Peace. Today is the Feast Day of St Bonaventure (1224-1274) Doctor of the Church – (St. Francis of Assisi died in 1226). Bonaventure entered the Franciscan Order at the age of 20. It might appear that his life was in contrast to the simplicity of the Founder of the Order but Francis did respect learning, as long as it was not subordinated to the persuit of holiness. Bonaventure was supported in his studies by his Franciscan brothers and in 1257 together with his Dominican counterpart St. Thomas of Aquinas Bonaventure received his doctorate in theology.
In 1257 he was elected General of the Order at a time when there was much turmoil within the brotherhood. As a result of Bonaventures reforms he has been described as the second founder of the Order.
He was commissioned to write the official life of St. Francis and as a true follower of the Saint he was a humble man. There is a story told that when Pope Gregory X ordered him to accept the title of cardinal-bisop of Albano he kept the papal delegates who arrived bearing the cardinals hat waiting while he continued to finish washing the dishes in the Friary kitchen in Florence.
St. Bonaventure died in 1274 and was canonized in 1482. In 1588 he was declared a Doctor of the Church. The following is a quotation from the Saint:
“The perfection of a religious man (person) is to do common things in a perfect manner, and a constant fidelity in small matters is great and heroic virtue.”
I will conclude with two verses from ‘Office of Readings’ for today:
“Scholar and humble friar
Of Francis’ family
Remaining unassuming when
Raised to hight dignity.
Knowledge he’d learnt from books
-this widely studied man-
But deeeper wisdom from the cross
He read, and read again.
God bless you.