Wisdom Is Vain Without Divine Love
St. Bonaventure begins his treatise on the mind’s ascension to God by warning the reader that curiosity without a love for God is dangerous. The reader must approach this journey by the “exercise of the affections more than the instruction of the mind” (Prologue, The Journey of the Mind to God).
Wherefore, it is to groans of prayer through Christ Crucified, in Whose blood we are cleansed from the filth of vices, that I first of all invite the reader. Otherwise he may come to think that mere reading will suffice without fervor, speculation without devotion, investigation without admiration, observation without exultation, industry without piety, knowledge without love, understanding without humility, study without divine grace, the mirror without divinely inspired wisdom” (Prologue).
Bonaventure puts this essential truth another way a few sentences later,
The mirror of the external world put before them is of little or no avail unless the mirror of our soul has been cleansed and polished” (Prologue).
This view of education is markedly different from our current data-transfer model. Bonaventure’s invitation to learning is far more attractive, more desirable–and much more human.