The Journey of the Soul into God
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The Journey of the Soul into God

Itinerarium Mentis in Deum

Philotheus Boehner, Zachary Hayes

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The Journey of the Soul into God

Itinerarium Mentis in Deum

Philotheus Boehner, Zachary Hayes

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This new translation of The Journey of the Soul into God—Itinerarium Mentis in Deum—signals a milestone in Bonaventurian scholarship in North America. Based on the famed 1956 Boehner edition, this volume presents the text with a new inclusive-language translation, authoritative notes by Boehner with a new translation of their Latin content, plus the Latin text of the critical edition interfaced with the English text.

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TEXT AND TRANSLATION

ITINERARIUM MENTIS IN DEUM

PROLOGUS

1. In principio primum principium, a quo cunctae illuminationes descendunt tanquam a Patre luminum, a quo est omne datum optimum et omne donum perfectum,1 Patrem scilicet aeternum, invoco per Filium eius, Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, ut intercessione sanctissimae Virginis Mariae, genitricis eiusdem Dei et Domini nostri Iesu Christi, et beati Francisci, ducis et patris nostri, det illuminatos oculos mentis nostrae ad dirigendos pedes nostros in viam pacis illius, quae exsuperat omnem sensum;2 quam pacem evangelizavit et dedit Dominus noster Iesus Christus; cuius praedicationis repetitor fuit pater noster Franciscus, in omni sua praedicatione pacem in principio et in fine annuntians, in omni salutatione pacem optans, in omni contemplatione ad ecstaticam pacem suspirans, tanquam civis illius Ierusalem, de qua dicit vir ille pacis, qui cum his qui oderunt pacem, erat pacificus: Rogate quae ad pacem sunt Ierusalem. Sciebat enim, quod thronus Salomonis non erat nisi in pace, cum scriptum sit: In pace factus est locus eius, et habitatio eius in Sion.3
2. Cum igitur exemplo beatissimi patris Francisci hanc pacem anhelo spiritu quaererem, ego peccator, qui loco ipsius patris beatissimi post eius transitum septimus in generali fratrum ministerio per omnia indignus succedo; contigit ut nutu divino circa Beati ipsius transitum, anno trigesimo tertio (1259) ad montem Alvernae tanquam ad locum quietum amore quaerendi pacem spiritus declinarem, ibique existens, dum mente tractarem aliquas mentales ascensiones in Deum, inter alia occurrit illud miraculum, quod in praedicto loco contigit ipsi beato Francisco, de visione scilicet Seraph alati ad instar Crucifixi. In cuius consideratione statim visum est mihi, quod visio illa praetenderet ipsius patris suspensionem in contemplando et viam, per quam pervenitur ad eam.
3. Nam per senas alas illas recte intelligi possunt sex illuminationum suspensiones, quibus anima quasi quibusdam gradibus vel itineribus disponitur, ut transeat ad pacem per ecstaticos excessus sapientiae christianae. Via autem non est nisi per ardentissimum amorem Crucifixi, qui adeo Paulum ad tertium caelum raptum transformavit in Christum, ut diceret: Christo confixus sum cruci; vivo autem, iam non ego; vivit vero in me Christus;4 qui etiam adeo mentem Francisci absorbuit, quod mens in carne patuit, dum sacratissima passionis stigmata in corpore suo ante mortem per biennium deportavit. Effigies igitur sex alarum seraphicarum insinuat sex illuminationes scalares, quae a creaturis incipiunt et perducunt usque ad Deum, ad quem nemo intrat recte nisi per Crucifixum. Nam qui non intrat per ostium, sed ascendit aliunde, ille fur est et latro. Si quis vero per hoc ostium introierit, ingredietur et egredietur et pascua inveniet.5 Propter quod dicit Ioannes in Apocalypsi: Beati qui lavant vestimenta sua in sanguine Agni, ut sit potestas eorum in ligno vitae, et per portas ingrediantur civitatem;6 quasi dicat, quod per contemplationem ingredi non potest Ierusalem supernam, nisi per sanguinem Agni intret tanquam per portam. Non enim dispositus est aliquo modo ad contemplationes divinas, quae ad mentales ducunt excessus, nisi cum Daniele sit vir desideriorum.7 Desideria autem in nobis inflammantur dupliciter, scilicet per clamorem orationis, quae rugire facit a gemitu cordis,8 et per fulgorem speculation-is, qua mens ad radios lucis directissime et intensissime se convertit.
4. Igitur ad gemitum orationis per Christum crucifixum, per cuius sanguinem purgamur a sordibus vitiorum,9 primum quidem lectorem invito, ne forte credat quod sibi sufficiat lectio sine unctione,10 speculatio sine devotione, investigatio sine admiratione, circumspectio sine exsultatione, industria sine pietate, scientia sine caritate, intelligentia sine humilitate, studium absque divina gratia, speculum absque sapientia divinitus inspirata. – Praeventis igitur divina gratia, humilibus et piis, compunctis et devotis, unctis oleo laetitiae11 et amatoribus divinae sapientiae et eius desiderio inflammatis, vacare volentibus ad Deum magnificandum, admirandum et etiam degustandum, speculationes subiectas propono, insinuans, quod parum aut nihil est speculum exterius propositum, nisi speculum mentis nostrae tersum fuerit et politum. Exerce igitur te, homo Dei, prius ad stimulum conscientiae remordentem, antequam oculos eleves ad radios sapientiae in eius speculis relucentes, ne forte ex ipsa radiorum speculatione in graviorem incidas foveam tenebrarum.
5. Placuit autem distinguere tractatum in septem capitula, praemittendo titulos ad faciliorem intelligentiam dicendorum. Rogo igitur, quod magis pensetur intentio scribentis, quam opus, magis dictorum sensus quam sermo incultus, magis veritas quam venustas, magis exercitatio affectus quam eruditio intellectus. Quod ut fiat, non est harum speculationum progressus perfunctorie transcurrendus, sed morosissime ruminandus.
Explicit Prologus.

THE JOURNEY OF THE SOUL INTO GOD

PROLOGUE

1. In the beginning1 I call upon that First Beginning from whom all illumination flows as from the God of lights,2 and from whom comes every good and perfect gift. I call upon the eternal Father through the divine Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that through the intercession of the most holy virgin Mary, the mother of that same Lord and God, Jesus Christ, and through the intercession of blessed Francis, our leader and father, God might grant enlightenment to the eyes of our mind and guidance to our feet on the path of peace – that peace3 which surpasses all understanding. This is the peace which our Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed and granted to us. It was this message of peace4 which our father Francis announced over and over, proclaiming it at the beginning and the end of his sermons. Every greeting of his became a wish for peace; and in every experience of contemplation he sighed for an ecstatic peace. He was like a citizen of that Jerusalem about which the man of peace – he who was peaceable even with those who despised peace– says: Pray for those things that are for the peace of Jerusalem. For he knew that it is only in peace that the throne of Solomon exists, since it is written: His place is in peace, and his dwelling is in Sion.
Note references in the English translation refer to the Notes and Commentary section, pages 143–225.
2. Moved by the example of our most blessed father, Francis, I eagerly desired this peace – I a sinner who, unworthy as I am, had become the seventh general minister of the brothers after the death of the most blessed father. It happened around the time of the thirty-third anniversary of the death of the saint5 that I was moved by divine inspiration and withdrew to Mount Alverna since it was a place of quiet. There I wished to satisfy the desire of my spirit for peace. And while I was there reflecting on certain ways in which the mind might ascend to God, I recalled, among other things, that miracle which the blessed Francis himself had experienced in this very place, namely the vision of the winged Seraph in the form of the Crucified. As I reflected on this, I saw immediately that this vision pointed not only to the uplifting of our father himself in contemplation but also to the road by which one might arrive at this experience.
3. For those six wings can well be understood as symbols of six levels of uplifting6 illuminations through which the soul is prepared, as it were by certain stages or steps, to pass over7 to peace through the ecstatic rapture of Christian wisdom. There is no other way but through the most burning love of the Crucified. It was that sort of love which lifted Paul into the third heaven and transformed him into Christ to such a degree that he could say: With Christ I am nailed to the cross. It is now no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me. This sort of love so absorbed the mind of Francis also that his spirit became apparent in his flesh; and for two years prior to his death, he carried the holy marks of the passion in his body.8 The figure of the six wings of the Seraph, therefore, is a symbol of six stages of illumination which begin with creatures and lead to God to whom no one has access properly except through the Crucified. For anyone who does not enter by that door, but climbs up another way, is a thief and a robber. But anyone who enters by that door will go in and out, and will find pastures. For this reason, John writes in the Apocalypse: Blessed are those who wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb for they are nourished at the tree of life and they may enter the city through the gates. This is to say that no one can enter into the heavenly Jerusalem by means of contemplation except through the blood of the Lamb as through a door. For no one is disposed in any way for those divine contemplations which lead to ecstasies of the mind9 without being, like Daniel, a person of desires. But desires10 can be inflamed in us in two ways, namely through the cry of prayer which makes us cry aloud with groaning of the heart, and through the brightness of contemplation by which the mind turns most directly and intently to the rays of light.
4. Therefore, I first of all invite the reader to groans of prayer11 through Christ crucified, through whose blood we are purged from the stain of our sins. Do not think that reading is sufficient without unc...

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