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Wednesday 15 July 2015

From Today's Office of Readings And More

Looking towards the darkness where one finds God is a metaphor for the seeking of purgation and cleansing of all sin in order to be illumined by Christ...Bonaventure is calling all of us to deep meditation and contemplation.

...we must suspend all the operations of the mind and we must transform the peak of our affections, directing them to God alone. 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 fervour and glowing love. The fire is God, and the furnace is in Jerusalem, fired by Christ in the ardour 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, silencing our anxieties, our passions and all the fantasies of our imagination. 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. Blessed be the Lord for ever, and let all the people say: Amen. Amen!

And from Bonaventure's book on gaining holiness of life...

All His life long, Jesus Christ Our Lord was an example of poverty. Let me tell you, O holy virgin, and all you who profess poverty, let me tell you, how poor the Son of God and King of Angels was whilst He lived in this world. He was so poor that oftentimes He did not know which way to turn for a lodging. Frequently, He and His Apostles were compelled to wander out of the city and sleep where they could. It is with reference to such a happening that St. Mark the Evangelist writes: "Having viewed all things round about, when now the eventide was come, He went out to Bethania with the twelve."

e words St. Bede explains as follows : "After looking all around and making enquiries as to whether anyone was prepared to give Him hospitality for He was so poor that no one looked upon Him with pleasure He could not find a dwelling open to Him in the town."  In similar strain St. Matthew writes: "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air nests ; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head."

Did you never read, did you never hear what Christ the Lord said of poverty to His Apostles? It occurs in the Gospel of St. Matthew. "Be not solicitous, therefore, saying, what shall we eat, or, what shall we drink. Your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things."; Here is something else He said. It is from St. Luke. "When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, did you want anything? But they said: Nothing."

P.S. Can you believe the priest at Mass this morning did not use the readings of the Mass for St. Bonaventure, or the preface applicable.

Sigh....just another day here.

Review Time on Bonaventure

See the Doctor of the Church series regarding St. Bonaventure, the great theologian of the Franciscans. Some links below either on him or referring to him.

07 Dec 2013
St. Bonaventure's writings are worth reading if anyone is interested in the development of "Franciscanism". I think it is fair to say that without Bonaventure, there would be no Franciscan Order, which to me, is the meaning of ...
07 Dec 2013
I highly recommend reading some if not all the works of Bonaventure if you are attracted to Franciscan spirituality and perfection. He is a great theologian. One cannot praise his works enough. Unlike Thomas Aquinas, the ...
02 Jun 2014
I want to share this from St Bonaventure. From (The following is an excerpt from: the Major Life of St. Francis by St. Bonaventure.).
16 Mar 2013
Anthony of Padua Bernard of Clairvaux Thomas Aquinas Basil the Great Francis de Sales Bede the Venerable John of Damascus Peter Damian Hilary of Poitiers Leo the Great Anselm of Canterbury Jerome Bonaventure

19 Sep 2014
Writers such as Gregory the Great, Bede, Benedict, Anselm, Johannes Scotus Eriugna, Hildegard of Bingen, Bernard of Clairvaux, Francis of Assisi, Dominic, Anthony, Bonaventure, Angela of Foligno, Mechtild, Tauler, Suso, ...
11 Feb 2013
Anthony, Bonaventure, and Lawrence Brindisi. First of these is Anthony. St. Anthony of Padua, perhaps, is the most known and favourite of all the doctors. He usually is asked to find keys or rosaries. However, this saint has ...
17 Aug 2014
"O God, my God: I will glorify thee by Thy Mother. For she hath conceived thee in virginity: and without travail she hath brought Thee forth." Bonaventure. "There is a gate of the womb, although it is not always closed; indeed ...

30 Apr 2015
The first step, as we have seen, in the multi-step way to humility of St. Bonaventure, the one chosen by Rodriguez, is that of self-knowledge. Part of this first step is proper self-hatred. In our society of narcissism and feeling ...
15 Nov 2014
Albert the Great Bede the Venerable Ephraim the Syrian Bernard of Clairvaux Peter Damian Ambrose Anselm of Canterbury Bonaventure Anthony of Padua John of Avila Lawrence of Brindisi Thomas Aquinas Jerome.
23 Jun 2015
Saint Bonaventure teaches us that “contemplation deepens the more we feel the working of God's grace within our hearts, and the better we learn to encounter God in creatures outside ourselves”.[160]. 234. Saint John of the ...
20 Jan 2012
The implication was that only those who had thrown off the tyranny of the teaching of the Church, of Aquinas, Bonaventure, Augustine, even Maritain or Gilson, could one think. Not so, as Gramsci himself needed the past to ...

05 Dec 2013
Hence St. Bonaventure said that he who wishes to persevere in loving Jesus Christ should ever represent to himself his divine Lord hanging on the Cross and dying for him: "Let him ever have before the eyes of his heart ...
06 Jun 2013
(6) This we see exemplified in St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. Bernard, St. Dominic, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure, St. Teresa, and so many others.(7). I am personally very familiar with four new orders in ...
15 Apr 2014
Bonaventure's commentary on the Christian with the virtue of hope being like a bird is extensively quoted in this chapter. I especially like the metaphor of the Christian having to soar, to look up into the skies, towards God and ...
09 Nov 2014
St. Bonaventure made himself an apostle of this truth and he spoke of it in vibrant tones, “O Christian souls, do you wish to prove your true love towards your dead? Do you wish to send them the most precious help and golden ...

16 Nov 2014
Many Saints and theologians (St. Peter Damien, St. Bernard, St. Bonaventure, St. Bernadine ... say that Jesus instituted the Eucharist above all for Mary and then through Mary, the Universal Mediatrix of All Graces, for all of us.
16 Nov 2014
Prayer of Saint Bonaventure. Pierce, O most sweet Lord Jesus Christ, mine inmost soul with the most joyous and healthful wound of Thy love, with true, serene, and most holy apostolic charity, that my soul may ever languish ...
28 Mar 2015
John of the Cross, (49), Thomas Aquinas (49), Francis of Assisi, (44) and Bonaventure (53). Some saints lived into late middle-age, early old, as we say today, like SS. Angela Merici (66), Teresa of Avila, (67) and Bernard of ...
01 Apr 2015
St. Bonaventure bears witness to this, when he says: "The most terrible penalty of the damned is being shut out forever from the blissful and joyous contemplation of the Blessed Trinity." Again, St. John Chrysostom says: "I ...

Framing Prayer 25 Jesuits and Dying to Self

Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing that I do your will.

If there was ever a prayer for the Church Militant, it is this prayer of St. Ignatius. If the lay Catholic would say this prayer daily, what a difference there would be in the families, parishes, universal Church.

Let me unpack this prayer and show how it is connected to dying to self.
  1. Generosity. The life of a true Jesuit would be a definition of generosity-giving up one's will to God, as we saw in the Suscipe, indicates a generous spirit. And, remember, God will not be outdone in generosity.
  2. Service, but as taught by God. Service in God is completely detached, objective, and never self-seeking. There is no room for the ego in true service to God.
  3. Giving without cost....a parent knows this duty; a husband or wife knows this duty; many of our jobs demand such service without taking a look at the cost. How much more so for the building of the Kingdom...?
  4. Fighting and not even looking at one's wounds-a good self-forgetfulness. Today, some young man told me he responded to the needs of his neighbors because he needed to do mortification for his sins--this is a healthy forgetfulness of pain and suffering when going out of one's way for another.
  5. Not seeking rest--how many of us feel "entitled" to vacations, self-renewal days, and not find the task at hand refreshing because we are doing things for the wrong reasons?
  6. No reward....none....just working out of sheer love for God and His creatures.
  7. The will of God is the center of Jesuit dying to self--absolutely, not my will, but Thy will be done.
This little prayer could be memorized by any lay person and said during the day.

A true framework for out prayer is self-denial.

to be continued... one more on the Jesuits later...........

Framing Prayer 24-Jesuits and Movement

When I was in a community so long ago now, we were exhorted not to have a caravan, or even a little red wagon, but to be able to move freely, unencumbered to do God's will, The little red wagon represented "stuff", physical objects to which one could be attached and which take time away from prayer and God. Those who read my first blog may remember my article on this many years ago.

I see this daily in the States. Most lay people get too bogged down in things. One needs more than a little red wagon to move one's stuff; to be ready to move implies too much planning and anxiety.

One thing which appeals to me, and I shared some of my recent history on purpose earlier today to make the point, it the Jesuit history of movement. From the very days of St. Ignatius' own life, his travels to the Holy Land, to Paris, to his creation of the greatest missionary order the world has ever seen, one is struck by movement.

While the Benedictines grow in their vow of stability of place, the Jesuits grow spirituality by moving. I hope some of this spirituality rubs of on me.

Movement is the life of the missionary, especially one under obedience. A Jesuit is still told where to go for his ministry-as obedience is a vow taken seriously.

Look at the great missions in Europe. Look at the individual lives of the Jesuit saints. One can hardly keep up with studying their movements, such as St. Edmund Campion's moving from the leafy calm of Oxford to the bustle of Rome at the Venerabile, to the work in Bohemia, and, finally back to England for a relatively short mission and his murder in London at the hand of the Queen's butchers.

Movement marks the North American martyrs, the Asian martyrs, the South American martyrs.

Can we think of another such peripatetic order?

As I sit among the signs of moving, after a day yesterday of moving, I yearn for the stability of the monastery, the cell, but God allows me to go hither and yon with His message of love and freedom.

In order to teach freedom, one must be free, and only the free can move, quickly, peacefully.

When I was in my twenties, a long time ago. I heard that interior voice of Christ say to me "You are like the damsel fly, which moves here and there quickly. I love you for you respond quickly to me."

In my mind I saw the helicopter-like flight of the damselfly, an insect which is highly mobile and can change directions quickly, effortlessly.

One must be detached in order to do this. One must be free. The Jesuit vow of poverty allows them not only to be detached, but to be able to move, now, freely.

In these times, learn to move quickly in God. Listen to His Voice and be obedient to His call.

Learn to change directions, and not begrudge the call of God to leave all and follow Him.

We are all called to be disciples. And freedom marks this call.

I would love a house of prayer in order to contemplative and be a sign of contradiction in this world-a simple place of worship and intercession. But, God calls me forth, still, doing quiet things and remaining free. This is not an easy vocation, but the Jesuit example and prayer method can help me and you, especially in times of upheaval.

Yesterday was the feast day of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. Without the movement of the Jesuits, we would not have this lovely young saint. A good article is found here on her.

Framing Prayer 23 Jesuits-God's Glory

Interestingly, all orders have a "character" which means the prayer of the order has a certain characteristic.

For me, for example, character of the Salesians is the love for youth, and the prayers reflect purity of heart.

For the Carmelites, as we have recently seen, the character is the embracing of the Cross, and the prayer is one of joining with Christ in His Passion.

For the Benedictines, the character is humility, a practical humility, and the prayer is one of humble discipline and simplicity.

I see the character of the Jesuits as primarily one of honesty,and the prayer reflects honesty regarding the self, and regarding others. How one is honest with others is through forgiveness.

For me, the Jesuit spirituality moves from the stark honesty of the awareness of one's sins, to the glory of the Resurrection. Even the order's motto, "Ad maiorem Dei gloriam" indicates this self-knowledge of sin, forgiveness and service pointing to giving all things to God for His glory, not for self, not vainglory.

One reason there are so many Jesuit martyrs has to do with this focus on God's glory in the world--one chooses suffering and death for Christ, forgiving others, moving on to glory.
The Resurrection reveals God's glory and service to others, as Christ commanded us to go forth and teach all nations, baptizing, saving souls. This stark commission of Christ may be clearly see in Jesuit spirituality and history.

The list of martyrs includes men from almost every nation. The glory of God is to fill the Earth, if not in peace, than in martyrdom.

Our prayers today could reflect this desire for honesty, forgiveness, service, God's glory.

Ignatius' great but simple prayer could be our own.

Can we laity make this our prayer as well daily in these hard times, and the worst to come?

A good prayer to teach your children, homeschoolers....


Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

Another Moving Day

Since January 1 of this year, I have moved about six times and lived in eight different places. I have moved all my stuff twice and been in five countries and four states.

Needless to say, I am very sore and exhausted.

What is clear is that I must rely on God for everything, even my physical strength

Our Father has not deemed it the time to have me in a house of prayer, but pray I continue to do.

Persistence is a sign of faith and good will.

St. Teresa of Avila states that to doubt in God's Providence is to insult the Father.

I agree,

Pray He allows me to be somewhere.

In all of these places, I have done some spiritual direction, prayed with people, and spent time in prayer.

Back in my storage room, looking at three chests, three boxes, three baskets, and four suitcases, among the books and papers, I feel like I am living in an old-fashioned train luggage carriage.

I discovered that five people from the ages of 52-58 did not know what a steamer trunk was....

I have several. But mine as all small-ish.

God is in charge, not me.....

Back to the Jesuits later.