Wednesday, July 15, 2009


” St Bonaventure Enters the Franciscan Order”
by Francisco de Herrera, the Elder, 1628


Biographical Information about St. Bonaventure [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Bonaventure

Readings and Commentary:

Ephesians 3:14-19

Brothers and sisters:
I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Commentary on
Eph 3:14-19

St. Paul is addressing the Gentiles in Ephesus. “The apostle prays that those he is addressing may, like the rest of the church, deepen their understanding of God's plan of salvation in Christ. It is a plan that affects the whole universe with the breadth and length and height and depth of God's love in Christ or possibly the universe in all its dimensions. The apostle prays that they may perceive the redemptive love of Christ for them and be completely immersed in the fullness of God.”

CCC: Eph 3:14 239, 2214, 2367; Eph 3:16-17 1073, 2714; Eph 3:16 1995; Eph 3:18-21 2565
Psalm 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

R. (12) Lord, teach me your statutes.

How shall a young man be faultless in his way?
By keeping to your words.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

With all my heart I seek you;
let me not stray from your commands.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

Within my heart I treasure your promise,
that I may not sin against you.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

Blessed are you,
O LORD; teach me your statutes.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

With my lips I declare
all the ordinances of your mouth.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
Commentary on Ps 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

An acrostic poem; each of the eight verses of the first strophe  begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet (aleph); each verse of the second strophe  begins with the second letter (beth); and so on for all 22 letters of the alphabet.

The entire work is in praise of the Law, and the joys to be found in keeping it. It is not "legalism" but a love and desire for the word of God in Israel's Law, which is the expression of the Lord's revelation of himself and his will for man.

Matthew 23:8-12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples:
"Do not be called 'Rabbi.'
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called 'Master';
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
Commentary on Mt 23:8-12

Jesus has launched an attack on the Jewish Leadership for their authoritarian style; placing burdens on the people and seeking places of honor and titles for themselves. In this selection he describes his example of spiritual leadership. He speaks of the humility he exemplifies, placing God the Father in the place of the one true master with all who follow him as servants. See also
Luke 14:11.

CCC: Mt 23:9 2367; Mt 23:12 526

While St. Bonaventure was considered a teacher in his day, his dedication to the Franciscan principles of humility and poverty embrace the Gospel principle related by St. Matthew on this his feast day. There was much controversy surrounding those early friars. They were a source of discomfort for others in the Church, most especially those who viewed their positions as a profession, generating wealth as opposed to spiritual grace. The brilliant Saint, a friend of St. Thomas Aquinas, defended the simple lifestyle and the Franciscan rule, saving it from what might have been dissolution at the hands of detractors.

In addition to his inspired published works which earned him the title Doctor of the Church in 1588, St. Bonaventure leaves us his example of humility and faith. He shows us that in meekness there is power if it is formed and guided by faith. His love of the Lord guided him in his life as that same love must guide us in ours.

Today we ask for the prayers of St. Bonaventure. We ask that we be given the strength that comes from a sure faith in Jesus and that we may display some of his wisdom so that others might see what we do and give glory to God who makes all things possible.


[1] The picture is” St Bonaventure Enters the Franciscan Order” by Francisco de Herrera, the Elder, 1628
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.
[3] See NAB Footnote on Ephesians 3:14-19

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