A bit of light, inspirational reading from Saint Bonaventure

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THE MIND’S ROAD TO GOD
Saint Bonaventura: 1221-1274

Introductory Material

Prologue

THE MENDICANT’S VISION IN THE WILDERNESS

I. Of the Stages in the Ascent to God and of His Reflection in His Traces in the Universe

II. Of the Reflection of God in His Traces in the Sensible World

III. Of the Reflection of God in His Image Stamped upon Our Natural Powers

IV. Of the Reflection of God in His Image Reformed by the Gifts of Grace

V. Of the Reflection of the Divine Unity in Its Primary Name, Which Is Being

VI. Of the Reflection of the Most Blessed Trinity in Its Name, Which Is Good

VII. Of the Mental and Mystical Elevation, in Which Repose Is Given to the Intellect When the Affections Pass Entirely into God through Elevation

Courtesy of Roman Catholic Resource Index

The Feast of St. Anselm – highly underappreciated Doctor of the Church

Anselm stands out as a link between Saint Augustine of Hippo and Saint Thomas Aquinas and is called the ‘Father of Scholasticism.’ He preferred to defend the faith by intellectual reason rather than scriptural arguments.

As the first to successfully incorporate the rationalism of Aristotlelian dialectics into theology, Anselm wrote on the existence of God in Monologium and Proslogium (deduces God’s existence from man’s notion of a perfect being, which influenced later great thinkers such as Duns Scotus, Descartes, and Hegel).

His “Cur Deus homo?” was the most prominent treatise on the Atonement and Incarnation ever written. Other writings include De fide Trinitatis, De conceptu de virginali, Liber apologeticus pro insipiente, De veritate, letters, prayers, and meditations.

Anselm also rediscovered the precious maternal influence, lost since childhood, with her whom Jesus has given us for a mother. She inspired his most beautiful prayers. She gave him the soul of a child. She guided him in his constant search for God. One might think of Anselm as an old, dried up theologian. But that would be an error. Anselm’s intellectual rigor was softened by the sensitivity of his mind and the generosity of his heart. He wrote, “I want to understand something of the truth which my heart believes and loves. I do not seek thus to understand in order to believe, but I believe in order that I may understand.”

Anselm was one of the most human of saints and balanced of monks. Perhaps his early wanderings helped to form him so. Even after nine centuries, the charm of his personality still radiates. He himself was aware of the attraction that he held over those around him. He recognized it without any evasiveness: “All the good people who have known me have loved me, and all the more so when they knew me at close hand.”

Link

Church to celebrate feast of saint who wrote about the ‘long dark night of the soul’

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On December 14, the church  will commemorate the life of St. John of the Cross, the doctor of the Church who first wrote about the “long dark night of the soul.”

John of the Cross was born in the 16th century into a family which had fallen out of wealth. His father, a silk trader, had been disowned by his own family for marrying a woman of a lower social class. The family survived as silk weavers, but John’s father died while John was very young. The boy began to work in a hospital while attending school part time. It is said that he seemed incapable of learning any trade.

He entered the Carmelite Order, but became disillusioned and thought of leaving. Then he met St. Teresa of Avila. Together with the saint, he reformed the Carmelite order by founding the Discalced (literally“shoe-less”) Carmelites.  At the time, many Carmelites had moved  from a life of fasting, prayer and penance. They resented the reforms.

John was kidnapped by members of his own order and imprisoned in a small, cold and dark cell. He was beaten regularly. Yet in this time, he wrote some of his most profound poetry. Eventually, he escaped and was able to share some of his mystical writings with the world. He is famous for having written “The Ascent of Mt. Carmel,” “The Dark Night of the Soul,” and “The Spiritual Canticle.”

He died at the age of 49, and was canonized in 1726. In 1926, he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI.

Today he is considered one of the first, and greatest mystics.

Read his timeless and classic work “The Dark Night of the Soul”

Read “The Life of St. John of the Cross”