Grant, we pray, almighty God, that just as we celebrate the heavenly birthday of the Bishop Saint Bonaventure, we may benefit from his great learning and constantly imitate the ardor of his charity. Through our Lord....
"In Bonaventure we meet a unique personality. He was unsurpassed in sanctity, wisdom, eloquence, and gifted with a remarkable skill of accomplishing things, a heart full of love, a winning disposition, benevolent, affable, pious, charitable, rich in virtue, beloved by God and man. . . . The Lord endowed him with such a charming disposition that everyone who saw him was immediately attracted to him."
In these words the historian of the Council of Lyons concludes his account on St. Bonaventure (1221-1274).
At an early age Bonaventure was a celebrated teacher and a powerful preacher. At thirty-six he was called to the highest post among the Franciscans, the Order which honors him as a second founder. He was an important figure at the Council of Lyons. His virtue and wisdom, his versatility and mildness were major factors in attaining the happy result that the Greeks so easily returned to the unity of the Church.
Bonaventure was a subtle scholastic and a profound mystic. Because of the latter he is known as the "Seraphic Teacher." In philosophy he was the principal leader of the Platonic-Augustinian school of Franciscan thought; as such he stood opposed to the Aristotelianism that was making its way into the schools of the time (Thomas of Aquin).
Bonaventure's Life of St. Francis was a favorite book of the Middle Ages. When St. Thomas was told about Bonaventure's work, he said: "Let us allow one saint to labor for another." His contemporaries are said to have believed that no one was "more handsome, more holy, or more learned" than he (excerpted from Pis Parsch, The Church's Year of Grace).
PRAYER OF ST. BONAVENTURE
Pierce, O most sweet Lord Jesus, my inmost soul with the most joyous and healthful wound of Thy love, and with true, calm and most holy apostolic charity, that my soul may ever languish and melt with entire love and longing for Thee, may yearn for Thee and for thy courts, may long to be dissolved and to be with Thee.
Grant that my soul may hunger after Thee, the Bread of Angels, the refreshment of holy souls, our daily and super substantial bread, having all sweetness and savor and every delightful taste.
May my heart ever hunger after and feed upon Thee, Whom the angels desire to look upon, and may my inmost soul be filled with the sweetness of Thy savor;
may it ever thirst for Thee, the fountain of life, the fountain of wisdom and knowledge, the fountain of eternal light, the torrent of pleasure, the fullness of the house of God;
may it ever compass Thee, seek Thee, find Thee, run to Thee, come up to Thee, meditate on Thee, speak of Thee, and do all for the praise and glory of Thy name, with humility and discretion, with love and delight, with ease and affection, with perseverance to the end;
and be Thou alone ever my hope, my entire confidence, my riches, my delight, my pleasure, my joy, my rest and tranquility, my peace, my sweetness, my food, my refreshment, my refuge, my help, my wisdom, my portion, my possession, my treasure; in Whom may my mind and my heart be ever fixed and firm and rooted immovably.
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Today I begin a week of retreat, so until July 22 the entries will be the Sunday homily, notes about the saint of the day and/or some of the church's tradition on prayer.
Oremus pro invicem: union de priere, let us pray for one another.