Saint Bonaventure (1225-1274), Cardinal, and Doctor of the Church. Known as “the Seraphic Doctor,” the writings of Saint Bonaventure are full of the divine love for the Lord which he exhibited throughout his life. Saint Bonaventure wrote on many subjects, one of his favorites being Our Blessed Mother. He is remembered for writing, "Mary seeks for those who approach her devoutly and with reverence, for such she loves, nourishes, and adopts as her children." Below, excerpts from his Psalter of Marian Praise:
Preface to A Marian Psalter
"Take hold on her, and she shall exalt thee: thou shalt be glorified by her, when thou shalt embrace her. She shall give to thy head increase of graces, and protect thee with a noble crown." (Prov. IV, 8-9.) Glory be to God on high, and thanksgiving, and the voice of praise, who at one time by the mysteries of prophecy, at another by oracles from Heaven, again by the reading of the Gospel, and now by the mouth of preachers, in many ways and by divers channels, most sincerely urges and invites us to honor the Virgin Mary, the Queen of Heaven and of the Angels; that by her holy merits, most worthy of all acceptance, we, being delivered from the depths of hell, may be inscribed by her in the ranks of the angels. Wherefore, although Solomon spoke the aforesaid words of Wisdom, nevertheless the Holy Spirit, by a mystical application, intends them to be understood of the most excellent Virgin Mary. By means of these words, dearly beloved, He is drawing you to His love, and by various promises is attracting and softening your hearts, that you may enjoy His divine embraces. His meaning is that you will obtain four wonderful gifts, if this glorious Virgin is joined to you by a spiritual bond, and is embraced by you in the arms of fervent desire, with great reverence and devotion. First, she will bring you exaltation; and she shall exalt thee; secondly, glorification; and thou shalt be glorified by her; thirdly, the abundance of graces; she shall give to thy head increase of graces; fourthly, the unfading crown of perpetual glory, and protect thee with a noble crown.
Therefore I beseech thee, dearly beloved and most desired, do not repel so noble and so beautiful a virgin; do not make little of so admirable and revered a queen as the Virgin Mary: lest, if she should see herself despised by you, you will be, I will not say, deprived of such great favors, but, which God forbid, you will incur perpetual evils. Expand the bosom of your mind to serve her, prepare your heart to praise and glorify her, loose your tongue, and with swift service hasten to please her. For there is no doubt that from her nearness to you, you will become more devout, from contact with her you will grow more pure, from her embrace you will abound more in grace and be more resplendent in purity. That I may give you an occasion of obtaining such great gifts, I send you the Psalter of this most Holy Virgin, put together and composed indeed by my feeble intelligence, but with her grace and help; by means of it you will praise with divers hymns, now her virginity and chastity, now her fecundity and sanctity, now her clemency and bounty. You will be able to salute her as full of all grace, or as filled with all knowledge, or as illumined by all understanding and wisdom. There you will bless the Fruit of her glorious womb, the members of His holy body, and the prerogatives of His soul, bestowing all sanctity. There you will invoke the aid of all the choirs of angels to praise her, and of all the multitudes of holy men, the isles of the nations, the heavens, the beauty of all luminaries and of the whole world. There you will beseech her to destroy the power of your spiritual enemies, to obtain for you pardon of all your sins, that she may render the great Judge propitious to you, that she may illumine your deathbed by her gracious presence, and obtain for you joy without end. Therefore, O dearly beloved souls, graciously receive this little gift which I offer you, and strive to draw fruit therefrom; by means of it frequently praise the Mother of God; and thus perchance she will turn to you her gracious countenance, receiving you to her love, refreshing your soul in the present, and placing upon your head a crown of precious stones in the world to come.
[The Preface is followed by 150 Psalms in praise of the Blessed Virgin, concluding with a Marian Creed, below]
Whoever wishes to be saved, before all must hold a firm faith as to Mary. Which unless anyone shall keep whole and inviolate: without doubt he shall perish forever. For she alone, remaining a virgin, hath brought forth: she alone hath destroyed all heresies. Let the Jew be confounded and ashamed: who says that Christ was born from the seed of Joseph. Let the Manichean be confounded who says: that Christ has an unreal body. Let all be ashamed who say: that He derives His Body from any other source than Mary. For the very same Son, who is the only-begotten of the Father in the Godhead: is the true and only begotten Son of the Virgin Mary. In Heaven without a mother: on earth without a father. For as the rational soul and the flesh because of the union in man is truly born from man: so Christ, both God and Man, is truly begotten by Mary, the Virgin. Clothing Himself with flesh from the flesh of the Virgin: because so it behooved the human race to be redeemed. Who according to the Divinity is equal to the Father: but according to His Humanity is less than the Father. Conceived of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and announced by the Angel: but nevertheless the Holy Spirit is not His Father. Begotten in the world of the Virgin Mary without pain of the flesh: because He was conceived without carnal delight. Whom the Mother hath fed with her milk: her breast full of heaven. Whom the Angels surrounded as attendants at birth: announcing great joy to the shepherds. He it is who was adored by the Magi with gifts, who fled from Herod into Egypt, who was baptized by John in the Jordan: was betrayed, seized, scourged, crucified, dead, and buried. Who rose again with glory: and ascended into Heaven. Who sent the Holy Spirit upon His disciples: and upon His Mother. Whom He in the end took up into Heaven: where she sitteth at the right hand of her Son, never ceasing to make intercession for us. This is the faith of the Virgin Mary: which, unless anyone faithfully and firmly believes, he cannot be saved.
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."