Saint Bonaventure

Saint Bonaventure

Born: 1217. Died: 1274.

Ideas

- Traditional Christian doctrines are correct, and innovations are erroneous.

- The wish to introduce new doctrines is the expression of a bad moral character, and so is curiosity (the wish to find things out independently of their relevance to salvation).

- People need discipline not only of their conduct but also of their intellect, including ssubmission to proper authority and extending even to mortification of the intellect.

- All truth is in Christ: There can be no truths that are unrelated to Christ, and nothing can ever be correctly understood, even about the natural world, if Christ is left out.

- Christ contains all truth because Christ contains the creative archetypes (called 'exemplars' or 'exemplary ideas') of all real things.

- The natural world is a mirror of Go, and by lookingin this mirror we can see God, or, more precisely, we can see some of the examplars, all of which are in God.

- The soul's journey to God begins by looking in this way into the mirror of nature, and then proceeds by turning first inward into our own souls, and then upward into God.

- To prove the existence of God, we do not ave to finish the ascent; a complete proof is available at every level, even the lowest.

Biography

He was born in 1217 with the baptismal name, John.

His admiration for the saint led him to join the Franciscans. He changed his name to Bonaventure upon entering the Order of Friars Minor in 1238. He continued his studies at the University of Paris with the founder of the Franciscan School.

In 1257, he was elected Minister General of the Friars Minor. Bonaventure was requested to write a "legend" of St. Francis, which became the saint's official biography. The study of Saint Francis deepened his own mystic life, as expressed in his writing "Journey of the Mind to God."

The degree of Doctor of the Church was bestowed on him and Thomas Aquinas in 1267. Six years later, he was created Cardinal-Bishop of Albano by Gregory X.

He died on July 15, 1274.

Bonaventure was canonized in 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV.

Major Works of Saint Bonaventure

- Breviloquium, 1257
- Commentary on the Gospel of Luke: 1, 2 and 3
- Commentaries on the Four Books of Sentences of Master Peter Lombard, 1250-52
- The Five Feasts of the Child Jesus
- The Journey of the Mind into God, 1259
- Itinerarium Mentis ad Deum
- The Legend of St. Francis, 1261

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