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 EIGHT

THE SECOND LEAF OF THE VINE

Our Vine’s second leaf, or if preferred the second string of our Lute, is the word which Christ our Lord spoke to the thief when the latter confessed his faith in Christ and sought his society. “Verily I say unto thee: this day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.”

O how great is the vigour of the leaf! How sweet the sound of this string! How swiftly was the enemy converted into a friend, the foreigner into an intimate, the stranger into a relation, the robber into a saint! How great the faith of the robber! Though he was an accomplice in all wickedness, a ne’er do well, a law-breaker, a taker of life as well as of wealth, now, at the end of his life, he had the audacity to aspire to and make a bid for the life to come, which he never merited, and which he had practically intended not to merit. If hope was still possible for this robber, can anyone despair?

And so out Bridegroom listens to this soul, not now the soul of a robber, but that of a confessor, his spouse; and because he deemed the tone of his prayers worthy, he comforts him with the words, ‘Verily I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” How is this “thou”? “Thou who didst confess me on my cross of agony.” He did not merely say to him, “Thou wilt be in Paradise with the angels,” but “Thou wilt be with me.” “Thou wilt be in the company of your heart’s desire. Thou wilt see him in whom thou believest, once set in weakness, but now arrayed in majesty.” Nor will there be any delay in his promise, for he says, “Thou wilt be with me to-day.” In truth how prompt was the response of our good and dear Jesus! How prompt his promise, how prompt his gift! Could anyone despair at so generous a response, so swift a promise, and so immediate a fulfilment? “We had hoped in thee, for we knew the sweetness of thy name; for thou dost never fail them that seek thee.”[1]

So, good Jesus, in imagination we come to thee as thou sittest on the throne of thy majesty. We pray that we may be brought thither to thee and by thee, for it was through thee that that robber who confessed thee on the throne of the cross entered.

1. Cf Ps 9:10.

Forward to CHAPTER NINE


© 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.