The Seven Privileges of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 
By Saint Bonaventure

Saint Bonaventure, 1221-1274
This is an excerpt from his writing, "Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary"...

The seven privileges of Mary:

1. The first privilege of Mary was that she was, above all men, free from sin and most pure. For she was so abundantly sanctified by grace in her mother's womb that it is believed she was never in the least degree inclined to the slightest venial sin. Therefore St. Bernard saith: "It behoved the Queen of Virgins, by a singular privilege of sanctity, to lead a life free from every sin, so that, while she brought forth the slayer of sin and death, she should obtain for all the gift of life and justice."

2. The second privilege of Mary is that, above all men, she was full of grace. St. Jerome saith: "On others grace was bestowed in measure; but the whole fullness of grace was poured into Mary." And, therefore, well doth this same Blessed Doctor, comparing the grace of Mary with that of the angels and preferring it, say: "It is to be believed that the glorious Virgin Mary merited greater privileges of virtue, and received grace praised by the angels."

3. The third privilege of Mary was that she alone was a mother and at the same time an inviolate virgin. St. Bernard, praising this privilege, says: "Mary chose for herself the better part. Clearly the better, because conjugal fecundity is good, but virginal chastity is better, but the best is virginal fecundity, or fecund virginity. The privilege of Mary will not be given to another, because it will not be taken away from her."

4. The fourth privilege of Mary is that she alone is the ineffable Mother of the Son, the Mother of that Son of whom alone God is the Father; wonderful above measure that so great a privilege should be granted to a creature. Of this privilege St. Bernard saith: "This is the singular glory of our Virgin, and the excellent prerogative of Mary, that she merited to have her Son in common with God the Father."

5. The fifth privilege of Mary is that she alone above all creatures was in the body most familiar with God. For, what was never granted to any other creature, nor will ever be granted again in eternity --she bore God for nine months in her womb, she nourished God from her breasts full of heaven, for many years she sweetly brought up our Lord, she had God subject to her, she handled and embraced her God in pure embraces and kisses with tender familiarity, as St. Augustine says: "No wonder, Mary, that God reigning in Heaven deigns to rejoice with thee, whom, when He was a little child born of thee, thou didst so often kiss on earth." (Serm. de Sanct., XXV, CCVIII, n. II, appendix.)

6. The sixth privilege of Mary was that she alone, above all creatures, is most powerful with God. St. Augustine says: "She merited to be the mother of the Redeemer." He also says: "Beg for what we ask, excuse what we fear, because we shall never find one more powerful in merit than thee, who hast merited to be the Mother of the Redeemer and of the Judge. It is a great privilege that she is more powerful with God than all the Saints, as St. Augustine declares: "There is no doubt that she who brought forth the price by which all were freed, can above all others pay the suffrage of holy liberty." But what would it avail us for Mary to have such great power if she cared nothing for us? Therefore, brethren, we must hold it for certain, and incessantly give thanks for this, that, as she has more power with God than all the Saints, so is she also more solicitous for us before God than all the Saints. It is the same Augustine who teaches us this, saying: "We know, O Mary, that thou above all the saints art solicitous for the holy Church--thou who obtainest for sinners time to repent, that they may renounce their errors."

7. The seventh privilege of Mary is that she, above all the Saints, is most excellent in glory. St. Jerome says: "Everywhere the holy Church of God sings, what it is unlawful to believe of any other of the saints, that the merits (of Mary) transcend those of all angels and archangels. This privilege not, as it were, of nature, but of grace--belongs to the Virgin Mary." Behold how glorious is the privilege of Mary's glory that she, after God, is most exalted in glory. The glorious privilege of the glory of Mary is, that whatever after God is most beautiful, whatever is sweetest, whatever is pleasanter in glory, that is Mary's, that is in Mary, that is by Mary. It is entirely the glorious privilege of Mary, that, after God, our greatest glory and our greatest joy is because of her. St. Bernard says: "After God, it is our greatest glory, O Mary, to behold thee, to adhere to thee, to abide in the defense of thy protection."

These, therefore, are the seven privileges of Mary by which we obtain the life of grace. And therefore, we may implore Mary, as Abraham implored Sara: "Say, I beseech thee, that thou art my sister, that it may be well with me because of thee, and that my soul may live by thy grace" (Gen. XII, 13.) 0 Mary, our Sara, say that thou art our sister, that because of thee it may be well for us with God, and that our souls may live in God because of thy grace. Say, O our most beloved Sara, that thou art our sister, that, for the sake of such a sister, the Egyptians, that is, the evil spirits, may reverence us, that, because of such a sister, the angels may fight for us, and that above all, for the sake of such a sister, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost may have mercy on us.

April 22, 2000

Go here to see the complete text of the "Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary".

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