"CUM GRANDE HUMILITATE!"

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

To Those Expecting Glory And Honor

Did not the Lord's flock actually follow him in tribulation and persecution, shame and hunger, sickness and trial and all the rest, and thereby receive eternal life from the Lord? What a great shame, then, that while the saints actually followed in the footsteps of the Lord, we, today's servants of God, expect glory and honor simply because we can recite what they did.

Admonition 6

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Brother Fly

In the beginning, when the Order was new and the brothers were living at Rivotorto, there was a brother who didn't pray much, who did no work, and who wouldn't go begging because he was ashamed to. But he did eat, and quite well.

So St. Francis said to him: "Good-bye, Brother Fly. All you want is to eat what your brothers work for and to idle away your time instead of working in God. You're like Brother Drone, refusing to work or to produce, but eating what the good bees work for, what they produce." So that brother left, and flesh-minded man that he was, he didn't even ask forgiveness.

Legend of Perugia

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Tepid Soul

When soul is tepid and little by little cools to grace, then flesh and blood leap forward to impose their needs.

Mirror of Perfection, 15

By Word And Example

The Apostle says, "The written letters kill, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Cor 3:6).

They are killed by the written letter who desire to know words so that they might seem wiser than others and be able to acquire riches to leave to their relatives and friends.

And those religious are killed by the letter who do not care to follow the Spirit of Holy Scripture, but desire to know only the words and to explain them to others.

And they are brought to life by the Spirit of Holy Scripture who do not attribute to themselves everything they know and desire to know, but in word and example give credit to the Most High to whom belongs everything that is good.

Admonition 7

Monday, August 28, 2006

Conformed To Christ

In everything he did, St. Francis was conformed to Christ. When he began his Order, he did as the Blessed Christ had done when he chose the twelve Apostles to despise the things of this world and follow him in poverty and the other virtues. He too had twelve chosen companions who were followers of total poverty.

Little Flowers of St. Francis

Sunday, August 27, 2006

God Affixed His Own Seal

The Lord was pleased to endorse the teaching and Rule of St. Francis, not only by miraculous signs, but also by marks of his own stigmata, so that no true believer could possibly question them on external or internal evidence. And in his goodness God was pleased to affix his own seal to the Rule and teaching of St. Francis, who would never have presumed to teach or write anything other than what he received from the Lord. As he himself testifies, it was God who revealed to him the entire Rule.

From a sermon of St. Bonaventure, October 4, 1255

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Sacred Vessels

"Whoever comes from God listens to the words of God." We who have been commissioned to deal with things divine should not only hear and fulfill what God says, but, what is more, in order to root in ourselves the transcendence of our Creator and our obedience to him, we should take reverent care of the sacred vessels and the liturgical books which contain his holy words.

Letter to the Whole Order

Friday, August 25, 2006

In What Can We Glory?

Likewise, if you were more handsome and more rich than others and also could work wonders, like driving out demons, all these things are only obstacles to you and none of them blongs to you, and in none of them can you glory.

Admonition 5

Offer No Resistance To Injury

The brothers should offer no resistance to injury; indeed if someone slaps them on the cheek, they should offer to other as well. And if one should take their cloak, let them not hang on to their tunic.

Let them give to everyone who begs of them; and let them not seek to retrieve what someone takes away from them.

Rule 1221 - Chapter XIV

Thursday, August 24, 2006

St. Francis's Devotion To Mary

St. Francis embraced the Mother of Jesus with an inexpressible love because she it was who made the Lord of Majesty our brother. He composed special songs of praise in her honor, he poured out prayers and offered her his affection. He made her the Advocate of the Order and placed under her wings the sons he was about to leave, that she might cherish and protect them to the end.

Celano - Second Life

Guard Against Pride, Vanity, Envy, Avarice...

Guard against pride, vanity, envy, avarice, the cares and worries of this world, detraction and complaining. And if you do not have book-learning, do not be eager to acquire it, but pursue insted what you should desire above all else, namely, to have the Spirit of the Lord and his grace working in you, to pray always with purity of heart and to have humility, patience in persecution and infirmity, and to love those who persecute and rebuke and slander you...

Rule of 1223 - Chapter X

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Burning With Love For The Eucharist

With every fiber of his being, Francis burned with love for the Sacrament of the Body of the Lord. It left him overcome with wonder for so great a condescension and merciful love...He rendered every reverence to so venerable a sacrament, offering the sacrifice of his whole self; and when he received the Immolated Lamb of God, he immolated his own spirit in that fire which was always on the altar of his heart.

Celano -Second Life

Lesser Brothers

Francis, the model of humility, wanted his brothers to be called Lesser and the superiors of the Order to bear the name "servants," thereby preserving the very words used in the Gospel which he promised to observe. At the same time he enabled his followers to learn from their name that they had come to the school of the humble Christ to learn humility. .."Anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave" (Matthew 20:26-27).

St. Bonaventure - Major Life

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Image Of The Mirror

Because the vision of Christ is the splendor of eternal glory, the radiance of eternal light and the mirror without stain, look upon that mirror each day...

Fourth Letter of St. Clare to Blessed Agnes of Prague

Vision Of The Lord

Immediately after his conversion and before St. Francis had any brothers or companions, he spent time repairing the church of San Damiano. There he received that vision of the Lord, which filled him with heavenly consolation, there he made his final decision to leave the world...

The Testament of St. Clare

Monday, August 21, 2006

Choosing Perfect Obedience

If you choose to suffer persecution rather than choose to be seperated from your brothers and sisters, you truly stand firm in perfect obedience, for you are laying down your life for them.

Admonition 3

Voluntary Poverty Is A Royal Dignity

God is well pleased with poverty, and above all with voluntary poverty. For my part I posess royal dignity and special nobility, in that I follow the Lord, who was rich but became poor for our sakes.

Celano - Second Life

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Compassion For Christ Our Savior

Such was St. Francis's feeling, his compassion for Christ, he wanted somehow to suffer with Jesus, and so, two years before he died, this prayer rose from the depths of his love for the crucified Christ: "O Lord, I beg of you two graces before I die - to experience personally and in all possible fulness the pains of your bitter Passion, and to feel for you the same love that moved you to sacrifice yourself for us."

Little Flowers of St. Francis

Patience And Humility

Where there is patience and Humility, there is neither anger nor worry.

Admonition 27

Humility: The Root Of Perfection

Poverty is an extraordinary way of salvation, since it nourishes humility, the root of perfection. Its fruits are manifold, though hidden. This is the Gospel treasure hidden in the field. To buy it we have to sell everything, and what we cannot sell, we should consider worthless in comparison to the treasure.

St. Bonaventure - Major Life

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Where There Is Poverty And Joy

Where there is poverty and joy, there is neither cupidity nor avarice.

Admonition 27

An Eternal Kingdom Is Being Made Ready For You

St. Francis used to say to his brothers, "Go, announce peace to all people; preach repentance for the remission of sins. Be patient in trials, watchful in prayer, and steadfast in weariness. Be modest in your speech, responsible in your actions, and grateful to your benefactors. And know that in return an eternal kingdom is being made ready for you."

St. Bonaventure - Major Life

Friday, August 18, 2006

Contemplation

On its part let (the soul) simply, lovingly fix its attention upon God, without specific acts. Let it occupy itself...in loving attention, quite simply, as one who opens his eyes and fixes them upon a beloved object.

St. John of the Cross - Living Flame of Love

Love And Wisdom

Where there is love and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.

Admonition 27

Don't Say It's Impossible

St. Francis said to his brothers:

"My dear brothers, obey a command immediately without waiting for it to be repeated. And don't say that it is impossible, for if you are commanded something beyond your strength, holy obedience will give you the strength you lack."

Celano - Second Life

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Why Do You Allow Poverty?

I recall one of our brothers describing a long prayer walk he took on the mountain paths surrounding our Little Portion Hermitage. The brother asked God, "Why do you allow poverty?" After a long silence, God answered the brother with a still, small voice that shook his soul: "Why do you allow poverty?"

John Michael Talbot
The Lessons of St. Francis

It Is God Who Purifies Us

"God is teaching us over and over again that it is He who is puryfying us, not we ourselves. He does this in His own way, His own pace. When we run ahead or Him he leaves us on our own and we usually stumble. When He leaves us to depend on our own strength, we soon learn that there is little strength in us. We may suffer one humiliation after another, until it begins to dawn on us that he is everything. We either gradually learn to trust Him or we continue to trust ourselves."

Father John Catoir
"Enjoy the Lord A Path To Contemplation"

Fear Of The Lord

Where there is fear of the Lord to guard the house, there the enemy cannot find a way to enter.

Admonition 27

Prepare Yourselves

You will encounter some who are faithful, meek, and well disposed; they will joyfully receive you and your words. But there will be more who are skeptical, proud, and blasphemous, and who will insult you and resist your message. Prepare yourselves, therefore, to bear everything with patience and humility.

Legend of the Three Companions

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Quiet And Meditation

Where there is quiet and meditation, there is neither preoccupation nor dissipation.

Admonition 27

Insults And Scorn

In the beginning, when St. Francis was still wearing the clothes of a layman, although he had already renounced the world, he went about Assisi for a long time looking wretched and so emaciated by penance that many thought he'd turned simple-minded. They laughed at him as though he were mad, and relatives and strangers alike drove him away with insults and stones and mud. But he was already seasoned with divine salt and rooted in peace of soul by the Holy Spirit, so he bore patiently all their insults and scorn with a joyful countenance, as if he were deaf and mute.

Little Flowers of St. Francis

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

When The Lord Visits You In Prayer

St. Francis would say, "When you are at prayer and the Lord visits you with a new consolation, you should, before coming away from prayer, raise your eyes to heaven, join your hands and say, 'You have sent this sweet consolation from heaven, Lord, to me an unworthy sinner. Now I give it back, so that you may keep it for me, for I feel like a thief of your treasure.' And say also, 'Lord, take your good gift from me in this world and keep it for me in the world to come.'"

Celano - Second Life

Love Your Enemies

The Lord says in the Gospel, "Love your enemies." You do in fact love your enemy when you do not brood over the evil another has done to you, but grieve instead over the sin on the other's soul, while continuing to act with love for the love of God.

Admonition 9

Monday, August 14, 2006

When You Come Away From Prayer

St. Francis used to say things like this to his intimates: And when you come away from prayer, you should appear to be only a poor sinner, and not someone who has just received a new grace. For you can lose something precious for the sake of a small gratification of your vanity and easily provoke him who gave not to give again.

Celano - Second Life

Grace And Not Human Accomplishment

St. Francis was the humblest of men and thought of himself as the lowest, most contemptible of sinners. In prayer he would implore, "Lord, why have you laid this burdon on me? Why have you made a simple, unlettered, wretched creature like me the head of this Order?" And the Lord would reply, "I have placed a man like you over this Order to show that what I achieve in you is of my grace and not a human accomplishment."

From a sermon of St. Bonaventure

Sunday, August 13, 2006

We Have Been Given The Emperor's Whole Kingdom

St. Francis said to his companions, "If an emperor were to give his entire kingdom to one of his servants, wouldn't that servant be filled with joy? And if, in addition, he gave him his whole empire, wouldn't the servant be even happier?" And he continued, "Then I too should rejoice in my infirmities and troubles, and take comfort in the Lord and give thanks always to God the Father, and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Holy Spirit for the great grace they've given me: namely, to know for certain, even while I am still clothed in the flesh, that I am assured of the kingdom, I an unworthy servant."

Mirror of Perfection

Friday, August 11, 2006

St. Francis And The Sister Swallows

It happened once when St. Francis was preaching in Alviano that he could not be heard because of the chattering of a flock of swallows building their nests there. So St. Francis said to the birds:

"My Sister Swallows, you have had your say. It is now my turn to speak. Be quiet now and listen to the word of the Lord."

Then to the astonishment of the people standing about, the little birds fell silent and did not move until St. Francis finished preaching.

Celano - First Life

Saint Francis And The Birds

ROY MCFADDEN

Hearing him, the birds came in a crowd,
Wing upon wing, from stone and blade and twig,
From titlted leaf and thorn and lumbered cloud,
Falling from hill, soaring from meadowland,
Wing upon widening wing, until the air
Wrinkled with sound and ran like watery sand
Round the sky's gleaming bowl. Then, like a flower
They swung, hill-blue and tremulous, each wing
A petal palpitating in a shower
Of words, till he beneath felt the stale crust
Of self crinkle and crumble of his words
Assume an independence, pure and cold,
Cageless, immaculate, one with the birds
Fattening their throats in song. Identity
Lost, he stood in swollen ecstasy.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Flood Of Tears

St. Francis had attained a wondrous purity of soul and body, yet he never stopped purifying the eyes of his spirit with a flood of tears...He preferred to lose the light of his eyes rather than dry up the fervor of his spirit by damming up his tears which cleansed his interior sight and rendered him able to see God.

St. Bonaventure - Major Life

How We Are To Conduct Ourselves

Let the brothers love one another, as the Lord says, "This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you."

And let them show by their deeds the love they have for one another, as the Apostle says, "Our love must be not just words or mere talk, but something active and genuine."

And they are not to go slandering other people nor are they to grumble or speak evil, for it is written, "Libelers and slanderers are enemies of God." And they are to be peacable and gentle, and always polite to people of all kinds.

Rule 1221 - Chapter XI

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Franciscan Rule For Hermitages

Those brothers who wish to live a religious life in a hermitage are to be three or at most four in number. Two of them are to act as mothers and are to have two sons or at least one. The two who perform the role of mothers are to follow the life of Martha, the other two that of Mary.

St. Francis's Rule for Hermitages

Lady Poverty Held In Chaste Embrace

While he lived in his valley of tears, the Blessed Father Francis spurned the riches of this world and, longing for what is higher, panted with all his heart after Lady Poverty...His Lady he held in a chaste embrace, and he was never, even for an hour, anything but a faithful spouce. This, he said to his sons, is the way of perfection, this the pledge and earnest of eternal riches.

Celano - Second Life

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

We Should See And Believe

Now as Jesus Christ appeared to his holy Apostles in true flesh, so now he shows himself to us in consecrated bread; and as with their physical sight they saw only his flesh, but contemplating him with the eyes of faith, believed that he was God, so too, now, though we see bread and wine with the eyes of our body, we should see and firmly believe that it is his Most Holy Body and Blood, living and true.

Admonition 1

Prisoners Of The Devil

All you who do not live in penance and do not receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and who are caught up in vices and sins and go the way of evil concupiscence and the evil desires of your flesh, and who do not observe those things you have promised the Lord, and who serve the world with your body, become slaves to the instincts of the flesh and the cares and preoccupations of this world, you are prisoners of the devil whose children you are and whose works you do.

Letter to All the Faithful - First Version

The Most Holy Body And Blood Of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Kissing your feet and with all the love I'm capable of, I beg you to render, as far as you can, all reverence and total adoration to the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom all things in heaven and on earth are mede peaceful and are reconciled to God the Almighty ( Colossians 1:20).

Letter to the Whole Order

Monday, August 07, 2006

Puffed Up With Learning

Those who are preoccupied only with knowing and pointing out the way of salvation to others, and neglecting their own, will arrive naked and empty-handed before Christ's judgement seat...For those who are puffed up with learning prejudiced this truth by their empty words.

Mirror of Perfection - 72

Uninterrupted Prayer

Francis always sought to keep his spirit in union with God through uninterrupted prayer, so that he would not be without the consolations of the Beloved. In his dedication to contemplation, prayer was the comfort of his life; and as if he were already a citizen of heaven and a fellow citizen of the angels, he went in ardent search of the Beloved, from whom he was seperated only by a partition of flesh.

St. Bonaventure - Major Life

Sunday, August 06, 2006

How St. Francis Prayed

Francis's safe have was prayer, not prayer of a few minutes, or empty, presumptuous prayer, but prolonged prayer, full of devotion and the serenity of humility. If he began late, it would be dawn before he finished. At night he would retire alone to pray in abandoned, neglected churches. That was how, by God's grace, he overcame many fears and anxieties.

Celano - First Life

Friday, August 04, 2006

In What Can We Glory?

...in this we can glory: in our infirmities, in carrying every day the holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Admonition 5

A Franciscan Greeting

The Lord revealed to me that this is to be our greeting: "The Lord give you peace."

The Testament of St. Francis

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Whoever Dies In Mortal Sin

So let everyone know, wherever you are and whenever you die in mortal sin without satisfaction, when you could have made it but did not, that the devil snatches away your soul from your body with an anguish and suffering so great that no one can know who hasn't experienced it. And all the talent and power and knowledge and wisdom that you thought you had will be taken away. And your relatives and friends take their inheritance and divide it and say, "Cursed be his soul because he could have given us more and acquired more than he did."

Letter to the Faithful - Second Version

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Today Is The Feast Day Of The Portiuncula

We need to thank "Catholic Fire" http://catholicfire.blogspot.com/ for this posting:

The very ancient chapel, venerated for an apparition of angels within it, was originally property of the Benedictines of Subasio. It was located on a piece of land known as the Portiuncula; this name became attached to the chapel. After a long period of abandonment, it was restored by St. Francis. Here he was given a dear understanding of his vocation. He founded here the Order of Friars Minor (1209), "establishing here his home", St. Bonaventure tells us, "because of his reverence for the angels, and of his great love of the Mother of Christ" to whom the little church is dedicated. He obtained the use of the land and the chapel from the Benedictines and made this place the center of his new religious family. On March 28, 1211, Clare, daughter of Favarone di Offreduccio, received here, from the hands of St. Francis, the religious habit, and thus began the Order of Poor Clares. In 1216, in a vision, St. Francis obtained from Jesus Christ the indulgence called the Pardon of Assisi. It was ratified by Honorius III. This plenary indulgence may ordinarily be gained on August 2 and 15; pilgrims may gain it once a year on any day of the year. At this center and heart of the Franciscan Order, St. Francis yearly assembled all the Friars in Chapter to discuss the Rule, and renew their dedication to the Gospel Life. The Chapter of Mats (1221) was attended by more than 5000 friars.

Interior of the Portiuncula

The interior retains its aspect of rude simplicity. Some of the rough hewn stones were put in place by St. Francis who repaired the church. The stones seem to reflect the echo of prayer that, for centuries has radiated from this "little portion" of earth. The warm atmosphere of devotion has been fostered by millions of faithful who have entered this "gate of eternal life" to implore the peace and pardon of the Indulgence.

“Francis loved this spot more than any other in the world....It was here that he made such extraordinary progress.”

St. Bonaventure

To learn more, go here.

Never Refuse Anyone Who Asks "For The Love Of God"

One of the expressions we use in ordinary speech always moved Francis profoundly whenever he heard it, and it was, "For the love of God." As soon as he would hear these words, they would excite him, work upon him, and enkindle him, as if an inner chord had been plucked by them. And he kept faithfully till his death the promise he made to himself when he was still living a worldly life, that he would never refuse a poor person who begged anything "for the love of God." He used to say, "How greatly we should love the very love with which God has loved us so much."

Celano - Second Life

Witnessing To Nonbelievers

You can live spiritually among nonbelievers in two ways. One way is not to enter into arguments or disputes but for the sake of the Lord to be subject to every creature (1 Peter 2:30) and to acknowledge that you are Christians. Another way is to proclaim God's word when you see it is pleasing to the Lord, so that those who do not believe may believe in the all-powerful God - Father and Son and Holy Spirit- Creator of everything, and in the Son who is Redeemer and Savior, and so that they may be baptized as Christians; for "no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born through water and the Spirit (John 3:5).

Rule 1221 - Chapter XVI

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Brother Dog

LUIS ANIBAL SANCHEZ

In the enormous tragic silence of the night,
Francis, the monk of Assisi, with sunken eyes
of immense tenderness, caressed the white
body, the snow-white body, of a poor dog that
died in the war.

To that body, which had no soul, but which felt
much, loved much, suffered much, Francis has
given a tear and infinite pity.

Francis has wept, while afar nations made war.

It is the apocalyptic hour. Humanity is condensed
into one long shriek. Hate asserts its supremacy.
The great red cataclysm sows earth with tears
and blood; tears of a child and of the beloved,
and ancient crystallized tears of the venerable
mothers who weep in dark alcoves where the
cat whines sybaritically without knowing why.

Before the white body of the poor dog slain by
chance bullets, the divine Francis wept.

My God And My All !

Lifting his eyes and hands to heaven, Francis prayed with the greatest devotion and fervor, saying, "My God and my all! My God and my all!" And he continued saying nothing but "My God and my all!" and weeping profusely until matins.

Little Flowers of St. Francis - Chapter 2

A Contradiction

Know that there are some things in life which are exalted and sublime before the Lord but are low and despicable in others' eyes; and other things which people consider grand and noble, in the eyes of God are counted worthless and vile.

Second Letter to the Custodes