The following is an excerpt from the Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary by St. Bonaventure (b. 1221- d. 1274):
But the grace of Mary was not only most useful to herself, but also to us, to the entire human race. For the grace of Mary gathers in the evil, nourishes and fattens the good, delivers all. It gathers in sinners from guilt, fattens them by grace, delivers them from eternal death. I say, therefore, that the grace of Mary gathers in souls to mercy, gathers evil-doers into the Church. This is well signified in the favor which Ruth found when she collected the ears of corn left by the reapers, when she said to Booz: “I have found grace in the eyes of my lord” (Ruth II, 12.) “Ruth” is interpreted “seeing” or “hastening,” and she typifies the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was truly a seer in contemplation and was swift in work. For she seeth our misery and swiftly bestows on us her mercy. Booz is interpreted as “strength,” and signifies him of whom it is said in the Psalm: “Great is the Lord and great is His strength” (Ps. CXLVI.) Ruth, therefore, in the eyes of Booz, Mary in the sight of the Lord, found this grace, that she gathered up the ears of corn left by the reapers, that is, souls are gathered to pardon by her. Who are the reapers but the teachers and pastors? O truly great grace of Mary, by which many are saved and find mercy, who were given up as hopeless by their priests and pastors! Therefore St. Bernard saith: “Mary, thou embracest with maternal affection the sinner despised by the whole world, thou cherishest him, thou never forsakest him, until he is reconciled to the tremendous Judge.” Likewise Mary nourishes the good with the fatness of grace. Therefore is it said in Ecclesiasticus: “The grace of a diligent woman shall delight her husband, and shall fat his bones” (XXVI, 16.) Mary was indeed the diligent woman of whom Bede saith: “Mary was silent about the secret of God, but she diligently considered it in her heart.” Who was the husband of this diligent woman, but He whom she had encompassed in her womb ? Of whom Jeremias says: “The Lord hath created a new thing upon the earth, a woman shall encompass a man” (Jer. XXXI, 32.) The bones of this man are all they who are strong in the Church, that is, in His body. These bones, by the help of the grace of Mary, are fattened by the unction of grace. They are fattened, I say, by the fatness of the Holy Ghost, by which he longed to be enriched who said: “Let my soul be filled as with marrow and fatness.” Oh, who can reckon how many souls by the help of Mary are nourished and fattened by grace? And who indeed can calculate how great in Mary herself was this fatness of grace, by which so many millions of souls are nourished? What was lacking to her who was the dwelling of all virtue and grace? St. John Damascene says: “Mary, planted in the house of the Lord, and fattened in spirit like a fruitful olive tree, was made the dwelling of every virtue.” Likewise Mary delivers all men from everlasting death. This was well typified in Esther, of whom we read: “The king loved her more than all women, and placed the diadem of his kingdom on her head” (Est. II, 17.) We read, therefore, that there was a twofold utility in the grace of Esther which she had with the king: one was that she obtained the royal crown; the other, that she delivered her nation, which had been condemned to death. So Mary, our Esther, obtained such grace with the eternal King that by it she not only attained to the crown herself, but delivered the human race, which was condemned to death. Therefore St. Anselm says: “How shall I worthily praise the Mother of my Lord and God, by whose fecundity I, a captive, was redeemed, by whose Son I was rescued from eternal death, by whose Child, I, being lost, was recovered and led back from the exile of misery to the homeland of eternal beatitude.” O Mother of grace, make us sons of grace. Grant that by thy most true grace we may be gathered for the pardon of sin, nourished by the spirit of devotion, and delivered from the death of damnation ! Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
Posted by SCF
Image, St. Bonaventure: source
Full text, Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary: here.