Saint Bonaventure, Bishop, Doctor

Isaiah 38:1-6,21-22,7-8; Isaiah 38:10-12,16; Matthew 12:1-8

Friday of week 15: 

'Hezekiah turned his face to the wall’ and the following few lines are quoted from 2 Kings 20.Hezekiah knew he was dying (possibly of the plague, which was afflicting the enemies encampment around him) and in his distress turned to God. Previously, the Assyrian King Sennacherib - who by contrast did not turn to God and perished - but working through the intervention of Isaiah, King Hezekiah was given 15 years more life, and Jerusalem over 100 more years of freedom.

Today’s Psalm is taken from the same story and is Hezekiah’s response to the prophesy, first making clear how distressed he was, then how blessed by the effective prophesy of Isaiah.

St Bonaventure (1218 - 1274)

Bonaventure was born at Bagnoregio in Etruria in about 1218. He became a Franciscan in 1243 and studied philosophy and theology at the University of Paris. He became a famous teacher and philosopher, part of the extraordinary intellectual flowering of the 13th century. He was a friend and colleague of St Thomas Aquinas.

At this time the friars were still a new and revolutionary force in the Church, and their radical embracing of poverty and rejection of institutional structures raised suspicion and opposition from many quarters. Bonaventure defended the Franciscan Order and, after he was elected general of the order in 1255, he ruled it with wisdom and prudence. He is regarded as the second founder of the Order.
He declined the archbishopric of York in 1265 but was made cardinal bishop of Albano in 1273, dying a year later in 1274 at the Council of Lyons, at which the Greek and Latin churches were (briefly) reconciled.
Bonaventure wrote extensively on philosophy and theology, making a permanent mark on intellectual history; but he always insisted that the simple and uneducated could have a clearer knowledge of God than the wise.

He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1588 by Pope Sixtus V.

Posted in Daily Reflection.