Jordan Aumann O.P.: Christian Spirituality in the Catholic Tradition



The twelfth century was a period of political and ecclesiastical turmoil, intellectual stimulation and challenging adjustment to the changing times. The merchants and artisans of the towns and cities were confronting the ancient feudal system and demanding greater freedom and autonomy as individuals and as members of the guilds. The romance languages were slowly but surely replacing Latin, with the result that people in a given locality were becoming more isolated culturally and somewhat alienated from the Latin liturgy. The masters in cathedral schools and in monasteries, previously immersed in patristic sources and tradition, were reaching out to new methods of scholarship and thus preparing the way for the rise of the universities. Finally, the laity, individually or in groups, began to take a more prominent place in the life of the Church, even in areas that were formerly considered the exclusive domain of monks and the clergy.


The prologue to the Rule of Grandmont, founded by St. Stephen of Muret (+ 1124), stated that there is only one rule of faith and salvation, namely, the Gospel. All other rules, such as that of St. Benedict or St. Augustine, are simply applications of the Gospel teaching.(1) The reading and knowledge of the New Testament was not, however, the exclusive prerogative of monks; there was an intense interest in Scripture on the part of the laity of the twelfth century. In fact, a group of the laity at Metz translated into the vernacular the four gospels, the letters of St. Paul and the Psalms. Then, in private meetings they discussed and interpreted the various passages, but they excluded from their gatherings all priests and any laymen who disagreed with their exegesis of Scripture. As a result, in 1199 Pope Innocent III issued a letter in which he praised their devotion to Scripture but condemned their secret, exclusive meetings and their anti-clerical attitude. Later, the synods of Toulouse (1229) and Tarragona 0234) forbade the laity to possess or read translations of the Bible in the vernacular. (2)

Interest in the reading and discussion of the Gospel and the preaching of the Crusades for the liberation of the holy places naturally contributed a great deal to another dominant characteristic of medieval piety: devotion to the sacred humanity of Christ. Some historians have asserted that this devotion was introduced by St. Bernard and popularized by St. Francis of Assisi, but the truth of the matter is that this devotion has existed in the Church from earliest times.(3) It did develop in the twelfth century, however, and because of the worldwide interest in the Crusades and the Holy Land, the devotion of the faithful began to focus more and more on various scenes or "mysteries" of the life of Christ or on the instruments of the passion and death of Christ.

The attention of the faithful was especially fixed on the intensity of Christ's sufferings and, indeed, was preoccupied with that aspect. In succeeding centuries mystics such as St. Brigid described in minute detail the sufferings of Christ. In art, which reflects or animates the devotion of the faithful, the crucifixes were made more realistic and accentuated the agony of Christ. For example,, instead of portraying the two feet nailed separately to the cross, one foot was placed over the other and one nail transpierced both feet. As a result, the artist or sculptor could portray more intense suffering of Christ crucified.(4)

A treatise on sacramental confession in the second half of the twelfth century contains a passage in which the author, Peter de Blois, contrasts true devotion with pure emotion:

There is no merit in any feeling of devotion unless it proceeds from the love of Christ. Many of the characters in tragedies and other poems and songs are wise and illustrious and powerful, and excite our love .... The actors put before us the trials they endured, the injustices they suffered, . . and the audience is moved to tears. You are touched by these fables. When you hear our Lord spoken of devoutly and are so moved, is that truly the love of God? You have compassion for God; and also for Artus! In either case, your tears are in vain if you do not love God, and if your tears of devotion and penitence do not flow from the sources of our Savior; that is, from faith, hope and love.(5)
The name of Jesus was likewise the object of great veneration in this century, propagated no doubt to a great extent by St. Bernard, as was devotion to the sacred humanity of Christ. During this same period an English Cistercian composed the tender hymn: Dulcis Jesu memoria.(6) At the same time particular feasts in honor of the "mysteries" of Christ were multiplied; churches and chapels were increasingly dedicated to some aspect of the life of Christ; and artists produced numerous illustrations of the "mysteries" of Christ in painting, sculpture, and theatrical productions.

Flowing likewise from the devotion to Christ and the belief that the Gospel was the sole rule for Christian living was the imitation of Christ, and particularly in regard to poverty. Numerous preachers and writers insisted that by the very fact of his baptism, even if he never becomes a monk or cleric, the Christian is obliged to renounce the world and its pomps.(7) So well was the message understood that in the eyes of the laity the worst and most obvious sin of clergy and religious was avarice, often accompanied by lust.(8) At the same time, numerous laymen tried to live literally the injunction of Christ to give up all worldly possessions and follow him, and they lamented the fact that many bishops, priests and monks were sycophants of the wealthy and interested only in accumulating vast sums of money. Unfortunately, some of the very persons who attempted to live an evangelical poverty, in the face of the greed and luxury of ecclesiastics, often went to excess in their fervor and ended up in heresy.

Wherever the normal pattern of communities in the Church persisted -- dioceses, parishes, monasteries, chapters, confraternities -- it seems undeniable that orthodoxy was not seriously threatened. On the other hand, wherever the faithful were seeking to escape from it, they were in danger of losing their spiritual balance and ultimately their orthodoxy. People often tended towards a "private interpretation" of the Gospel. This explains why Western Christianity, when confronted by poverty or, possibly, by the Gospel and its ideal of absolute nakedness, presents a complex picture. On the one hand there were the solid religious organizations; they remained perfectly orthodox, and those of the faithful who did not belong to them were very ready to accuse them of betraying the Gospel. On the other hand, there was a swarm of small groups who wished, for various reasons, to practice the Gospel in all its purity but who easily foundered in heresy. Their spirit was not altogether sound, and they were much in the limelight, as can be seen from references to them in contemporary documents.(9)
Also closely linked to the imitation of Christ was an increasing devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Until the eighth century Christians firmly believed that the Mass was a continuation of the Last Supper and that Christ was truly present on the altar. But then, theologians such as Paschasius Radbertus, Erigena, Ratramnus of Corbie, and Florus of Lyons began to discuss the Eucharist in order to increase the fervor of the faithful. Eventually the theologizing on the Eucharist led to controversy, in the midst of which Berenguer of Tours denied the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. The expression "transsubstantiation" seems to have been introduced into the theology of the Eucharist at this time, perhaps by Bishop Hildebert of Tours (+ 1133). After a prolonged polemic, the Fourth Lateran Council officially settled the controversy and also made particular regulations concerning the Mass and Communion.

During this period a number of changes were introduced regarding the Eucharist. One of the most notable was the elevation of the Host after the consecration of the Mass.(10) It was only later that the chalice was also elevated, but still covered with the pall. Very quickly, however, the authentic veneration of the real presence of Christ was mixed with practices that were almost superstitious. The canon of the Mass was still a period of silence, recollection and mystery, in order to foster the greatest possible reverence.

The reception of Communion was infrequent in spite of the great devotion of the people. As a result, the Fourth Lateran Council commanded that Catholics must receive Communion at least once a year, during the Easter season.(11) One of the reasons why the people received Communion so seldom was their extreme respect for the Eucharist; they felt obliged to go to confession before Communion even when there was no need to do so. Thus, confessions"of devotion" became more and more common.

The reservation of the Eucharist in the tabernacle became standard practice, and in 1246 the first diocesan feast in honor of Corpus Christi was celebrated. Later it was extended and ultimately made a universal feast by Pope Urban IV. The Pope had hesitated about the promulgation until the clergy and faithful of Orvieto brought to him in solemn procession a corporal that was stained red with the Precious Blood that had flowed from a consecrated Host; this was July 19, 1264.

Together with devotion to Christ and veneration of the Blessed Sacrament, the faithful of this period had a filial love for Mary, and a veneration for the saints and the angels. Marian devotion was promulgated particularly in the monasteries (the Cistercians were called the Brothers of holy Mary). In feudal times the title of our Lady, Notre Dame, Madonna, was natural. Known prayers and hymns in the twelfth century were Salve Regina; Ave, Maris Stella; Alma Redemptoris and, of course, the Ave Maria. However at this time the Ave Maria consisted only in the archangel's salutation; the name "Jesus" was added in the fifteenth century. There was also the practice of reciting fifty or even 150 Ave Maria's, but the rosary as we know it did not come into popular use until later. The Angelus was recited only at the ringing of the bell in the evening.

As regards the saints, the various guilds placed themselves under saintly protectors and a saint's name was bestowed on a child at baptism. Following upon this devotion was the preservation of saints' relics and the construction of special shrines for their burial. James of Voragine composed the famous book, The Golden Legend, lives of the saints, as did James de Vitry, Caesarius, and Thomas of Cantimpré. It should be noted, however, that in the beginning the veneration of the saints was a popular action. Many of the ancient saints have never been officially recognized as such by the Holy See. In order to correct abuses, Pope Alexander II reserved this prerogative of canonization to the Holy See, as had been urged by Pope Gregory IX in 1234. The Fourth Lateran Council insisted that all relics must be authenticated by the Holy See.(12)


St. Bernard not only preached the Second Crusade in the name of Pope Eugene III in 1145, but he was also closely related to the emergence of a new religious institute in the Church, that of the soldier-monk. In feudal Christianity there had always been a military concept of the members of the kingdom of God, the Church, whose ruler was Christ the King. But now St. Bernard greets with enthusiasm "a new kind of militia" that has come forth in the Holy Land and has as its object to expel the Muslims from the holy places.(13)

The first of the military orders, the Knights Templar, was founded in the precincts of the Temple at Jerusalem around 1118 and was to some extent affiliated with the Canons of the Holy Sepulcher. Its mission, was to defend the Christians in the city of Jerusalem, even by force of arms. The Knights Templar observed poverty, chastity and obedience and therefore they were recognized as religious. Their rule was based on that of canons regular, the Rule of St. Benedict and the Cistercian observances. Consequently, they assisted at the Divine Office, they were obliged to fast and abstinence, and they were to dress simply, in conformity with their military life.

At the same time the Knights of Malta were also founded in Jerusalem and, like the Templars, they were attached in some way to the canons regular, although their mission was to care for the hospital of St. John the Baptist. They followed the Rule of St. Augustine and members were drawn from clerics and laymen. They observed the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience and lived in community.

In a short time these two groups spread throughout Europe and were especially effective in helping to reconquer Spain from the Moors. In Spain another group was formed, known as the Knights of Santiago de Compostela, although they were not religious and therefore did not have to observe the three evangelical counsels. Their whole purpose was to defend the Church and expel the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula. Other organizations affiliated to Cistercian monasteries in Spain were the Orders of Calatrava, Alcantara and Avis.

The problem arises of how to reconcile Christians - - indeed men vowed to the evangelical counsels - - with dedication to war and the necessary killing of the enemy. Yet even St. Bernard insisted that when they are fighting for the Lord, they are to fear neither the danger of being killed nor the sin of killing an enemy. Yet the crusaders were never considered martyrs, for they were, as St. Peter the Hermit told them, "monks as regards their virtues, but soldiers in their actions."(14)


Although the canons regular did not exert any notable influence on the life of the Church until the twelfth century, the origins of canonical life can be traced back to St. Augustine. Thus, in a letter addressed to a community of canons in Bavaria, Pope Urban II wrote:

We give thanks to God that you have resolved to renew among yourselves the admirable life of the holy fathers of the Church .... This is the way of life that was instituted by Pope Urban the Martyr, which Augustine organized by his rules, which Jerome molded by his letters, which Gregory commissioned Augustine, the bishop of the English to institute.(15)
Although, as Vicaire points out, the origin of canons "is a cloudy part of history,"(16) there is no doubt that Pope Urban II considered the life of the canons to be as authentically rooted in primitive Christianity, as was the monastic life. Bishop Eusebius of Vercelli (+307) and St. Augustine (+430) introduced the common life among their clergy; in 535 the Council of Clermont defined canons as priests or deacons assigned to a church; Bishop Chrodegang of Metz drew up a rule for his clergy (c. 755) which was based on the Rule of St. Benedict; and the Synod of Aix-la-Chapelle (816-817) promulgated the new Regula Canonicorum requiring common life and obedience to a superior but allowing possession of goods. Nevertheless, the canons regular as we know them today did not come into existence until the second half of the eleventh century. At that time the Rule of St. Augustine became the basis for the life of the canons regular and they themselves were recognized as religious but distinct from monks. The diocesan-priest canons continued to exist but they abandoned community life and retained the function of chanting the Divine Office in the cathedral.

In 1059 the Synod of Rome imposed the common life on all clerics who were ordained for a specific church or cathedral, and during the eleventh century many cathedral chapters and collegiate chapters adopted the Rule of St. Augustine. The canons who did so became canonici regulares instead of canonici saeculares (diocesan-priest canons) because they also pronounced the religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. While some chapters remained autonomous, others in due time federated into congregations.(17)

From the beginning the vita canonica offered diocesan priests, who are ordained for the ministry, the opportunity to live a community life in poverty. The first question that comes to mind is why diocesan priests should be encouraged to embrace this form of life. In the mind of St. Augustine the reason was for the attainment of the perfection of charity, since he states early in his Rule: "You should wish to live in your house in unanimity, having only one heart and one soul in God, since it is for this that you have come together." Between the ninth and eleventh centuries the vita canonica was proposed and then imposed on diocesan priests as a means of reform, to protect them against avarice and lust.(18) The Synod of Rome (1059) proposed the vita canonica, a common life in poverty, as a means to return to the apostolic life of the primitive Christians.(19) Thus, St. Peter Damian stated: "It is indeed clear and evident that the rule of the canons is modeled on the norms of the life of the apostles, and that any canonical community which keeps its discipline with exactitude imitates the tender infancy of the Church still at the breast."(20)

It is readily understandable how the emphasis on the "monastic" aspects of the canonical life led to the emergence of the canons regular, a new form of religious life in which the ministry of souls (not generally the work of monks) became one of the purposes of religious life in non-contemplative religious institutes. The principal distinction between the canons regular and the monks is that the former dedicate themselves to the apostolate.(21) Anselm of Havelberg (+ 1158), in his Apologetic Epistle, showed that the active life and the contemplative life - - later referred to as the "mixed life" can be perfectly blended in the life of the canons. Vicaire points out several effects of this development which were of special importance in the theology of Christian spirituality:

The apostolic ideal is thus clearly recalled to the ministry. Once again the new orientation results from the needs of the times. The Gregorian movement, which was an effort to reform the Church by the reform of the clergy, was at the same time the inception of a reformation designed to encompass the whole of Christian society . . . . Putting an end to the equation between perfection and the flight from the world, it sought, on the contrary, to situate this Christian perfection, especially for the clergy, in a return to the world for the purpose of conquering it in order to Christianize it . . . . The Gregorian movement very explicitly sought to call all Christians to the life of sanctity while holding their proper places . . . .

This courageous and original movement affected Christianity . . . by making clear that holiness did not belong only to a small elite which consecrated itself to the life of perfection by fleeing from the world, but that it belongs to all those, whatever their work may be, who bear the name of Christian and live well the role in society that belongs to them. This evolution . . . reacted on the ideal of the vita apostolica, which was no longer ordered only to developing virtue in the clergy and to freeing them from temporal ambitions by poverty, but at the same time to preparing them for their ministry in Christianity, as formerly it had prepared the apostles for their ministry of evangelization.(22)

It would not be accurate, however, to conclude that after the emergence of the canons regular as religious institutes, dedication to the ministry and the care of souls superseded in every case the monastic elements of the vita canonica. Rather, as Raimbaud of Liège stated,(23) there were two types of canons regular: those who were in contact with the people, and those who were more separated from the world. For our purposes it will suffice to show the effects of this divergence in the two most famous canonical orders: the Premonstratensians and the Victorines.(24)

St. Norbert was originally a canonicus saecularis of the diocese of Cologne and in 1115 he retired into solitude to lead a life of prayer and austerity. Shortly thereafter he became a hermit-preacher and travelled from place to place, denouncing the laxity of morals among the clergy and laity. At the request of the bishop of Laon, Norbert gathered a group of priests and laity at Prémontré, where they dedicated themselves to a life of prayer, austerity and manual labor. Preaching was not abandoned, but it was not the primary purpose of the foundation. Named archbishop of Magdeburg in 1126, Norbert assigned to his followers the task of reforming the diocese and doing missionary work in northern Germany. Norbert died in 1134 but even before his death the Premonstratensian communities in France and England tended toward a more contemplative type of life, although they never abandoned the ideal of St. Norbert, which was to combine the life of the cloister with the clerical ministry.(25)

By 1134 the apostolate was for all practical purposes dropped from the statutes of the Premonstratensians and they proposed as a goal the attainment of priestly holiness by monastic asceticism.(26) Perhaps the most outstanding figure of the monastic and contemplative elements in Premonstratensian life was Adam of Dryburgh, who transferred to the Carthusians in 1189.(27)

Attempting as he did to establish a religious order that would combine the monastic observances with the priestly ministry, St. Norbert was a forerunner of the mendicant orders of the thirteenth century. This is especially true as regards the Norbertine orientation to the apostolate and the strict observance of poverty, bordering on indigence. Nevertheless, as regards the religious exercises and the mode of life within the abbeys, the Norbertines preserved a more monastic milieu than did the mendicants: insistence of solitude within the framework of community life, daily recitation of the Office of the Blessed Virgin (in addition to the Divine Office), alternation of liturgical prayer with lectio divina and private mental prayer, and dedication to manual or intellectual labor. The Rule of St. Augustine was followed as literally as possible, but the Statutes of Prémontré, which greatly resemble those of the Cistercians, gave the Premonstratensians rather more of a Benedictine monasticism than Augustinian vita canonica.(28) But eventually the Premonstratensians tipped the balance in favor of the apostolate and priestly ministry.

With regard to [the life of the cloister], there was no great difference between the life of the Premonstratensians and that of the monks; there was the same emphasis on charity in the common life, the same austerities, the same love of that heavenly life of which the life of the cloister is an anticipation, the conception of prayer in which the celebration of the liturgy alternated with the lectio divina, meditation and pure prayer; the same guarded attitude towards too intellectual a knowledge, to which is to be preferred an understanding brought about by love, a "tasting," an "experience," and finally the same devotion to the Mother of God, and the same bringing of the new sensibility to bear on the contemplation of the mysteries of our salvation. The originality of the order lies therefore more in the balance between the spirituality of the cloister and the cura animarum; in its early days the latter was not as prominent everywhere but it was always an essential part of the ideal of Prémontré, and gradually became more explicit. In their pastoral trend, as in giving the first place to poverty, the Premonstratensians were a foreshadowing of the mendicant orders of the thirteenth century. They showed that the crisis in monasticism had borne fruit in that it encouraged the appearance in the Church of more and differing states of life; it was not only that there were various ways of fulfilling the ideal of the Gospel; now the differences were recognized and justified on doctrinal grounds, a twofold progress.(29)


With the Canons of St. Victor the trend was in a different direction from that of the Premonstratensians. Although they remained in the monastic tradition and followed the Rule of St. Augustine, the Victorines concentrated their efforts to a large extent on intellectual pursuits, thus contributing to the development of Scholasticism. All of this had its beginning with William of Champeaux (+ 1122), professor at the school of Notre Dame in Paris, who in I Io8 retired to a hermitage near Paris with some disciples after a controversy with his student Abelard. In I I13 the group adopted the Rule of St. Augustine and soon the monastery of St. Victor became an outstanding theological center and enjoyed tremendous growth as a congregation of canons regular. William was named bishop of Châlons-sur-Maine and as such he consecrated St. Bernard abbot in 1121.

Following the practico-speculative method of St. Augustine, the School of St. Victor gained great renown, especially through its two greatest luminaries: Hugh of St. Victor and Richard of St. Victor. There were other authors also and they deserve at least a brief mention. Adam of St. Victor (+ 1192) is the poet of the School and author of liturgical Sequences; Achard (+ 1171) wrote treatises on the Trinity and Christology; Walter (+ 1180) composed sermons on Jesus and Mary; Godfrey (+ 1194) left a humanistic work called, Fons philosophiae, written in poetic form; and Thomas of St. Victor, known as Thomas Gallus (+ 1246), later the founder and abbot of the monastery of St. Andrew at Vercelli, wrote scriptural commentaries and, most important, a commentary and synthesis of the works of the pseudo-Dionysius. Thomas had a strong influence on the early Franciscans: Alexander of Hales, St. Bonaventure, Adam of Marisco, and was a personal friend of St. Anthony of Padua.(30) He is credited with promoting the trend toward "Dionysian" spirituality as opposed to speculative spiritual theology.

Hugh of St. Victor (1097-1141) has been called "alter Augustinus" and Villoslada does not hesitate to call him the most outstanding theologian of the entire twelfth century.(31) He is acclaimed by Bihlmeyer as "the most brilliant theologian of the twelfth century"(32) and Grabmann says that Hugh composed the first complete synthesis of dogmatic theology in the period of high Scholasticism.(33) His deep and lengthy study of the works of St. Augustine enabled him to present an Augustinian synthesis that had never before been accomplished.

Hugh's major work is On the Sacraments of the Christian Faith, which was an introduction to the understanding of Scripture. It could more properly be entitled "On the Mysteries of the Christian Faith" because Hugh used the word "sacrament" to designate all the holy things treated in Scripture. In the dialogue On the Sacraments of the Natural Law and the Written Law he attempted to provide a summary of the Christian faith. His teaching on the spiritual life is found in his treatises on meditation, on the method of prayer, in praise of charity, on the formation of novices, in his commentary on the Celestial Hierarchy of the pseudo-Dionysius and his homilies on Ecclesiastes.(34) Another work, De contemplatione et ejus speciebus is attributed to Hugh but not with certitude.

According to Hugh, although original sin has left disastrous effects, even in his sinful state man still retains a "memory" of God. This serves as a point of departure so that man can return to God, and the path of this return is knowledge and virtue. The spiritual life, therefore, is at once speculative and practical, and its perfection bestows that wisdom which is the unifying principle of the spiritual life.

The three stages of the spiritual life on the speculative level are symbolic knowledge, rational knowledge and mystical knowledge. As Augustine had said, the whole world is a book, but it does not suffice to admire the letters; one must be able to read. Or, following Plato, the world is a mirror in which are reflected the divine ideas, and this constitutes the symbolic knowledge that one finds, for example, in Scripture. As to the rational knowledge, one ascends to the invisible by means of the visible, and this calls for reflection or meditation. Departing from an awareness of his dissimilarity to God, man can attain to the divine likeness. But this reflection must not be pure speculation; it must be an understanding, an intus legere, that stimulates effective love and leads at last to contemplation, which is mystical knowledge. Thus, faithful to the method of the Fathers and to the monastic tradition, Hugh sees theology as a practico-speculative science that uses both reason and faith to lead one to mysticism.

In a terminology reminiscent of Guigo I, Hugh describes five steps in prayer that lead to the loving contemplation or scientia amorosa, which is the perfection of prayer: reading, meditation, prayer, growth in love and finally contemplation. Then, using an example that we find later in the works of St. John of the Cross, Hugh compares the practice of meditation to the difficulty involved in igniting green wood.

In meditation there is a kind of struggle between ignorance and knowledge. The light of truth is still obscured by the smoke of error, like fire which catches green wood with difficulty, but when fanned by a strong wind, flares up and begins to blaze in the midst of volumes of black smoke. Little by little the burning increases, the moisture of the wood is absorbed, the smoke disappears, and the flame, with a sudden burst, spreads, crackling and conquering, to the whole log ....

Our carnal heart is like green wood; it is still soaked with the moisture of concupiscence. If it receive some spark of the fear of God or of divine love, the smoke of evil desires and rebellious passions first of all rises. Then the soul becomes strengthened, the flame of love becomes more ardent and more bright, and soon the smoke of passion disappears, and the mind, thus purified, is lifted up to the contemplation of truth. Finally, when by constant contemplation the heart has become penetrated by truth, . .. and when it has become transformed into the fire of divine love, it feels neither distress nor agitation any more. It has found tranquillity and peace.

Thus, in the beginning, when, in the midst of dangerous temptations, the soul seeks enlightenment in meditation, there is smoke and flame. Afterwards, when it is purified and begins to contemplate the truth, there is flame without smoke. Then, when it has fully found the truth and charity is perfected within it, it has no longer anything to seek; it rests sweetly in the tranquillity and in the fire of divine love. It is the fire without either smoke or flame.(35)

Hugh distinguishes contemplation from reading, reflection and meditation by saying that it is a penetration of the intellect that comprehends all things in one clear vision. It is the joy of possessing in one glance a great number of truths, as a result of which the soul enjoys great peace and tranquillity. Even natural truths and philosophy itself can provide a type of contemplation but it is much inferior to that sapientia superior which constitutes divine theology. Indeed, Hugh seems to hold for the possibility of an immediate vision of God in this life at the height of contemplation, if the work De contemplatione et ejus speciebus can rightly be attributed to him.(36)

Richard of St. Victor (+ 1173), born in Scotland, was a disciple of Hugh but he surpasses his teacher as an original thinker. Cayré calls Richard the greatest theoretical teacher of mysticism in the Middle Ages.(37) Nevertheless, Richard owes a great deal to Hugh as well as to Bede the Venerable, Isidore of Seville, St. Gregory the Great and, logically, St. Augustine. His most famous theological work is De Trinitate, in which, unlike St. Augustine, he classifies the procession of the second Person from the Father as a procession of love rather than an intellectual generation.(38) In mystical theology, his field of specialization, Richard composed three treatises of special importance: Benjamin minor (Liber de praeparatione animi ad contemplationem), Benjamin major (De gratia contemplationis), and De Quatuor gradibus violentiae amoris.(39)

The Benjamin major is divided into five parts. The first three sections treat of reflection (cogitatio) on sensate objects; meditation on realities that are within us; and contemplation, which gives one an experience of divine realities. In the last two parts he discusses the various objects of contemplation and the modes of contemplation.

For Richard the goal of Christian perfection is contemplation, which presupposes a period of preparation through ascetical practices and the cultivation of virtue, starting with self-knowledge and prudence. Like Hugh, he admits of a contemplation which is purely natural and acquired, for he defines contemplation as "the free, more penetrating gaze of a mind, suspended with wonder concerning manifestations of wisdom";(40) and again as "a penetrating and free gaze of a soul extended everywhere in perceiving things."(41) He then proceeds to analyze and classify contemplation by reason of its objects and by reason of its origin or cause.

Three kinds of objects are proposed for contemplation: corporeal objects, spiritual creatures and the divine reality of God himself. In the first and lowest stage of contemplation one considers the material things of the external world which are perceptible through the senses; in the second stage a person perceives the order and interrelationship of material things in the universe; in the third stage one passes beyond the purely sensible to an awareness of the immaterial; and in the fourth stage he contemplates his own soul and also the angelic spirits. Mystical contemplation begins in the fifth stage, when "we come to know, through divine revelation, truths which no human reason can fully understand and no reasoning can enable us to discover with certainty. Such are the teachings of divine Scripture on the nature of God and the simplicity of his essence."(42)But in the sixth stage the truth contemplated not only surpasses reason, but seems to be repugnant to reason, such as the mystery of the Trinity.(43)For this last degree of contemplation, says Richard, the human mind must become in a manner angelic and the heart must be completely purified.

As regards the origin of the various degrees of contemplation, Richard taught that contemplation is purely human if it consists simply in the use of one's natural faculties; it is a mixture of human and divine if it is a consideration of spiritual matters under the impetus of God's grace; it is completely divine if it is the exclusive effect of a grace that is so powerful that it produces a kind of ecstasy or suspension in which the soul operates under the higher power of grace. For Richard the fifth and sixth degrees of contemplation are totally divine; they are the result of a special grace, and therefore not all souls attain to them.(44) Yet all souls should cultivate a desire for a special grace of divine contemplation and all Christians should prepare themselves as best they can to receive this gift from God.(45)


The intense intellectual activity of the Victorines was symptomatic of the new trends and the changes taking place in the twelfth century. As the religious life had adapted itself to contemporary needs with the emergence of the canons regular, so also influential centers of learning, of which the Abbey of St. Victor was but one example, were springing up outside the monastic setting. And a great deal more was involved than the founding of schools and universities; there was a definite break with the traditional categories and methods and the introduction of new sources of research provided by the translations of Greek, Arabian and Jewish authors.

Theology henceforward claimed to be a science, and according to the Aristotelian ideal took on a speculative and even deductive character. Like all sciences, it was disinterested; it was no longer concerned with nourishing the spiritual life, as the monastic theologians would have it do. The Scriptures were read, studied and taught with the view of the mind rather than the heart acquiring knowledge, and theological activity assumed a more purely intellectual character, less contemplative, less dependent on the atmosphere created by the liturgy. The study of the Bible had markedly a twofold aim: theological interpretation and literal exegesis; the thirteenth century was to reap the fruit of these efforts.(46)
The focal point of theological ferment was Paris, although there were famous schools at Laon, Chartres, Rheims, Canterbury and Toledo. But Paris was the most influential because of illustrious professors such as Peter Abelard, Gilbert de la Porrée, Alan of Lille, and Peter Lombard.(47) Men of this calibre attracted students from every nation. Later on, other universities would rival the schools of Paris, for example, Padua, Naples, Palermo and Bologna in Italy; Oxford and Cambridge in England; Salamanca and Alcalá in Spain; Coimbra in Portugal.

As early as the ninth century John Scotus Erigena (+870) had tried to introduce Platonic philosophy into the traditional study of sacred doctrine, but he was condemned for his efforts. Theology continued to be a study of Scripture interpreted according to the Fathers of the Church. In the eleventh century, however, two factors contributed greatly to the rise of Scholasticism: the concordances of Patristic texts on theological questions and the bitter dispute concerning the respective roles of faith and reason, revelation and speculation, theology and philosophy.(48) It was immediately evident from the compilation of Patristic teaching that many of the texts were incompatible with one another, if not contradictory. It was also evident that human reason must have some role to play in the understanding and development of the truths of faith. Congar summarizes the problem as follows:

The eleventh century... is plagued by a fight between dialecticians and anti-dialecticians . . . . The radical question is: Can Christian doctrines be understood in terms of reason's categories? If not, what status should be given to human reason, which is God's creation and man's honor? . . . If, on the other hand, the answer is "yes," does this not make Christian realities merely a matter of general laws which the human reason can attain, and, in that case, where is the mystery, where is the supreme, unique, and sovereign character of Christian realities?

This, then, is the stake at issue between the dialecticians and the anti-dialecticians. Some among these latter take an extreme position. They strongly assert with St. Peter Damian that reason has no teaching authority in Christianity .... They consider any encroachment of dialectics on the sacred text to be a sacrilege. They affirm very forcefully the transcendence, the character of unique truth of the Christian faith, which has been given us not for the purpose of fashioning it into a science but as a mode of living in penance and avoidance of the world. This is the ascetico-monastic solution which we will soon find again in St. Bernard and later in Pascal. It is an attitude inalienably Christian.

But another attitude is still possible. In fact there is one which later the Church will strongly favor, namely, that all the data are in a hierarchical order. This is what gripped a man like Lanfranc, Bérenger's adversary and the founder of that Abbey du Bec where St. Anselm's important ideas will soon flourish.(49)

St. Anselm (1033-1109) is considered the "Father of Scholasticism." Taking Plato and St. Augustine as his guides, he sought to provide a rational basis for that which is believed. Yet, he never fell into the extreme of Rationalism, since for him faith is always the touchstone of theology. His two basic principles greatly helped to pacify the contenders in the dispute concerning the role of human reason vis-à-vis revealed truths: Fides quaerens intellectum and Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam.(50) As a matter of fact, St. Anselm insisted that without faith, a person cannot possibly understand the revealed truths (Qui non crediderit, non intelliget).(51) The following statements, one by St. Anselm and the second by Almer, a disciple, reveal Anselm's understanding of the relationship between faith and reason:
No Christian should openly discuss why the Catholic Church fully believes and orally confesses a certain doctrine to be true. However, while simply believing and heartily living according to it, he may patiently seek its rational basis. If he understands it, let him give thanks to God. If not, it is stupid to protest. Let him bow his head in submission.(52)

Although we believe whatever the Scriptures direct us to believe (about Christ) . . ., it is, nevertheless, sweeter for us if in some manner we come to grasp by reason that the very object of our faith must be so and cannot be other than our faith teaches us. God is the supreme ratio and in him resides the certain source of all rational argumentation.(53)

St. Anselm succeeded in combating the excesses of certain dialecticians and at the same time he helped to calm the fears of the inflexible traditionalists. It was Peter Lombard (+ 1160), however, who succeeded in introducing the new methods of theological investigation: the use of Aristotle's philosophy and the response to theological questions by a survey of the opinions (sententiae) of theologians and the Fathers of the Church. Peter Lombard's most famous work was entitled The Four Books of the Sentences and he became known as the "Master of the Sentences." For several centuries the Sentences of Peter Lombard were the basic text for the study of theology.(54)

Inevitably this new Scholastic system substituted questions and answers for a study of the biblical and patristic sources of theology; deductive reasoning gradually replaced lectio divina, except in the traditional monasteries. There is no doubt that many theologians saw themselves simply as carrying into effect the statement of St. Augustine: "Desideravi intellectu videre quod credidi." It is also true that many of the "new theologians" would maintain, at least theoretically, that speculative theology terminates and is perfected in contemplation. The fact is, however, that asceticism and mysticism were more and more isolated as dogmatic and moral theology became more and more rational. To make matters worse, St. Bernard, William of St. Thierry, Hugh of St. Victor and Robert Grosseteste had to protest strongly against Abelard's excessive dialectic and proclaim the supremacy of faith over all rational knowledge of the truths of revelation. Vandenbroucke sums up the situation in this way:

The scholastic method of theological research which was born in this century was, in fact, a new one. The Master of the Sentences became the chief authority, or at least the necessary starting point. Hence came the formidable threat, a danger all too real, that the actual reading of the Bible and the Fathers would be forgotten or relegated to a lower level: a foreshadowing of the divorce between theology (now definitely a science) and mysticism, or at least the spiritual life. The province of the latter would then be purely religious sentiment which, at this tune, had still a penetrating insight and "taste" of the object of faith; but it was to become a value in itself even to the point of rejecting the intellectual foundations on which it had formerly rested. Soon it would consist in an "unknowing" with a Dionysian flavor, and this would be laid down in principle as a necessary condition for the spiritual ascent.(55)


Religious life continued to evolve in the thirteenth century as it had in the twelfth, and the evolution necessarily involved the retention of some traditional elements as well as the introduction of original creations. In fact, the variety of new forms of religious life reached such a point that the Lateran Council in 1215 and the Council of Lyons in 1274 prohibited the creation of new religious institutes henceforth.

Nevertheless, two new orders came into existence in the thirteenth century: the Franciscans and the Dominicans. As mendicant orders they both emphasized a strict observance of poverty; as apostolic orders, they were dedicated to the ministry of preaching. Yet there was a noticeable continuity between the newly founded mendicant orders and the older forms of monasticism and the life of the canons regular. At the risk of oversimplifying, we may say that the Franciscans adapted Benedictine monasticism to new needs while the Dominicans adapted the monastic observances of the Premonstratensians to the assiduous study of sacred truth, which characterized the Canons of St. Victor.

The mendicant orders, however, were not simply a development of monasticism; much more than that, they were a response to vital needs in the Church: the need to return to the Christian life of the Gospel (vita apostolica); the need to reform religious life, especially in the area of poverty; the need to extirpate the heresies of the time; the need to raise the level of the diocesan clergy; the need to preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments to the faithful. This was especially true of the Dominicans, who were consciously and explicitly designed to meet the needs of the times and to foster the "new" theology, Scholasticism. The Franciscans, as we shall see, were more in the tradition of the old monasticism and sought to return to a life of simplicity and poverty.

St Dominic Guzmán, born at Caleruega, Spain, in 1170 or 1171, was subprior of the Augustinian canons of the cathedral chapter at Osma. As a result of his travels with his bishop, Diego de Acevedo, he came face to face with the Albigensian heresy that was ravaging the Church in southern France. When they learned of the failure of the legates to make any progress in the conversion of the French heretics, Bishop Diego made a drastic recommendation. They should dismiss their retinue and, travelling on foot as mendicants, become itinerant preachers, as the apostles were.

In the autumn of 1206 Dominic founded the first cloister of Dominican nuns at Prouille; towards the end of 1207 Bishop Diego died at Osma, where he had returned to recruit more preachers. The work of preaching did not end with the death of Bishop Diego, but during the Albigensian Crusade under Simon Montfort, from 1209 to 1213, Dominic continued the work almost alone, with the approval of Pope Innocent III and the Council of Avignon (1209). By 1214 a group of associates had joined Dominic and in June, 1215, Bishop Fulk of Toulouse issued a document in which he declared: "We, Fulk, ... Institute Brother Dominic and his associates as preachers in our diocese . . . . They propose to travel on foot and to preach the word of the Gospel in evangelical poverty as religious."(56) The next step was to obtain the approval of the Holy See, and this was of special necessity in an age in which preaching was the prerogative of bishops. The opportunity presented itself when Dominic accompanied Bishop Fulk to Rome for the Lateran Council, which was convoked for November, 1215. According to Jordan of Saxony, Dominic desired confirmation on two points: the papal approval of an order dedicated to preaching and papal recognition of the revenues that had been granted to the community at Toulouse.(57)

Although Pope Innocent III was favorably inclined to the petition, he advised Dominic to return to Toulouse and consult with his companions regarding the adoption of a Rule.(58) Quite logically, the Rule chosen was that of St. Augustine, as Hinnebusch points out:

The adoption was dictated by the specific purpose St. Dominic sought to achieve -- the salvation of souls through preaching -- an eminently clerical function. The Rule of St. Augustine was best suited for this purpose. During the preceding century it had become par excellence the Rule of canons, clerical religious. In its emphasis on personal poverty and fraternal charity, in its reference to the common life lived by the Christians of the apostolic age, in its author, it was an apostolic Rule. Its prescriptions were general enough to allow great flexibility; it would not stand in the way of particular constitutions designed to achieve the special end of the Order.(59)
In addition to the Rule of St. Augustine, the early Dominicans used the customs of the Premonstratensians as a source for their monastic observances, for which reason they were often called canons as well as mendicant friars. What was peculiar to the Dominican Order was added by the first Chapter of 1216 and the General Chapter Of 1220: the salvation of souls through preaching as the primary end of the Order; the assiduous study of sacred truth to replace the monastic lectio divina and manual labor; great insistence on silence as an aid to study; brisk and succinct recitation of the choral office lest the study of sacred truth be impeded; the use of dispensations for reasons of study and the apostolate as well as illness; election of superiors by the community or province,; annual General Chapter of the entire Order; profession of obedience to the Master General; and strict personal and community poverty.

On December 22, 1216, the Order of Friars Preachers was confirmed by the papal bull, Religiosam vitam, signed by Pope Honorius III and eighteen cardinals. On January 21, 1217, the pope issued a second bull, Gratiarum omnium, in which he addressed Dominic and his companions as Friars Preachers and entrusted them with the mission of preaching. He called them "Christ's unconquered athletes, armed with the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation" and took them under his protection as his "special sons."(60)

From that time until his death in 1221, St. Dominic received numerous bulls from the Holy See, of which more than thirty have survived. The same theme is found in all of them: the Order of Preachers is approved and recommended by the Church for the ministry of preaching. St. Dominic himself left very little in writing, although we may presume that he carried on an extensive correspondence. The writings attributed to him are the Book of Customs, based on the Institutiones of the Premonstratensians; the Constitutions for the cloistered Dominican nuns of San Sisto in Rome; and a personal letter to the Dominican nuns at Madrid.

The Dominican friars were fully aware of the mission entrusted to them by Pope Honorius III. In the prologue of the primitive Constitutions we read that "the prelate shall have power to dispense the brethren in his priory when it shall seem expedient to him, especially in those things that are seen to impede study, preaching, or the good of souls, since it is known that our Order was especially founded from the beginning for preaching and the salvation of souls."(61)

"This text," says Hinnebusch, "is the keystone of the apostolic Order of Friars Preachers. The ultimate end of the Order, it states, is the salvation of souls; the specific end,. preaching; the indispensable means, study. The power of dispensation will facilitate the attainment of these high purposes. All this is new, almost radical."(62) On the other hand, it may be interpreted as a return to the authentic "vita apostolica," and that is the way St. Thomas Aquinas would see it: "The apostolic life consists in this, that having abandoned everything, they should go throughout the world announcing and preaching the Gospel, as is made clear in Matthew 10:7-10."(63)

Preachers of the Gospel need to be fortified by sound doctrine, and for that reason the first General Chapter of the Order specified that in every priory there should be a professor. Quite logically, the assiduous study of sacred truth, which replaced the manual labor and lectio divina of monasticism, would in time produce outstanding theologians and would also extend the concept of Dominican preaching to include teaching and writing.

Dominican life was also contemplative, not in the monastic tradition, but in the canonical manner of the Victorines; that is to say, its contemplative aspect was manifested especially in the assiduous study of sacred truth and in the liturgical worship of God. However, even the contemplative occupation of study was directly ordered to the salvation of souls through preaching and teaching, and the liturgy, in turn, was streamlined with a view to the study that prepared the friars for their apostolate. Thus, the primitive Constitutions stated:

Our study Ought to tend principally, ardently, and with the highest endeavor to the end that we might be useful to the souls of our neighbors.(64)

All the hours are to be said in church briefly and succinctly lest the brethren lose devotion and their study be in any way impeded.(65)

Because of the central role which the study of sacred truth plays in the Dominican life, the spirituality of the Friars Preachers is at once a doctrinal spirituality and an apostolic spirituality.(66) By the same token, the greatest contribution which the Dominicans have made to the Church through the centuries has been in the area of sacred doctrine, whether from the pulpit of the preacher, the platform of the teacher or the books of the writer. The assiduous study of sacred truth, so strictly enjoined on the friars by St. Dominic, provides the contemplative attitude from which the Friar Preacher gives to others the fruits of his contemplation. In this restricted sense we may say with Walgrave that the Dominican is a "contemplative apostle."(67)


It is in this area also of the study of sacred truth that the Dominican Order flows into the stream of the history of spirituality, with its most brilliant son, St. Thomas Aquinas, as navigator. Born at Rocca Secca, Italy, in 1221, Thomas entered the Dominican Order in 1244 and until his death in 1274 he dedicated all his talents and efforts to incorporate the new Scholastic methodology into the traditional theological sources.(68) In an age in which a dangerous dualism was rampant between faith and reason, theology and philosophy, Thomas piloted sacred doctrine to safety between the threatening dangers of apostasy from the faith and rejection of human reason. As Sertillanges says:

So far had things gone that the relation between faith and reason was by now an insoluble question. St. Anselm and others had found it a stumbling block .... At the moment when St. Thomas' intellectual life began, the question was not absolutely decided. Albert the Great had undertaken "to render the works of Aristotle intelligible to the Latins" . . . . Despite his truly great personal fame, he was not the man to direct his age and lead the Church to safety.

Abelard, a few decades before, had prepared the way. He was a dialectician of repute, fully aware of the need of providing the faith with rational weapons, by the introduction of philosophy. He became the pioneer of the new reform, but did it more harm than good in the long run . . . . The real leader was yet to come .... St. Thomas was providentially raised to fill this role, and he succeeded in spite of all opposition.(69)

What was actually involved in the clash between traditional Augustinian theology and Aristotelian scientific philosophy has been succinctly described by Congar:
It cannot be denied that Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas appeared as innovators in the thirteenth century. What set them apart was the fact that they had a philosophy, that is, a rational system of the world, which in its order was consistent and self-sufficient . . . .

What then did Albert and Thomas Aquinas do? What was the point of the dispute which arose between them and the Augustinians?(70) When Bonaventure, Kilwardby, Peckham, and others opposed Albert the Great and St. Thomas what did they want and why did they act? . . . On the one hand, these opponents were far from rejecting philosophy. They were philosophers as enthusiastically as those they fought. On the other hand, it is clear that neither Thomas nor Albert refused to subordinate philosophy to theology. The formula ancilla theologiae (handmaid of theology) was common to the two schools. And still there were two schools. Why?

Following Augustine, the Augustinians considered all- things in their relation to the last goal. A purely speculative knowledge of things had no interest for the Christian .... Truly to know things was to refer them to God by charity. So, in the Augustinian perspective, things will be considered not in their pure essence, but in their reference to the last goal,... in the use man made of them in his return to God .... Again, if "to know things is to determine the intention of their first agent, who is God," then things were to be considered in their relation to the will of God, who made them as he wanted and used them how he willed . . . .

In the Augustinian school, true knowledge of spiritual things is also love and union. Moreover, the truth of the true knowledge does not come from experience and sensible cognition, ... but from a direct reception of light coming from the spiritual world, that is, from God .... Now, this is very important for the notion of theology, for the distinction between philosophy and theology and for the use of "natural" knowledge in a sacred science . . . .

Finally, if we consider the utilization of sciences and philosophy in theology, we see that in the Augustinian school . . . these have validity or meaning only in their relation to God . . . .

For Albert the Great and St. Thomas the sciences represent a genuine knowledge of the world and of the nature of things . . . . Therefore, the sciences in their order have a veritable autonomy of object and method, just as in their order they convey their own truth . . . .

Now we understand better why Albert and St. Thomas followed the thought of Aristotle. They were looking not only for a master of reasoning but a master in the knowledge of the nature of things, of the world and of man himself. Certainly St. Thomas was not ignorant any more than St. Bonaventure that all things must be referred to God. But alongside that reference to God in the order of use or exercise, he recognized an unconditioned bounty to the speculative intellect in the nature of specification of things, which was a work of God's wisdom . . . .

Does it not seem probable that such confidence in reason may endanger the unique, original, and transcendent character of Christian realities? . . . Against the naturalism of the Aristotelians this will always be the fear and the objection of the Augustinians, especially of St. Bernard, St. Bonaventure, Pascal, and even Luther . . . .

In our opinion St. Thomas really surmounted the danger we have just pointed out. He held that it was not Aristotle but the datum of faith which had the commanding position. Moreover, long before Luther he noted that with regard to the sacred doctrine an undue amount of attention can be given to philosophy. First, and obviously, if the philosophy is false. Secondly, if faith and its revelations are subjected to a philosophical measurement, whereas it is philosophy which should submit itself to the measurements of faith . . . .

The theological thought of St. Thomas . . . was based essentially on the Bible and tradition. We can never stress too much the fact that in those days theological teaching was profoundly biblical. The ordinary lecture of the master was a commentary on Sacred Scripture. This is why the scriptural commentaries on St. Thomas represent his ordinary teaching as a master.(71)

Since the theology of the spiritual life had not yet emerged as a branch of theology, to be studied as a separate entity, so to speak, we do not find in the works of Aquinas, any more than in the works of Augustine, a separate treatise on spirituality.(72) For the early Scholastics theology was an eminently unified science which treated of God and of all things in relation to God. Thus, for Aquinas all of moral theology is seen as man's return to God and all human acts receive their moral qualifications ultimately and objectively by reason of their relation to the ultimate end, God. In dogmatic theology all questions are investigated in a spirit of faith which listens to the God who speaks through revelation. In the theology of the spiritual life, Aquinas bases everything and judges everything by that love which is charity, which is perfected as wisdom, and is incarnated in Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Christian perfection for St. Thomas Aquinas is a supernatural perfection and since man is by nature far removed from the supernatural order of the divine, the essential principle of his spiritual life is God's gift of grace, which elevates man to the supernatural order. Grace, however, respects man's nature in the sense that it perfects it at the same time that it works through it. The faculties of these works or operations are the virtues, which again admit of a division into purely natural and acquired virtues, and supernatural, infused virtues. The greatest of the virtues is charity, for it is charity that unites the soul to God. All the other virtues, both theological and moral, are related to charity as means of attaining union with God, but charity is the queen of all the virtues. And when charity so permeates the soul of the Christian that he is docile to God's will, the gifts of the Holy Spirit operate in the soul and constitute the mystical activity of the spiritual life. For St. Thomas the perfection of the Christian life consists in the habitual donal activity of the Holy Spirit, which becomes possible when the individual loves God with his whole heart and all his strength.(73)

Not all Christians will manifest the perfection of charity and donal activity in the same way, and for that reason St. Thomas takes up the questions of the active and contemplative life, understood as the type of activity that predominates in the life of a Christian.(74) Although he follows the traditional biblical and monastic teaching that the contemplative life is objectively superior to the active life, St. Thomas readily admits that there are concrete situations in which the superiority is reversed. In fact, like St. Gregory the Great, whom he quotes extensively, Aquinas shows that the active life may have an ascetical value as a preparation for contemplation, but it may have a mystical value of its own as when the apostolate flows from the perfection of charity and a deep interior life.(75) We do not find in Thomistic theology any restrictive concept of Christian perfection in terms of contemplation or the contemplative state of life.

St. Bernard, St. Gregory the Great, Pseudo-Dionysius and Richard of St. Victor are primary sources for St. Thomas in his treatment of contemplation.(76) At the outset he investigates the psychology of the contemplative act and concludes that it is essentially an intellectual operation which originates by a movement of the will and terminates in delight, which intensifies love.(77) Contemplation for Aquinas is "a simple gaze upon a truth," although other activities may dispose for contemplation, e. g., reading, listening, meditation, cogitation and so on.(78)

The truth contemplated is divine truth, whether seen directly in itself or indirectly in its effects. With St. Augustine, Aquinas maintains that the direct vision of the divine essence is possible only if the soul leaves the body through death or in rapture, where there is a total suspension of the operations of the external and internal senses.(79) As regards the types of contemplation, Aquinas seems to admit the existence of natural or acquired contemplation, for he states that the six types of contemplation enumerated by Richard of St. Victor are to be understood as follows:

The first step is the consideration of things of sense; the second is the transition from sensible to intelligible things; the third is the evaluation of the things of sense through those of mind; the fourth is the consideration in their own right of intelligible things which have been reached through the sensible; the fifth is the contemplation of intelligible realities which cannot be reached through the things of sense but can be understood by reason; the sixth is the consideration of intelligible things which the intellect can neither discover nor exhaust; this is the sublime contemplation of divine truth wherein contemplation is finally perfected.(80)
To summarize the teaching of St. Thomas, we may say that the Christian life is the life of grace, with charity as its principal act. Charity effects a union between God and the soul, and Aquinas does not hestiate to call it by the name of friendship.(81) Like any other vital operation, charity admits of degrees of perfection; in the first degree of beginners the Christian is intent on the avoidance of sin and the preservation of God's grace; in the second degree he strives to grow in the virtues which should flow from charity; in the third degree he attains the perfection of charity, at which stage he loves God with all his capacity.(82)

In accordance with his teaching on the superiority of the intellect over the will (83) and his identification of man's ultimate beatitude as essentially (though not exclusively) an activity of the speculative intellect,(84) St. Thomas concludes that in the relative perfection of which man is capable in this life his happiness will consist "primarily and principally in contemplation, but secondarily in the activity of the practical intellect so far as it controls human actions and emotions."(85)

This constant emphasis on the primacy of the intellect sets St. Thomas apart from the voluntarists such as St. Augustine and St. Bonaventure and is reflected in his teaching on the nature of beatitude, the distinction between grace and charity, the origin and nature of law, the relation between obedience and authority, and the contemplative and active life. Nevertheless, the teaching of St. Thomas on the theology of Christian perfection has generally prevailed in Catholic theology since the fifteenth century.(86) Prior to that, between the death of St. Thomas and the emergence of spiritual theology as a well-defined branch of theology, a new current of affective spirituality, more Franciscan in tone, made its appearance. It started interestingly enough, with a group of German Dominicans, not because they were Dominican but because they were German. But of that we shall treat later.


Thomas of Celano, the first biographer of St. Francis of Assisi, records that St. Dominic once remarked to St. Francis: "I wish, Brother Francis, that your Order and mine were one, and that we had, in the Church, but one manner of life."(87) There was good reason for such a statement, for the two mendicant Orders were very much alike in their origins, especially as regards the observance of evangelical poverty and the apostolate of preaching. A good reason for this similarity can be found in the fact that as contemporaries, Dominic and Francis were both endeavoring to correct abuses in the Church and restore the Christian life to Gospel standards through their preaching and their poverty. The Gospel was being ignored almost everywhere, due in great part to the wealth of priests and monks and the temporal power of ecclesiastical prelates. Attempts to correct this abuse and the sins that followed from it usually met with failure, not only because many priests and monks resisted conversion, but because some of the reformers resorted to force (as did Simon Montfort and Arnold of Brescia) and others became extremists and disobedient to the Church (e.g., the Illuminati and the Albigensians).

With St. Francis of Assisi we see the beginnings of a popular, apostolic movement that proclaims fidelity to the faith, obedience to ecclesiastical authority, and the conversion of people at all levels of society. Sometimes it is difficult to draw the line between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, between the mendicant friar and the revolutionary, but the religious fervor and the joyful poverty of Francis ultimately prevailed. The writings he left are few in number -- two Rules, a last testament, a few letters, exhortations and prayers -- but the Poverello is the source of an evangelical spirituality that has gushed forth like a fountain of living water to refresh and nourish the Church.

Born at Assisi in 1181 or 1182, Francis Bernadone was converted in 1206 or 1207 from a life of wealth and laxity to a life of poverty and penance. By 1209 or 1210 he had attracted eleven disciples and he gave them a rule of life which was approved orally by Pope Innocent III. The Rule of St. Francis stressed poverty, humility and complete submission to the authority of the Church.

Even before he had gathered any disciples, Francis endeavored to live as literally as possible the Gospel teaching on poverty as expressed in Matthew 10:9-10. Later, as his community grew, controversies arose in regard to the degree of poverty that was possible in a religious order dedicated to the apostolate. When the argument of basic necessities was used to justify a relaxation of strict poverty, Francis replied: "It is impossible to satisfy simple necessity without letting oneself lapse into comfort."(88) On another occasion he warned: "The world will turn away from the Friars Minor in the measure that they turn away from poverty."(89) In spite of the opposition of Francis, as the Franciscan movement spread rapidly throughout Europe it became evident that the need for organization and more precise legislation also necessitated a mitigation of the primitive strict poverty.

Many interesting questions arise in respect to the ideal of St. Francis: Is it possible to follow a literal interpretation of the Gospel teaching on poverty? Did Francis originally envisage groups of mendicant preachers without stability and without affiliation to an organized society rather than a religious order? Did Francis err in emphasizing poverty to such an extent that some friars made it a goal rather than a means? One may speculate on these and other related questions, but the facts of history are that Pope Innocent III and Cardinal Ugolino, protector of the New Order, were also of the opinion that Francis' rules on poverty were much too severe. It seems that the authorities of the Church were almost reluctant to give full approval to the manner of life envisaged by St. Francis.

The principal events of the life of St. Francis and the growth of the Friars Minor can be summarized briefly.(90) In 1212, at Assisi, St. Francis and St. Clare founded the cloistered Franciscan nuns, known as Poor Clares, and Francis composed a rule of life for them. Ever desirous, like St. Dominic, of going to the Far East as a missionary, Francis made two unsuccessful attempts. It is said that in 1213 he got as far as Santiago de Compostela in Spain. He did succeed in going to Morocco and Tunisia in 1219 in order to preach to the Moors, and it is said that he also made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In 1221 he established what is known today as the Third Order of St. Francis, composed of priests or laity desirous of living according to the spirit of St. Francis. By this time, twelve years after its beginning, the Franciscan Order numbered more than three thousand friars.

St. Francis resigned as head of the Order in 1220 and Brother Peter became Minister General, but he died within the year and was followed by Brother Elias. The General Chapter of 1220 approved and promulgated a new version of the Rule, but it seems that Cardinal Ugolino advised Francis to modify the text before submitting it for the approval of the Holy See. St. Francis complied and the General Chapter approved the "second" Rule in 1223; Pope Honorius officially approved it in November of the same year. The principal themes of the final Rule were poverty, manual labor, preaching, missions among the infidels, and the balance between action and contemplation.(91)

St. Francis then dedicated himself almost exclusively to preaching, penance and prayer. On September 17, 1224, he received the grace of the stigmata in the hermitage of Mount Alverno. This is the first recorded instance in the history of Christian spirituality in which an individual has been visibly marked with the signs of the passion of Christ; it has been repeated numerous times in subsequent history, and even in modern times.(92)

In April of 1226 St. Francis composed his Testament, in which he made his final appeal for the strict observance of poverty and fidelity to the Rule. This Testament became the occasion for another crisis in the Order; some wanted it to have the force of law and others, while respecting the authority of their founder, were unwilling to consider it anything more than a paternal exhortation. The case was finally settled by Pope Gregory IX, who stated in his bull Quo elongati (1230) that the Testament did not bind as law but he appointed a nuntius apostolicus who would handle all financial matters for the Franciscans and thus enable them to preserve the strict observance of poverty.

Meanwhile, weak and exhausted, almost blind, and frequently vomiting blood, Francis composed his beautiful Canticle to Brother Sun. As he realized that his death was approaching, he commanded his friars to lay him naked on the ground, but then accepted a rough woollen garment from one of the friars. On the evening of October 3, 1226, he intoned Psalm 141 and the friars chanted it with him. Then, one of the friars, at Francis' request, read aloud Chapter 13 of St. John's Gospel, and during the reading Francis passed into eternal life. Two years after his death he was canonized by Pope Gregory IX.

St. Francis died amid a severe crisis in his Order. The Friars Minor had begun to lessen the severity of their poverty even during his lifetime, but after his death the Order was fragmented into "observants", "conventuals", and "spirituals". In spite of the efforts of St. Bonaventure as Minister General from 1257 to 1274, it was impossible to bring all the friars to a consensus on the life style proper to Franciscans. As recently as 1909 Pope Pius X, in his apostolic letter Septimo iam pleno, declared that the three branches of the First Order of Franciscans are established in perpetuum as Friars Minor of the Leonine Union (O.F.M.), Friars Minor Conventual (O.F.M. Conv.) and Friars Minor Capuchin (O.F.M. Cap.) and that all three Ministers General are successors of St. Francis because all three Orders are branches of the same tree.

Several other factors played a part in the modification of the original ideal of St. Francis: the ordination of friars to the priesthood, the apostolate of preaching and teaching, and the need to defend the mendicant orders against its detractors. From the very beginning, following the example of Francis himself, the early friars were dedicated to itinerant preaching, and although some basic education was required, the Franciscans were unwilling to inaugurate courses of study because of St. Francis' attitude toward learning. When, finally, they entered the universities, they, with the Dominicans, became victims of the violent opposition of the diocesan clergy.(93)

Both of these mendicant orders had established houses near the University of Paris and as early as 1229 a Dominican held a chair of theology there, to be followed by a Franciscan in 1231. Unfortunately, in 1252 the secular clergy, under the leadership of William of Saint-Amour, began to attack the friars. William wrote a strongly worded tract in 1255 in which he tried to have all friars excluded from professorships. Gerhard of Abbeville and Nicholas of Lisieux continued the attack from 1269 to 1272. Thanks to St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure,(94) the position of the friars was vindicated and Pope Alexander IV took them under the protection of the Holy See.(95)


The three principal names in Franciscan learning are St. Bonaventure, St. Anthony of Padua and John Duns Scotus. Numerous others of course, must be added to the total list: John of Rochelle, Alexander of Hales, John Peckham, Roger Bacon, Peter Auriol, Francis de Meyronnes, Nicholas of Lyre, William of Ockham and John of Ripa. We shall restrict our study to St. Bonaventure, whom Pope Leo XIII called "the Prince of Mystics" and whom many hail as the second founder of the Franciscan Order.(96) We can surely assert with safety that he is the greatest theologian of the spiritual life among the Franciscans. Cayré says of him: "He carried on the tradition of Alexander of Hales and prepared the way for Duns Scotus, who gave the final form to Franciscan Augustinism."(97)

St. Bonaventure 1221-127ó) was a contemporary of St. Thomas Aquinas at the University of Paris and although they differed radically in their ideas, they were very close personal friends, as were Francis and Dominic before them. They differed not only in their approach to theology - - Bonaventure was voluntaristic and mystical while Thomas was intellectual and analytic - - but also in their definitions of theology, as Congar explains:

For St. Bonaventure, theology is a production of grace. It is to be considered a consequence of the communications which God gave us of himself. Theology therefore is situated for St. Bonaventure . . . "between faith and appearance." . . .

The first light received from God is reason. But when Bonaventure considers reason's concrete possibilities, he severely limits them, since he claims that man in his present state cannot come to know superior truths simply by reason . . . . However this does not mean that philosophy is not the first step toward wisdom . . . .

In the order of grace and Christian wisdom, progress toward the perfect possession of wisdom . . . is marked by three stages or grades. First, the grade of virtues, in which faith opens our eyes to help us find God in everything, next, the grade of gifts and, third, the grade of beatitudes. Now the acts of virtues, gifts, and beatitudes are respectively defined as: credere (believing); intelligere credita (understanding the things believed); videre intellecta (seeing the things understood) . . . .

Hence, this knowledge of mysteries, which is the object of theology, is for Bonaventure an intermediary stage between the simple assent to faith and the vision . ...

Theology, for St. Bonaventure, is a gift of God . . . . Hence it is not a purely intellectual gift. It presupposes not a dead faith, but a living faith of prayer. the exercise of the virtues and the yearning for a union of charity with God.

Here we arrive at an essential point, where the theology of Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas are clearly distinguished. For the latter, theology is the growth of the convictions of faith and the construction of these convictions into a body of knowledge consonant with human reason. Like all things, it develops under God's providence and is rooted in supernatural faith, but it is strictly a rational construction. The wisdom of theology is distinguished from the infused gift of wisdom, which develops as an experimental and affective body of knowledge. On the other hand, theology is an intellectual wisdom, acquired by personal effort, which tries intellectually to comprehend and reconstruct the order of the works and the mysteries of God by tying them up with the mystery of God himself.(98)

St. Bonaventure's theological masterpiece is his commentary on the Book of Sentences by Peter Lombard and almost everything else that he wrote is in some way based on this work.(99) The fundamental characteristic of his doctrine is that it is traditional, following the teaching of St. Augustine through Alexander of Hales. His principal writings on the spiritual life are Breviloquium, De triplici via, Itinerarium mentis ad Deum, Soliloquium de quatuor mentalibus exercitiis, and Lignum vitae, and it is in the field of spiritual theology that Bonaventure excels.(100) Smeets says that the works of St. Bonaventure manifest not only his orthodoxy but his sanctity and virtues: "They show that the holy doctor was permeated with the Franciscan spirit and that he had no other guide than his seraphic father, St. Francis."(101) This is particularly evident in Bonaventure's conciseness of style, humble submission to authority, veneration of theologians, respect for the opinions of others, and his calm and peaceful temperament.

De Wulf says of Bonaventure that "his mysticism is the incarnation of the best of thirteenth-century mysticism."(102) This is another way of saying that the spiritual doctrine of St. Bonaventure is the traditional doctrine taught by St. Augustine, pseudo-Dionysius, St. Bernard and the School of St. Victor. His spiritual doctrine is eminently Christocentric and while he agrees with Thomas Aquinas that the purpose of the incarnation was the redemption, he sees Christ as the center of the entire created universe. The fundamental virtue of Christian spirituality is humility; grace is a likeness to God which is received both by the soul and its faculties; the essence of Christian perfection is charity, which is perfected as wisdom, to which the mystical graces are related; contemplation is the perfection of charity and wisdom and it is much more a savory experience of God than it is the vision; it is entirely passive and infused and usually accompanied by some form of ecstasy which Bonaventure calls excessus.

St. Bonaventure canonized the classification of the spiritual life into the three ways and uses the same terminology as pseudo-Dionysius: purgative, illuminative and unitive or perfect. He does not see them as progressive and separate stages, however, although at a given time one or another will predominate. The ultimate goal for all Christians is holiness and as they pass through the various stages of spiritual growth, each one bestows its own gift. Thus, the purgative way leads to peace of soul and is characterized by meditation, examination of conscience and consideration of the passion of Christ; the illuminative way leads to truth, and its predominant exercises are consideration of the benefits received from God and frequent meditation on the passion and death of Christ; the unitive way terminates in charity, union with God through love and an awareness of the divine beauty through contemplation of the Trinity.(103)


In spite of the prohibition of the Fourth Lateran Council, there was a remarkable increase in religious institutes during the last half of the thirteenth century.(104) Some of them were not really new, however, but were a modernization and adaptation of ancient orders, such as the Carmelites and Augustinians. Others were inspired by the mendicant friars -- Dominicans and Franciscans -- who had such a prodigious expansion and were so favored by the Holy See. Many of the institutes had only a local character and ceased to exist after a time. In fact, the Council of Lyons (1274) abolished twenty-two religious institutes that had not been approved by the Holy See. But what should be noted, both in the newly founded institutes and the outgrowths of the ancient orders, is the increasing emphasis on the apostolate and a noticeable decline in the number of religious dedicated to the purely contemplative life. As time passed this placed contemplative institutes somewhat on the defensive, but for the time being even the institutes dedicated to an apostolate or ministry were constrained to follow a monastic or conventual type of life. One of the problems was that so many institutes were identical in life and mission.

Among the canons regular we note first of all that the Canons of St. Augustine were already in existence and they consisted of cathedral chapters or communities following the Rule of St. Augustine. But in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries several religious institutes were founded under the title of the Cross. The Crosier Canons, founded by Theodore de Celles, a canon of Liège in 1210, were formally approved in 1248. The rule of the Crosiers is based on the Dominican Constitutions and the early members were dedicated to preaching the Crusades and the care of pilgrims. After its approbation, however, the Crosier Order followed the "mixed life" and began to engage in missionary work. It flourished especially in the Low Lands.(105)

The Hermits of St. Augustine, who were much less given to contemplation than their name indicates, were formed out of groups of hermits in Italy who adopted the Rule of St. Augustine. They were approved by Pope Alexander IV in 1256 and classified among the mendicant friars with the Dominicans and Franciscans. Eventually the name "Hermits of St. Augustine" fell into disuse, since they dedicated themselves to all types of apostolate and priestly ministry.(106)

Another group that began with an eremitical spirit was the Servants of Mary, popularly known as Servites. Founded by seven businessmen who desired to live a life of austerity and penance; with special devotion to the Blessed Virgin, they followed the observances of the mendicant friars. They made their first foundation at Florence, Italy, in 1233 and, like most of these new institutes, they also made provision for a feminine branch.(107)

Two other orders of friars that had a glorious history are the Mercedarians, founded by St. Peter Nolasco and aided by the Dominican St. Raymond of Peñafort, and the Trinitarians. Both of these orders were founded for the redemption of captives and consequently their field of labor was at first among the Moors and later in Latin America. In modern times, however, their membership has greatly decreased.(108)

Finally, the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel also came into prominence in the thirteenth century, although its origins go back to Mount Carmel in Palestine. Early in the thirteenth century some Latin hermits lived on Mount Carmel and in due time, for a variety of reasons, the Carmelites spread to Europe. St. Simon Stock (+ 1265), gradually adapted the Carmelite rule and life to a semi-apostolic religious institute and in 1245 the Carmelites were classified among the mendicant orders. The Carmelite hermits ceased to exist in Palestine in 1291 when the remaining members were murdered by the Muslims, but by that time the Carmelites in Europe had committed themselves to a predominantly active life.(109)

The characteristics of the thirteenth century were basically the same as those we listed for the twelfth century, with the addition of the remarkable influence of the newly-founded religious institutes dedicated to the apostolate and the publication of numerous books and manuals on the basic dogmas and moral instruction. As a result, there was a flourishing of lay groups desirous of living an exemplary Christian life. Most notable among them were the Beghards and the Béguines. They did not feel called to religious life nor did they want to be anchorites; normally they grouped themselves around a religious order.

The Beghards and the Béguines originated in northern France, the Low Lands and the Rhineland. Although they lived a community life, they took no vows, and they lived a celibate life and were obedient as long as they remained in the béguinage. They occupied themselves with sewing and embroidery, visiting the sick, caring for the elderly, and sometimes the education of children. They assisted at the liturgy in a group at a neighboring church, and after six years of formation they could obtain permission to live as a recluse.

In time the simplicity of their life caused the Beghards and the Béguines to be the object of criticism and suspicion. Later they were openly attacked for their use of the vernacular for Bible-reading and for their interpretation of Scripture. In 1311 they were officially condemned by the Council of Vienne. The doctrinal basis for the condemnation was quietism and a latent pantheism.

Marie diagnose (+ 1213), one of the leaders of the movement, had an intense love for Christ and desired especially to imitate his poverty. The poor Christ or Christ as a beggar was the predominant object of her veneration and imitation. Juliana of Cornillon (+ 1258) also belonged to a community of Béguines and was one of the promoters of the feast of Corpus Christi, first approved for the diocese of Liège in 1246 and for the universal Church by Pope Urban IV in 1264. But the most famous of the Béguines was Hadewijch of Antwerp (+ 1282 or 1297), because of her written accounts of her visions, and her letters and poetry. Her dominant theme was that the soul can attain union with God only through ecstatic love, and this union takes on the symbolism of the mystical marriage. This constitutes the Brautmystik and seems to have been a favorite concept with the mystics of the Low Lands and the Rhineland. There is also in the writings of Hadewijch a suggestion of the Wesenmystik that will be further developed by Meister Eckhart. Hadewijch is thus a forerunner of the Rhineland mystics.(110)

  1. Cf. J. Leclercq, F. Vandenbroucke, L. Bouyer, The Spirituality of the Middle Ages, Burns & Oates, London, 1968, pp. 142-144; L. Génicot, La Spiritualité Médiévale, Paris 1958, pp. 43-44.
  2. Cf. J. D. Mansi, Conciliorum Nova et Amplissirna Collectio, Austria, 1961, Vol. 23, pp. 197 and 329; J. F. Rivera Recio "Espiritualidad Popular Medieval," in Historia de la Espiritualidad, ed. B. J. Duque-L. S. Balust, Juan Flors, Barcelona, 1969, Vol. I, p. 633.
  3. Cf. K. Richstätter, Christusfrömmigkeit in ihrer historischen Entfaltung, Cologne, 1949.
  4. The standard reference is E. Mâle, L'art réligieux du XIIe siècle en France, Paris, 1922; Cf. also E. de Bruyne, L'esthétique au moyen âge, Louvain, 1947.
  5. P. de Blois, Liber de confessione sacramentali, PL 207, 1088-1089.
  6. The hymn has been erroneously attributed to St. Bernard. Cf. A. Wilmart, "Le jubilus' sur le nom de Jésus, dit de saint Bernard," in Ephem. liturg., Vol. 57, 1943, p. 285.
  7. Gerboh of Reichersberg (1169), De aedificio Dei, PL 194, 1302.
  8. The First Lateran Council (1123) and the Second Lateran Council (1139) made strict laws to enforce celibacy on priests and monks. At this time celibacy was made obligatory for all clerics in major orders in the Latin Church.
  9. J. Leclercq et al., op. cit., pp. 260-261. For a description of extreme practitioners of poverty, Cf. pp. 261-268.
  10. Some say that the elevation of the Host began in Paris in 1210; others maintain that it was already the practice early in the twelfth century. Cf. J. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, tr. F. A. Brunner, 2 vols., New York, N.Y., 1951-1952.
  11. Denz. 437.
  12. Cf. E. W. Kemp, Canonization and Authority in the Western Church, London, 1948.
  13. St. Bernard, De laude novae militiae; cf. J. Leclercq, C. H. Talbot, H. Rochais, S. Bernardi Opera, Rome, 1959, Vol. 3, pp. 213-239; R. Grousset, Histoire des croissades et du Royaume franc de Jérusalem, Paris, 1934-1939 5 vols.
  14. Cf. D. Rops, L'Eglise de la catédrale et de la croissade, Paris, 1952; A. Fliche-V. Martin, L'Histoire de l'Eglise, Paris, 1940, Vol. 7, pp. 483-487; Vol. 8, pp. 462-478.
  15. Letter of January 28, 1092 (PL 151, 338); cf. C. Dereine, "Chanoines," in Dictionnaire d'hist. et de géog. eeclés., Vol. 12, 1963, cols. 385-386; J. Leclercq et al., op. cit., pp. 137-145.
  16. M. H. Vicaire, The Apostolic Life, tr. K. Pond, Priory Press, Chicago, Ill., 1966, p. 53.
  17. Cf. G. Bardy, "Chanoines," in Catholicisme, Paris, 1949, Vol. 2, pp. 900-902; A. Schmitz, "Chanoines Reguliers," in Dictionnaire de Spiritualite, Vol. 2, p. 469; M. H. Vicaire, op.cit., pp. 55-56.
  18. Cf. M. H. Vicaire, op.cit., pp. 66-77. Hildebrand strongly criticized the canonical rule of Aix-la-Chapelle for not imposing poverty on the diocesan priest canons.
  19. Cf. J. Leclercq, et al., op. cit., pp. 127-130.
  20. Contra clericos regulares proprietarios in PL 145, 486.
  21. For the disputes concerning the vita apostolica, cf. M. H. Vicaire, op. cit., pp. 84-87.
  22. Cf. op.cit., pp. 82-83.
  23. PL 213, 814-850.
  24. Other communities of canons are: Canons Regular of the Lateran (Rome); Canons of St. Rufus (Avignon); Canons Regular of the Holy Sepulchre (Jerusalem); Canons of Holy Cross, known as Crosiers (Low Lands).
  25. Hugo, the successor of St. Norbert as head of the Premonstratensians, described their life as eremitical according to the canonical profession; cf Annales Ord. Praemonstr., Nancy, 1734, Vol. I, chap. 42.
  26. Cf. F. Petit, La spiritualité des Prémontrés aux XIIe et XIIIe siècles, Paris, 1947; P. Lefèvre, Les statuts de Prémontré, Louvain, 1946; H. M. Calvin, "The White Canons in England," in Rév. d'hist. ecclés., Vol. 46, 1951, pp. 1-25.
  27. Cf. J. Bulloch, Adam of Dryburgh, London, 1958.
  28. St. Norbert also made provisions for a feminine branch of the Order and for lay brothers, although the Norbertines are a clerical institute.
  29. Cf. J. Leclercq et al., op. cit., pp. 149-150.
  30. Cf. M. D. Chenu, La théoiogie au XIIe siècle, Paris, 1957; J. Leclercq et al., op. cit., pp. 239-242.
  31. R. G. Villoslada, Historia de la Iglesia, BAC, Madrid, Vol. 2, p. 897.
  32. K. Bihlmeyer-H. Tüchle, Church History, Newman Press, Westminster, Md., 1958, p. 247.
  33. M. Grabmann, Die Geschichte der scholastischen Methode, Freiburg, 1909-1911, Vol. 2, p. 259.
  34. Hugh of St. Victor's works are found in PL 175 to 177.
  35. In Eccles., sermon 1, PL 175, 117-118.
  36. Cf. In Eccles., loc. cit.; De modo dicendi et med., PL 176, 877; R. Baron, Science et sagesse chez Hugo de S.-Victor, Paris, 1957; D. Lasic, Hugonis a S. Victore theologia perfectionis, Rome, 1956.
  37. F. Cayré, Manual of Patrology, tr. H. Howitt, Desclée, Paris, 1930, Vol. 2, p. 453.
  38. De Trinitate, PL 196, 887-992; cf. also A. M. Ethier, Le "De Trinitate" de Richard de S.-Victor, Paris-Ottawa, 1939.
  39. Benjamin minor, PL 196, 1-63; Benjamin major, PL 196, 64 ff.; cf. also J. M. Déchanet, "Contemplation au XIIe siècle " in Dictionnaire de Spiritualité, Vol. 2, pp. 1961-1966; P. Pourrat, Christian Spirituality, tr. W. H. Mitchell and S. P. Jacques, Newman Press, Westminster, Md., 1953, Vol. 2, pp. 120-129.
  40. Richard of St. Victor The Mystical Ark (Benjamin Major), tr. G. A. Zinn, Paulist Press, New York, N.Y., 1979, p. 157.
  41. Ibid. St. Thomas Aquinas refers to this definition in Summa theol., IIa IIae, q. 180, a. 3, ad 1, but in speaking of the "movements" of contemplation, he follows the pseudo-Dionysius.
  42. Benjamin major, PL 196, 64.
  43. Cf. op. cit., PL 196, 65.
  44. Cf. op. cit., PL 196, 66.
  45. Cf. E. Kulesza, La doctrine mystique de Richard de S.-Victor, Saint Maximin, 1924; P. Pourrat, op.cit., Vol. 2, p. 225.
  46. Cf. M. D. Chenu, op.cit.; Y. Congar, A History of Theology, Doubleday, New York, N.Y., 1968.
  47. R. W. Southern, The Making of the Middle Ages, London, 1953; H. Roshdall-F. M. Powicke, The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages, 3 vols., Oxford, 1942.
  48. Cf. J. De Ghellinck, La mouvement théologique du XIIe siècle, Paris, 1914 pp. 41-56; 311-338.
  49. Cf. Y. Congar, op.cit., pp. 63-65, passim.
  50. Cf. Prosologion, PL 158, 223; 225.
  51. Ibid., PL 158, 227.
  52. De Fide Trinit, et de Incarn., PL 158, 263.
  53. As quoted in Y. Congar, op.cit., p. 68.
  54. Cf. PL 191 and 192; "Pierre Lombard," in Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, Vol. 12, cols. 1941-2019.
  55. J. Leclercq et al., op. cit., p. 242.
  56. Cf. Laurent, Monumenta historica S. Dominici, Paris, 1933, Vol. 15, p. 60.
  57. Jordan of Saxony, Libellus de principiis ordinis praedicatorum, ed. H. C. Scheeben in Monumenta O. P. Historica, Rome, 1935, pp. 1-88.
  58. The Fourth Lateran Council forbade the foundation of new religious institutes unless they were extensions of an existing institute or adopted an approved Rule.
  59. W. Hinnebusch, The History of the Dominican Order, New York, N.Y., 1965, Vol. 1, p. 44. The Rule of St. Augustine was also adopted by numerous other religious institutes founded in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
  60. Cf. W. Hinnebusch, op.cit., p. 49. On February 17, 1217, a third papal bull, Jus petentium, specified that a Dominican friar could not transfer to any but a stricter religious institute and approved the stability pledged to the Dominican Order rather than to a particular church or monastery.
  61. I Constitutiones S.O.P., prologue; cf. P. Mandonnet-M. H. Vicaire, S. Dominique: l'idee, l'homme et l'oeuvre, 2 vols., Paris, 1938.
  62. Cf. W. Hinnebusch, op. cit., p. 84.
  63. Contra impugnantes Dei cultum et religionem.
  64. I Const. S.O.P., prologue; cf. W. Hinnebusch, op. cit., p. 84.
  65. I Const. S.O.P., n. 4; cf. W. Hinnebusch, op. cit., p. 351.
  66. Cf. M. S. Gillet, Encyclical Letter on Dominican Spirituality, Santa Sabina, Rome, 1945 Mandonnet-Vicaire, op. cit.; V. Walgrave, Dominican Self-Appraisal in the Light of the Council, Priory Press, Chicago, Ill., 1968; S. Tugwell, The Way of the Preacher, Templegate, Springfield, Ill., 1979; H. Clérissac, The Spirit of St. Dominic, London, 1939.
  67. V. Walgrave, op. cit., pp. 39-42.
  68. Cf. M. D. Chenu, Introduction a l'étude de Saint Thomas d'Aquin, Montreal-Paris, 1950; Y. Congar, History of Theology; V. Walgrave, op. cit., pp. 285-318.
  69. A. D. Sertillanges, Saint Thomas Aquinas and His Work, tr. G. Anstruther, London, 1957, pp. 5-9.
  70. "Augustinians" here refers to all who followed the theological system of St. Augustine.
  71. Y. Congar, A History of Theology, pp. 103-114.
  72. St. Thomas treats of Christian perfection and the spiritual life in Summa theol., IIa IIae, qq. 179-183; De perfectione vitae spiritualis; III Sent., dist. 35.
  73. This Thomistic doctrine is found in Summa theol., Ia IIae, qq. 61-68; 109-113; IIa IIae, qq. 23-27; 179-183. Cf. also R. Garrigou-Lagrange, The Three Ages of the Interior Life, tr. T. Doyle, 2 vols., B. Herder, St. Louis, Mo., 1948-1949; J. G. Arintero, The Mystical Evolution, tr. J. Aumann, B. Herder, St. Louis, MO., 2 vols., 1950-1951; J. Aumann, Spiritual Theology, Sheed & Ward, London, 1980.
  74. Cf. Summa theol., IIa Ilae, qq. 179-182.
  75. Cf. J. Aumann, Action and Contemplation, in the English translation of the Summa theologica, McGraw-Hill, New York, N.Y., 1966, pp. 85-89; 114-123.
  76. Cf. Summa theol., IIa IIae, q. 180.
  77. Cf. ibid., loc. cit.
  78. Ibid.
  79. Summa theol., IIa IIae, q. 180, art. 5.
  80. Cf. P. Lejeune, "Contemplation," in Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique, vol. 3, cols. 1616-1631; J. Aumann, Action and Contemplation, pp. 103-108.
  81. Cf. Summa theol., IIa IIae, q. 23, art. 1.
  82. Cf. op. cit., q. 24, art. 8.
  83. Summa theol., Ia, q. 82, art. 3.
  84. Ibid., Ia IIae, q. 3, art. 3-5.
  85. Cf. ibid., Ia IIae, q. 3, art. 5.
  86. Cf. P. Philippe, "La contemplation au XIIIe siecle," in Dictionnaire de Spiritualité, Vol. 2, pp. 1987-1988.
  87. Thomas of Celano, Legenda, 33.
  88. Cf. Thomas of Celano, Vita I, 51.
  89. Cf. ibid., Vita II, 70.
  90. For biography of St. Francis of Assisi, cf. J. Joergensen, St. Francis of Assisi, tr. S. O'Connor, London, 1922; R. M. Huber, Sources of Franciscan History, Milwaukee, Wis., 1944. I. Gobry, S. François. d'Assise et l'ésprit franciscain, Paris, 1947.
  91. Cf. E. Alençon, "Frères Mineurs," in Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, Vol. 6, pp. 809-812.
  92. More than a hundred Franciscans have received the stigmata; they are outnumbered only by the Dominicans.
  93. Cf. K. Bihlmeyer, op. cit., pp. 322-338; J. Leclercq et al., op. cit., pp. 365-377; F. Cayré, op. cit., pp. 470-690.
  94. St. Thomas wrote in defense of the mendicant orders: De perfectione vitae spiritualis; Contra pestiferam doctrinam retrahentium homines a religionis ingressu. St. Bonaventure wrote: De paupertate Christi; Quare Fratres minores praedicent et confessiones audiant.
  95. Cf. Bullarium O.P., Vol. I, Rome, 1729-1740, p. 338.
  96. For details on St. Bonaventure, cf. Opera Omnia, Quaracchi, 1882-1892; E. Smeets, "S. Bonaventure," in Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, Vol. 2, pp. 962-986; P. Pourrat, op. cit., vol. 2, pp. 176-184.
  97. Cf. F. Cayré, op. cit., p. 498.
  98. Cf. Y. Congar, op. cit., pp. 117-120; E. Gilson, La philosophie de S. Bonaventure, Paris, 1924.
  99. E. Smeets, "Bonaventure," in Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, Vol. 2, p. 967.
  100. For testimonies to St. Bonaventure, cf. Opera Omnia, Quaracchi edition.
  101. Cf. E. Smeets, art. cit., p. 977.
  102. Cf. De Wulf, Histoire de la philosophie médiévale, p. 291; E. Longpré, "La théologie mystique de S. Bonaventure," in Arch. Francis. Hist., Vol. 14, 1921.
  103. Cf. F. Cayré, op. cit., Vol. 2, pp. 497-526; P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 2, pp. 176-184; J. Leclercq et al., op. cit., pp. 370-377.
  104. Cf. Helyot, Histoire des ordres monastiques, Paris, 1721; M. Heimbucher, Die Orden and Kongregationen der Katolischen Kirche, 3 ed., Paderborn, 1933-1934; J. Leclercq et al., op. cit., pp. 474-480.
  105. Cf. M. Vinken, "Croisiers," in Dict. hist. géogr. eccl., Vol. 13, pp. 1042-1062.
  106. Cf. D. Gutiérrez, "Ermites de Saint Augustin," in Dictionnaire de Spiritualité, Vol. 4, cols. 983-1018.
  107. Cf. A. M. Lépicier, L'Ordre des Servites de Marie, Paris, 1929.
  108. Cf. C. Mazzarini, L'Ordine Trinitario nella Chiesa a nella Storia, Turin, 1964; "Mercedarios," in Enciclopedia Universal Ilustrada Europeo-americana, Espasa, Madrid, Vol. 34, pp. 816-819.
  109. Cf. J. Zimmerman, "Carmes," in Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique Vol. 2, cols. 1776-1792.
  110. Cf. J. Leclercq, op. cit., pp. 344-372; E. W. McDonnell, The Béguines and Beghards in Medieval Culture, New Brunswick, N.J., 1954; J. B. Potion, Hadewijck d'Anvers, Paris, 1954; Vemet-Mierlo, "Beghards" and "Béguines," in Dictionnaire de Spiritualité, Vol. I, pp. 1329-1352.