St. Bonaventure (means good fortune ) once said that God gave us three eyes:
the eyes of the body, a physical eye through which we see things;
the eye of the mind, a capacity to see things through reasoning and thought;
and the eye of the soul a capacity to see, feel and understand the things of God.
"When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard more than the proceedings from the mouth."
St Bonaventure recorded three stages of a mystical experience:
Purgative: Purification by prayer and self denial
Illuminative: Spiritually enlightening experience, free of time and space
Unitive: Reacting oneness with God, sense of serenity and bliss
He was a Franciscan friar, born in Italy in 1218. He was about eight years old when St. Francis died in 1226. Bonaventure studied at the University of Paris and joined the Franciscans there. He went on to become a distinguished teacher at that famous university, but his university career was cut short when he was elected the minister general of the Franciscan Order in 1257.
During this period there were many reforms and renewals being encouraged by the church and Bonaventure attempted to pacify both the right and the left and helped save it from falling apart into irreconcilable factions. Sound familiar ? !!
He governed his Order for seventeen years and has been justly called its second founder.Bonaventure was also a great spiritual writer who helped shape Franciscan spirituality.He also wrote about his Seraphic Founder's life, St Francis of Assisi. This cordial and warm gentleman attended significant church councils, preached at sessions and gave his all to the church whenever the Holy Father requested his assistance. In fact, he died attending one of these sessions.
He attempted to unite holiness and theological knowledge. He was a very active preacher, writer and loved by all. It has been said that to know him was to love him.
I find the following quote of St Bonaventure beautiful and it highlighs the futile effort of only human effort without God's grace and support. Nothing can be gained unless humility, devotion and repentance are practiced.
"reading without repentance,
knowledge without devotion,
research without the impulse of wonder,
prudence without the ability to surrender to joy,
action divorced from religion,
learning sundered from love,
intelligence without humility,
study unsustained by divine grace,
thought without the wisdom inspired of God."
but a word of warning- there is background music to it - very nice Ave Maria from Pavarotti but a bit of a shock as it is unexpected and also loud and I can't find a way of switching the volume down!