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




It could be said that the leaves of the ordinary vine are finer than those of any other tree. But no leaves could be more admired than the words of our true Vine. As the natural vine shows itself at its best in its leaves, so Jesus in his words.

But the leaves of the vine are generally more appreciated in those places where the vine is fastened up to some wooden structure, and the shade thereby increased. Let us then see whether our true Vine was in any way fastened up and extended. If this is so, let us go on to consider the leaves or the sweet words that he put out for our comfort.

That our Vine was raised up in this way, our Lord himself testified, when he said of himself, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” It is clear that this exaltation of our Vine refers to the cross. Observe how like the cross the wooden structure is, upon which vines are usually fastened up. So that the vine may be stretched out aloft, the wood is fixed cross-wise. Could the likeness be greater? The wood of the cross, too, is fixed cross-wise; and our Vine, the good Jesus, is then fastened up and his arms and whole body stretched thereon. To such an extent was he stretched on the cross, that his limbs could all be counted. Or this he spoke through the lips of the prophet, “They pierced my hands, and my feet, they counted all my bones.”[1] It was if he was to say, “I was stretched to the left and to the right, upwards and downwards; and my body like the skin of a drum was so extended that all my bones could be counted with ease.”

Look, O Christian soul, upon the face of Christ your Saviour. Raise your eyes full of tears, and lift up your heart contrite and sobbing towards his torments. See what great distress came to him, as he went seeking to find you. Open, therefore, your eyes wide, that you may gaze upon the face of Christ your Saviour; listen attentively with your ears to the things he has to say in his distress; and when you have heard them, lay them up in the cell of your heart, for such treasure is priceless. Behold, too, the rough bed on which he was laid—I mean that bed of death, the cross.

If, therefore, you desire to gain an ‘inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled,” treasure carefully the last charges of your Bridegroom. The words he uttered, as he was dying, were not many, so a true spouse of Christ should not find them difficult to remember.

1. Ps 22:7 (Vulgate).


© 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.