Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ. -- Saint Augustine of Hippo from “The City of God

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Showing posts with label Bishop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bishop. Show all posts

Friday, February 02, 2018

Feast of Saint Blase (Blaise), Bishop and Martyr (Goffine's Devout Instructions)

Saint Blaise- PD-Art

February 3

Saint Blase was born at Sebaste, in Armenia, of which place he was subsequently appointed bishop, on the solicitation of the people, and suffered martyrdom in 316, during the persecution under Licinius. This saint wrought many miracles, and is yet invoked in dangerous diseases of the throat, because he saved the life of a rich widow’s son, who had nearly died in consequence of swallowing a fish-bone. The Church accordingly sanctions a special blessing of throats on his day. Holding the blessed candles near the throat, in the form of a cross, the priest says:
Through the merits and intercession of Saint Blase, bishop and martyr, God deliver thee from all diseases of the throat, and preserve thee from every other evil. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
If we take part in this pious custom of the Church, we should, above all, consider that while we unite our supplications with the prayers of the Church, to be preserved from bodily illness, we ought to guard our souls against sin, particularly sins of the tongue and of the palate, as being more dangerous ills than any that can afflict our bodies.


O God, Who givest us joy by the annual solemnity of Saint Blase, Thy holy bishop and martyr, mercifully grant us, in the fulness of Thy love, that we may rejoice in the protection of him whose festival we today joyfully celebrate. Through Christ our Lord, etc. Amen.

-Goffine’s Devout Instructions

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saint Francis de Sales

Francis was born into an era which would prove to be troublesome for the Church, for in the sixteenth century the Reformation would bring the Catholic Church into crisis mode, as Martin Luther defied Rome and so was excommunicated in 1520.

Francis was born to a noble couple in the year 1567 in the Savoy region of France. Both his parents, Francois and mother Francoise, were deeply devout and from them Francis also learned to love the Faith which would also lead him to the Priesthood. At first Francis parents tried to persuade their son into a profitable career, and to marry a woman of similar nobility, but after a struggle Francis parents capitulated to their son embracing the Priesthood.

His parents would also provide a good example to the young Francis as he watched them practice the corporal works of mercy and their compassion for the underprivileged in the society around them. So even though Francois and Francoise were of noble birth, still they were not haughty or prideful and treated all with respect and courtesy.

Francis at the age of 13 left home to study with the Jesuits in Paris, where he was instructed by some of the best teachers and was guided as to the Teachings of the Church, this sound teaching would hold Francis in good stead in the foreseeable future. From Paris Francis then completed his studies at Padua where he studied law, to please his father and studied theology in his spare time. Through this difficult time of trying to please both his Father and the call he felt towards the Priesthood, Francis spent much time in prayer about his situation. It was not until Francis was offered the position of Provost of Geneva that his father finally gave up the struggle and allowed Francis to follow his longing to enter the Church.

And though Francis was now able to pursue his dream he found himself beset with doubts and scruples of what he felt were his inadequacies. But upon praying in Church, all of Francis doubts were removed, and in 1593 Francis was ordained into the Priesthood. This was a great honour for Francis parents who attended his first Mass, whereupon they received the Eucharist from the hands of their own son, what a blessing!

And though God had blessed Francis with a high intellect still Francis spoke as one to his parishioners, as he served them with compassion, mercy and love. Father Francis kept his sermons to the point and did not expound on deeply theological issues to the people of his parish, for he was a man of the people and was able to convey his love of God in a simple context without compromising God's Truth.

It was this love of Divine Truth that set Father Francis in conflict with the people of Chablais, where many had embraced the teachings of Calvin. It was here that Francis would prove himself a great son of the Church as he fought Calvin's heresies not by direct attack but by his letters which denounced each and every Calvinistic heresy! Through this non aggressive approach the people of the region began to listen to Fr. Francis and to re think their break with the one True Church. Francis love of the Faith and his diplomatic skills were certainly in evidence when confronting the people of Chablais, who were won over by his obvious piety and sanctity.

But Francis though gentle by nature was no pushover and once he had denounced the Calvin heresy then demanded alongside the Duke of Savoy that all who preached a different Gospel should be expelled from the region, rather than re-contaminate the good which had been done. Francis being prudent by nature was well aware that one bad apple could once again infect the area with the same heresies as before, the Duke of Savoy agreed and expelled all Calvinistic Ministers from the region.

In 1602 Francis once again returned to Paris a city which was close to his heart, Francis at this time also formed a strong friendship with Henry IV and other members of the nobility, for though Francis truly loved and esteemed the poor, he also did not show favouritism when speaking about the Faith, and so he treated both poor and rich with equality.

Upon the death of Bishop de Granie, Francis then became Bishop of Geneva in the year 1602. He set about restoring all things proper back to the Church and visited many parishes as he also reformed many of the Religious Orders. But Francis personality was such that he could win people over to what is pleasing to God. Through his own diplomatic skills he was able to soothe many a ruffled feather, and by his patient and gentle manner he was able to persuade many to follow the Church and its Teachings without compromise.

Bishop Francis worked so hard it is a wonder if he ever found time to rest, for though he would accomplish many things his greatest love was for prayer and through prayer comes action. Through everything Francis retained a deep love for those less well of and tried to the best of his ability to ease their hardship. This was done in several area's for Bishop Francis also began a course of teaching the Faith to both young and old in order to build up the Faithful and keep the Protestant Reformation from overtaking the one true Church. He did this in such a skilful way that he won the admiration of both rich and poor alike, for Francis though a Bishop of the Church, practiced an austere life and did not grant himself special privileges.

During this time he would come to meet a woman and it was to Jeanne de Chantal that Bishop Francis would come to impact and change the course of her life. Bishop Francis could also count Vincent de Paul amongst his closest friends for all three were truly devoted to the poor and their plight. And it would be with Jeanne de Chantal that he would begin his Order, 'The Institute of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin' which overtime would become known as the 'Visitation Order'.

Francis de Sales was not only a great man of Faith, he was also a man of great heart, who with conviction, firmness, gentleness and compassion spread the message of the Gospels. To love one another, Bishop Francis lived this creed to the end.

Francis de Sales died in the year 1622.

Saint Francis de Sales was Canonized in the year 1665 by Pope Alexander VII. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Blessed Pius IX in 1877.

Some Quotes

"Be who you are and be that well."

"Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections."

"Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly."

"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset."

"Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength."

"When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time."

"Those who love to be feared fear to be loved."

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Dispute between dioceses stalls cause for beatification of Fulton Sheen : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic Culture's Catholic World News:

Catholic World News - September 04, 2014
A dispute between the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, has blocked progress toward the beatification of Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria made a surprise announcement on September 3 that the Vatican has decided to suspend the cause for Archbishop Sheen's beatification, which had been expected to take place next year. The bishop said that he was making this announcement "with immense sadness," after failing to reach an agreement with the New York archdiocese about the transfer of Archbishop Sheen's remains.

The Peoria diocese, where the renowned preacher was raised and ordained to the priesthood, had taken the lead in promoting the cause for his beatification. In April, a Vatican-appointed panel approved the validity of a miracle attributed to Archbishop Sheen's intercession, and Church officials predicted that the beatification ceremony would take place in Peoria in 2015.

However, Bishop Jenky revealed that the New York archdiocese has balked at a request to transfer the late archbishop's remains to Peoria, for an inspection and the preparation of first-class relics. Bishop Jenky said that he had been "personally assured on several occasions" that the New York archdiocese would cooperate in the transfer, but New York officials later withdrew their support and Vatican officials were unable to negotiate an agreement. Therefore, Bishop Jenky reported, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints "decided that the Sheen cause would not have to be relegated to the Congregation's historic archive."

Read more by clicking below:
Dispute between dioceses stalls cause for beatification of Fulton Sheen : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Monday, November 11, 2013

Saint Martin of Tours

"The Charity of St. Martin" -- by Louis Anselme Longa
"The Charity of St. Martin" -- by Louis Anselme Longa

Saint Martin of Tours (also known as Martin the Merciful; The Glory of Gaul) was born around 316 A.D. at Upper Pannonia (in modern Hungary) of pagan parents. His father was a Roman military officer and tribune.

Saint Martin was raised in Pavia, Italy. He discovered Christianity, and became a catechumen in his early teens. He was baptized into the Church at the age of 18.

He joined the Roman imperial army at the age of 15, serving in a ceremonial unit that acted as the emperor's bodyguard, and was rarely exposed to combat. He became a cavalry officer, and was assigned to garrison duty in Gaul (modern France).

Once, while on horseback in Amiens in Gaul , he encountered a beggar. Having nothing to give but the clothes on his back, he cut his officer's cloak in half, and gave it to the beggar. He later had a vision of Christ wearing the cloak.

Just before a battle, Martin announced that he was Christian, and that his faith prohibited him from fighting. This resulted in his being charged with cowardice, he was jailed, and his superiors planned to put him in the front of the battle. The invaders sued for peace, the battle never occurred, and Martin was released from military service at Worms.

After he was released he journeyed to Poitiers to labor under Saint Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers. There he organized a community of monks, erected the monastery of Liguge, and in 371 became Bishop of Tours. He later founded the monastery of Marmoutier and resided there. He was an opponent of Arianism.

After a last visit to Rome, Martin went to Candes, one of the religious centers created by him in his diocese, where he died in 397. By his request, he was buried in the Cemetery of the Poor on 11 November 397 and his relics rested in the basilica of Tours until 1562 when the cathedral and the saints relics were destroyed by militant Protestants.

Some fragments of his tomb were found during construction excavation in 1860.

An extensive biography of Martin was written by Saint Sulpicius Severus. Martin of Tours was the first non-martyr to receive the cultus of a saint.

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Below is an excerpt from a letter by Saint Sulpicius Severus on Saint Martin of Tours:

Martin knew long in advance the time of his death and he told his brethren that it was near. Meanwhile, he found himself obliged to make a visitation of the parish of Candes. The clergy of that church were quarreling, and he wished to reconcile them.

Although he knew that his days on earth were few, he did not refuse to undertake the journey for such a purpose, for he believed that he would bring his virtuous life to a good end if by his efforts peace was restored in the church.

He spent some time in Candes, or rather in its church, where he stayed. Peace was restored, and he was planning to return to his monastery when suddenly he began to lose his strength. He summoned his brethren and told them he was dying. All who heard this were overcome with grief. In their sorrow they cried to him with one voice: “Father, why are you deserting us? Who will care for us when you are gone? Savage wolves will attack your flock, and who will save us from their bite when our shepherd is struck down? We know you long to be with Christ, but your reward is certain and will not be any less for being delayed. You will do better to show pity for us, rather than forsake us.”

Thereupon he broke into tears, for he was a man in whom the compassion of our Lord was continually revealed. Turning to our Lord, he made this reply to their pleading: “Lord, if your people still need me, I am ready for the task; your will be done.”

Here was a man words cannot describe. Death could not defeat him nor toil dismay him. He was quite without a preference of his own; he neither feared to die nor refused to live. With eyes and hands always raised to heaven he never withdrew his unconquered spirit from prayer. It happened that some priests who had gathered at his bedside suggested that he should give his poor body some relief by lying on his other side. He answered: “Allow me, brothers, to look toward heaven rather than at the earth, so that my spirit may set on the right course when the time comes for me to go on my journey to the Lord.”

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori was born in 1696 A.D. at Marianelli near Naples, Italy. He was of noble birth, and a child prodigy. 

He was well educated, and received his doctorate in law from the University of Naples at the age of 16. He had his own law practice by the age of 21, and was one of the leading lawyers in Naples. He never attended court without having attended Mass first. He practiced law for 8 years, and as he matured and learned more and more of the world, he liked it less and less. He was humiliated by the loss of an important case, and he felt a call to the religious life. He entered a missionary society of secular priests, the "Neapolitan Propaganda", and was ordained a priest in 1726 where he devoted his time to work among the poor. 

Alphonsus was noted for his simple, clear, direct style of preaching, and his gentle, understanding way in the confessional. He wrote on asceticism, history and was a master theologian. He was often opposed by Church officials for a perceived laxity toward sinners, and by government officials who opposed anything religious. Alphonsus founded the Redemptoristines women's order at Scala, Italy in 1730.

In 1732, with the help of Bishop Thomas Falcoia of Castellamare, he founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Liguorians; Redemptorists) at Scala. 

Alphonsus was appointed bishop of Saint Agata dei Gotti by Pope Clement XIII in 1762. There he worked to reform the clergy and revitalize the faithful in a diocese with a bad reputation. 

He was afflicted with severe rheumatism, and often could barely move or raise his chin from his chest. In 1775 he resigned his see due to his health, and went into what he thought was a prayerful retirement. In 1777, the royal government threatened to disband his Redemptorists, claiming that they were covertly carrying on the work of the Jesuits, who had been suppressed in 1773. Calling on his knowledge of the Congregation, his background in theology, and his skills as a lawyer, Alphonsus defended the Redemptorists so well that they obtained the king's approval. However, by this time Alphonsus was nearly blind, and was tricked into giving his approval to a revised Rule for the Congregation, one that suited the king and the anti-clerical government. 

When Pope Pius VI saw the changes, he condemned it, and removed Alphonsus from his position as leader of the Order. This caused Alphonsus a crisis in confidence and faith that took years to overcome. However, by the time of his death he had returned to faith and peace. 

Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori died of natural causes at Nocera de' Pagani, Italy in 1787. Pope Pius IX declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1871.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr

Saint Boniface (also known as Winfrid; Wynfrith; Apostle of Germany) was born at Crediton, Devonshire, England in 675 A.D. He was educated at the Benedictine monastery at Exeter, England, and he joined the Benedictine Order at Nutshalling, and was ordained in 705.

In 716 he attempted a missionary journey to Friesland but had to abandon the effort due to political disturbances. He was offered the abbacy at Nutshalling, but declined and was sent to Germany east of the Rhine as missionary by Pope Gregory II in 719. There he was assisted by Saint Albinus, Saint Abel, and Saint Agatha. He destroyed pagan idols and temples and built churches on the temple sites.

He was called to Rome by Gregory II who consecrated him regional bishop in 722. Upon returning Boniface encountered a group worshipping at the sacred oak of the Norse thunder god, Thor, at Geismar. Boniface walked up to the tree, removed his shirt, took up an axe, and he hacked down the six foot wide wooden god. Boniface stood on the trunk, and asked, "How stands your mighty god? My God is stronger than he."

In 732 Pope Gregory III made Boniface Archbishop with no definite province. He founded or restored the dioceses of Bavaria, Thuringia, and Franconia. In 741 he was commissioned by Pope Zacharias to reform the whole Frankish church, after which success he was made Archbishop of Mainz in 748.

In 754 Saint Boniface resigned his see to accomplish his dream of missionary work in Friesland. He built a number of churches there, but, he was attacked by pagans, and he along with 52 of his converts were martyred at Friesland, Holland.

Saint Boniface is buried in the cathedral at Fulda.

Saint Boniface is the Patron Saint of brewers, file cutters, tailors, the diocese of Fulda, Germany, and the archdiocese of Saint-Boniface, Manitoba, Canada.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Saint Chromatius of Aquileia

Saint Chromatius was born in the 4th century at Aquileia, Italy. His father died when he was an infant and he was raised by his mother and large family of older brothers and sisters. He was ordained as a priest around 387 A.D.

He attended the Synod of Aquileia and worked for the strong denunciation of the Arian heresy. The denunciation resulted from the synod. Saint Chromatius was consecrated as Bishop of Aquileia in 388.

Saint Chromatius was an active correspondent with Saint Ambrose of Milan, and was a friend of both Saint Jerome and Saint John Chrysostom. Saint Jerome dedicated several works to him. Chromatius was influential in the translation of early Christian works into Latin for wider use. He financed Saint Jerome’s translation of the Bible, and Rufinus’ translation of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History.

Saint Chromatius wrote several respected scripture commentaries, seventeen of which survive. Saint Chromatius supported Saint John Chrysostom and wrote on his behalf against the unjust accusations of Emperor Arcadius.

Saint Chromatius died at Aquileia, Italy of natural causes in December 407.

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The following is from a discourse on the Gospel of Saint Matthew by Saint Chromatius of Aquileia:

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp only to put it under a bushel basket; they put it on a stand where it gives light to all in the house. The Lord called his disciples to salt of the earth because they seasoned with heavenly wisdom the hearts of men, rendered insipid by the devil. Now he calls them the light of the world as well, because they have been enlightened by him, the true and everlasting light, and have themselves become a light in the darkness. 

Since he is the Sun of Justice, he fittingly calls his disciples the light of the world. The reason for this is that through them, as through shining rays, he has poured out the light of the knowledge of himself upon the entire world. For by manifesting the light of truth, they have dispelled the darkness of error from the hearts of men. 

Moreover, we too have been enlightened by them. We have been made light out of darkness as the Apostle says: For once you, were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light. He says another time: For you are not sons of the light and of darkness, but you are all sons of light and of the day. Saint John also rightly asserts in his letter: God is light, and whoever abides in God is in the light just as God himself is in the light. Therefore, because we rejoice in having been freed from the darkness of error, we should always walk in the light as children of light. This is why the Apostle says: Among them you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life. 

If we fail to live in the light, we shall, to our condemnation and that of others, be veiling over and obscuring by our infidelity the light men so desperately need. As we know from Scripture, the man who received the talent should have made it produce a heavenly profit, but instead he preferred to hide it away rather than put it to work and was punished as he deserved. 

Consequently, that brilliant lamp which was lit for the sake of our salvation should always shine in us. For we have the lamp of the heavenly commandment and spiritual grace, to which David referred: Your law, is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Solomon also says this about it: For the command of the law is a lamp. 

Therefore, we must not hide this lamp of law and faith. Rather, we must set it up in the Church, as on a lamp stand, for the salvation of many, so that we may enjoy the light of truth itself and all believers may be enlightened." 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saint Saturninus of Toulouse

Saint Saturninus of Toulouse ( also known as Sernin; Saturnin) was a third century missionary from Rome to Gaul, the Pyrenees ( mountain range in southwestern Europe, forming a natural boundary between France and Spain), and the Iberian peninsula (peninsula in southwestern Europe, divided into Spain and Portugal, together with Gibraltar).

He made many converts including the farmer now known as Saint Honestus who joined him in the missions. Saint Saturninus and two companions were imprisoned at Carcassone by the prefect Rufinus, but they were freed by an angel. He was the first bishop of Toulouse, where he performed miraculous healings. He converted and baptized Saint Firminus who was later bishop of Amiens.

When Saturninus began his work in Toulouse, the local pagan priests stopped receiving oracles from their “gods”. The devils were struck dumb by the presence of the saint as he passed that way. One day in 257, when the priests were hopelessly frustrated, Saturninus passed by in the street. The priests blamed the bishop, and ordered the crowd of heathens to seize him and force him to offer sacrifice to their gods. The idols fell to pieces in front of the bishop. The crowds abused him, then tied his feet to a wild bull which was to be sacrificed, and then drove the bull out of the temple. He was dragged to death.

The martyrdom of this saint probably happened in the reign of Valerian, around 257 A.D.  


 "I adore one only God, and to him I am ready to offer a sacrifice of praise. Your gods are devils, and are more delighted with the sacrifice of your souls than with those of your bullocks. How can I fear them who, as you acknowledge, tremble before a Christian?" -- Saint Saturninus

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Saint John Nepomucene Neumann

Saint John Nepomucene Neumann ( also known as Jan Nepomucký Neumann) was born on March 25, 1811 at Prachititz, Bohemia (Czech Republic). His father Philip, was German and owned a stocking factory, and his mother Agnes Neumann was Czech.

John was a small, quiet boy with four sisters and a brother, and he was named after Saint John Nepomucene. Being an excellent student, John at an early age felt drawn to religious life. He became a seminarian at Budweis, Bohemia in 1813, where he studied astronomy and botany in addition to theological topics. In 1833 John studied theology at Charles Ferdinand University at Prague.

The time came for John's ordination but the bishop was ill, and with there being such an over- abundance of priests in Bohemia, the date for the ordination was never reset. John then decided to go to America to ask for ordination and to work with emigrants. So John walked most of the way to France, then took a ship for America.

John arrived in Manhattan in 1836, where Bishop John Dubois was happy to see him as there were just 36 priests for the 200,000 Catholics in New York and New Jersey. John was ordained on June 28, 1836, and sent to Buffalo. There the parish priest, Father Pax, gave him the choice of the city of Buffalo or of the rural area, and John chose the more difficult rural area.

He stayed in a small town with an unfinished church, and when it was completed, he moved to a town with a log church. There he built himself a log cabin, rarely lit a fire, slept little, often living on bread and water, and walked many long miles to visit farm after remote farm. John's parishioners were from many countries and spoke a variety of languages, but John knew twelve languages, and worked with them all.

In 1840 John joined the Redemptorists at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and later he took his vows at Baltimore, Maryland in 1841. John was the first Redemptorist to do so in the United States. John was a home missionary in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and became Rector of Saint Philomena church in Pittsburgh in 1844. Then in in 1847 he became the vice-regent and superior of the Redemptorists in America. He became an American citizen in 1848. Then John was appointed as the fourth Bishop of Philadelphia in 1852.

As bishop, John built 50 churches and began building a cathedral. He also opened almost one hundred schools, and the number of parochial school students in his diocese grew from 500 to 9,000. John wrote newspaper articles, two catechisms, and many other works in German.

Saint John Nepomucene Neumann died of a stroke at 13th and Vine Streets, in Philadephia, Pennsylvania on January 5, 1860. At his own request, Saint John would be buried in a basement crypt in Saint Peter's Church where he would be near his Redemptorist brothers.

Saint John has the distinction of being the first American man and the first American bishop to be canonized. He was canonized on June 19, 1977 by Pope Paul VI.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Saint Bonaventure-Doctor of The Church

Not much is known about the early life of Giovanni di Ritella, apart from the fact that he was born in the year 1221 in Italy. It is recorded that as a child he suffered from a mysterious ailment but upon praying to St. Francis of Assisi he was miraculously healed.

Perhaps it was this healing that drew the young Giovanni towards the lifestyle and the spirituality of the Franciscans. He joined the Roman Provence of the Franciscans it was around this time that he took the name Bonaventure he was then sent to study and finish his education in Paris. It was also in Paris that he forged a life long friendship with that great saint of the Church, Thomas Aquinas.

Bonaventure was a man of astute intelligence but also had within him that element of charisma that draws people towards himself not from a longing to be popular but because of the warmth he exuded to all he met. This goes towards explaining the title that Bonaventure became known by, that of the 'Seraphic Doctor' because of his kindly but also passionate personality.

You cannot live the Franciscan charism without having a passion for life, not the passion of lusts or pleasures but of an abundant love of all things that God has created and an appreciation that leads to a spirit of joyfulness mixed with earthiness. Bonaventure was certainly not a whimsical or dreamy person by nature, rather he strode the common ground of diplomacy with energetic ability to defend the beliefs of the Catholic Church without compromising his principles or core beliefs. He was assisted in combating many heresies alongside his good friend Thomas Aquinas who with humility and great patience repudiated those who were espousing a wrong doctrine.

Bonaventure didn't have to prove anything to anyone and he didn't he simply was himself to all he met, both friend and foe alike. Nothing would change this man who gained most of his insights from many hours of contemplating the Passion of Christ and from this he gleaned that knowledge is not what counts with God, what does count is love and love alone.

Is it any wonder that an at early age Bonaventure was to become Minister General of the Franciscan Order in the year 1257. These were to be exacting years for the Franciscan Order between those who wished to remain loyal to the original Rule, while other Friars wished for the more taxing parts of the Rule to be relaxed. This inner tension would be felt by many as the warring factions parried back and forth, it would take all of Bonaventure's strength and patience to once again restore the peace of his beloved brothers.

It is during this internal wrangle that Bonaventure truly became a man after Saint Francis own heart, as with delicacy and strength he was able to reach out to both sides and unite them in their singular love of their Order and the Church. From this dispute Bonaventure would become known as the 'Second Founder' of the Friars Minor.

This was also the catalyst from which Bonaventure constructed the Constitutions and began a teaching process so that all friars would be made aware of what it means to be a Franciscan and so spread their spirituality to all who would listen. It would also arm his fellow brothers against those who were taking liberties when it came to the fundamental foundation of the Franciscan spirituality laid down by St. Francis of Assisi himself! While some were espousing a more 'elitist' form of the Order, Bonaventure with his customary good will and common sense was able to negate their influence by teaching his Franciscan brothers to maintain their spiritual integrity rather than follow the whims of those who tried to dilute what St. Francis himself taught his followers.

What kept Bonaventure grounded from becoming too puffed up with his own accomplishments was his deep and innate spirit of humility and his devotion to Christ's Passion on the Cross, from which he never tired of contemplating. Bonaventure knew that life was short so one must do good now rather than later, he also grasped that in order to love God one must live with an undivided heart, rather than find out too late that they have strayed from the path of righteousness. Bonaventure taught that in order to speak love, one has to first live it only then can one transcend the limitations of their own incompleteness.

This brilliant man did not seek honours or glory for himself, in fact he ran from such acknowledgement but though he may have eluded one title, he could not run forever and so it was that Pope Gregory X proclaimed Bonaventure as Cardinal of Albano. Though internal divisions did interrupt the Order of the Friars Minor at times it was to Bonaventure that his fellow brothers turned to help them through this most difficult process.

Because of the difficulties which was causing much heartache within the Franciscan fold, Bonaventure began to write on the true meaning of what being a true Franciscan means but also what one must become in order to truly love God as he did. His writings were prolific as he attempted to bring peace and order back to his fellow brothers and also the wider Church. Bonaventure understood then if we exclude God from our thoughts then we have also excluded God from our hearts, for what brother can harbour bitterness towards another and still believe themselves to be lovers of God?

Bonaventure understood and tried to teach his fellow Friars that with God there is no disordered love it is man himself who distorts the Beatific vision with his own pride and longing to have their own way. In order to be fully whole to each other and to be community for each other one must first look to the Crucified Christ and understand the cost it took for one human soul, this is what Bonaventure sought to teach his fellow brothers and the wider Church through his writings. He succeeded.

It was during the last few months that Bonaventure working closely with the Pope in preparation for next Ecumenical council, died suddenly from an unknown illness.

Bonaventure died in the year 1274.

Saint Bonaventure was canonized in the year 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV.

Some Quotes

"The outcome or the fruit of reading Holy Scripture is by no means negligible: it is the fullness of eternal happiness. For these are the books which tell us of eternal life, which were written not only that we might believe but also that we might have everlasting life. When we do live that life we shall understand fully, we shall love completely, and our desires will be totally satisfied. Then, with all our needs fulfilled we shall truly know the love that surpasses all understanding and so be filled with the fullness of God."

"When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard more than that proceeding from the mouth."

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

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