St. Bonaventure (1221-1274) was a Franciscan theologian and leader in the Church (he served both as the head of the Franciscan Order and as Bishop of Albano). It is said that he felt drawn to enter the Franciscan order because when he was a boy he had been cured of an illness through Francis’ prayers. Under his leadership, the Franciscan order rose in popularity and influence. Bonaventure was especially concerned with integrating faith and reason and believed that contemplation leads to mystical union with God. He is given the title “Seraphic Doctor,” after Francis, who was the “Seraphic Father,” because of the beauty of his thought and the holiness of his life. His feast day is July 15.
“In everything, whether it is a thing sensed or a thing known, God himself is hidden within.” — St. Bonaventure
Questions for Reflection
We can come to know God through our hearts and through our heads, both emotionally and intellectually. St. Bonaventure’s life exemplified the union of these two ways of knowing God. By what means have you come to know God in your own life? Through intellectual contemplation of divine mysteries? Through an immediate, felt experience of God’s love? Through serving others?