DC35 St. Bonaventure pt. 2 – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom w/ Dr. Matthew Bunson


Dr. Matthew Bunson discusses the life, times and teachings of St. Bonaventure

  • Born: 1221, Bagnoregio, Italy
  • Died: July 15, 1274, Lyon, France
  • Education: University of Paris

 

For more on St. Bonaventure and his teachings

From Vatican.va, an excerpt from the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

From the General Audience on St. Bonaventure

In this regard, St Bonaventure, as Minister General of the Franciscans, took a line of government which showed clearly that the new Order could not, as a community, live at the same “eschatological height” as St Francis, in whom he saw the future world anticipated, but guided at the same time by healthy realism and by spiritual courage he had to come as close as possible to the maximum realization of the Sermon on the Mount, which for St Francis was the rule, but nevertheless bearing in mind the limitations of the human being who is marked by original sin.

Thus we see that for St Bonaventure governing was not merely action but above all was thinking and praying. At the root of his government we always find prayer and thought; all his decisions are the result of reflection, of thought illumined by prayer. His intimate contact with Christ always accompanied his work as Minister General and therefore he composed a series of theological and mystical writings that express the soul of his government. They also manifest his intention of guiding the Order inwardly, that is, of governing not only by means of commands and structures, but by guiding and illuminating souls, orienting them to Christ.

I would like to mention only one of these writings, which are the soul of his government and point out the way to follow, both for the individual and for the community:  the Itinerarium mentis in Deum, [The Mind’s Road to God], which is a “manual” for mystical contemplation. This book was conceived in a deeply spiritual place:  Mount La Verna, where St Francis had received the stigmata. In the introduction the author describes the circumstances that gave rise to this writing:  “While I meditated on the possible ascent of the mind to God, amongst other things there occurred that miracle which happened in the same place to the blessed Francis himself, namely the vision of the winged Seraph in the form of a Crucifix. While meditating upon this vision, I immediately saw that it offered me the ecstatic contemplation of Fr Francis himself as well as the way that leads to it” (cf. The Mind’s Road to God, Prologue, 2, in Opere di San Bonaventura. Opuscoli Teologici / 1, Rome 1993, p. 499).

The six wings of the Seraph thus became the symbol of the six stages that lead man progressively from the knowledge of God, through the observation of the world and creatures and through the exploration of the soul itself with its faculties, to the satisfying union with the Trinity through Christ, in imitation of St Francis of Assisi. The last words of St Bonaventure’s Itinerarium, which respond to the question of how it is possible to reach this mystical communion with God, should be made to sink to the depths of the heart:  “If you should wish to know how these things come about, (the mystical communion with God) question grace, not instruction; desire, not intellect; the cry of prayer, not pursuit of study; the spouse, not the teacher; God, not man; darkness, not clarity; not light, but the fire that inflames all and transports to God with fullest unction and burning affection…. Let us then… pass over into darkness; let us impose silence on cares, concupiscence, and phantasms; let us pass over with the Crucified Christ from this world to the Father, so that when the Father is shown to us we may say with Philip, “It is enough for me‘” (cf. ibid., VII 6).

For more visit Vatican.va

Dr. Matthew E. Bunson is a Register senior editor and a senior contributor to EWTN News. For the past 20 years, he has been active in the area of Catholic social communications and education, including writing, editing, and teaching on a variety of topics related to Church history, the papacy, the saints, and Catholic culture. He is faculty chair at Catholic Distance University, a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and the author or co-author of over 50 books including The Encyclopedia of Catholic History, The Pope Encyclopedia, We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI, The Saints Encyclopedia and best-selling biographies of St. Damien of Molokai and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

Mike Aquilina – Lent, Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving, and the Early Church – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Mike Aquilina - Fathers of the Church and so much more... 5There’s nobody I enjoy spending Ash Wednesday with more than Mike Aquilina. Mike offers us rich insights on the practice of prayer, fasting and almsgiving from the perspective of the early church.  He also helps us to see how we can concretely live out all three and further enrich our spiritual lives and help those around us to see Christ more fully in us and the Church.  We like Mike!  He’s awesome!

Be sure to visit Mike’s Discerning Hearts page for more from Mike.

DC34 St. Bonaventure pt. 1 – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom w/ Dr. Matthew Bunson

Dr. Matthew Bunson discusses the life, times and teachings of St. Bonaventure pt. 1

  • Born: 1221, Bagnoregio, Italy
  • Died: July 15, 1274, Lyon, France
  • Education: University of Paris

 

For more on St. Bonaventure and his teachings

From Vatican.va, an excerpt from the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

From the General Audience on St. Bonaventure

St Bonaventure, in all likelihood born in 1217, died in 1274. Thus he lived in the 13th century, an epoch in which the Christian faith which had deeply penetrated the culture and society of Europe inspired imperishable works in the fields of literature, the visual arts, philosophy and theology. Among the great Christian figures who contributed to the composition of this harmony between faith and culture Bonaventure stands out, a man of action and contemplation, of profound piety and prudent government.

He was called Giovanni di Fidanza. An episode that occurred when he was still a boy deeply marked his life, as he himself recounts. He fell seriously ill and even his father, who was a doctor, gave up all hope of saving him from death. So his mother had recourse to the intercession of St Francis of Assisi, who had recently been canonized. And Giovanni recovered.

The figure of the Poverello of Assisi became even more familiar to him several years later when he was in Paris, where he had gone to pursue his studies. He had obtained a Master of Arts Diploma, which we could compare with that of a prestigious secondary school in our time. At that point, like so many young men in the past and also today, Giovanni asked himself a crucial question: “What should I do with my life?”. Fascinated by the witness of fervour and evangelical radicalism of the Friars Minor who had arrived in Paris in 1219, Giovanni knocked at the door of the Franciscan convent in that city and asked to be admitted to the great family of St Francis’ disciples. Many years later he explained the reasons for his decision: he recognized Christ’s action in St Francis and in the movement he had founded. Thus he wrote in a letter addressed to another friar: “I confess before God that the reason which made me love the life of blessed Francis most is that it resembled the birth and early development of the Church. The Church began with simple fishermen, and was subsequently enriched by very distinguished and wise teachers; the religion of Blessed Francis was not established by the prudence of men but by Christ” (Epistula de tribus quaestionibus ad magistrum innominatum, in Opere di San Bonaventura. Introduzione generale, Rome 1990, p. 29).

So it was that in about the year 1243 Giovanni was clothed in the Franciscan habit and took the name “Bonaventure”. He was immediately sent to study and attended the Faculty of Theology of the University of Paris where he took a series of very demanding courses. He obtained the various qualifications required for an academic career earning a bachelor’s degree in Scripture and in the Sentences. Thus Bonaventure studied profoundly Sacred Scripture, the Sentences of Peter Lombard the theology manual in that time and the most important theological authors. He was in contact with the teachers and students from across Europe who converged in Paris and he developed his own personal thinking and a spiritual sensitivity of great value with which, in the following years, he was able to infuse his works and his sermons, thus becoming one of the most important theologians in the history of the Church. It is important to remember the title of the thesis he defended in order to qualify to teach theology, the licentia ubique docendi, as it was then called. His dissertation was entitled Questions on the knowledge of Christ. This subject reveals the central role that Christ always played in Bonaventure’s life and teaching. We may certainly say that the whole of his thinking was profoundly Christocentric.

For more visit Vatican.va

Dr. Matthew E. Bunson is a Register senior editor and a senior contributor to EWTN News. For the past 20 years, he has been active in the area of Catholic social communications and education, including writing, editing, and teaching on a variety of topics related to Church history, the papacy, the saints, and Catholic culture. He is faculty chair at Catholic Distance University, a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and the author or co-author of over 50 books including The Encyclopedia of Catholic History, The Pope Encyclopedia, We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI, The Saints Encyclopedia and best-selling biographies of St. Damien of Molokai and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

DC32 St. Gregory of Narek – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom w/ Dr. Matthew Bunson

St. Gregory of Narek Doctors of the Church with Dr. Matthew Bunson Podcast

Dr. Matthew Bunson discusses the life, times and teachings of St. Gregory of Narek

Born: 951 Rshtunik, Vaspurakan, Bagratid Armenia
Died 1003 Narekavank, Vaspurakan, Armenia
Feast 13 October (Holy Translators day); 27 February (Roman Catholic Church)

For more on St. Gregory of Narek and his teachings visit this excellent website:

“Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart”

From the Vatican Insider:

Pope Francis has approved the decision of the Congregation for Saints. The Armenian saint was born in 950 AD in present-day Turkey

ANDREA TORNIELLI
vatican city

An Armenian saint has been declared a Doctor of the Church. In last Saturday’s audience with the cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis approved the proposal put forward by the Plenary Session of the Congregation, agreeing for the title of Doctor of the Universal Church to be conferred upon Gregory of Narek.

 St. Gregory, a priest and monk, was born circa 950 AD in Andzevatsik (formerly Armenia, present-day Turkey) to a family of writers. He died circa 1005 in Narek (formerly Armenia, present-day Turkey). His father, Khosrov, was an archbishop. Having lost his mother at a young age, Gregory was brought up by his cousin, Anania of Narek, founder of the local school and village. The saint lived most of his life in the monasteries of Narek (in what was once called Great Armenia), where he taught at the monastic school. He is considered one of Armenian literature’s greatest poets.

 The cult of St. Gregory of Narek will be marked on 27 February in the Roman Martyrology. He will be defined as “monk, doctor of the Armenians, distinguished for his writings and mystic science”.

 The papal decision comes just weeks before Francis is due to commemorate the centenary of the Armenian massacre on 12 April in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Medz Yeghern as the Armenian massacre is called, took place in 1915.

For more from Dr. Matthew Bunson check out his Discerning Hearts page

Dr. Matthew E. Bunson is a Register senior editor and a senior contributor to EWTN News. For the past 20 years, he has been active in the area of Catholic social communications and education, including writing, editing, and teaching on a variety of topics related to Church history, the papacy, the saints, and Catholic culture. He is faculty chair at Catholic Distance University, a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and the author or co-author of over 50 books including The Encyclopedia of Catholic History, The Pope Encyclopedia, We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI, The Saints Encyclopedia and best-selling biographies of St. Damien of Molokai and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 9 – Discerning Hearts Podcasts

Day 9

Think for a moment of the piety of the Madonna when the angel told her that the Spirit would overshadow her. What sentiments of humility, confidence and courage! At the very moment when she understood that God had given her His heart, that is, His Son, she gave herself to God. Her soul was flooded with charity, so she could say with the sacred spouse, “…My heart trembled within me, and I grew faint when he spoke.” [Sg:5:4] As far as we are concerned, we receive a similar grace in Communion, because not an angel but Jesus Christ Himself assures us that in it the Holy Spirit descends on us. Heavenly power covers us with its shadow and the Son of God really comes to us. He can say that He is conceived and born in us. Truly then, the soul can respond with the Madonna, “I am the servant of the Lord; let is be done to me as you say.” [Lk 1:38] (Spiritual Directory, Art. 12)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

<a href=”https://www.discerninghearts.com/catholic-podcasts/prayersdevotionals/st-francis-de-sales-novena-mp3-audio-download-and-text/”>For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here</a>

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St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 8 – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Day 8

One of the greatest proofs of love that Jesus displayed on the cross was putting up with the imperfections of His neighbor. There He showed us that He has a heart that loves us tenderly and watches over us kindly. He even showed His love for those who put Him to death. In those dire moments the Savior expressed thoughts of love even for his executioners, pardoning them in the very act of sinning! How petty-minded we are when we cannot bring ourselves to forget some injury received, even after a long time! Whoever sincerely pardons another calls down abundant blessings and perfectly imitates Christ. (Spiritual Treatises IV; O. VI, pp. 65-66)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here

 

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 7 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 7

Day 7

Our intellect is ordinarily full of ideas, opinions and considerations suggested by self-love. This is the root of many conflicts within the soul, putting before us all sorts of reasons dictated by human prudence to justify our pretensions. People who make use of this false prudence, instead of enlightening their intellect, obscure it. They reject advice given to them and let those reasons prevail in their minds which support their own opinions, even wrong ones. Make use of the virtue of prudence because it is good, but make good use of it. Employ it only rarely, with simplicity, and solely for the glory of God. (Sermons 30; O. IX, pp. 297-298)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here

 

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 6 – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Day 6

Do not pay any attention to the kind of work you do, but rather to the honor that it brings to God, even though it may seem quite trivial. Desire only to do the Divine Will, following Divine Providence, which is the disposition of Divine Wisdom. In a word, if your works are pleasing to God and recognized as such, that is all that matters. Work hard every day at increasing your purity of heart, which consists in appraising things and weighing them in the balance of God’s will. (Letters 280; O. XIII, p. 53)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here

 

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 5 – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Day 5

This poor life is only a journey to the happy life to come. We must not be angry with one another on the way, but rather we must march on as a band of brothers and sisters united in meekness, peace and love. I state absolutely and make no exception: do not be angry at all if that is possible. Do no accept any pretext whatever for opening your heart’s door to anger. Saint James tells us positively and without reservation,” … a man’s anger does not fulfill God’s justice.” [Jas 1:20] (INT. Part III, Ch. 8; O. III, p. 162)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here

 

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 4 – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Day 4

Self-love dies only when our body dies, so we must, while we live in this land of exile, continue to counterattack its assaults on our senses and its underhanded tactics. It is enough if we firmly withstand, giving no willful or deliberate consent … When we feel within ourselves the first movements of self-love or of other passions, let us prostrate ourselves immediately before the heart of God and tell Him, in a spirit of confidence and humility, “Lord, have mercy on me because I am a very weak creature.” Then let us tranquilly rest in peace and put ourselves at God’s disposal. (Letters 1675; O. XIX, pp. 272-273)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here