Friday, March 12th, 2010
Click below to hear this week’s edition of “Word to Life.”
Joining me on today’s program to discuss the readings for Laetare Sunday were: Fr. Gabriel Gillen, OP, who serves the University Parish of St. Joseph in Greenwich Village; Deacon Corey Campeaux, a seminarian for the Diocese of Lafayette completing his priestly formation at Theological College in Washington, DC; and Fr. Paul Keller, OP, who teaches theology at the Athenaeum of Ohio in Cincinnati.
“Word to Life” airs live every Friday at 1:00 PM EST on The Catholic Channel, Sirius 159 and XM 117.
Question: How much does Pope Benedict XVI like St. Bonaventure?
Answer: A lot.
Those familiar with the Holy Father’s theological interests will know that St. Bonaventure has long served as one of his intellectual guides. Half a century ago, the young Father Raztinger wrote his habilitation paper (to become a university professor) on the thirteenth-century Franciscan’s understanding of history and revelation. And throughout his many years of academic and pastoral service, Pope Benedict has repeatedly turned to this medieval Doctor of the Church for insights into faith and reason that, for him, illuminate contemporary problems.
Manifesting his affection for St. Bonaventure, the Holy Father dedicated the last two General Audience addresses to exploring the scholarly friar’s life and thought. Both talks are reproduced below.
GENERAL AUDIENCE ADDRESS
March 3, 2010
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today I would like to speak about St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio. I confide to you that on proposing this theme I feel a certain nostalgia because I remember the research that, as a young scholar, I carried out precisely on this author, whom I particularly esteem. His knowledge has been of no small influence in my formation. With great joy I went on pilgrimage a few months ago to his birthplace, Bagnoregio, a small Italian city, in Latium, which venerates his memory.
Born probably in 1217, he died in 1274; he lived in the 13th century, an age in which the Christian faith, profoundly permeating the culture and society of Europe, inspired immortal works in the field of literature, visual arts, philosophy and theology. Striking among the great Christian figures who contributed to the composition of this harmony between faith and culture is, precisely, Bonaventure, man of action and of contemplation, of profound piety and of prudence in governing.
He was called John of Fidanza. An incident that occurred when he was still a boy profoundly marked his life, as he himself relates. He had been affected by a serious illness and not even his father, who was a doctor, hoped to save him from death. His mother appealed then to the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi, canonized a short time earlier. And John was cured. The figure of the Poverello of Assisi became even more familiar a year later, when he was in Paris, where he had gone for his studies. He had obtained the diploma of Master of Arts, which we could compare to that of a prestigious secondary school of our time. At that point, as so many young people of the past and also of today, John asked himself a crucial question: “What must I do with my life?” Fascinated by the witness of fervor and evangelical radicalism of the Friars Minor, who had arrived in Paris in 1219, John knocked on the doors of the Franciscan monastery of that city, and asked to be received in the great family of the disciples of St. Francis.