21 April, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile

mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version

» 03/03/2010
Pope conform to Christ, objective of every Christian and Church program for the third millennium
Benedict XVI's general audience on the figure of St. Bonaventure, "one of the most imported theologians in the history of the Church," in which "as sometimes happens even among sincerely religious people " there are "grounds for human weakness, such as 'envy and jealousy. "

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Look "passionately" for Christ and seek to conform ourselves to Him, this "applies to every Christian, yesterday, today and forever".  John Paul II also indicated this as the "program of the Church for the Third Millennium". This is what St. Bonaventure did, "one of the most important theologians in the history of the Church," in who "as sometimes happens even among sincerely religious people " there were "grounds for human weakness, such as envy and jealousy."    

In those years, meanwhile, there was controversy around the mendicant orders: Franciscans and Dominicans. "Their right to teach in universities was challenged, and even the authenticity of their consecrated life doubted. Certainly, the changes introduced by the mendicant orders in the way of understanding the religious life were so innovative that not everyone could understand. Then added to this, as sometimes happens even among sincerely religious people, were motives of human weakness, such as envy and jealousy. "     In 1273 the life of St. Bonaventure experienced another change. Gregory X made him cardinal and asked him to prepare "a very important ecclesial event: the Second Ecumenical Council of Lyons, which had as its purpose the reestablishment of communion between the Latin Church and Greek Church. He devoted himself to this task with diligence, but failed to see the conclusion of  that ecumenical assembly, for he died during it”.  

Benedict XVI dedicated his speech to 8 thousand people attended the general audience to St. Bonaventure, "man of action and contemplation, of deep piety and prudence in government".  The Pope revealed that the figure of this Doctor of the Church "evokes nostalgia, because I think back to the research I carried out as a young scholar on this very author, who is particularly dear to me. His knowledge greatly influenced my formation".  

Probably born in 1217 and died in 1274, St. Bonaventure lived in an age in which Christianity “deeply penetrated European culture and society” “it inspired imperishable works of literature, visual arts, philosophy and theology. Among the great Christian figures who contributed to the composition of this harmony between faith and culture" there was Bonaventure.    

His was called Giovanni da Fidanza. "An incident that happened when he was a boy deeply marked his life, as he himself tells".  He had been suffering from a serious illness and not even his father, who was a doctor, thought he could be saved. His mother made recourse to the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi. And Giovanni was cured.  

The figure of Francis became more familiar to Giovanni in Paris where he went to study and where, "like so many young men of the past and even today, Giovanni pondered the crucial question of what to do with his life." "Fascinated by the fervour and radical evangelical" of the Friars Minor  he asked to be welcomed into the "great family of the followers of Francis." Many years later he explained that in Saint Francis and the movement he started he discerned the action of Christ.    

Around 1243 he became a Franciscan, taking the name of Bonaventure and was sent to study theology in Paris where he came into contact with scholars who flocked from all over Europe. Bonaventure “matured a personal form of reflection and a spiritual sensibility of great value that, over the years that followed, he transmitted in his works and instilled in his sermons, making him one of the most important theologians in the Church's history. It is significant to recall the title of the thesis which he defended in order to be entitled to teach theology "Questions on the knowledge of Christ”. And "we can say without hesitation that all his thought was deeply Christ-centred”.  

Bonaventure responded with an essay titled "Evangelical Perfection" in which "he shows how the mendicant orders," practicing the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, "followed the advice of the Gospel itself. Beyond these historical circumstances, the teaching provided by Bonaventura in this work and his life is always present: the Church is made more bright and beautiful by fidelity to the vocation of those sons and daughters who not only put into practice the precepts of the Gospels, but for the grace of God, are called to observe its advice and thus give witness,  through their lifestyle of poverty, chastity and obedience, that the Gospel is the source of joy and perfection".  

Bonaventure was recognized in 1257 as a teacher at the University of Paris, but had to leave teaching, because that year, he was elected general minister of the Franciscans.  He remained in this post for 17 years "with wisdom and dedication, visiting the provinces, writing to brothers,  at times intervening with a certain severity to eliminate abuses. "    

In those years, the Friars Minor numbered about 30 thousand, and were located throughout Europe as well as with missions in Africa, the Middle East and "even in Beijing." It was necessary to "consolidate" their presence and give "unity and fidelity to the spirit desired by St. Francis. Among the brothers, in fact, "there were several ways of interpreting the message and there was a real risk of internal fracture. Thus in 1260 the General Chapter received a document by Bonaventure, in which "the rules that governed the daily life of monks were gathered and unified. Bonaventure sensed, however, that the laws, as inspired by wisdom and moderation, were not sufficient to ensure the communion of  spirit and hearts. The same ideals and the same motivations had to be shared”.  

For this purpose, to present the true spirituality of St. Francis, Bonaventure gathered together with great zeal documents about the "Poverello” and listened to those who had known him.  Thus  he gave birth to the "Legenda Maior," which in Latin means "that which is to be read" and is "a historically well-founded biography, " of St. Francis, his "most faithful portrait", "the official biography of the saint."    

What emerges is the picture of Francis as "an alter Christus, a man who passionately sought Christ. In the love that drives imitation, he conformed fully to Him.   Bonaventura pointed this living ideal to all the followers of Francis. This ideal is valid for every Christian, yesterday, today and always, it was identified as the program for the Church of the Third Millennium” by John Paul II in “Tertio Millennio Ineunte”.  

St. Bonaventure, Benedict XVI concluded, "reminds us of the meaning of our life with the following words: 'On earth ... we can contemplate the immensity of God through reasoning and admiration, in our heavenly homeland, however, by vision, when we will be like God, and through the ecstasy we will enter into the joy of God '. "  


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
10/20/2010 VATICAN
Pope: the exercise of authority must always be experienced as a service
11/18/2009 VATICAN
Pope: rediscover a path to God in beauty
01/26/2011 VATICAN
Joan of Arc, example of holiness for lay people involved in politics, says Pope
09/29/2010 VATICAN
Pope urges strengthening of friendship with God through prayer and participation in the liturgy
11/25/2009 VATICAN
Pope: history is not the result of chance, God is present and works within it

Editor's choices
Pope remembers and prays for "latest tragedy" of migrants, "our brothers and sisters" who "are seeking happiness"At the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis says he is praying for the hundreds of victims in a sinking off the coast of Libya. An appeal to the international community to "act decisively and promptly." "Every baptized person is called to witness in word and deed, that Jesus is risen, He is alive and present in our midst." The Christian message "is not a theory, an ideology or a complex system of precepts and prohibitions, or moralism, but a message of salvation, a concrete event, even a person: the Risen Christ, the living and only Savior of all" . The Pope will be in Turin on June 21 to honor the Shroud, the exposition of which begins today.
Saudi war in Yemen masks widening domestic tensions
by Afshin ShahiSaudi Arabia is using the conflict in Yemen to control domestic problems, especially social inequalities and religious sectarianism. However, whilst the royal family flaunts its wealth, some 20 per cent of the population lives in poverty. Many disgruntled young Saudis end up becoming "foreign fighters" for the Islamic state (IS). Some 15 per cent of the Saudi population is Shia, under the heavy thumb of the Sunni-dominated state. Afshin Shahi, director of the Centre for the Study of Political Islam and lecturer in International Relations and Middle East Politics at University of Bradford, provides the following lucid analysis.
Pope: on the persecution of Christians, the international community should "not stand by mute and inactive” and “look away”For the sixth time in a week, Pope Francis mentioned the martyrdom of Christians in today’s Regina Caeli (the Marian prayer at Easter), slamming the indifference of the international community towards this "alarming failure to protect basic human rights.” Today’s martyrs "are many, and we can say that they are more numerous than in the first centuries." In addition, “Faith in the resurrection of Jesus and the hope He has brought to us is the most beautiful gift that a Christian can and must offer his brothers and sisters. To one and all, therefore, do not tire of repeating: Christ is Risen!”


by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.