Wednesday, July 15 ~ Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Holy Gospel: Matthew 11:25-27 At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
Meditation: It is a safe presumption that all of us want to know the mind and thoughts of God. Jesus thanks the Father in heaven for revealing to his disciples the wisdom and knowledge of God. What does Jesus’ prayer tell us about God and about ourselves? First, it tells us that God is both Father and Lord of earth as well as heaven. He is both Creator and Author of all that he has made, the first origin of everything and transcendent authority, and at the same time, goodness and loving care for all his children. All fatherhood and motherhood is derived from him (ref. Ephesians 3:14-15). Jesus’ prayer also contains a warning that pride can keep us from the love and knowledge of God. Pride is Satan’s favorite sin, for all sin has its roots in pride.
Prayer: Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, just as we celebrate the heavenly birthday of the Bishop Saint Bonaventure, we may benefit from his great learning and constantly imitate the ardor of his charity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: What makes us ignorant and blind to the things of God? Certainly intellectual pride, coldness of heart, and stubbornness of our human will shut out God and his kingdom. Pride is the root of all vice and the strongest influence propelling us to sin. It first overpowers the human heart, making it cold and indifferent towards God. It also closes the mind to God’s truth and wisdom for our lives. What is pride? It is the inordinate love of oneself at the expense of others and the exaggerated estimation of one’s own learning and importance. Jesus contrasts intellectual pride with child-like simplicity and humility. The simple of heart are like “babes” in the sense that they see purely without pretense and acknowledge their dependence and trust in the one who is greater, wiser, and more trustworthy. They seek one thing — the “summum bonum” or “greatest good” who is God himself. Simplicity of heart is wedded with humility. Humility is the queen of virtues, because humility inclines the heart towards grace and truth. Just as pride is the root of every sin and evil, the grace of humility takes the right attitude before God and allows him as God to do all. Remember that God opposes the proud, and gives grace to the humble (ref. Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6). Only the humble in heart can receive true wisdom and understanding of God and his ways. Do you submit to God’s word with simple trust and humility?
The Prayer of Saint Bonaventure: Pierce, O most sweet Lord Jesus, my inmost soul with the most joyous and healthful wound of Thy love, and with true, calm and most holy apostolic charity, that my soul may ever languish and melt with entire love and longing for Thee, may yearn for Thee and for thy courts, may long to be dissolved and to be with Thee. Grant that my soul may hunger after Thee, the Bread of Angels, the refreshment of holy souls, our daily and super substantial bread, having all sweetness and savor and every delightful taste. May my heart ever hunger after and feed upon Thee, Whom the angels desire to look upon, and may my inmost soul be filled with the sweetness of Thy savor; may it ever thirst for Thee, the fountain of life, the fountain of wisdom and knowledge, the fountain of eternal light, the torrent of pleasure, the fullness of the house of God; may it ever compass Thee, seek Thee, find Thee, run to Thee, come up to Thee, meditate on Thee, speak of Thee, and do all for the praise and glory of Thy name, with humility and discretion, with love and delight, with ease and affection, with perseverance to the end; and be Thou alone ever my hope, my entire confidence, my riches, my delight, my pleasure, my joy, my rest and tranquility, my peace, my sweetness, my food, my refreshment, my refuge, my help, my wisdom, my portion, my possession, my treasure; in Whom may my mind and my heart be ever fixed and firm and rooted immovably. Amen.