Saturday, July 15, 2017

Saint Bonaventure: Theologian at the Foot of the Cross

Of course this is posed, but I really did read!
Today is an especially fine day to read the OTHER great theologian at the University of Paris in the 13th century: Saint Bonaventure.

We are approaching the 800th anniversary of Bonaventure's birth (1221-1274) which is a remarkable thing in itself. The influence of the greatest of the Franciscan doctors is more pervasive than it might first appear. So much of Western spirituality has drawn upon his synthetic approach to philosophy, theology, spirituality, and mysticism.

Bonaventure brings all of his reason and all of his desire to the feet of Jesus Christ crucified. He uses the whole complex apparatus of the scholastic method to focus on the mystery of God who reveals and gives Himself in Jesus.

And he is not disappointed.

Nor will we be, if we learn from Bonaventure's teaching and follow his example.

Our humanity is healed and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. In Him we find all goodness. All beauty is His reflection. All glory shines in the Love revealed on the Cross.

"The Cross is the summit of all glory,
the expression of all joy,
the treasury of all wealth;
for God, desiring to restore [us to His likeness]...
became man, humble, pitiful, and poor.
Thus Supremacy accepted misery,
Justice was put to trial,
Wealth assumed necessity;
for the highest Ruler became a lowly slave
that we might rise into glory;
the most equitable Judge received
the basest condemnation
that we might be acquitted of sin;
the richest Lord suffered the deepest need
that we might abound in plenty."

~St Bonaventure, De Triplici Via 4

Saint Bonaventure with the "Tree of Life," 15th century woodcut.