A Companion to Bonaventure by Jay M. Hammond, J. A. Wayne Hellmann, Jared Goff

By Jay M. Hammond, J. A. Wayne Hellmann, Jared Goff

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Just as he remained devoted to the vast capacity of the human mind (capax Dei), so he was at the same time convinced of the importance of faith for intellectual work. Bonaventure knew that he had taken on a heavy burden. He also knew that the accusations of the mendicant-opponents were not entirely unfounded and that the failures of the brethren would always be mercilessly used against them. Thirty years had passed since the death of their founder, and the order of St Francis had by now grown to about 30,000 brethren in 32 provinces.

Via remains nothing but a meager system. Bonaventure is not interested in a theoretical teaching system but in leading to mystical experience. In Trip. via, he wants to show the way to reaching one’s goal of becoming formed to the image of God (deiformis, “God-like”) already in this earthly life. In contemplation, a person not only tastes the “sweetness of God,”76 but is led to spiritual transformation. The goal of being more and more transformed after the likeness of God (deiformis gratiae) by holiness, knowledge of God, and love of God is to be achieved by means of a “threefold way,” namely, the best known monastic practices: meditation (meditatio, pars 1), prayer (oratio, pars 2), and contemplation (contemplatio, pars 3).

Cassian’s 38 Bougerol, Introduction, 7–9; Johann B. Schneyer, Geschichte der katholischen Predigt (Freiburg: 1969). 39 Sancti Bonaventurae Sermones Dominicales, ed. G. Bougerol (Bibliotheca Franciscana Medii Aevi) 27 (Grottaferrata: 1977). 40 A number of sermons have been edited individually or in other collections: Distelbrink, Bonaventurae Scripta, 79–87. G. Bougerol edited two additional sermon collections: Saint Bonaventure Sermons de diversis, 2 vols. (Paris: 1993); and Saint Bonaventure Sermons de Tempore.

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