St. Bonaventure describes this ascent, this longing for the Lord as something that is possible only with the assistance of the Lord himself. The key to unlocking this flood of grace - of divine assistance, is prayer. St. Bonaventure tells us, "This divine aid is available for all who seek it with a truly humble and devout heart, that is by sighing for it in this vale of tears by fervent prayer. Prayer is the mother and origin of every upward striving of the soul."
The enemy #1 of this ascent to God is sin. "Sin", according to St. Bonaventure, "deforms nature." Once again, the antidote to sin that he prescribes is prayer and the living of a holy life. He encourages detachment in order to pursue this journey towards God saying: "Let us silence all our cares, all our desires and all our imaginings."
YIKES! is what I have to say to St. Bonaventure.
Not only is he a little on the challenging side to read - his words throw down quite a formidable challenge to live out.
I have to be honest with you - I LONG for God - I want to be pleasing to Him, I want to know his will, I want to follow that will as best as I can. I can feel the desire for Him inside my chest and yet most days that desire is frustrated by the cares and concerns of the world. Have I missed my vocation as a contemplative nun? Or is this journey towards God possible for me, a wife, a Mom, a chauffer to the pool club, a laundry folder, a dishwasher, a chicken cutlet fryer (you get the picture).
A resounding YES is the answer deep in my heart. YES, this is possible for me....and for you. St. Bonaventure tells me that this yes is not just my imagination, but a gift from the Holy Spirit himself. He says a person cannot experience this journey to God "unless he surrenders himself to it;; nor can he surrender himself to it unless he longs for it; nor can he long for it unless the Holy Spirit, whom Christ sent into the world, should come and inflame his innermost soul."
Thank you St. Bonaventure, for letting me know that the longing in my heart for the Lord is not futile pipe dream, but has in fact, been placed there by God himself. Thank you for the comfort in knowing that I do not have to rely solely on my own sagging will-power in trying to overcome the obstacles in my life that prevent me from drawing closer to God - that it is the Holy Spirit himself who will aid my efforts.
Thank you Lord, for the gift of your Saints who guide us on our journey home to you!
St. Bonaventure, pray for us!
This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link - if you click through and buy the Journey of the Mind to God by St. Bonaventure, my domestic church will receive a few pennies! If you do read it, let me know your thoughts!