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The Soul's Journey into God (Classics of Western Spirituality Series) [Paperback]

St.Bonaventure , Bonaventure , Ewert Cousins
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 21.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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The Soul's Journey into God (Classics of Western Spirituality Series) + Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works (Classics of Western Spirituality) + Selected Writings (Penguin Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Press International,U.S. (Dec 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809121212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809121212
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 552,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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But if you wish to know how these things come about ask grace not instruction, desire not understanding, the groaning of prayer not diligent reading, the Spouse not the teacher, God not man, darkness not clarity, not light but the fire that totally enflames and carries us into God by ecstatic unctions and burning affections. This fire is God and his furnace is in Jerusalem... --Bonaventure, 1217-1274

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Since happiness is nothing other than the enjoyment of the highest good and since the highest good is above, no one can be made happy unless he rise above himself, not by an ascent of the body, but of the heart. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Gem Of Christian Mysticism 11 July 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Of all the great Christian mystics, St Bonaventure is probably one of the least known and most forgotten, yet judging by the works included in this volume, he was preeminent as a man of great spiritual wisdom. Known variously as 'the Prince of Mystics', 'the Seraphic Doctor' and 'the Devout Teacher', in his day he was a key exponent of Franciscan spirituality and a campaigner for a healing of the schism between the Roman and Greek Churches. His devoutness and open mindedness is surely beyond dispute.

This beautifully translated collection of his key works includes his masterpiece 'the Soul's Journey Into God' which deals with Bonaventure's vision of the seven stages whereby the human soul can move into ever closer union with God through Christ. Rendered as a mix of poetry and prose (a masterstroke by the translator who truly liberates Bonaventure's ideas for the modern reader in doing so), each chapter shows the profound influence not only of St Francis but in the highest ideas of the Neo-Platonic mystics of Christianity from both the Eastern and Western Churches. Bonaventure's spirituality combines the best of St Dionysius the Areopagite and the interior journey of Augustine with the loving vision of St Francis, finding God first in Nature, then in the interior world of the human soul, then united with God in contemplation of the person of Christ, who himself bound together human nature with the Divine. Instead of a vision of guilt and sin, Bonaventure's concept of the Mystic Union is profoundly humanistic while profoundly spiritual and God-centred. A masterwork of humane mysticism which does the Christian tradition proud.

The other two works - the Tree of Life and the Life of St Francis - are also wonderfully rich in style and content. The excellent Classic Of Western Spirituality have unearthed and made accessible another great treasure of Western mysticism. Another feather in their cap.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By James Gallen TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"Bonaventure" provides a brief biography of its subject, the Franciscan scholar and Minister General, followed by three of his most important works. The works included are "The Soul's Journey Into God", "The Tree of Life" and "The Life of St. Francis." The first two invite the reader to meditate on the mysteries of God and to be drawn more deeply into them. The Life is a cross between a biography and a Gospel. It contains many factual details but also conveys the deep spirituality of St. Francis.

The parts of this book which I enjoyed the most were the biographical information of St. Bonaventure and "The Life of St. Francis". I think that the editors did an excellent job of relating the spirituality of Francis to the work of Bonaventure. Based on my reading of this book I believe that Bonaventure saw himself largely as an interpreter of St. Francis' spirituality to the world. For that alone it is worth reading.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Vision of God in Jesus Christ 13 Mar 2006
By Christian review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a spiritual gold mine for all people seeking to see God in Jesus Christ as well as those from any and every background who seek the Truth.

St Bonaventure (1217 - 1274) is a doctor of the Catholic Church, lover of Christ, mystic and near contemporary of his spiritual father, St Francis of Assisi.

The book's first work, "The Soul's Journey into God", is an account of how to encounter God through creation, the soul, and reflecting on God's attributes of Perfect Being and Perfect Goodness. These encounters are treated in 6 steps leading us to the 7th and final step of the soul's spiritual rapture into the Holy Trinity.

Bonaventure cries out to us to leave behind all thoughts and desires and abandon our lives to Christ. Progressing through love, prayer and gazing on God we will see and know The Persons of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in this life and in the life to come.

The second work, "The Tree of Life", is a spiritual account of the central events of Jesus' Life: His Hidden Life, Ministry, Passion, Death, Resurrection, Ascencion and Glorification. It is a profoundly beautiful and poetic work. Bonaventure calls us to be crucified in Christ and to live anew in Him through sharing in His Virtues.

The final work, "The Life of St Francis", is a spiritual biography of the little poor man of Christ. St Francis encounters us and bids us leave all to follow and love Christ. Bonaventure shows us that we must, like St Francis, die in Christ and reproduce His Virtues in our own lives. It is a dynamic and powerful work.

This book will appeal to all people especially those pursuing the vision of God in Jesus Christ. It is a spiritual treasure for all. For Catholics, Bonaventure will provide great wisdom from the depths of the Church's Tradition regarding the soul's mystical marriage to Jesus Christ. It will be a great blessing for Orthodox Christians as Bonaventure, following St Dionysius and the Eastern Church Fathers, shows us how to ascend to God in spiritual darkness through the Vision of Divine Light. It will greatly bless Protestants as it is a profound account of God's Justifying and Sanctifying Grace.

Finally, it will powerfully speak to all Charismatics and Pentecostals who have experienced the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. St Bonaventure is a man filled with the Holy Spirit who has produced a practical guide of great wisdom on how to see, know and intimately love the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

All in all, a great spiritual treasure at a very affordable price. Highly Recommended for all people.
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and enlightening guide to God. 12 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book comprises much of the great Saints works, and gives readers a glimpse at the different topics the Saint dealt with. I found the Tree Of Life section very deep and mystical, and explains how to have an intimate prayer relationship to God. Excellent overall book.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Classic of Christian Spirituality! 6 Nov 2004
By Christiana Washington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book touched me deeply and led me to a greater understanding of God's grace through Jesus Christ. I found myself unable to put it down even when I was very tired! A true classic!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Key medieval mystic 17 Nov 2006
By Greg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
St Bonaventure was one of the greatest mystics of the medieval period. This edition includes his classic work 'The Journey of the Soul into God', the 'Tree of Life', and 'the Life of St Francis.'

Bonaventure was a Franciscan mystic and theologian. He had a very positive view of the material cosmos and the figure of the cosmic christ occurs strongly through his mysticism. For Bonaventure, there are two ways we know God; the book of nature, and the book of scriptures. Through these two paths and then by looking inwards into ourselves at our image created by God, we encounter God's prescence at the heart of our very being, a journey which is deeply Augustinian in its origins.

The Tree of Life is an examination of the logos of Christ, in both his passion and his cosmic role. The Life of St Francis is a work of hagiography on that great saint who was the founder of Bonaventure's order.

Bonaventure is very much an aesthetic theologian. He is deeply appreciative of the beauty of the world, of Christ, and of God. He sees the world and ourselves as 'God's work of art', to be cherished and loved for what they are, God's good creations. Such a positive view should be welcomed by any Christian spirituality today, when our world is faced with environmental problems of considerable magnitude.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bonaventure's Interpretation of Franciscan Spirituality 29 Mar 2010
By James Gallen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Bonaventure" provides a brief biography of its subject, the Franciscan scholar and Minister General, followed by three of his most important works. The works included are "The Soul's Journey Into God", "The Tree of Life" and "The Life of St. Francis." The first two invite the reader to meditate on the mysteries of God and to be drawn more deeply into them. The Life is a cross between a biography and a Gospel. It contains many factual details but also conveys the deep spirituality of St. Francis.

The parts of this book which I enjoyed the most were the biographical information of St. Bonaventure and "The Life of St. Francis". I think that the editors did an excellent job of relating the spirituality of Francis to the work of Bonaventure. Based on my reading of this book I believe that Bonaventure saw himself largely as an interpreter of St. Francis' spirituality to the world. For that alone it is worth reading.
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