Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Saint Bonaventure's Journey

A person should turn his full attention [to Christ],
to this throne of mercy,
and should gaze at Him hanging on the cross,
full of faith, hope and charity,
devoted, full of wonder and joy,
marked by gratitude,
and open to praise and jubilation.

He will experience,
as much as is possible for one who is still living,
what was promised to the thief who hung beside Christ:
"Today you will be with me in paradise."

This is a sacred mystical experience.
It cannot be comprehended by anyone
unless he surrenders himself to it;
nor can he surrender himself to it unless he longs for it;
nor can he long for it unless the Holy Spirit,
whom Christ sent into the world,
should come and inflame his innermost soul.
Hence the Apostle says that this mystical wisdom
is revealed by the Holy Spirit.

If you ask how such things can occur,
seek the answer in God’s grace, not in doctrine;
in the longing of the will, not in the understanding;
in the sighs of prayer, not in research;
seek the bridegroom not the teacher;
God and not man;
darkness not daylight;
and look not to the light but rather
to the raging fire that carries the soul to God
with intense fervor and glowing love.
The fire is God, and the furnace is in Jerusalem,
fired by Christ in the ardor of His loving passion.
Only he understood this who said:
"My soul chose hanging and my bones death."
Anyone who cherishes this kind of death can see God,
for it is certainly true that:
"No man can look upon me and live."

Let us die, then, and enter into the darkness....
Let us pass over with the crucified Christ
from this world to the Father
so that, when the Father has shown himself to us,
we can say with Philip: "It is enough."
We may hear with Paul: "My grace is sufficient for you."
And we can rejoice with David, saying:
"My flesh and my heart fail me,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my heritage for ever."

~Saint Bonaventure (1217-1274)
from The Journey of the Mind to God, ch. 7