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On the Nobility of the Blessed Virgin Mary

by St. Bernardino of Siena
 

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.
 

 

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