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The mind's road to God by St Bonaventure

By St Bonaventure

Prologue 1. to start with, the 1st precept from Whom all illumination descends as from the daddy of sunshine, by means of Whom are given all of the most sensible and ideal presents (James, 1:17), the everlasting Father do I name upon via His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that by way of the intercession of the main holy Virgin Mary, mom of God Himself and of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and of the blessed Francis, our father and chief, He may well enlighten the eyes of our brain to lead our ft into the way in which of that peace “which surpasses all figuring out” (Eph., 1:17; Luke, 1:79; Phil., 4:7), which peace our Lord Jesus Christ has introduced and given to us; which lesson our father Francis regularly taught, in all of whose preaching used to be the annunciation of peace either initially and after all, wishing for peace in each greeting, craving for ecstatic peace in each second of contemplation, as a citizen of that Jerusalem of which that guy of peace stated, with those who hated peace he was once peaceful (Ps., 119:7), “Pray ye for the issues which are for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps., 121:6). For he knew that the throne of Solomon used to be nowise retailer in peace, because it is written, “His position is in peace and His domicile in Sion” (Ps., 75:3). 2. considering the fact that, then, following the instance of the main blessed father Francis, I breathlessly sought this peace, I, a sinner, who've succeeded to where of that almost all blessed father after his demise, the 7th Minister normal of the brothers, even though in all methods unworthy--it occurred that by means of the divine will within the thirty-third yr after the dying of that blessed guy I ascended to Mount Alverna as to a quiet position, with the need of looking religious peace; and staying there, whereas I reflected at the ascent of the brain to God, among different issues there happened that miracle which occurred within the similar position to the blessed Francis himself, the imaginative and prescient specifically of the winged Seraph within the likeness of the Crucified. whereas taking a look upon this imaginative and prescient, I instantly observed that it signified the suspension of our father himself in contemplation and how wherein he got here to it. three. For by means of these six wings are rightly to be understood the six phases of illumination through which the soul, as though through steps or innovative routine, used to be disposed to cross into peace by way of ecstatic elevations of Christian knowledge. the best way, despite the fact that, is barely in the course of the such a lot burning love of the Crucified, Who so remodeled Paul, “caught up into the 3rd heaven” (II Cor., 12:2), into Christ, that he stated, “With Christ i'm nailed to the move, but I reside, not I, yet Christ liveth in me” (Gal., 2:19); who as a result so absorbed the brain of Francis that his soul was once take place in his flesh and he bore the main holy stigmata of the fervour in his physique for 2 years ahead of his demise. for that reason the logo of the six-winged Seraph indicates the six phases of illumination, which start with God’s creatures and lead as much as God, to Whom not anyone can input appropriately retailer in the course of the Crucified. For he who doesn't input by way of the door yet in a different way, he's a thief and a robber (John, 10:1). but when an individual does input by way of this door, he shall cross in and exit and shall locate pastures (John 9). due to this John says in his Apocalypse (22:14), “Blessed are they that wash their gowns within the blood of the Lamb, that they might have a correct to the Tree of existence and should input in through the gates into the City”; as though he have been to assert that one can't input into the heavenly Jerusalem via contemplation until one input throughout the blood of the Lamb as via a gate.

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2. And since, when anyone lies fallen, he must remain there prostrate unless someone give a helping hand and he falls in order to rise again [Isaiah, 24, 20], our soul has not been able to be raised perfectly from the things of sense to an intuition of itself and of the eternal Truth in itself unless the Truth, having assumed human form in Christ, should make itself into a ladder, repairing the first ladder which was broken in Adam. Therefore, however much anyone is illuminated only by the light of nature and of acquired science, he cannot enter into himself that he may delight in the Lord in himself, unless Christ be his mediator, Who says, "I am the door.

If then you can look with the mind's eye upon the purity of goodness, which is the pure actualization of the principle of Charity, pouring forth free and due love, and both mingled together, which is the fullest diffusion according to nature and will--the diffusion as Word, in which all things are expressed, and as Gift, in which all other gifts are given--you may see by the highest communicability of the Good that a Trinity of Father and Son and Holy Spirit is necessary. Because of the greatest goodness, it is necessary that there be in them the greatest communicability, and out of the greatest communicability the greatest consubstantiality, and from the greatest consubstantiality the greatest configurability, and from all these the greatest coequality; and therefore the greatest coeternity as well as, because of all the aforesaid, the greatest co-intimacy, by which one is in the other necessarily through the highest degree of mutual penetration and one operates with the other through the complete identity of substances and power and operation of the most Blessed Trinity itself.

3, 19]. And finally we are led by hierarchies and hierarchical orders which are found to be ordered in our minds in the likeness of the heavenly Jerusalem. 8. Our mind, filled with all these intellectual illuminations, is inhabited by the divine wisdom as the house of God; become the daughter, the spouse, and the friend of God; made a member of Christ the head, the sister, and the fellow-heir; made nonetheless the temple of the Holy Spirit, founded by faith, elevated by hope, and dedicated to God by the sanctity of the mind and the body.

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