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Tag Archives: St Francis of Assisi

O MY LORD JESUS, I ASK THEE TO GRANT ME TWO GRACES

O MY LORD JESUS, I ASK THEE TO GRANT ME TWO GRACES

PRAYER OF ST FRANCIS 

O my Lord Jesus Christ, I ask thee to grant me two graces before I die; first, that thou wilt make me feel in soul and body, as much as is possible for me, the pain that thou, my sweet Lord, didst endure in the hour of thy cruel Passion; second, that I may feel in my heart, as much as I possibly can, that excess of love which induced thee to suffer for us, poor sinners, such unheard-of torments. Amen.

– From: St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916

 

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ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI, CONFESSOR

ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI, CONFESSOR

ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI, CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 4

Francis was born at Assisi in Umbria. Following the example of his father, at a young age, he became a merchant. But, he was stricken with a serious illness and, when he had recovered, began to devote himself to works of charity. When his father looked upon this as undignified, Francis renounced all his possessions that he might henceforth have greater reason to say: “Our Father, who art in heaven.”

“OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN”

When, however, he had heard the admonition from the Gospel regarding apostolic poverty, divesting himself of his shoes and retaining only one tunic, he gathered together twelve companions and founded the Order of Friars Minor.

After Pope Innocent III, divinely admonished, confirmed this order, it was spread marvellously through the work of Francis. Afterwards, he retired into the solitude of Mount Alverno and there, on the day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, from a Seraph displaying between his wings the figure of the Crucified, he received the sacred stigmata, the marks of the nails and spear appearing in his hands, feet and side.

HE RECEIVED THE SACRED STIGMATA 

Two years later, becoming gravely ill, in the church of St Mary of the Angels where he had received the spirit of grace from God, after exhorting his brethren to poverty, patience and preservation of the faith of the Church, he most devoutly breathed forth his soul on the fourth of the Nones of October [1226].

PRAYER:

O God, who by the good works of blessed Francis enriched your Church by establishing a new religious family, grant us to imitate him by emulation of him, by looking upon the things of earth as naught, and ever to rejoice in sharing your heavenly gifts. Through our Lord…

 

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ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI’S “CANTICLE OF THE SUN”

CANIICLE OF THE SUN:

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord, all praise is yours, all glory, all honour, and all blessing. To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendour! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.

By praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them. Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility.

 
 

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INTERCESSIONS ON THE MEMORIAL OF ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI

With Saint Francis, let us give thanks and praise to God our Father through the Lord Jesus Christ:

R. We praise and exalt you above all for ever!

For the gifts of earth, sea, and sky, and all that fill them: (R.)

For the gift of the human body: (R.)

For the gift of our brothers and sisters throughout the world: (R.)

For the gift of life and death: (R.)

(Personal intentions)

– Our Father…

O God, you inspired Saint Francis to follow the example of Christ in leading a life of humility and poverty. Instill in us his ardent disciple’s love for the Lord our Saviour, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2013 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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A SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI

ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI; PATRON SAINT OF ITALY, PROTECTOR OF BUSINESS PEOPLE (RETAIL AND WHOLESALE), FLORISTS, POETS, ECOLOGISTS; MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 4

Born in 1181, the son of a wealthy merchant, Francis gave up everything to obey the words of the Lord: “Leave all, and follow me.” He lived in complete poverty, preaching the Gospel. Others came to join him, and they lived by a simple rule based on the Gospel. From them grew the Franciscan Order, which spread rapidly during his own lifetime, though he ceased to be its leader and left its administration to others. His life was a putting into practice of the beatitudes, and was marked by faith, joy, service of others, prayer, and love of all created things. He died in 1226.

PRAYER:

Father,
you helped Saint Francis to reflect the image of Christ
through a life of poverty and humility.
May we follow your Son
by walking in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi,
and by imitating his joyful love.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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THE SPIRITUALITY OF BL. JOHN DUNS SCOTUS: MARY IMMACULATE

IF WE ALLOW GOD’S LOVE INTO OUR LIVES IT WILL ENABLE US TO GROW INTO OUR TRUE SELVES

[The vision of Blessed John Duns Scotus had been inspired by St Francis.] “He saw so clearly that God had planned that His son, for whom the world was created, would be made flesh to live in and rule over that world as Christ the King. From this he argued that the very moment that God had made this decision, then that decision included a human mother, how else would he be made flesh? As Scotus put it: ‘If God wills an end, He must will the means.’

IT WAS INCONCEIVABLE FOR A WOMAN WARPED BY SIN AND SELFISHNESS TO GIVE BIRTH TO AND BRING UP A PERFECT MAN DESTINED TO BE THE KING

This was obviously before creation had taken place in space and time, so His mother would have been conceived perfect in every way, as the mother of the Word to be made flesh, or if you like, Immaculate. She would be totally free from sin. When sin did eventually stain humankind God made sure that the human mother of His son remained exactly as He had originally conceived her, otherwise His plan would be in jeopardy. It was inconceivable for a woman warped in sin and selfishness to give birth to and bring up a perfect man destined to be the King that He claimed to be before Pilate. It was for these reasons among others that at the beginning of the 14th century, Scotus was the greatest champion of the Immaculate Conception…

LOVE DIFFERENTIATES

The moment the famous Jesuit mystic, Teilhard de Chardin had heard about Scotus’ teaching, he immediately replied, ‘Voila! La theologie de l’avenir’ (There it is, the Theology of the future). So many of Chardin’s ideas not only resonated with those of Scotus, but added to them and even enhanced them. One thing Chardin did say that was relevant to what Scotus stood for was this: LOVE DIFFERENTIATES. In other words, love makes things different. The prayer inspired by St Francis ends with these words: ‘It is in giving that we receive.’ In other words, when we try to love God, in the very act of loving we receive His love in return, and this love enables us to grow into our true selves, and in becoming our true selves we all become different. That’s why Scotus taught that love is the principle of individuation. There’s an old saying: ‘people are the same the world over.’ And it’s true, self-centred people are the same the world over.

THE TRUE SELF WE BECOME IS MILES AWAY FROM THE DRINKING PALS WE LEAVE BEHIND

They are like a handful of different seeds. Even an expert horticulturist would find it difficult to distinguish one from another, because they all tend to look the same, they all seem to be turned in on themselves. But, put them in good soil, water them and make sure that they get plenty of sunlight, and see what happens. Then, when they bloom they will all become totally different, each manifesting God’s beauty in many totally different ways.

If human care can do this for common seed, what can God’s love do when it is allowed to enter into human beings? It will enable them to grow into their true selves. Then, as they become their true selves, they will gradually become more and more different from the crowd from whom they were hardly distinguishable before.

Francis was a case in point, he was just one of the boys before his conversion, but the more he allowed the love of God to change him, then the more he became what love made of him – his true self, and that was miles away from the drinking pals he’d left behind. That’s why all the saints were totally different. Compare St Francis of Assisi with St Thomas Aquinas or St Teresa of Avila with St Joan of Arc, or St Ignatius of Loyola with St Benedict – love differentiates. Even the early companions of Francis, Leo, Angelo, Rufino, Masseo and Giles etc. were, thanks to the love of God, all completely different…

THE NATURE OF THE TRINITY

Perhaps Chardin’s famous little phrase helps to give a further glimpse into the very nature of the Trinity: LOVE DIFFERENTIATES. As we have seen, the more love enabled Francis to draw closer to God the more he became aware that His love is not just twofold. For the love that continually revolves between the Father and the Son is not just a blind impersonal force, but a person too in ‘His’ own right. Furthermore, Francis realised that the more that love entered into him, the more he became himself, not just here on earth, but hereafter. The invitation to share in the love unlimited that binds the three in one together to eternity, means that his journey never ends. It is not just one continual ecstasy but ‘epecstasy’, as St Gregory of Nyssa described it. What he means by adding the prefix ‘ep’ to the word ecstasy is that we are not just taken out of ourselves and into God, but continually taken out of ourselves and into Him forever and ever. The more love we receive, then the more our hearts are opened to receive more love, and as God’s love is infinite, the journey goes on and on without end.

THE MORAL SUN

The reward of the traveller is to go on travelling, the solace of the searcher is to go on searching, for there is no end to this journey this side of eternity. In heaven the ever deeper and fuller loving simply goes on to eternity together with the ever increasing joy and delight that being loved always brings with it. Like a rose bud that is touched by the sun, it cannot help but respond. Now the longer the sun shines on it the more the bud opens to receive its powerful rays with ever greater intensity, until it is fully open to display the fullness of its beauty and spread its fragrance to the delight of all.

The sun however is finite, it has a beginning and an end, and so does the rose that depends upon it, but the love that we depend on for our completion has no beginning and no end. We have a beginning like the rose, but we have been created by God with an infinite capacity for love so we can go on living and loving to all eternity, like the love that never stops possessing us with ever increasing power and intensity.

When Our Lady appeared to Marie-Bernarde Soubirous in 1858 she told St Bernadette, as she was later to be known, that she was the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. Mary herself confirmed what had been [officially] defined by the Church only four years before. The teaching of Scotus…had at last become part of her official teaching.”
– These are excerpts from an article by David Torkington entitled “Eternal Love”, published in the “Messenger of Saint Anthony” issue February 2013. For subscriptions please contact: Messenger of Saint Anthony, Basilica del Santo, via Orto Botanico 11, 35123 Padua, Italy.

 
 

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“THE SIMPLE WAY HOLDS THE KEY TO THE TRUTH OF THE RESURRECTION”

SPIRITUAL LIFE – THE FINAL JOY

“… In the silence, the words of Psalm 41 come to mind:

‘Like the deer that yearns
For running streams,
So my soul is yearning
For you, my God.’

Cardinal Hume said in his homily on Easter Sunday 1983: “Death remains about the one certain fact in the lives of each one of us, and there will be suffering, sorrow and sadness next week as there was last week. As we have the audacity to sing: ‘This day was made by the Lord and we rejoice and be glad.’ Empty words? Tragic escapism? The unreality of religion? Dope to quieten the people? ‘This day was made by the Lord and we rejoice and be glad.’ The greatest gift we have is Christian hope!”

As a child I was raised in the magnificent Salvation Army and later as a (Strict) Baptist, living in the world of evangelism and evangelicals – not a bad world to live in. In this environment I became very fond of the profound writings of the great C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), an English Baptist minister who preached his first sermon at 16 and at 22 was the most popular preacher of his day. His sermon called ‘My Redeemer Liveth’ is most compelling:

‘We would be wise to remember that our Lord has risen from the dead and lives eternally. You are not asked to trust in a dead Jesus but One who, though He died for our sins, has risen again for our justification. You may go to Jesus at once as a living and present friend. He is not a mere memory.’

I remember in my mid-teens, in the early 1970s in Lancashire, trying to see a priest about returning to the Catholic Church. It was nearing Easter. I had hesitated for ages, fearful. It was late on a Saturday evening and finally I had the courage to ring his doorbell – not the best time to visit a priest! A very elderly priest came to the door and, after a few words, I found myself with a copy of the Penny Catechism in one hand and a glass of martini in the other. We became firm friends instantly.

The priest read me the Catechism: Who made me? God made me. Why did he make me? To know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and be happy with Him forever in the next. After a while he heard my Confession and we were at peace. He asked me to do the readings at his Easter Vigil. He died not that many years later, a true pastor of souls, with love and a sense of humour.

I have always found that the simple way holds the key to the truth of the Resurrection. For me, it is the profound example of the saint and poet of Assisi, who spoke of the Resurrection and suffered the cross.

As the late Franciscan friar Fr Murray Bodo once wrote, when St Francis’ friend, Sister Death, came to him, with his friars praying over him, he knew he would be embraced soon by her. He looked at the blurred faces of his friars one by one, loving them with his blindness as he had with his eyes. Then he asked Brother Elias to strip him of his habit so that he could be totally naked on the ground. This was sadly rejected. St Francis was deprived of his own will: to die with nothing of his own on his back. As he lay on the ground the final joy shot through his whole body. He would die now like Jesus, his brother and Lord: poor and clothed only in a borrowed habit, waiting for Jesus to come to him.

O Divine Master
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

The horrific Cross and the crib of life are but one eternal reality – until the Lord comes:

I saw Christ’s glory as he rose!
The angels were attesting,
Shroud with grave-clothes resting.
Christ, my hope, has risen:
He goes before you in Galilee.
That Christ is truly risen from the dead we know.
Victorious king, thy mercy show!”
– This is an excerpt of an article by Fr Michael Seed, published in March 2013 in “The Catholic Herald”.

 

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