In Praise of St. Bonaventure
Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio - Archbishop of York, Cardinal of Alba, Presider over the General Council of Lyons, Superior General of the Franciscan Order, Doctor of the University of Paris, Seraphic Doctor of the Universal Church, and one of the most underrated theologians of our tradition.
A few words of praise:
"For he wrote such things concerning divine things, that it seemed the Holy Spirit spoke in him" (Sixtus IV, Superna caelestis, 1482)
"In such great sweetness and fervor of divine love, his spirit was so rapt in God, that already as one introduced into the wine cellar of the Spouse and drunk with the best wine of charity, he seemed to gaze everywhere upon Jesus Christ Crucified and Suffering, and to dwell in His wounds" (Sixtus V, Triumphantis Hierusalem, 1588, 2)
"For there was in St. Bonaventure something preeminent and unique, so that he stood out not only in subtlety of arguing, in facility of teaching, in cleverness of defining, but he excelled in a certain divine strength of thoroughly stirring up souls. For in writing with the greatest erudition he so conjoined an equal ardor of piety, that he would move the reader by teaching and it would sink into the recesses of the soul, and then he would prick the heart with certain seraphic stings and it would pour forth with a wonderful sweetness of devotion" (Ibid., 3).
Though most know of the esteem in which Mother Church holds St. Thomas Aquinas, fewer are aware of the extent to which St. Bonaventure shares in this esteem:
They are "the clearest lights of that age from the two most flourishing Orders," "the two olive trees and two candlesticks lighting the house of God, who . . . entirely illumine the whole Church; these two by the singular providence of God appeared at the same time rising forth as two stars from the brightest families of model Orders, which have always been prepared as things most useful to holy Church in defending the catholic religion, and in undertaking all labors and dangers for the orthodox faith," "these two Saints where thoroughly alike and almost twin brothers in Christ . . . [and] must be adorned with a like prerogative of veneration and honor" (Ibid, 6, 13).
And my favorite line from St. Bonaventure (and one of the most well-known):
"Therefore to the cry of prayer through Christ crucified, by Whose blood
we are purged of the filth of vice, do I first invite the reader, lest
perchance he should believe that it suffices to read without unction,
speculate without devotion, investigate without wonder, examine without
exultation, work without piety, know without love, understand without
humility, be zealous without divine grace, see without wisdom divinely
inspired" (Itinerarium mentis in Deum, Prol., 4).
A good collection of St. Bonaventure's works can be found here.
# posted by Jamie : 2:56 PM