Today, July 15th is the solemnity of St. Bonaventure, the 13th Century Franciscan friar, theologian, bishop, saint and doctor of the church!
I think it’s rather fitting to share with you a little snippet of Bonaventure’s wisdom. In this sermon, he speaks about what it means to be a friar minor and goes on to say that although not everyone is called to be a Franciscan friar as such, every Christian is called to live the Franciscan ideas in some form. This is in line with St. Francis’s vision, because the Saint from Assisi centered his entire life on the living of the Gospel. All Christians, then, are necessarily followers of the Gospel too. Here’s what Bonaventure says:
To be meek is to be a brother to everybody; to be humble is to be less than everybody. Therefore, to be meek and humble of heart is to be a true friar minor…Although it is not for everyone to take the habit and profess the Rule of the Friars Minor, it is necessary for everyone who wants to be saved to be a friar minor in the sense of being meek and humble. (Sermon V)
One way in which the friars can understand their relationship as “lesser brothers” in the world, the way in which Bonaventure expresses this reality, is to recognize that we are all equal in Christ as baptized members of His Body. No Franciscan brother or sister should be over and against another person, but instead strive to recognize his or her shared dignity in Christian life with all others.
For those who have just heard of St. Bonaventure today and for those who have been inspired by his life and thought for a long time, happy feast day to you all!