St. Bonaventure was the official biographer of St. Francis of Assisi. He was also a contemporary of St. Thomas Aquinas who is considered the most intelligent theology and philosophy professor of the Church for all times. St. Bonaventure was a professor at the University of Paris during the Middle Ages. This university was the academic center of the world at that time. St. Bonaventure is venerated by the Church as a seraphic doctor because he was able to blend intellectual wisdom with the vision that comes from God. He was bright, wise, intelligent and holy. But what did he say about himself?
He himself tells his story. The Pope had appointed him a cardinal. Since there were no telephones or telegrams at that time, the Pope would send a red hat to the person being appointed to signify his elevation to the cardinalate. A messenger went to St. Bonaventure’s monastery to inform him of his appointment. But he arrived while Bonaventure was washing dishes as the Franciscan friars just had lunch. As the messenger made the announcement, Bonaventure said, “Please put the hat someplace. I am not yet through with the dishes.”
That was Bonaventure – doing first things first. He had no intellectual pride. He was looked up to as a very wise professor yet he washed plates for his fellow friars.
Intellectual pride is not limited to people in the academe. It can afflict anyone of us. There are people who pretend to know every answer to every question.
Let us ask God to make us as intelligent as St. Bonaventure. But let us also ask the Lord to make us wise. Intelligence is a gift. Wisdom is a virtue.
Jesus In My Heart