The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that sacramentals such as the Brown Scapular "do not confer the grace of the Holy Spirit in the way that the sacraments do, but by the Church's prayer, they prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it."
FOR PRAYERS, INSPIRATIONAL STORIES AND FREE MOVIES
According to the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship, the Brown Scapular is "an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer."Get a FREE Brown Scapular
The scapular must consist of two pieces of brown cloth with one segment hanging on the wearer's chest, and the other hanging on his/her back. These pieces are joined by two straps or strings which overlap each shoulder—hence the word "scapular" (shoulder blade). Images sewn onto the Brown Scapular are unnecessary. In the past the scapular was required to be 100% wool but this is no longer required.
Old Testament History Mount Carmel is on the northwestern coast of Palestine. The Hebrew word for Carmel means 'Beautiful Garden Land'. The Origin of Carmel goes back to about 860 B.C. to the time of the prophet Elijah and his victory over the pagan prophets and their god, Baal. The account of this event is given in 1 Kings 18:19-40. Elijah stood firm and challenged the prophets of Baal to gather on Mount Carmel to determine which God, Baal or the Lord was the true God.
Later a community of prophets joined him. They dwelt in caves, praying to God, living in peace. Before coming into Europe, the Carmelites were hermits living on Mount Carmel in Palestine. St. Simon Stock, became the Vicar General of the Carmelite Order. Origianlly, the Scapular was two pieces of cloth joined at the shoulders and hanging down the back and breast had deep spiritual meaning. Our Lord said in the gospels, 'My yoke is sweet and my burden is light.' The monks by putting on this garment realized that the sweet burden of Divine service was upon him and the whole day was dedicated to God. Faith and actual living were one in the middle ages. The monk presented himself to God, His Divine Master.' Our Lady appears to St Simon Stock while praying, giving him the Brown Scapular and making this promise: "Take this Scapular, it shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire." There are those today who say this apparition doesn't have the documentation to prove its validity. After Our Lady appeared to Saint Simon, almost immediately a miraculous change took place in the Order. In the beginning only the Carmelites wore the scapular. But by the 14th century the privilege of wearing the scapular extended outside the order. Lay groups and third orders were formed. Some of these groups were called confraternities. Still Our Lady continued to favor the Carmelite Order and her scapular with further blessings and promises. In 1321, St. Peter Thomas was told by Our Heavenly Mother that 'the Order of Carmel is destined to exist until the end of the world'.
Enrollment in the Brown Scapular
Any Catholic priest may invest a baptised Catholic with the Brown Scapular. Lay people are unable to bless a Scapular. The most recent Rite for the Blessing of and Enrollment in the Scapular, approved in 1996 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, is available in booklet form, the "Catechesis and Ritual for the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel".
The short form of the investiture is as follows:
Receive this Scapular, a sign of your special relationship with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, whom you pledge to imitate. May it be a reminder to you of your dignity as a Christian, in serving others and imitating Mary. Wear it as a sign of her protection and of belonging to the Family of Carmel, voluntarily doing the will of God and devoting yourself to building a world true to his plan of community, justice and peace.
Longer Formula: http://freebrownscapular.com/brown_scapular_enrollment.html
According to a 1996 doctrinal statement approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, "Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is bound to the history and spiritual values of the Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and is expressed through the scapular. Thus, whoever receives the scapular becomes a member of the order and pledges him/herself to live according to its spirituality in accordance with the characteristics of his/her state in life." Faithful Anglicans who wish to wear the Brown Scapular are likewise invested by an Anglican priest.
O Beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, holy and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a pure virgin, assist us in our necessity! O Star of the Sea, help and protect us! Show us that you are our Mother!
(pause and mention petitions) Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.
Most Holy Mary, Our Mother, in your great love for us you gave us the Holy Scapular of Mount Carmel, having heard the prayers of your chosen son Saint Simon Stock. Help us now to wear it faithfully and with devotion. May it be a sign to us of our desire to grow in holiness. (pause and mention petitions)
Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.
O Queen of Heaven, you gave us the Scapular as an outward sign by which we might be known as your faithful children. may we always wear it with honor by avoiding sin and imitating your virtues. Help us to be faithful to this desire of ours. (pause and mention petitions) s) Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.
Fourth Day When you gave us, Gracious Lady, the Scapular as our Habit, you called us to be not only servants, but also your own children. We ask you to gain for us from your Son the grace to live as you children in joy, peace and love. (pause and mention petitions)
Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.
Fifth Day O Mother of Fair Love, through your goodness, as your children, we are called to live in the spirit of Carmel. Help us to live in charity with one another, prayerful as Elijah of old, and mindful of our call to minister to God's people. (pause and mention petitions)
Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.
Sixth Day With loving provident care, O Mother Most Amiable, you covered us with your Scapular as a shield of defense against the Evil One. Through your assistance, may we bravely struggle against the powers of evil, always open to your Son Jesus Christ. (pause and mention petitions) Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.
Seventh Day O Mary, Help of Christians, you assured us that wearing your Scapular worthily would keep us safe from harm. Protect us in both body and soul with your continual aid. may all that we do be pleasing to your Son and to you. (pause and mention petitions)
Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.
Eighth Day You give us hope, O Mother of Mercy, that through your Scapular promise we might quickly pass through the fires of purgatory to the Kingdom of your Son. Be our comfort and our hope. Grant that our hope may not be in vain but that, ever faithful to your Son and to you, we may speedily enjoy after death the blessed company of Jesus and the saints. (pause and mention petitions) Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.
Ninth Day O Most Holy Mother of Mount Carmel, when asked by a saint to grant privileges to the family of Carmel, you gave assurance of your Motherly love and help to those faithful to you and to your Son. Behold us, your children.mtcarmel We glory in wearing your holy habit, which makes us members of your family of Carmel, through which we shall have your powerful protection in life, at death and even after death. Look down with love, O Gate of Heaven, on all those now in their last agony! Look down graciously, O Virgin, Flower of Carmel, on all those in need of help! Look down mercifully, O Mother of our Savior, on all those who do not know that they are numbered among your children. Look down tenderly, O Queen of All Saints, on the poor souls! (pause and mention petitions) Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Feast: July 16
This feast was instituted by the Carmelites between 1376 and 1386 under the title "Commemoratio B. Marif Virg. duplex" to celebrate the victory of their order over its enemies on obtaining the approbation of its name and constitution from Honorius III on 30 Jan., 1226 (see Colvenerius, "Kal. Mar.", 30 Jan. "Summa Aurea", III, 737). The feast was assigned to 16 July, because on that date in 1251, according to Carmelite traditions, the scapular was given by the Blessed Virgin to St. Simon Stock; it was first approved by Sixtus V in 1587. After Cardinal Bellarmine had examined the Carmelite traditions in 1609, it was declared the patronal feast of the order, and is now celebrated in the Carmelite calendar as a major double of the first class with a vigil and a privileged octave (like the octave of Epiphany, admitting only a double of the first class) under the title "Commemoratio solemnis B.V.M. de Monte Carmelo". By a privilege given by Clement X in 1672, some Carmelite monasteries keep the feast on the Sunday after 16 July, or on some other Sunday in July. In the seventeenth century the feast was adopted by several dioceses in the south of Italy, although its celebration, outside of Carmelite churches, was prohibited in 1628 by a decree contra abusus. On 21 Nov., 1674, however, it was first granted by Clement X to Spain and its colonies, in 1675 to Austria, in 1679 to Portugal and its colonies, and in 1725 to the Papal States of the Church, on 24 Sept., 1726, it was extended to the entire Latin Church by Benedict XIII. The lessons contain the legend of the scapular; the promise of the Sabbatine privilege was inserted into the lessons by Paul V about 1614. The Greeks of southern Italy and the Catholic Chaldeans have adopted this feast of the "Vestment of the Blessed Virgin Mary". The object of the feast is the special predilection of Mary for those who profess themselves her servants by wearing her scapular.
Dear St. Bonaventure Cardinal, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, you chose a life that embraced mortification and great humiliation. Choosing to serve those individuals who were rejected and sick you risked illness for yourself. You made your life a continuous prayer and spent hours meditating on the wounds of Christ. Please pray for us that we may have a sincere and humble heart. Pray that we may not lose sight of Jesus’ wounds and thus walk on the straight path to eternal salvation.
(For more on the Life of St. Bonaventure :
Saint July 15 : St. Bonaventure : Patron of Bowel Disorders - Doctor of the Church)
May we take a great many souls with us to Our Heavenly Father. St. Bonaventure you were known to say “One should carefully beware of decreasing, even in the slightest, the honor that is due to Mary.” May we strive as you did to Love our Blessed Mother and be carriers of her peace in this world. Please place our petitions (mention them here) in the loving hands of Our Blessed Mother as we know they will be warmly received by her Son. Amen Say one Hail Mary. (pray the above prayer and Hail Mary daily for nine days for your intention)
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- Year XXII - Num. 133
|- The commitment of cities against modern slavery and climate change|
|- Other Pontifical Acts|
|The commitment of cities against modern slavery and climate change|
Vatican City, (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, presented the meeting “Modern slavery and climate change: the commitment of the cities”, and the symposium “Prosperity, people and planet in the cities”, to be held in the Casina Pio IV (Vatican, ). These events will be attended by the mayors of major cities, local administrators and various representatives of the United Nations, and the speakers will include expert communications consultants Michael Shank and Alessandro Gaetano.
“The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is in agreement with the Holy Father in perceiving a clear link between these two emergencies: the crisis of climate change and the social crisis, both of anthropic origin”, explained the prelate. Our commitment, following the Encyclical, is to ensuring that all society is made aware of these phenomena and of the human responsibilities for these crises, and reacts with firmness, as a new moral imperative for all humanity in favour of the common good”.
“In this fundamental moral context, cities and their mayors play a key role”, explained the prelate. “Currently, most of humanity is concentrated in formal and informal urban settlements and this trend is set to increase. Each of our cultural traditions also affirms the inherent dignity and the social responsibility of each individual in relation to the common good. They emphasise the importance of living together in the polis for the fulfilment of the social, cultural and religious identity of every human being and for the beauty, wonder and inherent goodness of the world, recognising it as a precious gift that supports life and is entrusted to our stewardship. It is not a matter of preserving it as in a museum, but of developing it according to its potential, following the very laws of nature. Respecting and developing “our common home” rather than devastating it is a moral imperative”.
Bishop Sanchez Sorondo noted that, as the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences has remarked, although the poor and the excluded have the least effect on climate change and often live on the outskirts of the city, they are the most exposed to the terrible threat posed by human-induced climate disruption. However, the world now has within reach the scientific knowledge, technological tools and financial means to reverse anthropogenic climate change, while ending extreme poverty at the same time through solutions that include renewable and low carbon emission energy sources. “Financing the initiative in favour of this 'integral ecology', including the decisive containment of human-induced climate change, could also be based on the relentless pursuit of peace, which would allow a redistribution of public spending from military expenditure towards urgent investments for the benefit of social inclusion and the effective monitoring of carbon emissions, particularly in the cities”.
With reference to the presence of mayors at the events on , he emphasised that the intention of the Pontifical Academy was for them “to commit to promoting the empowerment of the poor and of those who live in vulnerable conditions in our cities and in our urban settlements, reducing their exposure to extreme weather events caused by radical environmental, economic and social instabilities, which create fertile ground for forced migration and human trafficking”.
“At the same time”, he added, “we would like the mayors to commit to put an end to abuse, exploitation, human trafficking and all forms of modern slavery within their communities. These tragic occurrences, which Pope Benedict and Pope Francis termed 'crimes against humanity', also include forced labour, prostitution, organ trafficking and domestic servitude. We would also like the mayors to commit to developing resettlement and social integration programmes for the victims, at the national and local levels, in order to avoid their involuntary repatriation”.
“In short”, he concluded, “we would like our cities and urban settlements to become more socially inclusive, safe, resilient and ecologically integrated”.
The studies of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences on the impact of climate change can be consulted on-line at www.pas.va
|Other Pontifical Acts|
Vatican City, (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Passo Fundo, Brazil, presented by Archbishop Antonio Carlos Altieri, S.D.B., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- appointed Fr. Dominicus Meier. O.S.B., as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Paderborn (area 14,750, population 4,900,000, Catholics 1,581,343, priests 1,008, permanent deacons 173, religious 1,647), Germany. The bishop-elect was born in 1959 in Heggen, and was ordained a priest in 1989. He holds a doctorate in theology from the University of Salzburg, as well as a licentiate and professional diploma in canon law from the University of Munster. He has served as ordinary professor of canon law at the Philosophical-Theological High School of the Pallottines in Vallendar, judge at the diocesan tribunal of Salzburg and defender of the bond and promoter of justice at the tribunal of the archdiocese of Paderborn. He was elected abbot of the abbey of Konigsmunster at Meschede in 2001, for a twelve-year mandate. He is currently judicial vicar of the archdiocese of Paderborn. He succeeds Bishop Manfred Grothe, whose resignation from the office of auxiliary of the same archdiocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- appointed Fr. Laurent Camiade as bishop of Cahors (area 5,216, population 395,000, Catholics 170,700, priests 66, permanent deacons 8, religious 96), France. The bishop-elect was born in Agen, France in 1966 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He holds a degree in philosophy and a doctorate in theology from the Institut Catholique de Toulouse, and has served as parish vicar, diocesan director of youth pastoral ministry, and parish priest. He is currently vicar general of the diocese of Agen and parish priest of Laverdac, and teaches spiritual theology at the Institut Catholique de Toulouse.
- appointed Fr. Udo Bentz as auxiliary of the diocese of Mainz (area 7,692, population 2,891,000, Catholics 749,583, priests 504, permanent deacons 124, religious 447), Germany. The bishop-elect was born in 1967 in Rulzheim, Germany and was ordained a priest in 1995. He holds a doctorate in theology from the University of Freiburg im Breisgau, and has served as parish vicar in the Cathedral of Worms and special secretary to Cardinal Karl Lehmann. He is currently rector of the major seminary of Mainz and president of the Conference of rectors of German major seminaries.
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: July 15
Doctor of the Church, Cardinal-Bishop of Albano, Minister General of the Friars Minor, born at Bagnorea in the vicinity of Viterbo in 1221; died at Lyons, 16 July, 1274.
Nothing is known of Bonaventure's parents save their names: Giovanni di Fidanza and Maria Ritella. How his baptismal name of John came to be changed to that of Bonaventure is not clear. An attempt has been made to trace the latter name to the exclamation of St. Francis, O buona ventura, when Bonaventure was brought as an infant to him to be cured of a dangerous illness. This derivation is highly improbable; it seems based on a latefifteenth-century legend. Bonaventure himself tells us (Legenda S. Francisci Prolog.) that while yet a child he was preserved from death through the intercession of St. Francis, but there is no evidence that this cure took place during the lifetime of St. Francis or that the name Bonaventure originated in any prophetical words of St. Francis. It was certainly borne by others before the Seraphic Doctor. No details of Bonaventure's youth have been preserved. He entered the Order of Friars Minor in 1238 or 1243; the exact year is uncertain. Wadding and the Bollandists bold for the later date, but the earlier one is supported by Sbaradea, Bonelli, Panfilo da Magliano, and Jeiler, and appears more probable. It is certain that Bonaventure was sent from the Roman Province, to which he belonged, to complete his studies at the University of Paris under Alexander of Hales, the great founder of the Franciscan School. The latter died in 1246, according to the opinion generally received, though not yet definitely established, and Bonaventure seems to have become his pupil about 1242. Be this as it may, Bonaventure received in 1248 the "licentiate" which gave him the right to teach publicly as Magister regens, and he continued to lecture at the university with great success until 1256, when he was compelled to discontinue, owing to the then violent outburst of opposition to the Mendicant orders on the part of the secular professors at the university. The latter, jealous, as it seems, of the academic successes of the Dominicans and Franciscans, sought to exclude them from teaching publicly. The smouldering elements of discord had been fanned into a flame in 1256, when Guillaume de Saint-Amour published a work entitled "The Perils of the Last Times", in which he attacked the Friars with great bitterness. It was in connexion with this dispute that Bonaventure wrote his treatise, "De paupertate Christi". It was not, however, Bonaventure, as some have erroneously stated, but Blessed John of Parma, who appeared before Alexander IV at Anagni to defend the Franciscans against their adversary. The Holy See having, as is well known, re-established the Mendicants in all their privileges, and Saint-Amour's book having been formally condemned, the degree of Doctor was solemnly bestowed on St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas at the university, 23 October, 1257.
In the meantime Bonaventure, though not yet thirty-six years old, had on 2 February, 1257, been elected Minister General of the Friars Minor -- an office of peculiar difficulty, owing to the fact that the order was distracted by internal dissensions between the two factions among the Friars designated respectively the Spirituales and the Relaxati. The former insisted upon the literal observance of the original Rule, especially in regard to poverty, while the latter wished to introduce innovations and mitigations. This lamentable controversy had moreover been aggravated by the enthusiasm with which many of the "Spiritual" Friars had adopted the doctrines connected with the name of Abbot Joachim of Floris and set forth in the so-called "Evangelium aeternum". The introduction to this pernicious book, which proclaimed the approaching dispensation of the Spirit that was to replace the Law of Christ, was falsely attributed to Bl. John of Parma, who in 1267 had retired from the government of the order in favour of Bonaventure. The new general lost no time in striking vigorously at both extremes within the order. On the one hand, he proceeded against several of the Joachimite "Spirituals" as heretics before an ecclesiastical tribunal at Città della Pieve; two of their leaders were condemned to perpetual imprisonment, and John of Parma was only saved from a like fate through the personal intervention of Cardinal Ottoboni, afterwards Adrian V. On the other hand, Bonaventure had, in an encyclical letter issued immediately after his election, outlined a programme for the reformation of the Relaxati. These reforms he sought to enforce three years later at the General Chapter of Narbonne when the constitutions of the order which he had revised were promulgated anew. These so-called "Constitutiones Narbonenses" are distributed under twelve heads, corresponding to the twelve chapters of the Rule, of which they form an enlightened and prudent exposition, and are of capital importance in the history of Franciscan legislation. The chapter which issued this code of laws requested Bonaventure to write a "legend" or life of St. Francis which should supersede those then in circulation. This was in 1260. Three years later Bonaventure, having in the meantime visited a great part of the order, and having assisted at the dedication of the chapel on La Verna and at the translation of the remains of St. Clare and of St. Anthony, convoked a general chapter of the order of Pisa at which his newly composed life of St. Francis was officially approved as the standard biography of the saint to the exclusion of all others. At this chapter of 1263, Bonaventure fixed the limits of the different provinces of the order and, among other ordinances, prescribed that at nightfall a bell should be rung in honour of the Annunciation, a pious practice from which the Angelus seems to have originated. There are no grounds, however, for the assertion that Bonaventure in this chapter prescribed the celebration of the feast of the Immaculate Conception in the order. In 1264, at the earnest request of Cardinal Cajetan, Bonaventure consented to resume the direction of the Poor Clares which the Chapter of Pisa had entirely renounced the year before. He required the Clares, however, to acknowledge occasionally in writing that the favours tendered them by the Friars were voluntary acts of charity not arising from any obligation whatsoever. It is said that Pope Urban IV acted at Bonaventure's suggestion in attempting to establish uniformity of observance throughout all the monasteries of Clares. About this time (1264) Bonaventure founded at Rome the Society of the Gonfalone in honour of the Blessed Virgin which, if not the first confraternity instituted in the Church, as some have claimed, was certainly one of the earliest. In 1265 Clement IV, by a Bull dated 23 November, nominated Bonaventure to the vacant Archbishopric of York, but the saint, in keeping with his singular humility, steadfastly refused this honour and the pope yielded.
In 1266 Bonaventure convened a general chapter in Paris at which, besides other enactments, it was decreed that all the "legends" of St. Francis written before that of Bonaventure should be forthwith destroyed, just as the Chapter of Narbonne had in 1260 ordered the destruction of all constitutions before those then enacted. This decree has excited much hostile criticism. Some would fain see in it a deliberate attempt on Bonaventure's part to close the primitive sources of Franciscan history, to suppress the real Francis, and substitute a counterfeit in his stead. Others, however, regard the decree in question as a purely liturgical ordinance intended to secure uniformity in the choir "legends". Between these two conflicting opinions the truth seems to be that this edict was nothing more than another heroic attempt to wipe out the old quarrels and start afresh. One cannot but regret the circumstances of this decree, but when it is recalled that the appeal of the contending parties was ever to the words and actions of St. Francis as recorded in the earlier "legends", it would be unjust to accuse the chapter of "literary vandalism" in seeking to proscribe the latter. We have no details of Bonaventure's life between 1266 and 1269. In the latter year he convoked his fourth general chapter at Assisi, in which it was enacted that a Mass be sung every Saturday throughout the order in honour of the Blessed Virgin, not, however, in honour of her Immaculate Conception as Wadding among others has erroneously stated. It was probably soon after this chapter that Bonaventure composed his "Apologia pauperum", in which he silences Gerard of Abbeville who by means of an anonymous libel had revived the old university feud against the Friars. Two years later, Bonaventure was mainly instrumental in reconciling the differences among the cardinals assembled at Viterbo to elect a successor to Clement IV, who had died nearly three years before; it was on Bonaventure's advice that, 1 September, 1271, they unanimously chose Theobald Visconti of Piacenza who took the title of Gregory X. That the cardinals seriously authorized Bonaventure to nominate himself, as some writers aver, is most improbable. Nor is there any truth in the popular story that Bonaventure on arriving at Viterbo advised the citizens to lock up the cardinals with a view to hastening the election. In 1272 Bonaventure for the second time convened a general chapter at Pisa in which, apart from general enactments to further regular observances new decrees were issued respecting the direction of the Poor Clares, and a solemn anniversary was instituted on 25 August in memory of St. Louis. This was the first step towards the canonization of the holy king, who had been a special friend of Bonaventure, and at whose request Bonaventure composed his "Office of the Passion". On 23 June, 1273, Bonaventure, much against his will, was created Cardinal-Bishop of Albano, by Gregory X. It is said that the pope's envoys who brought him the cardinal's hat found the saint washing dishes outside a convent near Florence and were requested by him to hang it on a tree nearby until his hands were free to take it. Bonaventure continued to govern the Order of Friars Minor until 20 May, 1274, when at the General Chapter of Lyons, Jerome of Ascoli, afterwards Nicholas IV, was elected to succeed him. Meanwhile Bonaventure had been charged by Gregory X to prepare the questions to be discussed at the Fourteenth Oecumenical Council, which opened at Lyons 7 May, 1274.
The pope himself presided at the council, but he confided the direction of its deliberations to Bonaventure, especially charging him to confer with the Greeks on the points relating to the abjuration of their schism. It was largely due to Bonaventure's efforts and to those of the Friars whom he had sent to Constantinople, that the Greeks accepted the union effected 6 July, 1274. Bonaventure twice addressed the assembled Fathers, on 18 May, during a session of the Council, when he preached on Baruch 5:5, and on 29 June, during pontifical Mass celebrated by the pope. While the council was still in session, Bonaventure died, Sunday, 15 July, 1274. The exact cause of his death is unknown, but if we may credit the chronicle of Peregrinus of Bologna, Bonaventure's secretary, which has recently (1905) been recovered and edited, the saint was poisoned. He was buried on the evening following his death in the church of the Friars Minor at Lyons, being honoured with a splendid funeral which was attended by the pope, the King of Aragon, the cardinals, and the other members of the council. The funeral oration was delivered by Pietro di Tarantasia, O.P., Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia, afterwards Innocent V, and on the following day during the fifth session of the council, Gregory X spoke of the irreparable loss the Church had sustained by the death of Bonaventure, and commanded all prelates and priests throughout the whole world to celebrate Mass for the repose of his soul.
Bonaventure enjoyed especial veneration even during his lifetime because of his stainless character and of the miracles attributed to him. It was Alexander of Hales who said that Bonaventure seemed to have escaped the curse of Adam's sin. And the story of St. Thomas visiting Bonaventure's cell while the latter was writing the life of St. Francis and finding him in an ecstasy is well known. "Let us leave a saint to work for a saint", said the Angelic Doctor as he withdrew. When, in 1434, Bonaventure's remains were translated to the new church erected at Lyons in honour of St. Francis, his head was found in a perfect state of preservation, the tongue being as red as in life. This miracle not only moved the people of Lyons to choose Bonaventure as their special patron, but also gave a great impetus to the process of his canonization. Dante, writing long before, had given expression to the popular mind by placing Bonaventure among the saints in his "Paradiso", and no canonization was ever more ardently or universally desired than that of Bonaventure. That its inception was so long delayed was mainly due to the deplorable dissensions within the order after Bonaventure's death. Finally on 14 April, 1482, Bonaventure was enrolled in the catalogue of the saints by Sixtus IV. In 1562 Bonaventure's shrine was plundered by the Huguenots and the urn containing his body was burned in the public square. His head was preserved through the heroism of the superior, who hid it at the cost of his life but it disappeared during the French Revolution and every effort to discover it has been in vain. Bonaventure was inscribed among the principal Doctors of the Church by Sixtus V, 14 March, 1557. His feast is celebrated 14 July.
Bonaventure, as Hefele remarks, united in himself the two elements whence proceed whatever was noble and sublime, great and beautiful, in the Middle Ages, viz., tender piety and profound learning. These two qualities shine forth conspicuously in his writings. Bonaventure wrote on almost every subject treated by the Schoolmen, and his writings are very numerous. The greater number of them deal with philosophy and theology. No work of Bonaventure's is exclusively philosophical, but in his "Commentary on the Sentences", his "Breviloquium", his "Itinerarium Mentis in Deum" and his "De reductione Artium ad Theologiam", he deals with the most important and difficult questions of philosophy in such a way that these four works taken together contain the elements of a complete system of philosophy, and at the same time bear striking witness to the mutual interpenetration of philosophy and theology which is a distinguishing mark of the Scholastic period. The Commentary on the "Sentences" remains without doubt Bonaventure's greatest work; all his other wntings are in some way subservient to it. It was written, superiorum praecepto (at the command of his superiors) when he was only twenty-seven and is a theological achievement of the first rank. It comprises more than four thousand pages in folio and treats extensively and profoundly of God and the Trinity, the Creation and Fall of Man, the Incarnation and Redemption, Grace, the Sacraments, and the Last Judgment, that is to say, traverses the entire field of Scholastic theology. Like the other medieval Summas, Bonaventure's "Commentary" is divided into four books. In the first, second, and fourth Bonaventure can compete favourably with the best commentaries on the Sentences, but it is admitted that in the third book he surpasses all others. The "Breviloquium", written before 1257, is, as its name implies, a shorter work. It is to some extent a summary of the "Commentary" containing as Scheeben says, the quintessence of the theology of the time, and is the most sublime compendium of dogma in our possession. It is perhaps the work which will best give a popular notion of Bonaventure's theology; in it his powers are seen at their best. Whilst the "Breviloquium" derives all things from God, the "Itinerarium Mentis in Deum" proceeds in the opposite direction, bringing all things back to their Supreme End. The latter work, which formed the delight of Gerson for more than thirty years, and from which Bl. Henry Suso drew so largely, was written on Mount la Verna in 1259. The relation of the finite and infinite, the natural and supernatural, is again dealt with by Bonaventure, in his "De reductione Artium ad Theologiam", a little work written to demonstrate the relation which philosophy and the arts bear to theology, and to prove that they are all absorbed in it as into a natural centre. It must not be inferred, however, that philosophy in Bonaventure's view does not possess an existence of its own. The passages in Bonaventure's works on which such an opinion might be founded only go to prove that he did not regard philosophy as the chief or last end of scientific research and speculation. Moreover, it is only when compared with theology that he considers philosophy of an inferior order. Considered in itself, philosophy is, according to Bonaventure, a true science, prior in point of time to theology. Again, Bonaventure's pre-eminence as a mystic must not he suffered to overshadow his labours in the domain of philosophy, for he was undoubtedly one of the greatest philosophers of the Middle Ages.
Bonaventure's philosophy, no less than his theology, manifests his profound respect for tradition. He regarded new opinions with disfavour and ever strove to follow those generally received in his time. Thus, between the two great influences which determined the trend of Scholasticism about the middle of the thirteenth century, there can he no doubt that Bonaventure ever remained a faithful disciple of Augustine and always defended the teaching of that Doctor; yet he by no means repudiated the teaching of Aristotle. While basing his doctrine on that of the old school, Bonaventure borrowed not a little from the new. Though he severely criticized the defects of Aristotle, he is said to have quoted more frequently from the latter than any former Scholastic had done. Perhaps he inclined more, on the whole, to some general views of Plato than to those of Aristotle, but he cannot therefore be called a Platonist. Although he adopted the hylomorphic theory of matter and form, Bonaventure, following Alexander of Hales, whose Summa he appears to have had before him in composing his own works, does not limit matter to corporeal beings, but holds that one and the same kind of matter is the substratum of spiritual and corporeal beings alike. According to Bonaventure, materia prima is not a mere indeterminatum quid, but contains the rationes seminales infused by the Creator at the beginning, and tends towards the acquisition of those special forms which it ultimately assumes. The substantial form is not in Bonaventure's opinion, essentially, one, as St. Thomas taught. Another point in which Bonaventure, as representing the Franciscan school, is at variance with St. Thomas is that which concerns the possibility of creation from eternity. He declares that reason can demonstrate that the world was not created ab aeterno. In his system of ideology Bonaventure does not favour either the doctrine of Plato or that of the Ontologists. It is only by completely misunderstanding Bonaventure's teaching that any ontologistic interpretation can he read into it. For he is most emphatic in rejecting any direct or immediate vision of God or of His Divine attributes in this life. For the rest, the psychology of Bonaventure differs in no essential point from the common teaching of the Schoolmen. The same is true, as a whole, of his theology.
Bonaventure's theological writings may be classed under four heads: dogmatic, mystic, exegetical, and homiletic. His dogmatic teaching is found chiefly in his "Commentary on the Sentences" and in his "Breviloquium". Treating of the Incarnation, Bonaventure does not differ substantially from St. Thomas. In answer to the question: "Would the Incarnation have taken place if Adam had not sinned?", he answers in the negative. Again, notwithstanding his deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin, he favours the opinion which does not exempt her from original sin, quia magis consonat fidei pietati et sanctorum auctoritati. But Bonaventure's treament of this question marked a distinct advance, and he did more perhaps than anyone before Scotus to clear the ground for its correct presentation. His treatise on the sacraments is largely practical and is characterized by a distinctly devotional element. This appears especially in is treatment of the Holy Eucharist. He rejects the doctrine of physical, and admits only a moral, efficacy in the sacraments. It is much to be regretted that Bonaventure's views on this and other controverted questions should be so often misrepresented, even by recent writers. For example, at, least three of the latest and best known manuals of dogma in treating of such questions as "De angelorum natura", "De scientia Christi", "De natura distinctionis inter caritatem et gratiam sanctificantem", "De causalitate sacramentorum", "De statu parvulorum sine baptismo morientium", gratuitously attribute opinions to Bonaventure which are entirely at variance with his real teaching. To be sure Bonaventure, like all the Scholastics, occasionally put forward opinions not strictly correct in regard to questions not yet defined or clearly settled, but even here his teaching represents the most profound and acceptable ideas of his age and marks a notable stage in the evolution of knowledge. Bonaventure's authority has always been very great in the Church. Apart from his personal influence at Lyons (1274), his writings carried great weight at the subsequent councils at Vienna (1311), Constance (1417), Basle (1435), and Florence (1438). At Trent (1546) his writings, as Newman remarks (Apologia, ch. v) had a critical effect on some of the definitions of dogma, and at the Vatican Council (1870), sentences from them were embodied in the decrees concerning papal supremacy and infallibility.
Only a small part of Bonaventure's writings is properly mystical. These are characterized by brevity and by a faithful adherence to the teaching of the Gospel. The perfecting of the soul by the uprooting of vice and the implanting of virtue is his chief concern. There is a degree of prayer in which ecstasy occurs. When it is attained, God is sincerely to be thanked. It must, however, be regarded only as incidental. It is by no means essential to the possession of perfection in the highest degree. Such is the general outline of Bonaventure's mysticism which is largely a continuation and development of what the St. Victors had already laid down. The shortest and most complete summary of it is found in his "De Triplici Via", often erroneously entitled the "Incendium Amoris", in which he distinguishes the different stages or degrees of perfect charity. What the "Breviloquium" is to Scholasticism, the "De Triplici Via" is to mysticism: a perfect compendium of all that is best in it. Savonarola made a pious and learned commentary upon it. Perhaps the best known of Bonaventure's other mystical and ascetical writings are the "Soliloquium", a sort of dialogue containing a rich collection of passages from the Fathers on spiritual questions; the "Lignum vitae", a series of forty-eight devout meditations on the life of Christ, the "De sex alis seraphim", a precious opuscule on the virtues of superiors, which Father Claudius Acquaviva caused to be printed separately and circulated throughout the Society of Jesus; the "Vitis mystica", a work on the Passion, which was for a long time erroneously ascribed to St. Bernard, and "De Perfectione vitae", a treatise which depicts the virtues that make for religious perfection, and which appears to have been written for the use of Blessed Isabella of France, who had founded a monastery of Poor Clares at Longchamps.
Bonaventure's exegetical works were highly esteemed in the Middle Ages and still remain a treasure house of thoughts and treatises. They include commentaries on the Books of Ecclesiastes and Wisdom and on the Gospels of St. Luke and St. John. In addition to his commentary on the Fourth Gospel, Bonaventure composed "Collationes in Joannem", ninety-one conferences on subjects relating to it. His "Collationes in Hexameron" is a work of the same kind, but its title, which did not originate with Bonaventure, is somewhat misleading. It consists of an unfinished course of instructions delivered at Paris in 1273. Bonaventure did not intend in these twenty-one discourses to explain the work of the six days, but rather to draw some analogous instructions from the first chapter of Genesis, as a warning to his auditors against some errors of the day. It is an exaggeration to say that Bonaventure had regard only to the mystical sense of Scripture. In such of his writings as are properly exegetical he follows the text, though he also develops the practical conclusions deduced from it, for in the composition of these works he had the advantage of the preacher mainly in view. Bonaventure had conceived the most sublime idea of the ministry of preaching, and notwithstanding his manifold labours in other fields, this ministry ever held an especial place among his labours. He neglected no opportunity of preaching, whether to the clergy, the people, or his own Friars, and Bl. Francis of Fabriano (d. 1322), his contemporary and auditor, bears witness that Bonaventure's renown as a preacher almost surpassed his fame as a teacher. He preached before popes and kings, in Spain and Germany, as well as in France and Italy. Nearly five hundred authentic sermons of Bonaventure have come down to us; the greater part of them were delivered in Paris before the university while Bonaventure was professor there, or after he had become minister general. Most of them were taken down by some of his auditors and thus preserved to posterity. In his sermons he follows the Scholastic method of putting forth the divisions of his subject and then expounding each division according to the different senses.
Besides his philosophical and theological writings, Bonaventure left a number of works referring to the religious life, but more especially to the Franciscan Order. Among the latter is his well-known explanation of the Rule of the Friars Minor; in this work, written at a time when the dissensions vithin the order as to the observance of the Rule were so painfully marked, he adopted a conciliatory attitude, approving neither the interpretation of the Zelanti nor that of the Relaxati. His aim was to promote harmony in essentials. With this end in view, he had chosen a middle course at the outset and firmly adhered to it during the seventeen years of his generalship. If anyone could have succeeded in uniting the order, it would have been Bonaventure; but the via media proved impracticable, and Bonaventure's personality only served to hold in check the elements of discord, subsequently represented by the Conventuals and the Fraticelli. Following upon his explanation of the Rule comes Bonaventure's important treatise embodying the Constitutions of Narbonne already referred to. There is also an answer by Bonaventure to some questions concerning the Rule, a treatise on the guidance of novices, and an opuscule in which Bonaventure states why the Friars Minor preach and hear confessions, besides a number of letters which give us a special insight into the saint's character. These include official letters written by Bonaventure as general to the superiors of the order, as well as personal letters addressed like that "Ad innominatum magistrum" to private individuals. Bonaventure's beautiful "Legend" or life of St. Francis completes the writings in which he strove to promote the spiritual welfare of his brethren. This well-known work is composed of two parts of very unequal value. In the first Bonaventure publishes the unedited facts that he had been able to gather at Assisi and elsewhere; in the other he merely abridges and repeats what others, and especially Celano, had already recorded. As a whole, it is essentially a legenda pacis, compiled mainly with a view to pacifying the unhappy discord still ravaging the order. St. Bonaventure's aim was to present a general portrait of the holy founder which, by the omission of certain points that had given rise to controversy, should be acceptable to all parties. This aim was surely legitimate even though from a critical standpoint the work may not be a perfect biography. Of this "Legenda Major", as it came to be called, Bonaventure made an abridgment arranged for use in choir and known as the "Legenda Minor".
Bonaventure was the true heir and follower of Alexander of Hales and the continuator of the old Franciscan school founded by the Doctor Irrefragabilis, but he surpassed the latter in acumen, fertility of imagination, and originality of expression. His proper place is heside his friend St. Thomas, as they are the two greatest theologians of Scholasticism. If it be true that the system of St. Thomas is more finished than that of Bonaventure, it should be borne in mind that, whereas Thomas was free to give himself to study to the end of his days, Bonaventure had not yet received the Doctor's degree when he was called to govern his order and overwhelmed with multifarious cares in consequence. The heavy responsibilities which he bore till within a few weeks of his death were almost incompatible with further study and even precluded his completing what he had begun before his thirty-sixth year. Again, in attempting to make a comparison betweenBonaventure and St. Thomas, we should remember that the two saints were of a different bent of mind; each had qualities in which he excelled; one was in a sense the complement of the other; one supplied what the other lacked. Thus Thomas was analytical, Bonaventure synthetical; Thomas was the Christian Aristotle, Bonaventure the true disciple of Augustine; Thomas was the teacher of the schools, Bonaventure of practical life; Thomas enlightened the mind, Bonaventure inflamed the heart; Thomas extended the Kingdom of God by the love of theology, Bonaventure by the theology of love. Even those who hold that Bonaventure does not reach the level of St. Thomas in the sphere of Scholastic speculation concede that as a mystic he far surpasses the Angelic Doctor. In this particular realm of thelogy, Bonaventure equals, if he does not excel, St. Bernard himself. Leo XIII rightly calls Bonaventure the Prince of Mystics: "Having scaled the difficult heights of speculation in a most notable manner, he treated of mystical theology with such perfection that in the common opinion of the learned he is facile princeps in that field." (Allocutio of 11 October, 1890.) It must not be concluded, however, that Bonaventure's mystical writings constitute his chief title to fame. This conclusion, in so far as it seems to imply a deprecation of his labours in the field of Scholasticism, is opposed to the explicit utterances of several pontiffs and eminent scholars, is incompatible with Bonaventure's acknowledged reputation in the Schools, and is excluded by an intelligent perusal of his works. As a matter of fact, the half of one volume of the ten comprising the Quaracchi edition suffices to contain Bonaventure's ascetic and mystic writings. Although Bonaventure's mystical works alone would suffice to place him in the foremost rank, yet he may justly be called a mystic rather than a Scholastic only in so far as every subject he treats of is made ultimately to converge upon God. This abiding sense of God's presence which pervades all the writings of Bonaventure is perhaps their fundamental attribute. To it we may trace that all-pervading unction which is their peculiar characteristic. As Sixtus V aptly expresses it: "In writing he united to the highest erudition an equal amount of the most ardent piety; so that whilst enlightening his readers he also touched their hearts penetrating to the inmost recesses of their souls" (Bull, Triumphantis Jerusalem). St. Antoninus, Denis the Carthusian, Louis of Granada, and Father Claude de la Colombière, among others, have also noted this feature of Bonaventure's writings. Invariably he aims at arousing devotion as well as imparting knowledge. He never divorces the one from the other, but treats learned subjects devoutly and devout subjects learnedly. Bonaventure, however, never sacrifices truth to devotion, but his tendency to prefer an opinion which arouses devotion to a dry and uncertain speculation may go far towards explaining not a little of the widespread popularity his writings enjoyed among his contemporaries and all succeeding ages. Again Bonaventure is distinguished from the other Scholastics not only by the greater warmth of his religious teaching, but also by its practical tendency as Trithemius notes (Scriptores Eccles.). Many purely speculative questions are passed over by Bonaventure; there is a directness about all he has written. No useful purpose, he declares, is achieved by mere controversy. He is ever tolerant and modest. Thus while he himself accepts the literal interpretations of the first chapter of Genesis, Bonaventure acknowledges the admissibility of a different one and refers with admiration to the figurative explanation propounded by St. Augustine. He never condemns the opinions of others and emphatically disclaims anything like finality for his own views. Indeed he asserts the littleness of his authority, renounces all claims to originality and calls himself a "poor compiler". No doubt Bonaventure's works betray some of the defects of the learning of his day, but there is nothing in them that savours of useless subtlety. "One does not find in his pages", notes Gerson (De Examin. Doctrin.) "vain trifles or useless cavils, nor does he mix as do so many others, worldly digressions with serious theological discussions. "This", he adds, "is the reason why St. Bonaventure has been abandoned by those Scholastics who are devoid of piety, of whom the number is alas! but too large". It has been said that Bonaventure's mystical spirit unfitted him for subtle analysis. Be this as it may, one of the greatest charms of Bonaventure's writings is their simple clearness. Though he had necessarily to make use of the Scholastic method, he rose above dialectics, and though his argumentation may at times seem too cumbersome to find approval in our time, yet he writes with an ease and grace of style which one seeks in vain among the other Schoolmen. To the minds of his contemporaries impregnated with the mysticism of the Middle Ages, the spirit that breathed in Bonaventure's writings seemed to find its parallel only in the lives of those that stand nearest to the Throne, and the title of "Seraphic Doctor" bestowed upon Bonaventure is an undeniable tribute to his all-absorbing love for God. This title seems to have been first given to him in 1333 in the Prologue of the "Pantheologia" by Raynor of Pisa, O.P. He had already received while teaching in Paris the name of Doctor Devotus.
The Franciscan Order has ever regarded Bonaventure as one of the greatest Doctors and from the beginning his teaching found many distinguished expositors within the order, among the earliest being his own pupils, John Peckham later Archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew of Aquasparta, and Alexander of Alexandria (d. 1314), both of whom became ministers general of the order. The last named wrote a "Summa quaestionum S. Bonaventura. Other well-known commentaries are by John of Erfurt (d. 1317), Verilongus (d. 1464), Brulifer (d. c. 1497), de Combes (d. 1570), Trigosus (d. 1616), Coriolano (d. 1625), Zamora (d. 1649), Bontemps (d. 1672), Hauzeur (d. 1676), Bonelli (d. 1773), etc. From the fourteenth to the sixteenth century the influence of Bonaventure was undoubtedly somewhat overshadowed by that of Duns Scotus, owing largely to the prominence of the latter as champion of the Immaculate Conception in the disputes between the Franciscans and Dominicans. Sixtus V, however, founded a special chair at Rome for the study of St. Bonaventure; such chairs also existed in several universities, notably at Ingolstadt, Salzburg, Valencia, and Osuna. It is worthy of note that the Capuchins forbade their Friars to follow Scotus and ordered them to return to the study of Bonaventure. The centenary celebrations of 1874 appear to have revived interest in the life and work of St. Bonaventure. Certain it is that since then the study of his writings has steadily increased.
Unfortunately not all of Bonaventure's writings have come down to us. Some were lost before the invention of printing. On the other hand, several works have in the course of time been attributed to him which are not his. Such are the "Centiloquium", the "Speculum Disciplinæ", which is probably the work of Bernard of Besse, Bonaventure's secretary; the rhythmical "Philomela", which seems to be from the pen of John Peckham; the "Stimulus Amoris" and the "Speculum B.V.M.", written respectively by James of Milan and Conrad of Saxony; "The Legend of St. Clare", which is by Thomas of Celano; the "Meditationes vitae Christi" composed by a Friar Minor for a Poor Clare, and the "Biblia pauperum" of the Dominican Nicholas of Hanapis. Those familiar with the catalogues of European libraries are aware that no writer since the Middle Ages had been more widely read or copied than Bonaventure. The earliest catalogues of his works are those given by Salimbene (1282), Henry of Ghent (d. 1293), Ubertino of Casale (1305), Ptolemy of Lucca (1327) and the "Chronicle of the XXIV Generals" (1368). The fifteenth century saw no less than fifty editions of Bonaventure's works. More celebrated than any preceding edition was that published at Rome (1588-96) by order of Sixtus V (7 vols. in fol.). It was reprinted with but slight emendations at Metz in 1609 and at Lyons in 1678. A fourth edition appeared at Venice (13 vols. in 4to) 1751, and was reprinted at Paris in 1864. All these editions were very imperfect in so far as they include spurious works and omit genuine ones. They have been completely superseded by the celebrated critical edition published by the Friars Minor at Quaracchi, near Florence. Any scientific study of Bonaventure must be based upon this edition, upon which not only Leo XIII (13 December, 1885) and Pius X (11 April, 1904), but scholars of all creeds have lavished the highest encomiums. Nothing seems to have been omitted which could make this edition perfect and complete. In its preparation the editors visited over 400 libraries and examined nearly 52,000 manuscripts, while the first volume alone contains 20,000 variant readings. It was commenced by Father Fidelis a Fanna (d. 1881) and completed by Father Ignatius Jeiler (d. 1904): "Doctoris Seraphici S. Bonaventuræ S. H. B. Episcopi Cardinalis Opera Omnia, -- edita studio et cura P. P. Collegii S. Bonaventura in fol. ad Claras Aquas [Quaracchi] 1882-1902". In this edition the works of the saint are distributed through the ten volumes as follows: the first four contain his great "Commentaries on the Book of Sentences"; the fifth comprises eight smaller scholastic works such as the "Breviloquium" and "Itinerarium"; the sixth and seventh are devoted to his commentaries on Scripture; the eighth contains his mystical and ascetic writings and works having special reference to the order; the ninth his sermons; whilst the tenth is taken up with the index and a short sketch of the saint's life and writings by Father Ignatius Jeiler.
We do not possess any formal, contemporary biography of St. Bonaventure. That written by the Spanish Franciscan, Zamorra, who flourished before 1300, has not been preserved. The references to Bonaventure's life contained in the works of Salimbene (1282), Bernard of Besse (c. 1380), Bl. Francis of Fabriano (d. 1322), Angelo Clareno (d. 1337), Ubertino of Casale (d. 1338), Bartholomew of Pisa (d. 1399) and the "Chronicle of the XXIV Generals" (c. 1368), are in vol. X of the Quaracchi Edition (pp. 39-72).