July 14, 2009

St. Bonaventure's First Encyclical Letter

Today I was poking around for something to read in preparation for the feast of St. Bonaventure tomorrow, and I happened upon the first encyclical letter he wrote to the friars after being elected Minister General in 1257. I think it's worth a re-issue! Check out some of the Seraphic Doctor's concerns for the brothers:

"All sorts of business transactions are going on, in which money, the archenemy of the poverty of our Order, is being eagerly sought, recklessly accepted, and even more recklessly handled."

"Certain brothers have succumbed to idleness, that cesspool of every vice, where they have been lulled into choosing a monstrous kind of state somewhere between the active life and the contemplative, while cruelly feeding on the blood of living souls."

"Many more are wandering about, intent primarily on their bodily comforts. They are only annoying the people they come across, leaving behind them scandal instead of good example."

"The construction of buildings on a lavish and extravagant scale is upsetting many brothers, becoming a burden to friendly benefactors, and leaving us prey to all sorts of hostile critics."

I guess the challenges and temptations we religious face are pretty constant over time!

These are from the translation of Dominic Monti, OFM, in St. Bonaventure's Writings Concerning the Franciscan Order, from Franciscan Institute Publications.

7 comments:

phil said...

some things are perpetual...

Paul A. Zalonski said...

my kind of thinker (and speaker)

ben in denver said...

Can you imagine Fra Mauro Jöhri sending out a letter like this?

Brother Charles said...

That would be great!

fr. Matt, OFM Conv. said...

Maybe within the Capuchin family....

jk

Brother Charles said...

lol. Good one, frater. ;)

pennyante said...

The more things change; the more they stay the same! (chuckle)