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




We read of Jesus’ first bloodshedding at his circumcision, at the time when his name was called Jesus.

There is a mystical meaning in this: in that, by this bloodshedding he was to become to us a true Jesus or Saviour. All young boys and girls should hear this and understand. May the martyrdom of the man Jesus Christ be often impressed upon their minds! Whence also Isaiah, speaking of the nativity of this man, our most dear Jesus, said, “Unto us a boy is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders . . .” Here Isaiah links the cross, which he indicates by the term “government,” to the nativity, since the nativity of the cross begins at his birth.

It was also an enhancement of our Lord’s rosy passion that he was born of a poor little mother away from home in the middle of winter, in the middle of the night, outside the inn. Though no blood was shed then, it was not long before some was, after an interval of seven days.

What an example of charity! Our most sweet and loving boy Jesus—the glory, wealth, and delight of heaven—is scarcely born, and lo! though of so recent a birth, he is conjoined to the ignominy, the pain, and the extreme poverty of the cross.

But the very term “government” compensates for the wretchedness of the cross. For the mighty Jesus, who hath reigned “from the wood,”[1] made the whole world and hell as well subject to him. In the cross “he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the Father, even to death . . . wherefore God the Father highly exalted him and gave unto him the name that is above every name.”

So it was but fitting that, at the first bloodshedding of this most pure Lamb, his name should be called Jesus, for here was his first bloodshedding for our salvation. The same blood was eventually to be wholly poured out to secure our salvation.

1. Ps 96:12. Justin Martyr’s reading, and in Cyprian, Lactantius and Augustine, but not in Jerome.


© 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.