Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Daily Devotions

Is 10:5-7, 13-16; Ps 94:5-10, 15; Mt 11:25-27

Our psalm refrain is the affirmation of a people who have tested the LORD and tried his patience throughout the ages.  With them we too acclaim that, “The Lord will not abandon his people.”  Through every age the People of God have been trampled down and his inheritance has been afflicted.  The most vulnerable among the people have been destroyed; the widow, the stranger, the fatherless are slaughtered without hesitation.  Yet, still Israel and the New Israel prays, “The LORD will not cast off his people, nor abandon his inheritance; but judgment shall again be with justice, and all the upright of heart shall follow it.”  Like Israel of old and like the Virgin Mother, herself a widow one of the powerless, she is no fool.  In her wisdom she responds to the foolish attitude that says, “the God of Jacob perceives not.”  The Widow responds with wisdom, “Shall he who shaped the ear not hear?”  Indeed the LORD instructs nations and teaches men knowledge.  Even those who destroy the lives of his chosen ones, even these will come to know the severe mercy and constant faithfulness of the LORD God Almighty.  The powerless of every age have come to know that the LORD is faithful; he does not abandon his people!

 

The prophets in every age look back at the suffering of God’s People to see the mystery of God’s will unfolding even when it is too painful to remain faithful to the LORD who has seemingly abandoned his people.  Isaiah sees in the Exile a wondrous display of the LORD and his providence unfolding.  The LORD had chosen Assyria to be his rod in anger and his staff in wrath.  He used their military might to punish his impious Israel.  Indeed, the LORD commanded the Assyrians to seize plunder, carry off loot, and tread down his people in the mud of the streets.  However, the axe boasted against the LORD.  The saw exalted himself above him who wielded it.  No longer was the powerful pagan nation a tool in the hand of the LORD.  Assyrian began to deceive itself; in her heart she desired to destroy many nations and kingdoms.  Assyria boasted, “By my own power have I done it, and by my wisdom, for I am shrewd”. Such arrogance the LORD will not tolerate, and he comes like a kindling of fire to destroy the proud Assyrians.  Again justice will triumph in the history of the People God!  Again the whole world will witness the faithful love of the God who makes a covenant with the poor and powerless.

 

The Lord Jesus praised the childlike.  He praised his disciples who were simple and trusting men.  They had not taken the time to be approved by the scholars of the day, the scribes and Pharisees.  Yet, these followers of the Lord Jesus revealed the wisdom of God that was hidden from the view of those more educated and powerful.  In every age the LORD delights in the powerless who put their trust in his faithful love.  Indeed, the Lord Jesus praises the Father who has given these simple ones over to him.  The childlike alone can come to know the Father’s love the same way that Jesus has come to know it, through the human bonds of affection from his foster father, Saint Joseph, and his mother, the Virgin Mary.  As he grew in wisdom and grace before God and men, so too, we grow under the mantle of Mary’s love and wisdom.  In relationship, deep and faithful human relationship, we encounter the Son of Mary who is the Eternal Son of God.  In his love and mercy the Lord Jesus reveals his Father to us.  Indeed, the Father is simply Love, and his Son, who is simply Love, knows the Father and we come to know this Love in the Spirit, who is the Love between the Father and the Son.  The simplicity of love reveals the mystery of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  This is the mystery so long contemplated in the church.  Indeed, like Elijah on another mountain, we stand in the presence of the tiny whispering sound, the Voice of the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit.