Today is the feast of Saint Bonaventure (1217-1274). He was a Franciscan Friar who became an instructor at the University of Paris (The Sorbonne) before being elected the Minister General of the Franciscan Order. His work in organizing the Friars across Europe and in the mission lands has earned him the reputation of being the “Second Founder” of the Franciscans.
Although he is one of the great Franciscan scholars, teachers, and administrators, it would be a mistake to forget that he was a Friar first and foremost. He was a devoted son of St. Francis, filled with the spirit of joy and love that has its source in God’s overwhelming love for each of us.
He was also a man of deep prayer. The following prayer to the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is one that we should all pray and share with others:
Lord Jesus, as God’s Spirit came down and rested upon you, may the same Spirit rest upon us, bestowing his sevenfold gifts. First, grant us the gift of understanding, by which your precepts may enlighten our minds.
Second, grant us counsel, by which we may follow in your footsteps on the path of righteousness.
Third, grant us courage, by which we may ward off the Enemy’s attacks.
Fourth, grant us knowledge, by which we can distinguish good from evil.
Fifth, grant us piety, by which we may acquire compassionate hearts.
Sixth, grant us fear, by which we may draw back from evil and submit to what is good.
Seventh, grant us wisdom, that we may taste fully the life-giving sweetness of your love.