountain of wisdom, the mother of the King of glory. She is
the mother of Him, I say, whose mercy leads us to love, whose justice to
fear, whose wisdom to know, whose glory to hope. Mary is, therefore, the
mother of Him who is in fact our love by mercy, our fear by justice, our
knowledge by wisdom, our hope by glory, so that she can truly say: "I am
the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope"
(Ecclus. XXIV, 24.) But is Mary the Mother of Christ only? Nay, what is
most joyful, she is not only the Mother of Christ, but also the Mother of
all the faithful. St. Ambrose saith: "If Christ is the brother of all
believers, is not she, who brought forth Christ, the mother of all
believers?" Oh, dearly beloved, let us all rejoice, and exclaim: "Blessed
is the Brother, by whom Mary is our Mother; and blessed is the Mother, by
whom Christ is our Brother." St. Anselm says: "Lady and Mother, by whom we
have such a Brother, what thanks, what praise shall we pay to thee?" God
is, therefore, with thee, O Mary, as a son with a most worthy mother.

Thirdly, note that this Lord who is so singularly with Mary is the Lord
whose most beautiful spouse Mary is. To this Lord, as to this spouse, we
can apply the word of Osee: "I will espouse thee to myself in justice, and
in judgment, and in mercy, and in commiserations, and I will espouse thee
to me in faith; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord" (Osee II, 19-20.)
Behold a beautiful spouse, beautiful in justice, and in the judgment of her
looks, beautiful in compassion and in mercy in the regard of her neighbors,
and beautiful in faith in the sight of God. Beautiful indeed in the justice
of her life, and in the judgment of her conscience, beautiful in mercy, in
affection, and in compassion in her deeds. Beautiful in faith, whereby she
believed all that was to be believed above herself, and whereby she
believed all that was to be done in her, according to that word: "Blessed
art thou who hast believed, because all shall be fulfilled in thee, which
has been said to thee by the; Lord" (Luke I, 45.) But behold Mary, the
Spouse of the Holy Spirit, as she is and was most beautiful in
conversation, so also is she most sweet in her address, as it is said in
the Canticle of Canticles: "As a dropping honeycomb," etc. Oh, what honey-
flowing words have those sweet lips of Mary often distilled! Had she not
indeed milk and honey under her tongue in those two sweet words which she
addressed to Gabriel? Had not Mary milk upon her tongue when she said: "How
shall this be done, for I know not man?" (Luke I, 34.) Had she not honey on
her tongue when she uttered that honey-sweet word: "Behold the handmaid of
the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word" ? From the sweetness of
this word, throughout the whole world, the Heavens have dropped honey. Mary
had honey on her tongue in her eloquent words to God; she had milk on her
tongue in her agreeable speech to her neighbor. Of how great sweetness and
beauty is that Spouse of the Supreme Consoler ! Because, as St. Augustine
says, "Who is this virgin, so holy that the Holy Spirit deigns to come to
her ? So beautiful, that God chooses her for His Spouse?" The Lord is,
therefore, with thee, O Mary, as a bridegroom with his beloved spouse.

Fourthly, note that this Lord, who is so singularly with Mary, is the Lord
whose most devout handmaid she is, as she herself testifies: "Behold the
handmaid of the Lord." Mary is the handmaid of God the Father, of God the
Son, and of God the Holy Ghost. What wonder if she is the handmaid of that
Lord, when her son is the servant of this Lord, according to the human
nature assumed from His mother? He Himself confesses it in the Psalm, where
He says: "O Lord, because I am thy servant, and the son of thy handmaid." O
what a good handmaid, and what a good son of the handmaid ! Alas, how many
are bad handmaids, and bad sons of the handmaids. But what saith the
Scripture? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son." We read in Genesis of the
handmaid of Sara that, seeing that she herself had conceived, she despised
her mistress. Therefore, the evil handmaid Agar is puffed up by her
fecundity; but the good handmaid Mary is made fecund by her humility. That
proud handmaid despised her mistress; the Lord looked on this humble
handmaid, as she herself says: "He hath regarded the humility of his
handmaid." O Christian soul, handmaid of the Lord, with Mary cultivate
fecundity in such a manner that you may not be wanting in humility; that,
therefore, you may not be puffed up by your fecundity in good works, notice
the humble handmaid, look upon the humble Mary. "Behold," she says, "the
handmaid of the Lord." St. Ambrose says: "See her humility, see her
devotion. She calls herself the handmaid of the Lord, she who is chosen to
be His Mother; nor is she elated by the promise. O truly admirable humility
! Behold in what manner Mary designs not only to be the handmaid of the
Lord, but also the handmaid of the servants of the Lord. For it is she who
is signified by Abigail, who sent messengers that she might be brought to
David, saying: "Behold, let thy servant be a handmaid, that: she may wash
the feet of the servants of my Lord" (I Kings XXV, 41.) By the blessed
handmaid Mary, how many servants of the Lord have been washed, how many
faithful by her prayers have been cleansed from their sins ! For she, as it
were, offered water for their feet when she obtained for them tears of
compunction for their sins. The Lord is with thee, therefore, O Mary, as
with a most devout handmaid. The Father is with thee; the Son is with thee;
the Holy Ghost is with thee. St. Bernard says: "The Father is with thee,
because He made His Son thine; the Son is with thee, who, in order to work
in thee an admirable secret, in a wonderful manner unlocked the secret room
of generation, and kept for thee the seal of virginity; the Holy Spirit is
with thee, who together with the Father sanctified thy womb. The Lord is,
therefore, with thee," the Lord, whose daughter thou art, than whom none is
more noble; the Lord, whose mother thou art, than whom none is more
wonderful; the Lord, whose spouse thou art, than whom none is more lovable;
the Lord, whose handmaid thou art, than whom none is more humble, nor ever
was, nor ever will be. Therefore, O Lady, because so great a Lord is in
such a manner and so much with thee, grant that by grace He may also be
with us.