Bonaventure’s Triple Way – Pt.6 – Chapter 2.0 to 2.3

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 2.1
The triple deploring of our misery

“Deploring of misery, whatever it be, whether that of having committed sin, or of having lost grace, or of the postponement of glory, must be characterized by three dispositions...” (2.1.2) These being:

  • Sorrow — over the damage wrought or misfortune encountered. Sorrow arise from:
    • Recalling what good deeds you failed to do
    • Recalling what sins you committed
    • Acknowledging what you lost – the gifts of life
  • Shame — over the disgrace brought upon you. Shame arises when you become aware of:
    • Where you are (so low when once so high)
    • How you are (smeared with mud when once as lovely as an icon).
    • What you are (enslaved when once so free)
  • Fear — over thee danger or punishment which your guilt makes you liable. Fear arises when you ponder:
    • Where you are going (because the path of sin goes swiftly toward hell).
    • What will happen (just but inevitable condemnation)
    • What will follow (the wages of eternal death)

Chapter 2.2
The triple way of imploring mercy

We do not implore divine mercy in vain if the following criteria are met:

  • We must implore with an outpouring of desire given to us by the Holy Spirit. For through the Spirit we are:
    • Eternally predestined by the Father in the Son
    • Reborn spiritually in baptism
    • Gathered in one spirit within the Church
  • We must implore with the confidence of hope which we have in Christ who:
    • Offered himself on the cross for us while on earth
    • Appears now in glory before the face of the Father
    • Comes to us in the Blessed Sacrament through Holy Mother Church.
  • We must diligently beg the help of:
    • The angels
    • The triumphant in heaven
    • The merits of the militant just on earth

Chapter 2.3
The triple offering of worship

“The gift of worship must have three features, whatever the gift motivating our worship.” (2.3.3)

  • The heart must bow low in reverence and adoration of God. Admire God’s immensity and note your own insignificance. Show God reverence in three ways:
    • As to a Father - by whom we have been (a) formed, (b) reformed, and (c) educated
    • As to a Lord – by whom we have been (a) saved from the enemy, (b) ransomed from the prison of hell, and (c) guided to the holy vineyard
    • As to a Judge – before whom we are (a) accused by conscience, (b) convicted by the evidence of our lives, and (c) confess our guilt.

“When we speak to God as Father, our reverence must be great; when we address God as Lord it must be greaterstill; when we address God as judge it must be greatest. Hence, the first is manifested in the form of a bow; the second, in the form of a genuflection; the third, in the form of prostration. “In the first we submit ourselves; in the second we cast ourselves down; in the third we despise ourselves. In the first we deem ourselves small; in the second we account ourselves least; in the third, nothing.” (2.3.6)

  • The heart must be opened to include kindness and thanksgiving. Contemplate God’s kindness and note your own unworthiness. We show this love of benevolence in a threefold manner:
    • Great – by reflecting on (a) our own unworthiness, (b) the gifts we’ve been given, and (c) the perfections of our natures.
    • Greater – by pondering (a) the magnitude of God’s grace, (b) the forgiveness of our sins, and(c) the vestments of grace
    • Greatest – in considering (a) the immensity of God’s mercy, (b) the rewards he has promised, and (c) all of the gifts he has given us that are beyond what is necessary.
  • The heart must be borne aloft by love of complacence (to seek to please God or to be pleased by God, for his own sake, in friendship) and mutual converse. Ponder God’s own charity and consider your own tepidity (lukewarm-ness). Tender God in a threefold manner:
    • Gratuitous love – only what pleases God pleases us
    • Requited love – that which pleases us only does so insofar as we please God alone
    • Love both gratuitous and requited – the sharing of this pleasure with others

“In the first, the world is crucified to man; in the second, man to the world; in the third, man is crucified for the world so as to wish to die for all men... And this is the perfect and highest degree of charity. Until this is attained, no one can consider himself perfect. This degree of perfection is attained when the heart finds itself not only willing to die, but craves to do so for the salvation of its neighbor... One cannot arrive at this perfect love of neighbor unless he first comes to perfect love of God, for whose sake one loves one’s neighbor, a neighbor who is not lovable except for God’s
sake.”

Posted in Catechesis, Franciscan Literature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.