“VI. The Consideration of the Most Blessed Trinity in Its Name Which Is the Good” by Bonaventure
In the preceding chapter, Bonaventure asked us to wonder at the attributes of absolute being; in this chapter he moves to what he believes is the highest level of human contemplation, namely a consideration of the highest good. Within the context of Bonaventure’s Christian framework, the former is found in understanding the “nature” of God as “being” while the latter is found in considering the inner source of the divine reality, namely the Trinity and their eternal relations, which are appropriately understood by us as the “good.” Hence he thus imagines the highest angels (the cherubim in his text) caught up in this dynamic emanation of the perfect good, “seeing” the inner eternal relations of the Trinity and the self-diffusive outpouring of this highest good in the reality of Jesus and, patterned on this, in the rest of all creation.
What does Bonaventure mean when he asserts that the good is “self-diffusive” (§2) and that the highest good would then be most self-diffusive? Can you think of another term that would get at the notion of something being perfectly self-diffusive? What is the point of Bonaventure’s bringing in creation into his consideration of the good?
What is Bonaventure getting at in the next sections (§§4-5,7) of this reading? Why does he bring Jesus Christ — even granting his Christian orientation — into his reflections here? Why do you think he considers such a contemplation the “perfect illumination of the mind”?
How do these kind of reflections of Bonaventure contribute to theme of this section, the search for value and meaning? Can you provide a concrete illustration applicable to life at SBU where these reflections would have any relevance?