Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Seraphic Doctor

St. Bonaventure's Feast Day was July 15. Like a moron, I missed it.

In the haste of my life, I forgot to honor yet another of God's glorified elect. This time, instead of the guy who saved Western Civilization, it was the guy who is probably one of the ten or so greatest theologians of the post-patristic age. Some would probably say of all time. He's a Doctor of the Church, more commonly known as the Seraphic Doctor. He's not a Dominican (being a Franciscan and all), but hey, nobody's perfect.

He was a contemporary and friend of St. Thomas Aquinas, but their thinking was very different. Where Thomas was grounded almost entirely in the thought of Aristotle, Bonaventure took on the concepts of Platonism, mostly as found in Augustine. His is a very mystical theology, rooted more in the heart than the intellect. I recently bought a copy of his own "summa," known as The Breviloquium. I'll post thoughts as I work my way through it.

Needless to say, in an era where so many theologians are little more than whores (see Pope Benedict's comments), we should seek Bonaventure's intercession that those entrusted with theological instruction and research should remember that they should act in service of God's Church, rather than their own egos.

And although this Doctor, St. Bonaventure, be glorious and most celebrated in the Catholic Church, and be greatly respendant in Heaven, where he is crowned with that crown, which God witholds for those who love Him, and although no human thing is lacking to him, who enjoys the good things with Christ, which neither the eye sees, nor the heart expects; nevertheless the charity of Christ and a burning affection of a certain devotion, by which for him We have been perpetually consumed from nearly Our first years, urges Us to consider how to rather propagate and explain his sanctity and to a greater extent his doctrine, as much as We are able with the help of the Lord. Indeed We are moved, that there is a part, of Our seraphic Religion, in holy communion with him, in which We have been educated and versed for many years, and for whom as a for a most worthy mother, We should manifest every honor of piety and gratitude of heart; but much more do the glory of God, the pastoral office which We bear, the so many labors undertaken by this most holy man on behalf of the Church of God, and his so many illustrious merits urge Us, so conjoined as they are with the Roman Church, in whose broadest ranks and Senate he sat with the highest praise. Finally the utility of the universal Church moves Us, which can be always more and more richly captivated by the erudition of such a Doctor, especially when the ambushes and the diabolical machinations of heretics, by which they oppose most vehemently in this sad age that sacred theology, which is called Scholastic, admonish Us greatly, that We should retain, explain, and propagate this same theology, as something which nothing can be more fruitful for the Church of God.

Pope Sixtus V, Triumphantis Hierusalem

St. Bonaventure, pray for us!

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