July 15: Day by Day with Father Bill
MEMORIAL OF SAINT BONAVENTURE, BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
In the thirteenth century, Bonaventure became the seventh successor of St Francis of Assisi as the Minister General of the Franciscans. He ministered in this capacity for seventeen years. Prior he was a Master Teacher at the University of Paris and after he became Cardinal-Bishop of Albano, Italy. The story is told that Bonaventure was washing dishes in one of the friaries outside Florence when the Pope’s representative delivered his Cardinal’s hat. Wanting to finish his humble task, Bonaventure asked that the hat be hung on a tree branch outside the door. I like that. True shepherds of God’s holy people do not get caught up in the pomp and circumstance that sometimes is the Church. Look to Pope Francis!
According to Sister Ilia Delio, in her study of Bonaventure titled Simply Bonaventure, he frequently used the image of water to describe the God of overflowing love as a vast and living fountain of water. Flowing from that fountain as something willed and loved by God is the immense river of creation. The world of nature is a vast expression of a loving will. Such a world is not one-dimensional, but like water, it has many qualities and dimensions. Like the water of the ocean, the world has an overwhelming fullness as it flows from the depths of God. Like the ocean, it is deep and contains many levels of meaning. Like the water of a river, the world flows in such fluidity and richness that it cannot be contained in any one form or category. And as – according to Ecclesiates 1:7 – rivers return to their place of origin, so the river of creation circles back on its place of origin. Emanation is simultaneously a movement toward the return or reduction of creation to God. Created existence, therefore, is a dynamic reality, directed in its inner core to a fulfillment and completion which is to be the mysterious fruit of its history. (Zachary Hayes)
This is classic St Bonaventure. All of creation, including human persons, come(s) from God, has its (have their) existence in God, and one day will return to God.
On Bonaventure’s feast day, we ask him to ask Jesus to keep anyone named Bonaventure close to the Lord. I do not know anyone named Bonaventure. Maybe you do!
Father Bill +