WEDNESDAY 15TH JULY 2020
MEMORIAL OF ST. BONAVENTURE
Isaiah 10:5-7,13-16, Matthew 11:25-27
MAKING GOOD USE OF YOUR GIFT
Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Bonaventure, an outstanding character and father of faith. He entered the Franciscan order in 1243 and had a great influence in the order and the Church at large. Bonaventure is called the second founder of the Franciscan order after St Francis of Assisi because of his devotion, passion and zeal for the work of God in the Church through the order. He was a very gentle and simple man who never craved for big positions and wealth which kept coming his way. He was elected the first General of the Franciscans, a position he reluctantly accepted. He refused to be Archbishop of York in 1265 and only reluctantly agreed to be cardinal bishop of Albano 8 years later after much pressure from the pope. Many who encountered him as cardinal testify that he was a simple man. Someone recounted how he visited him and met him washing the dishes, placing his cardinal's hat on a nearby tree until he finished.
Bonaventure was involved in many diplomatic activities in the Church, Pope Gregory X asked him to prepare for the second Ecumenical council of Lyons in 1274, and he was very much involved in the deliberations.
It was Bonaventure who in 1263, ordered that bells be rung at nightfall in each monastery in honour of the Annunciation, this practice gradually gave birth to the Angelus we have today.
Bonaventure never competed with anyone for anything. His very close friend St Thomas Aquinas was very intelligent and influential too, who wrote many great works both dogmatic and doctrinal. St Bonaventure in his own way also wrote great works both mystical and dogmatic, which have been part of our catholic heritage.
In all these achievements of St Bonaventure, he was not proud. His famous maxim is that you use whatever you have to preach the word of God. For him, it is not enough to occupy positions and soeak grammar because you are intelligent, what is important is preaching the word of God.
This is why Jesus in the gospel reading of today, tells us that God has hidden the secrets of the kingdom to the learned and cleaver who become proud, and has revealed them to the simple of heart. The prophet Isaiah also tells us in the first reading that we should always acknowledge God for whatever we achieve instead of attributing the glory to ourselves. God help us. Amen.
Fr Michael Osatofoh Eninlejie MSP