Thursday, June 21, 2018

Rejoice and Be Glad - n. 46


The limits of reason

46. When Saint Francis of Assisi saw that some of his disciples were engaged in teaching, he wanted to avoid the temptation to gnosticism. He wrote to Saint Anthony of Padua: “I am pleased that you teach sacred theology to the brothers, provided that… you do not extinguish the spirit of prayer and devotion during study of this kind”.[43] Francis recognized the temptation to turn the Christian experience into a set of intellectual exercises that distance us from the freshness of the Gospel. Saint Bonaventure, on the other hand, pointed out that true Christian wisdom can never be separated from mercy towards our neighbour: “The greatest possible wisdom is to share fruitfully what we have to give… Even as mercy is the companion of wisdom, avarice is its enemy”.[44]“There are activities that, united to contemplation, do not prevent the latter, but rather facilitate it, such as works of mercy and devotion”.[45]

[43] Letter to Brother Anthony, 2: FF 251.
[44] De septem donis, 9, 15.
[45] In IV Sent. 37, 1, 3, ad 6.