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Different Paths to God Found in Bonaventure's The Soul's (or Mind's) Journey to God
Religion and Theology
Pages 7 (1757 words)
Bonaventure’s The Soul’s Journey to God is a detailed account of how we travel toward our union with God. Bonaventure describes six different degrees, referred to by Bonaventure as the “six steps of illumination” that make up the path toward union with God.
The path detailed in The Soul’s Journey to God is a path to ecstasy, to truly knowing the Creator. Bonaventure describes this path as, “the road by which this rapture is reached” (54). This is a path that no believer can pass through alone. It is only through Christ that we can attain ecstasy. “There is no other path but through the burning love of the Crucified” (54). So one must both desire to be close to God, have faith and love, and also realize that you cannot do it yourself. You must have the help of Christ to attain your goal. We attain the first degree through “an outcry of prayer” and “the flash of insight” (55). Both of these must come through Christ. Bonaventure issues an invitation: “I invite the reader to the groans of prayer through Christ crucified.” But the first step is purification of the spirit. Bonaventure admonishes that you must first exercise your conscience and experience remorse. But again, one must begin with Christ. “We cannot rise above ourselves unless a Higher Power lifts us up” (59). This process involves a three-prong process, which according to Bonaventure, mirrors the three days in the wilderness described in Exodus. He also compares it to the three periods of light in a day: evening, morning, and noon. He also relates it to the threefold essence of Christ. This three-prong process begins with the material. The second prong is about the spirit. ...
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