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January 2022 VISION E-Vocation Newsletter

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Discernment Matters
The choices of a lifetime

Unity is within our reach

Nothing makes sense apart from God. This insight belongs to Saint Bonaventure (1217-1274), theologian and minister general of his Franciscan order at a time when the friars were imploding with conflicts about their communal vision. In his generation as in ours, religious people of good will found much to disagree about. 

Bonaventure insisted God’s goodness integrates everything—vehemently divided friars notwithstanding. This view was at odds with the prevalent theology which emphasized the downbeat of reality: original sin, fallen humanity, and a disordered world.

Bonaventure perceived the Trinity as the absolute mystery of Good, and that “every creature, because it speaks God, is a divine word.” Since human beings are the most self-conscious aspect of creation, we’re the most capable of expressing that divine word with our choices. We alone possess the spiritual faculties of intellect, memory, and will that enable us to grow toward holiness.

Bonaventure’s deep optimism about our ability to achieve affective union with God earned him the title Seraphic Doctor of the Church.

Our goal in religion is not to learn all the facts about God but to achieve union with the Holy. As we survey the yawning chasms of division in church and society today, it’s easy to get discouraged—or militant about “our side.” This division, according to Bonaventure’s vision, is nonsense. If nothing makes sense apart from God, unity is a divine impulse we can’t afford to ignore.

—Alice Camille

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Jan. 13, 2022 Religious Life Today webinar

Religious Life Today webinar Jan. 13




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