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The Journey of the Mind to God

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Bonaventure’s Journey of the Mind to God concludes with the chapter on the rest of the mind.  Such a “rest” is not the rest that results from the mind’s reaching a conclusion.  The rest involved is the tranquility that is the fruit of the discipline of contemplation — where the mind, having been purified through the different steps of ascent, finally reaches a point where it becomes empowered to receive the grace of the highest contemplation.

Therefore with these six considerations having run out [excursis] as the six steps of the throne of the true Solomon, by which one arrives at peace, where the true Pacifier rests in a pacifying mind as if in the interior of Jerusalem; as if also by six wings of the Cherub, by which the mind of the true contemplative is able [valeat] to be driven above by a full brightening of supernal wisdom; as if also on the first six days, in which the mind has to be exercised, to arrive at last to the sabbath of quiet; afterwhich our mind has surveyed God outside of Himself through vestiges and in vestiges, within Himself through image and in image, above Himself through a similitude of the divine light glittering above us and in that light itself, according to that which is possible according to the state of the way and the exercise of our mind; when one arrives so far on the sixth step to this, that in the First and Most High Principle and the Mediator of God and men, Jesus Christ, one gazes upon those things the like of which can in nowise be discovered [reperiri] among [in] creatures, and which exceed every perspicacity of the human intellect: it follows, that this (mind) by gazing transcends and passes over not only this sensible world, but also its very self; in which transit Christ is the Way and the Gate, Christ is the Stair and the Vehicle as the propitiatory located above the ark of God and the Sacrament hidden from the ages.

Towards which propitiatory he who looks at it with a full conversion of face, by looking at him suspended upon the Cross through faith, hope and charity, devotion, admiration, exsultation, appreciation [appretiationem], praise and jubilation; makes the Passover, that is the transit, together with Him, to pass over the Red Sea through the rod of the Cross, from Egypt entering the desert, where he tastes the hidden bread, and rests together with Christ upon the funeral mound [in tumulo] as if exteriorly dead, sensing [sentiens], nevertheless, as much as is possible according to the state of the way, that there is said to the thief handing on a cross with Christ: Today you shall be with Me in Paradise.  Bonaventure, Journey of the Mind To God, VII, 1-2

This degree of contemplation is not something that is won.  It is something that is received — wholly gratuitous — by a heart that has been readied through a growing connaturality with the “signs” of the Divine mystery.

Originally posted 2005-02-12 21:00:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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