The Mystical Vine
A treatise on the Passion of Our Lord

Saint Bonaventure

Translated from the Latin by a Friar of S.S.F.
Edited by Matthew Dallman




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CHAPTER TWELVE

THE SIXTH LEAF OF THE VINE

The sixth leaf or string of the Lute is the sixth word which that true and supreme sweetness, the Lord Jesus, spoke as he received that sour vinegar. He said, “It is finished.”

What does he mean by this? A little before it had been said, “The Lord knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst . . . and when he had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished.” Here indeed the testimony of Scripture was accomplished and fulfilled, where it says, “They have me gall for my meat.” In a similar way every Scripture concerning Jesus had its fulfilment.

As then our Head, in order to fulfil and perfect all scriptural passages concerning himself, endured for ours sins the bitterness of his passion and patiently persevered, so should we, if we wish to remain members of our Head, always guard the virtue of patience, so that, when we have reached the limit of our suffering, we, led by our most gracious Jesus himself, may confidently be able to affirm, “It is finished,” that is to say, “With thy help and not of our own strength we have fought the good fight, we have finished the course, we have kept the faith.”

Give, therefore, what, according to thy promise, is laid up for those who struggle in lawful combat, that is, the “crown of righteousness,” which thou, “the righteous judge, shall give” in that clear day of thine, that “day in thy courts” which shall be “better than a thousand,” that day when thou wilt be the only sun.[1]

O Sun of righteousness, gracious Jesus Christ, shining in thy strength, give thyself as an eternal reward to all who have fought the fight, and to all those who have continued to fight in the thick of the battle. May they receive from thee everlasting glory to enjoy happily for evermore. But it is impossible for anyone who does not persevere to the end to acquire this glory; for “virtue consists in perseverance in good works.”[2]

1. Cf. 2 Tim 4:7,8; Ps 84:10,11.
2. Gregory the Great, in the second book of homilies on the Gospels; homily 25, n. 1.


Forward to CHAPTER THIRTEEN


© Akenside Press and Matthew C. Dallman, 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher, Akenside Press.