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The Journey into God: A Forty-Day Retreat With Bonaventure, Francis and Clare [Paperback]

By Josef Raischl (Author), Andre Cirino (Author) & Cardinal Bonaventure Saint (Author)
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Item Number 131419  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   416
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.51" Width: 5.52" Height: 0.89"
Weight:   1.09 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 31, 2003
Publisher   Saint Anthony Messenger Press
ISBN  0867164999  
EAN  9780867164992  

Availability  0 units.

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The Journey into God: A Forty-Day Retreat With Bonaventure, Francis and Clare by Josef Raischl

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Map for the Journey of Bonaventure  Mar 20, 2008
Bonaventure's work the "Itinerarium" is the best introduction to Franciscan spirituality there is. Bonaventure composed it after he had been Minister General of the Little Brothers for two years. He was then nearly burned out from trying to keep the Order together. The "Itinerarium" is the fruit of a time of solitude on Mount La Verna. During this retreat, Bonaventure tried to enter the heart of St Francis, and then share the fruits of his reflection.
Bonaventure was a university professor, a genius steeped in scholastic theology. His own theology is rich, original and complex. In many ways Bonaventure is the classic intellectual. But he had learned from St Francis that the intellectual must be left behind to make way for the heart. Behind the academic brain, Bonaventure was a passionate lover; he had fallen in love with St Francis, and he saw his life's task as deepening his affection for God.
When Bonaventure turns his pen to write the "Itinerarium", he cannot help being himself. His theology, his understanding of God, flows in to his writing. For 21st-century readers, this scholastic background can be a barrier to understanding. Bonaventure needs someone to explain him.
Friar André Cirino and Secular Franciscan Josef Raischl teamed up to create a retreat based on the "Itinerarium". Exploring Bonaventure's work chapter by chapter, they interpret the intellectual content for a modern audience. More importantly, however, they interpret Bonaventure's spirituality through the lens of their own lives. They highlight the grounded yet mystical journey to God, presented by Bonaventure.
The retreat was presented first in German, and has been translated into English for this book. A bonus is Zachary Hayes' translation of the "Itinerarium", quoted for each chapter and printed in full at the end of the volume. This in itself is almost worth the purchase price!
Those who have experienced the live retreat given by André and Josef attest to its life changing power. For those of us unable to experience their retreat in person, they have produced this book. It is designed not to be read through as a novel, but used experientially over 40 days.
Each "day" starts with an extract from the "Itinerarium". André and Josef then interpret this material. Each chapter ends with two or three exercises for the reader to reflect on privately. Where appropriate diagrams bring Bonaventure's theological concepts to life.
My wife and I used this book as a Lenten study at home. We found the experience rich. Our understanding of Franciscan spirituality has deepened, and the "Itinerarium" has opened up for us in a new way. For example, we appreciated Bonaventure's ideas about surrendering oneself totally to God. André used the image of jumping off a diving board or a rope swing into deep water to help us see what Bonaventure meant by "surrendering".
The authors suggest two ways of using this book. Firstly in solitude. They take care to define solitude as St Francis did, not necessarily meaning totally on one's own, but sufficiently separated from everyday life to be able to focus on the journey. The second way of using the book is with a group, an outline for a weekly meeting using the material is provided.
Maybe my wife and I weren't sufficiently "in solitude". We found the material excellent but intimidating in its vastness. We were continuing on with everyday life, and not finding enough time to do justice to the material. We also found the book wordy and repetitive. It was as though the spoken word had been transcribed but not rigorously edited. This may also have been a problem of translation, but more precision could have been imposed before publication.
The group outlines looked useful, but I wonder how much of the "Itinerarium" itself group members would experience. However, the group experiences would be worthwhile.
There may in fact be a third way of using this book, closer to the original experience of the live retreat. A Franciscan literate in spirituality could use the book as a springboard to present her or his own retreat. The passage from the "Itinerarium" set for each session could be read dramatically and clearly. The retreat leader then could then develop ideas from his own life experience similar to those given by André and Josef.
The Journey into God makes high demands of its readers. The material is dense; unavoidable because of the density of Bonaventure's original work. Setting aside 40 days of solitude, however broadly solitude is defined, is quite an ask. The book, however, is worth the hard work needed to quarry its riches. I recommend it to those serious about deepening their understanding of Franciscan spirituality.
A practical spirituality for Franciscan  Aug 15, 2004
This book is a very good meditation on the lens with which Franciscans view creation and Christ. It offers a practical way to experience theology. Composed of 3 parts: a 40 day retreat and meditation; group meeting suggestions; and the Itinerarium mentis in Deum as translated by Zachary Hayes. Eventhough the book is good, one should try to attend the workshop given the writers (it is superb).

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