July 15, 2010
Ephesians 3: 14 – 19
Matthew 23: 8 – 12
Today the Church invites us to honor Saint Bonaventure, Franciscan Briar, Professor of Theology, Superior General of the Order, Cardinal – Bishop of the Sea of Albano and Doctor of the Church.
One might rightly ask how one man was able to manage all of these responsibilities simultaneously; how he was able to keep everything in balance.
The answer is to be found in achieving a balance between silence, prayer, reflection and study, on the one hand, and an active life of pastoral duties on the other hand.
This equilibrium, this even handedness, if you wish, was possible because this remarkable Friar was a man of prayer and his life was centered in the Eucharist.
Saint Bonaventure knew that despite all of his zealous labors and his intellectual acumen, none of it would be of any consequence if all that he did and taught was not centered in prayer, reflection, silence and the Sacraments: in other words, Christianity was to be and to remain at the very core of his life.
Observing many of our contemporaries, and perhaps, even ourselves at times; we see a common mistake, a significant error in judgment. Many people in our time busy themselves with multiple projects and good works; with worthwhile endeavors and even the Corporal Works of Mercy.
However, there is a lack of balance, the failure to achieve an equilibrium which results in a lack of inner peace and serenity. In some instances, unfortunately, there appears a certain kind of weariness and exhaustion.
What is the reason for this condition? Why are so many finding themselves in the middle of this struggle? Essentially, it is due to a failure to step away from action, from activity, and failing to make the time for silence, prayer and reflection.
Despite his very busy life as a teacher, bishop and Minister General of the Franciscans, Saint Bonaventure knew and understood that no human activity, no work or project, however well-intended, is truly effective without prayer, without God.
May we always remember this important lesson from the life of Saint Bonaventure, and may we use these days of Summer School at Thomas More college to begin or to continue our lives of prayer, reflection, study and activities in the service of God and those in need.