Friday 9 February 2007

Friday Morning Prayer for 27 October 2006: St Bonaventure

Good Morning! Yes, that was a typing mistake: Instead of A reading from the Gospel according to St Luke, it's actually A reading from the Letter of St James. Let’s hear what St James would like to tell us. [READING]
You may see from the heading on page 46, the theme for today’s prayer is about St Bonaventure, the patron saint of all the B Classes. Why today? Seven centuries ago in 1267, on 23 October, on St Bonaventure finished his studies and received his Doctoral degree at Paris University. He became a Doctor. Here, I don’t mean he was a medical doctor but someone who has studied a lot, many years at university. A doctoral degree is a PhD. Some of you, when you finish secondary school, you may study at a university and after 4 years of university education, you will get a Bachelor’s degree. 2 or 3 more years of studying will give you a Master’s degree and five or six more years will give you a Doctoral degree.
Well, does studying a lot make a person smart and clever? Is being smart and clever the same as being wise? From the Bible reading of today, we hear that wisdom is pure, peaceful, gentle and friendly. Wisdom is the noun for the word “wise”. We call someone wise if he or she is full of wisdom. Being wise is more than being smart and clever. St James told us wisdom is “free from prejudice and hypocrisy”. These two are words describing really bad behaviour. How bad? If you are prejudiced, that means you show an unreasonable dislike for something or someone. For example: Although Norman, who has an Indian background, could speak fluent Cantonese, he has a hard time finding a job in Hong Kong because many people are prejudiced against South Asians. Hypocrisy describes someone who pretends to believe something that they do not really believe. For example: He's such a hypocrite: He always tells other people about the importance of honesty but he himself lies about his income to get welfare benefit from the government.
True wisdom is not just doing good deeds – i.e. doing good things. Bonaventure is well remembered not just because he was a scholar. He loved studying but he loved God even more. Let’s listen to his prayer to Jesus that he has written. [READING] From this prayer, we see how he really loved Jesus. Just take a look at the words in bold. Bonaventure used words dealing with food to talk about God. From the second paragraph, His soul may hunger after Jesus who IS the bread of angels, the refreshment of souls. Jesus is sweet and full of taste. The underlined “you” in the third paragraph refers to Jesus. Besides being bread, Jesus is like water. We know this from words like fountain and thirst.
Before we say the prayer together, I would just introduce some difficult words which you may find difficult. Please repeat after me: from the first paragraph: pierce (to make a hole), serene (peaceful), from the second paragraph: savour (taste), from the third paragraph: attain (achieve), meditate (think deeply), tranquillity (peace), fragrance (good smell). Now, let us all say the prayer together slowly. Everybody, OK? [PRAY TOGETHER]
To close our prayer, let’s sing Play Before the Lord on p. 8 of your hymnal.

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