Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"ask grace, not doctrine; desire, not intellect; the groaning of prayer and not studious reading"

"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 [(interroga gratiam, non doctrinam; desiderium, non intellectum; gemitum orationis, non studium lectionis; sponsum, non magistrum; Deum, non hominem, caliginem, non claritatem; non lucem, sed ignem totaliter inflammantem et in Deum excessivis unctionibus et ardentissimis affectionibus transferentem)]. 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."

     St. Bonaventure, Itinerarium mentis in Deum 7.6, as translated in the Liturgy of the hours, Office of readings for the Feast of St. Bonaventure.  Latin from p. 313 of vol. 5 of the Quaracchi edition as reproduced in Itinerarium mentis in Deum, trans. Zachary Hayes, Works of St. Bonaventure (Saint Bonaventure, NY:  Franciscan Institute Publications, 2002), 138.  (The translation in the heading, however, is taken from the one by Hayes.)
     Yet this comes, of course, at the end of a long and rigorous itinerarium.  "For Saint Bonaventure is an intellectual, although not an intellectualist; his vocation is that of a theologian who craves for understanding.  Intellectual activity is as necessary for him [(as distinguished from his master, Saint Francis of Assisi)] as his daily bread" (Philotheus Boehner, OFM, in the "Notes and commentary" (p. 220 of the Franciscan Institute edition given above)).

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