St Bonaventure (1221 - 1274)
Catholic belief, prayers and spiritual teaching
St Bonaventure (1221 - 1274)
THE MIND'S ROAD TO GOD (cont)
by St Bonaventure
THE MENDICANT'S VISION IN THE WILDERNESS
Ch 6. Of the Reflection of the Most Blessed Trinity in Its Name, Which Is Good.
1. After a consideration of the essential traits [of God] the eye of the intelligence must be raised to look upon the most Blessed Trinity, in order that the second Cherub may be placed next to the first. Just as Being is the root and name of the vision of the essential traits, so Good is the principal foundation of our contemplation of the divine emanations [of the Trinity].
2. See then and pay heed, since the best which exists simply is that than which nothing better can be thought of. And this is such that it cannot be rightly thought not to be. For Being is in all ways better than Non-Being. This is such that it cannot rightly be thought of unless conceived of as both three and one.
For the Good is said to be self-diffusive. The highest good is therefore the most self-diffusive. The greatest diffusion, however, can exist only if it is actual and intrinsic, substantial and hypostatic, natural and voluntary, free and necessary, lacking nothing and perfect. Unless, then, there be eternally in the highest good a production which is actual and consubstantial, and an hypostasis as noble as the producer through generation and spiration, so that it would be from the eternal principle eternally co-producing and would be beloved ("dilectus") in itself and co-loved ("condilectus"), generated, and spirated as are the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, in no way would it be the highest good, for it would not diffuse itself most highly.
in creation is nothing else than central and punctiform with
respect to the
immensity of the eternal goodness. Whence also can some diffusion
conceived as greater than that--to wit, that in which the
communicates its whole substance and nature to another. Therefore
highest good would not exist if it could lack that characteristic
existence or in thought.
Because of the greatest goodness, it
necessary that there be in them the greatest communicability, and
the greatest communicability the greatest consubstantiality, and
greatest consubstantiality the greatest configurability, and from
the greatest coequality; and therefore the greatest coeternity as
because of all the aforesaid, the greatest co-intimacy, by which
one is in
the other necessarily through the highest degree of mutual
one operates with the other through the complete identity of
power and operation of the most Blessed Trinity itself.
Who in the face of such great marvels would not start in wonder? But we understand with greatest certitude that all these exist in the most Blessed Trinity if we raise our eyes to the goodness that excels all goodness. For if there is the greatest communication and true diffusion, there is also true origin and true distinction. And because the whole and not the part is communicated, therefore it is itself given as a whole and not as a part. Therefore the one emanating and the one producing are distinguished by their properties, and yet are essentially one.
then, they are distinguished by their properties, therefore they
personal properties and a plurality of hypostases and an emanation
origin and an order which is not of posteriority but of origin,
mission not of local change but of free spiration, because of the
of the producer which every sender has in respect to that which is
Because they are substantially one, therefore it must be true that
unity in essence and in form, in dignity and in eternity, in
inimitability. While therefore you consider these things one by one
themselves, you have a reason for contemplating the truth; when
compare them with one another, you have the wherewithal to hover
wonder; and therefore, that your mind may ascend in wonder to
contemplation these things should be considered all together.