Bonaventure’s Triple Way – Pt.7 – Chapter 2.4 to 2.5

Bonaventure’s Conception of the Human Soul

States of being:
Purgative
Illuminative
Unitive
 
 
 
Modes of action:
Memory
Intellect
Free will
 
 
 
Powers:
Remembrance
Understanding
Love / Charity
 
 
 
Spiritual exercises:
Meditation
Prayer
Contemplation
States of being:
Purgative
Illuminative
Unitive
 
 
 
Modes of action:
Memory
Intellect
Free will
 
 
 
Powers:
Remembrance
Understanding
Love / Charity
 
 
 
Spiritual exercises:
Meditation
Prayer
Contemplation

Review

The triple way (purgative, illuminative, unitive) extends to the following:

  • Reading/meditation
  • Prayer/contemplation

Introduction

What is prayer? “Meditation seeks to teach us to avoid evil and do food. Prayer is rather the lifting of the mind to God, to place us before him in adoring admiration and imploring merciful forgiveness. This is the
immediate preparation for contemplation...” (Fehlner, footnote 67)

A fruitful prayer life is attained through a three-part journey:

  • The deploring of our misery, which corresponds with purgation
  • The imploring of mercy, which corresponds with enlightenment
  • The offering of divine worship (latria), which corresponds with perfection

Chapter 2.4
The six degrees of the love of God

“And so, to understand progress in the love of God, consider how such love has six degrees, by which you ascend in order, step by step, until you attain perfect love.” (2.4.9p1)

  • Sweetness — whereby a man learns to taste how good is the Lord. A pleasing of the heart attained by “vacationing” from ordinary tasks and sanctifying the Sabbath through holy meditations. (2.4.9p2)
  • Craving — The soul becomes so accustomed to that sweetness, there arises in her a hunger only satisfied when she possesses him whom she loves (God). She cannot do this in the present life, because he is afar off, she continually goes beyond herself in ecstatic love: “As a hind longs for streams of running water, so my soul longs for thee, O God” (Ps 41:2). (2.4.9p3)
  •  Surfeit — Anything at all tending downward becomes an annoyance. Filled with the desire for God the soul can find no nourishment in (and is nauseated by) anything other than the beloved. (2.4.10p1)
  • Inebriation — That you love God with such love, that not only do consolations annoy, but you even delight and seek torment in place of consolation; and for the love of Him whom you love, you delight in punishments, in disgraces and beatings, like the Apostle. As a drunkard strips himself without shame and sustains wounds without pain, so is inebriated love of God to be understood. (2.4.10p2)
  • Security — Because the soul feels a love for God so intense as to exclude all anxiety, she would gladly bear injury and disgrace for his sake. Fear has been cast out. The Soul places such hope on divine aid that she considers it impossible to be separated from God. (2.4.11p1)
  • Tranquility — Peace and rest. The soul is undisturbed by adversity, as a passenger slumbering in Noah’s Ark. In this state of tranquility, it is very easy for one to do everything required by perfection: to work or suffer, to live or die. (2.4.11p2)
    • Aquinas: “It is impossible for any created good to constitute man's happiness. For happiness is the perfect good, which lulls the appetite altogether... Now the object of... man's appetite, is the universal good... Hence it is evident that naught can lull man's will, save the universal good. This is to be found, not in any creature, but in God alone... Therefore God alone constitutes man's happiness.” (Summa Theologiae, IIA.2.8)
    • Augustine: “Great are You, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is your power, and of your wisdom there is no end. And man, being a part of your creation, desires to praise you — man, who bears about with him his mortality, the witness of his sin, even the witness that you 'resist the proud,' — yet man, this part of your creation, desires to praise you. You move us to delight in praising you; for you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” (Confessions, 1.1)
Posted in Catechesis, Franciscan Literature.

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