By: Saint Bonaventure (1221-1274)
Seeing himself as "unequal to so great a task", St. Bonaventure nevertheless endeavored to introduce his readers to the practice of "the most beneficial of all devout exercises, and that which is most capable of leading [them] to the summit of Christian perfection": the contemplation of the life of Our Lord. By "frequent and habitual meditations on that divine subject" even "very illiterate persons" have been raised to such "familiarity, confidence, and love of him" that they have become "profoundly versed in the most sublime mysteries of God". What better way "to arm our breast against the flattering, yet fleeting vanities of the world; to render us steady amidst tribulations and adversities; and finally, to preserve us from vice, and facilitate the possession of every virtue"? He addresses his reader in "plain and unpolished" language, "that you may the more easily comprehend the matter here treated, and study rather to improve your mind and heart than flatter your ears." "I hope still more, that if you are but diligent in the exercise of this devout study, that the Lord, whose life is here treated of, will become your master and instructor."
- Summary by ekortright