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At Prayer In The Shadow Of The Tree Of Life

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Chapter Summary

Bonaventure's Tree of Life provides a program for growing in faith through prayerful, creative participation in the paschal mystery. In the fourteenth century, this Christocentric treatise was selected as the basis for a monumental painting in the refectory at Santa Croce in Florence, where it was transformed into a diorama depicting the friars' identity and ministry to the people of that city. The themes depicted are designed to draw the friars into Christ-centered prayer that unfolds into an active Christian life beyond the cloister walls. This chapter examines the function of this narrative fresco in the context of Franciscan prayer around the cross and urban life in fourteenth century Florence. It also examines the relationship between Bonaventure's meditation on the life of Christ, the devotional and ministerial themes recorded in the fresco and its missio-logical implications for the friars' ministry in Florence.

Keywords: Bonaventure's Tree of Life; Christocentric treatise; fourteenth century Florence; Franciscan prayer; Santa Croce



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