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“The Soul’s Journey to God” by Saint Bonaventure Research Paper

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Introduction

St Bonaventure was a Franciscan Holy man born in central Italy in 1217 (Bettoni 13). He wrote a number of masterworks including a memoir of St Francis and numerous other articles (Shahan 36). The soul’s journey into God, a compact summary of feudal Christian religiousness, is the most-known of his works. It is grounded on a dream of the Spirit, the six-winged divine mortal and the path by which rhapsody is reached.

The real Latin heading of this work is “Itinerarium Mentis in Deum” (Cheslyn and Geoffrey 11). It is of concern to this current work since Itinerarium can be interpreted as a strategy for an expedition, which is a fragment of the purpose helped by any initiatory scheme like the Manuscript of Coming Forth by Day, the Kabbalah, or the BardoThodol (Saint Bonaventure 24).

The Stages

The Expedition of Humanity is divided first into three common phases, being Purgation, Light, and Aptness. All of these retorts to: first, the mortal nature, second, the determination of the individual, and third, the act of Divinity as Grace. The actions of the three phases are mostly prearranged as; Purgation, Proclaiming, Foremost, Affirming, Radiance, Ordering, Consolidation, Authoritative, Precision, Receiving, Revealing and Anointing.

These activities may be arranged onto the Tree as common Schematics of the procedures undertaken by the Pledgee, and trail an analogous growth of the array to that found in Alchemy. Bonaventure splits the Expedition into six phases, taking the Spirit as the emblematic ground of the portrayal, and these phases take us from the state of the mortal fellow to that of the Introspective living in the spiritual experience of the “Tremendous radiant Darkness” of Divinity. I have attributed these phases to the Kabbalah and the Initiatory Structure from Malkuthto the Abyss, like Bonaventure, like many spiritualists of the period, finishes his portrayal at this level, though cueing at more conditions beyond.

As Brady notes in his preamble, the Expedition takes us “into the mist of unwitting, which is itself perchance the most faultless knowing (Saint Bonaventure 37). I take this “One in Three” to denote to the Higher Sephiroth of the Tree above the Abyss. The squabble of the Initiate that States may be released beyond this Abyss where uniqueness fuses with Divinity as no-thing and the Self is totally overwhelmed. This proclamation may have been disgusting for such Bonaventure due to its prospective for elucidation as a profanation. The situation of the earthly man is fancied as that of a “humble man in the desert”.

Conversely, this condition is believed tradable, as the Franciscans charted the code of exemplars; that all formation is a set of flashes in the inner vitality of Divinity. That is to say by perceiving the actions of nature, one can emerge to know the dealings and character of mysticism. As Bonaventure words it; “This is the entire metaphysics; secretion, exemplarily, consummation; to be light up by divine emissions and directed back to the main authenticity” (Saint Bonaventure 40). The expedition is also associated with the portrayal of Solomon’s Temple, and I have consequently alienated the following summation.

Zelator (Malkuth)

The first phase is that of the striking method to exercise the usual powers which spread the seeds of initiatory development and evade “iniquity” (that is an automatic connection to the superficial). These innate supremacists are “grace, which is awoken by supplication, impartiality, which is awoken by leading a healthy lifecycle, knowledge, which is triggered by contemplation, and wisdom, which is brought into being through meditation” (Prentice 25). The hastening of these hidden abilities conveys the Pledge to the “Vale of Moans” and the start of the second phase. The Vale of Moans can be seen as figurative of the 32nd trail of the Tree going to Yesod and is also designated on the Moon Atu of the Tarot (Prentice 25).

Theories (Yesod)

The second phase of meditation is the surveillance of the “remnants” of Divinity, which is executed through the “reflect of things professed through perception”. The Latin derivation for remnant essentially means footstep, and it can be noticed in a related manner to the chief Mayan God, who was only recognized by his “footprint”, that is, by his transient, rather than his manifestation (Cousins 68).

Bonaventure notices, “Conferring to his evaluation of Augustine’s and Aristotle’s physics, that the world is created, and that all that moves is stirred by something else” (Cousins 67). During the chief work of the Theoricus, which is a statement, one may come to diagnose concord running behind the superficial world. The third phase of the expedition is the prosperous end of the job of the Theoricus, who appears to perceive that one “will be capable of seeing Divinity through someone as through an appearance, which is to see through, reflect in an ambiguous mode” (Cousins 67).

Practicus (Hod)

The third phase goes on with the study of innate, rational and ethical philosophy, which lights up the brain, which is a chief practice of the initiatory voyage. That implies that the rationale, as it grows to be sophisticated and experienced, finally concedes its own position and restrictions and loses the supremacy to perplex or yoke the identity. It is, similar to all of the false divisions, led via it.

Philosophies (Netzach)

Quoting the Canticle of Canticles as a chief text for the fourth phase discloses much of Bonaventure’s conviction about the effort and actions typifying the stage. In fact, the expressive world is to a large extent apparent in his descriptions of the completeness of dedication by which the soul develops like a column of smoldering from fragrant spices of frankincense and myrrh, powerful appreciation by which the soul develops like the sunrise, and the sheer abundance of ecstasy by which the essence, spilling over with joy of the sweetest pleasure inclines entirely upon her adored. It is at this stage that Crowley suggested the job of Liber Astarte, which was a loyal rite, searching to fuse the Philosophus with an exacting divinity via dedication.

The useful feature of this phase is in the “hierarchical actions” of positioning the soul as in the divine Jerusalem (Copleston 27). This implies that, one has to configure him/herself in conformity to his/her individual revelations, as achieved formerly.

Adeptus Minor (Tiphareth)

The fifth phase is the effort to achieve the uppermost ingredient of the soul, from which spiritual union continues. While the preceding stages have dealt with enquiry and resulting disclosures, the central stages deal with being and express knowing of the everlasting and most current; completely simple and the supreme; most real and consistent. Here, terms start to loose significance to real, direct experience of that which is supreme in particular because it is quite straightforward (Copleston 27).

Adeptus Exemptus (Chesed) and Adeptus Major (Geburah)

The sixth phase is portrayed with correspondence to the two Cherubs in front of the Mercy Seat. The acumen of Geburah and the ecstasy of Chesed are identified as related to the meditation of the trinity, that is, Chockmah, the Upper Sephiroth of Binah and Kether. A perfection of illumination is achieved at the ending of the sixth phase, and the seventh phase is particular to the transitory from the Red Sea into the obscurity, which I would propose depicts the stages of the Binah and Abyss in the Initiatory System.

Magister Templi (Binah), Magus (Chockmah) and Ipssisimus (Kether)

As an ending, Bonaventure remarks that, during the last stages of meditation and work, it is approval of death or union with the fire which only can attain a triumphant ending.

In conclusion, the expedition of Humanity is divided first into three common phases, being Purgation, Light, and Aptness. All of these retorts to: first, the mortal nature, second, the determination of the individual, and third, act of Divinity as Grace. The actions of the three phases are mostly prearranged as; Purgation, Proclaiming, Foremost, Affirming, Radiance, Ordering, Consolidation, Authoritative, Precision, Receiving, Revealing and Anointing.

These activities may be arranged onto the Tree as common Schematics of the procedures undertaken by the Pledgee, and trail an analogous growth of the array to that found in Alchemy. Bonaventure splits the Expedition into six phases, taking the Spirit as the emblematic ground of the portrayal, and these phases take us from the state of the mortal fellow to that of the Introspective living in the spiritual experience of the “Tremendous radiant Darkness” of Divinity.

I have attributed these phases to the Kabbalah and the Initiatory Structure from Malkuthto the Abyss, as Bonaventure, like many spiritualists of the period, finishes his portrayal at this level, though cueing at more conditions beyond. As Brady notes in his preamble, the Expedition takes us “into the mist of unwitting which is itself perchance the most faultless knowing (Saint Bonaventure 37). I take this “One in Three” to denote to the Higher Sephiroth of the Tree above the Abyss. The squabble of the Initiate that States may be released beyond this Abyss where uniqueness fuses with Divinity as no-thing and the Self is totally overwhelmed.

This proclamation may have been disgusting for such Bonaventure due to its prospective for elucidation as profanation. The situation of the earthly man is fancied as that of a “humble man in the desert”. Conversely, this condition is believed tradable, as the Franciscans charted the code of exemplars; that all formation is a set of flashes in the inner vitality of Divinity. That is to say by perceiving the actions of nature one can emerge to know the dealings and character of mysticism.

As Bonaventure words it; “This is the entire metaphysics; secretion, exemplarily, consummation; to be light up by divine emissions and directed back to the main authenticity”. The expedition is also associated to the portrayal of Solomon’s Temple, and I have consequently alienated the following summation. The soul’s journey into God is of concern since Itinerarium can be interpreted as a strategy for an expedition, which is a fragment of the purpose helped by any initiatory scheme.

Works Cited

Bettoni, Efrem. Saint Bonaventure. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1964.

Cheslyn, Jones and Geoffrey Wainwright. The Study of Spirituality. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Copleston, Frederick. A History of Philosophy: Medieval Philosophy. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1962.

Cousins, Ewert. Bonaventure and the Coincidence of Opposites: The Theology of Bonaventure. Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1978.

Prentice, Robert. The Psychology of Love According to St. Bonaventure. London: The Franciscan Institute, 1992.

Saint Bonaventure. The Soul’s Journey into God. Manwah, NJ: Paulist, 1978.

Shahan, Robert. Bonaventure and Aquinas: Enduring Philosophers. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1976.

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