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bonaOnce more I am drawn to speak of the “saint of the day” who is Bonaventure, a follower of St. Francis. So what is a saint anyway? Americancatholic.org (a Franciscan organization that keeps me informed about saints and other important Catholic “stuff”) says that for Catholics (and others) “saints are holy people and human people who live extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each of us to be a saint.” (Emphasis mine)

Bonaventure’s life (1221-1274) overlapped that of Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) by five years – a great benefit because as a young child Bonaventure was seriously ill and was cured, it is said, by the prayers of Francis. Inspired by the life of Francis and the example of the friars when he studied theology in Paris, he entered the Franciscan order and became a teacher of theology himself. He was later chosen as the leader of his religious community and was responsible for bringing the young religious order back to a deeper love for and a closer following of the vision of Francis. He wrote books explaining the Franciscan way as well as a biography of Francis which inspired many. A commentary that sums up why Bonaventure is revered as a saint of the Church says, “Bonaventure so united holiness and theological knowledge that he rose to the heights of mysticism while remaining a very active preacher and teacher, one beloved by all who met him. To know him was to love him; to read him is still for us today to meet a true Franciscan and a gentleman.”

I emphasized that last sentence because it seems to me that even if we can’t all be great scholars and given to soaring to the heights of mysticism, we can be great lovers of God in our own way. It is that – more than anything else – that can draw ordinary people to God manifest in the world. We become instruments of presence, just as Bonaventure was. Today I will reassert my desire to be such an instrument and I will consider those women and men who have been models of holiness in my life, praising God for those “everyday saints.”

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