Amid the shortness and uncertainty of life, Guidance to Heaven shows why we should live in anticipation of and preparation for death. Cardinal Bona advises us not to live in such a way that we are afraid to die because we are unprepared; but rather, realizing that death is our grand entrance into true life, we should make it our life's work to get ready. This spiritual text has been compared to the Imitation of Christ for its simplicity, clarity, and potency of doctrine, which befits the Cistercian formation of the author. And yet Cardinal Bona, a consummate liturgist and classicist, cannot fail to exude some of that scholarly erudition in his writing on the ascetical life. His Guidance to Heaven is short and powerful, coming from the heart of a man dedicated to the Lord in prayer and humility.
Giovanni Cardinal Bona was born in 1609 in Mondovi, Piedmont, Italy, near the border with France. He became a Cistercian monk at the age of 15, exhibiting an extraordinary erudition in his studies, as well as exceptional humility and sanctity. His qualities led him to be called as a prior, then abbot, and finally superior general of the Cistercians in Rome. While there, he served humbly and fervently, declining even offers of the episcopate, and hoped to retire into a life of study: instead, he was made a consultor to the Holy Office. When he became a cardinal, his extreme simplicity shone forth: his lifestyle did not change at all, and all of his surplus wealth he donated to needy priests at the Missionary College in Rome.
Let the words of this holy man reach you and bring you to an ever-greater zeal for pursuing the Lord in preparation for death.
- Cardinal Giovanni Bona
- Translated by:
- Thomas A. Nelson
- TAN Books
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