Feast St Bonaventure

Fr Paul reads the Gospel from Matthew (11: 25-27) and shares a little about the life of St Bonaventure, whose feast we celebrate today.

St Bonaventure was born around 1218, became a Franciscan in 1243 and studied theology and philosophy at the University of Paris.  He became a famous teacher and philosopher and was part of the intellectual movement of the 13th Century. He was a friend and colleague of St Thomas Aquinas.

At this time, the Franciscan Friars were still a new and revolutionary force within the Church. Their radical embracing of poverty and their rejection of institutional structures raised suspicion and opposition from many quarters.  Bonaventure defended the Franciscan Order and, as a result, he was elected General of the Order in 1255. It is written that he ruled it with wisdom and prudence. He is regarded as the second founder of the order. He declined to become an archbishop (of York) in 1265 but was made Cardinal Bishop of Albano in 1273 and died a year later at the Council of Lyon.
Bonaventure wrote extensively on philosophy and theology and made a permanent mark on intellectual history of our Church and our world.

One of the things Bonaventure always insisted was that the uneducated, the simple, should have a clearer knowledge of God than the wise. Pope Sixtus V declared him Doctor of the Church in 1588.

As we reflect today, Fr Paul says, we might look to Bonaventure and ask for his intercession for the prayers that we have in our hearts today.