Monday, May 20, 2013

Franciscan Discernment Retreat Notes: Pentecost Wisdom from St. Bonaventure

If you are discerning a call to be a Franciscan Sister, St. Bonaventure's writings may find a home in you. Keeping with the liturgical feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity recent Pentecost Vocation Retreat highlighted St. Bonaventure's Evening Sermon on Saint Francis in 1266 as a source for prayerful reflection. Rather than share the complete document, find here selected texts from this inspired writing.

St. Bonaventure's Evening Sermon on Saint Francis-1266
  • The Gospel tells us: Be simple as doves. We should love simplicity and innocence of heart if we desire God to enlighten us with the brilliant light of wisdom.
Sun and Moon compared to closeness to God
  • When the moon is directly opposite the sun, it is all lit up and appears radiant; when it is in eclipse with the sun neither its light nor radiance can be seen. But in fact the nearer it is to the sun and the closer it draws to it, the more light it receives. For in truth it has more light then than it receives when directly opposite the sun.
  • Similarly with us: the more a person parades his wisdom and wants to appear wise, so much the less is he enlightened...it is utterly necessary to draw close to God in the greatest humility and simplicity of heart
Holy Spirit hand of God
  • The Holy Spirit is the hand of God which bestows the manifold gifts of grace.
  • 7 fold grace: 4 cardinal virtues and 3 theological virtues, 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit
Gifts of Grace flow from cross of Christ
  • Christ's cross is the sign of God's boundless grace because from the cross, that is, from Christ's sufferings, flow all the gifts of grace.
  • We should expect to find the sign of the Son of man, the cross of Christ, on Saint Francis who was filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Comparison of creation and St. Francis
  • 4 effects the heavens have on the earth 
  1. light up the earth with their luster
  2. moisten it with rain
  3. bestow warmth
  4. brilliance in flashes of lightning
  • Francis
  1. shed light on his neighbor by virtue
  2. refreshed them with ardent love by his devout prayers
  3. filled them with wonder by the miracles wrought through holiness and goodness
  4. cross (e.g. stigmata and San Damiano Crucifix experience of call) is sign of God's perfect works and of all his wonderful deeds is part of saint's life
Click here to read more about this May 2013 retreat at our Motherhouse in Manitowoc.We invite you to our July 14-16, 2013 Vocation Discernment Retreat. Click here to learn more.