Wednesday, September 12, 2012

St Bonaventure on the Holy Name of Mary

According to tradition, God Himself named the infant girl who would become the Mother of God. The Archangel Gabriel appeared to Saint Joachim and instructed him to name the girl "Mary." The Greek Mariam is usually thought to derive from the Hebrew Miriam, which means "bitterness."

Saint Bonaventure observes that Mary's name  in Hebrew is "bitter sea" (mara = bitter; yam = sea), in Latin it means "seas" and in Aramaic (the domestic language of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph) it means "Lady" or "Sovereign."

Saint Bonaventure writes: "This most holy, sweet and worthy name was 'eminently fitted to so holy, sweet and worthy a virgin. For Mary means a bitter sea, star of the sea, the illuminated or illuminatrix. Mary is interpreted Lady. Mary is a bitter sea to the demons; to men She is the Star of the sea; to the Angels She is illuminatrix, and to all creatures She is Lady."

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