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Franciscan Things

Safe in Our Mother’s Arms

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

Facing the Storms of Life in the Arms of Our Mother: 

May Jesus fill you with his holy love and grant you all those graces your beautiful soul desires, and I incessantly ask for you from our heavenly Father!. . . May the Lord continue to possess your heart always, rendering it holy to the degree established with eternal designs….

Do not fear the storm that roars about you, because in proportion to the rigidity of the winter, the spring will be more beautiful and richer in flowers, and the fruits more abundant. No matter what the tempter may say or do,  God is working out in you his admirable purpose, which is your sanctification. Don’t believe the murmurings and promptings of the enemy….

To be afraid of being lost while you are in the arms of divine goodness is stranger than fear on the part of a child in its mother’s arms. Banish all doubt and anxiety which are, however, allowed by infinite love for the purpose already mentioned. Be patient and don’t become discouraged if you see yourself still full of imperfections. Remember what I said to you in this regard, and make every effort to put it into practice.

When you are unable to take big steps on the path that leads to God, be content with little steps, patiently waiting until you have the legs to run.

+St. Padre Pio

Holy Name of Jesus

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

The heart of every Christian should respond to this invitation and exalt the most Holy Name of Our Savior, that is, His very Person, for the Name of Jesus expresses what  He is: Savior, Redeemer. This sacred Name, announced by the Angel to both Mary and Joseph, was given to Our Lord by God Himself. “Thou shalt call His Name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:21).

This Name expresses and synthesizes the great mysteries of the Incarnation and the Redemption; it is at the center of the universe like a point of contact, like a bridge between God and all mankind. Man can reach God only by means of Jesus and in the Name of Jesus : “for there is other Name under heaven whereby we must be saved”.

O glorious Name! Gracious Name! Name full of love and virtue! Through You, sins are forgiven, enemies overcome, the sick healed, and sufferers strengthened in adversity! You are the honor of believers, the Master of preachers, the comfort of those who toil, the support of the weak. Holy desires are nourished by the ardor of Your fire; and by it, necessary suffrages are obtained, contemplative souls are inebriated, and the triumphant are glorified in heavenly glory! By Your most Holy Name, O sweet Jesus, You make us reign with the Blessed, You, their glory, You who triumph gloriously with the Father and the Holy Spirit, in perfect Unity and Trinity, forever and ever.

O Name of Jesus, exalted above every other Name! O triumphant Name! O joy of Angels! O terror of hell! All hope of pardon, of grace and of glory is found in You! O sweetest Name, You pardon the guilty, You reform evil habits, You fill the timid with divine sweetness and drive away terrifying visions! O glorious Name! By You, the mysteries of eternal life are revealed, souls are inflamed with divine love, strengthened in time of struggle, and freed from all dangers. O desirable Name! Delightful Name! Admirable Name! Venerable Name! Little by little You raise the souls of the faithful by Your gifts and graces to the heights of heaven. All to whom You communicate Your ineffable grandeur, by Your power attain to salvation and glory!”

(St. Bernardine of Siena).

For the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Ave Maria Meditations

“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” (Our Lady of Fatima)

Offering as a Little Victim of Love for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

O Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and my Mother Mary, I consecrate myself entirely to you with a filial love that knows no limits. For the greatest possible glory of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and for the salvation and sanctification of souls, I offer myself as a little victim of love for the triumph of your Most Pure and Immaculate Heart.

Deign, oh my Mother, to accept this humble offering and give me the grace to do everything through, with and in Your Heart. May you use me as You wish. Transform me completely within your Immaculate Heart so that I may disappear and you alone remain. Amen.

Ave Maria!

In fact, what we will discover is that in order for us to be instruments in bringing about the triumph and reign of Our Lady in the world, she must first and foremost triumph and reign in us. The glorious, universal triumph of Mary’s Heart starts in our hearts. The triumph must be realized one heart at a time. That said, the spiritual program of this little victimhood of love starts at home. It begins with our consecration to her maternal heart, the imitation of her virtues, the awareness and correspondence to her ongoing spiritual presence, the death to the world and to ourselves and the mystical transformation in the Most Holy Trinity in the depth of the divine sanctuary of her Immaculate Heart. In a word, we must experience and live her motherly presence first hand and then we will be able to bring that presence to others by our lives, words, prayers, and actions.  

(the prayer above) can serve as a model for offering oneself as a little victim of love for the triumph of Mary’s most pure and Immaculate Heart.

reprinted with permission from Fr. Maximilian Mary Dean, FI

Queen of the Seraphic Order

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Ave Maria Meditations encore

Our Lady is Queen of the Seraphic (Franciscan) Order

Feast Day is December 15th  

seraphic queen

Saint Francis’ Greetings to the Blessed Virgin:   Hail, Lady and Queen,  holy Mary, Mother of God, Virgin who became the Church, chosen by the Father in heaven, consecrated by His beloved Son and His Spirit, the Comforter: in you was and remains, the whole fullness of grace and everything that is good.

Hail, His palace, Hail, His tabernacle, Hail, His dwelling, Hail, His robe, Hail, His handmaid, Hail, His mother!   O holy Mother, sweet and fair to see, for us beseech the King, your dearest Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to death for us delivered: that in His pitying clemency, and by virtue of His most holy incarnation and bitter death, He may pardon our sins.   Holy Virgin Mary, among all the women of the world, there is none like you. You are the daughter and handmaid of the most high King, Father of heaven. You are the Mother of our most holy Lord Jesus Christ. You are the bride of the Holy Spirit. Pray for us, with St. Michael the archangel, and all the powers of heaven and all the saints, to your most holy and beloved Son, our Lord and Master. Amen.   (more…)

Nov 29 – Homily – Fr Matthias: Franciscan Succession

Friday, November 29th, 2013
Click to Play

Homily #131129n ( 10min) Play – Fr. Matthias introduces us to two modern saintly Franciscans, Bl. Gabriel Allegra and St. Padre Pio, and holds them us as examples to imitate and rebukes to our tepidity. He also shows that the Franciscan Saints form a “chain” which links us to St. Francis and assures our fidelity to the Franciscan vocation. Finally, he challenges us to surpass in sanctity the Franciscan saints, even St. Francis himself, a task only possible by totally dedicating ourselves to the Immaculate.

Ave Maria!
Mass: All Saints of the Franciscan Ord. – Feast – Form: OF
Readings: 
1st: sir 44:1, 10-15
Resp: psa 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Gsp: mar 10:17-21

Audio (MP3)

+++

Through Grace Received from Mary

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Ave Maria Meditations

St. Leonard of Port Maurice (Feast Day November 26th) wrote this about Our Lady: “She has had a decisive influence on our lives. Each of us has his own experience. Looking back we see her intervention behind every problem, driving us forward and with the definitive push making us begin anew. Whenever I get down to thinking about the numerous graces I have received from Mary, I feel like one of those Marian Shrines on the walls of which, covered with ‘offerings’, there is inscribed only: ‘Through grace received from Mary’. In this way, it seems that I am written all over: Through grace received from Mary’.  Every good thought, every good act of will, every movement of my heart: ‘Through grace received from Mary’.”

A bit of biography:

Saint Leonard was devoted to spreading the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin (the doctrine had not yet been established). He was in no small way responsible for the definition of the Immaculate Conception made a little more than a hundred years after his death. He also wrote the Divine Praises, which are said at the end of Benediction. But Saint Leonard’s most famous work was his devotion to the Stations of the Cross. He established the Way of the Cross in over 500 places, including the Coliseum in Rome.

(as noted in http://365rosaries.blogspot.com/2010/11/november-26-saint-leonard-of-port.html)

St. Peter of Alcantara: Meditating on the Creed

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

Ave Maria Meditations

Having seen what fruit may come of Prayer and Mediation, let us now see what are the things on which we should meditate.   To which the answer is, that inasmuch as this holy exercise is ordained to create in our hearts the love and fear of God, and to lead us to keep His Commandments, the most fitting subject for this exercise will be that which should most surely lead to the end proposed.

Although it be true that all created things, whether earthly or heavenly, may move us to this, yet, generally speaking, the Mysteries of our Faith which are contained in the Creed, are the most efficacious, and profitable.  For here are treated the subjects of the Divine blessings, the Last Judgment, the pains of Hell, and the glory of Paradise, where there are the most powerful stimulants to move our hearts to the love and fear of God;  and in it are treated also the Life and Passion of Our Savior Christ, in which consists all our good.

These two subjects especially are treated of in the Creed, and are those on which we for the most part make our Meditations.  And therefore, with much reason it is said, that the Creed is the most fitting subject for this holy exercise, although at the same time, there may be with everyone some subject which might more especially move his heart to the love and fear of God.

+St. Peter Alcantara

Its official: Saint Angela of Foligno!

Friday, October 11th, 2013

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has declared a new saint and advanced seven other causes for sainthood, the latter including a North American religious sister and two laymen. A statement, issued Friday by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said the Pope has recognized the sainthood of Medieval mystic Blessed Angela da Foligno and “enrolled her” on the Church’s official “catalogue of saints”.

A laywoman and member of the Secular Franciscan Order, Blessed Angela was born in a well-to-do family in Foligno, Italy, circa 1248; she died on 4 January 1309. A wife, mother and widow, she lived a deep spiritual conversion in 1285. Attracted by the ideals of St. Francis of Assisi, she joined the Secular Franciscan Order six years later. Her visions were recorded by her spiritual director.

The statement says the Pope “extended  the liturgical cult in honor of Angela da Foligno to the Universal Church”, after having received a report from the prefect of the Congregation, Cardinal Angelo Amato, on 9 October.

In addition the heroic virtues of several others including two Franciscans have been recognized:

Amato Ronconi (c. 1226-1292), Italian layman, Secular Franciscan and founder of a hospice for the poor in Rimini, Italy

Sr. Maria Jane Wilson (1840-1916), Indian foundress of the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Victories.

read more at http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-declares-new-saint-advances-seven-causes

Whispers in the Loggia: “Francis, Teach Us to Remain Before the Cross… Teach Us To Be Instruments of Peace”

Friday, October 4th, 2013

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

MASS ON THE FEAST OF ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI

BASILICA OF ST FRANCIS

4 OCTOBER 2013

I give you thanks, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to babes” (Mt 11:25).

Peace and all good to each and every one of you! With this Franciscan greeting I thank you for being here, in this Square so full of history and faith, to pray together.

Today, I too have come, like countless other pilgrims, to give thanks to the Father for all that he wished to reveal to one of the “little ones” mentioned in today’s Gospel: Francis, the son of a wealthy merchant of Assisi. His encounter with Jesus led him to strip himself of an easy and carefree life in order to espouse “Lady Poverty” and to live as a true son of our heavenly Father. This decision of Saint Francis was a radical way of imitating Christ: he clothed himself anew, putting on Christ, who, though he was rich, became poor in order to make us rich by his poverty (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). In all of Francis’ life, love for the poor and the imitation of Christ in his poverty were inseparably united, like the two sides of a coin.

What does Saint Francis’s witness tell us today? What does he have to say to us, not merely with words – that is easy enough – but by his life?

1. His first and most essential witness is this: that being a Christian means having a living relationship with the person of Jesus; it means putting on Christ, being conformed to him.

Where did Francis’s journey to Christ begin? It began with the gaze of the crucified Jesus. With letting Jesus look at us at the very moment that he gives his life for us and draws us to himself. Francis experienced this in a special way in the Church of San Damiano, as he prayed before the cross which I too will have an opportunity to venerate. On that cross, Jesus is depicted not as dead, but alive! Blood is flowing from his wounded hands, feet and side, but that blood speaks of life. Jesus’ eyes are not closed but open, wide open: he looks at us in a way that touches our hearts. The cross does not speak to us about defeat and failure; paradoxically, it speaks to us about a death which is life, a death which gives life, for it speaks to us of love, the love of God incarnate, a love which does not die, but triumphs over evil and death. When we let the crucified Jesus gaze upon us, we are re-created, we become “a new creation”. Everything else starts with this: the experience of transforming grace, the experience of being loved for no merits of our own, in spite of our being sinners. That is why Saint Francis could say with Saint Paul: “Far be it for me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal 6:14).

We turn to you, Francis, and we ask you: Teach us to remain before the cross, to let the crucified Christ gaze upon us, to let ourselves be forgiven, and recreated by his love.

More at Whispers in the Loggia: “Francis, Teach Us to Remain Before the Cross… Teach Us To Be Instruments of Peace”.

The Truth About the Appointment of a Commissioner to the Franciscans of the Immaculate

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Update: Please, keep in mind that these statistics where never intended to be published. In fact, the entire visitation and the resulting decree regarding the appointment of the commissioner and the restriction of the Extraordinary Form for the FI were never intended to be published. Part of the shock of the news of the decree was that all the friars involved had done such a good job at not talking about it as per the request of the Vatican. Few outside the order knew we had any problem at all, even though the visitation had been taking place for about a year. Right at the time when we had the highest hope  (when the news of the decree was privately announced to the friars) of resolving our difficulties quietly behind closed doors, fully respecting everyone’s good reputation, not only was the decree leaked to the blogs that are sympathetic to traditionalism but, as outlined below, they broke the story in a way that made the Pope and the Vatican look bad with the resulting negative firestorm. What a mess! To help remedy this the Vatican has decided to publish the results of the questionnaire that provide good solid numbers to give everyone an idea of why they had to act. Some have taken offense that we are airing problems in our order, showing our dirty laundry. This is, indeed, unfortunate, but it is the only recourse now that our internal conflict has been made public and aggressively used by some outside the order to promote an agenda against the Vatican and our dear Holy Father, Pope Francis.

- Fra Roderic, Web Master

Sept 24, 2013

Publication of data from an internal questionnaire: Regarding the old Mass, 64% of the friars stated that there are problems, and as many as 77% of these said that they could only be resolved with an extraordinary General Chapter or by the appointment of a Commissioner over the Institute.

Vatican Insider

ANDREA TORNIELLI

VATICAN CITY

There is significant data blatantly contradicting many articles and bitter comments that have appeared over the last two months on blogs close to the traditionalist world, sites and blogs that attempt to reduce the internal affairs of the Franciscans of the Immaculate to the “traitorous” initiative of handful of friars allergic to the old Mass.

On 19 September, during the course of an audience of the Secretary of the Congregation for Religious with the Commissioner of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, Vatican officials authorized the publication of the statistical data emerging from the questionnaire that the Apostolic Visitator submitted to all the members of the Institute in perpetual vows. The questionnaire focused on four multiple-choice questions, suggested by the then Procurator General of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. The results speak for themselves, and demonstrate why the Holy See decided to intervene by appointing a Commissioner to the Institute.

The first point concerned the “style of government of the Superior General,” the founder of the Institute, Father Stefano Manelli. 39% of the friars responded that (more…)

Eucharistic Humility

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Ave Maria Meditations

Body of Christ, make me holy. Fill my weak soul with an overflowing of Grace so You and I may be as One. You have created me for Yourself. What an act of ingratitude to keep any part of me for myself.

My weakness and pride make me forget You but Your humble Presence in the Eucharist stirs my soul to repentance. Let us be hidden together in love and union. Accept my wretchedness and wrap it in Your Power and change it all in the fire of Your Love.

Mother M. Angelica  PCPA

St. Padre Pio, Pray for Me!

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Ave Maria Meditations

Prayer for the Intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina :

Dear God, You generously blessed Your servant, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, with the gifts of the Spirit.  You marked his body with the five wounds of Christ Crucified, as a powerful witness to the saving Passion and Death of Your Son.  

Endowed with the gift of discernment, St. Pio labored endlessly in the confessional for the salvation of souls. With reverence and intense devotion in the celebration of Mass, he invited countless men and women to a greater union with Jesus Christ  in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Through the intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, I confidently beseech You to grant me the grace of (here state your petition).    Amen.

 Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen  (Say three times)

The Great Promise of St. Padre Pio: – I will ask the Lord to let me remain at the threshold of Paradise and I will not enter until the last of my spiritual children has entered.

Stigmata of St. Francis

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Ave Maria Meditations

St. Francis Prayer Before Receiving the Stigmata

Lord, I ask you for two graces before I die:  to experience in myself, as much as possible, the sufferings of your cruel Passion, and to feel for you the same love that drove you to sacrifice yourself for us.

My Lord Jesus Christ, I beg thee to grant me two graces before my death:  first, that for the rest of my life I may experience in my soul and in my body, as much as possible, the same pain that you suffered,  O sweet Jesus, during the time of thy most cruel Passion; and second, that I may feel in my heart, as much as possible, the same love which inflamed thee, the Son of God, and led thee to suffer thy passion gladly for us sinners.

(picture used with permission: Michael O’Brien)

August 14th: St. Maximilian Kolbe, Franciscan Saint and Martyr

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Ave Maria Meditations

More than once, no doubt, we have come across the expression, “God’s will,” or perhaps this other one, “the Immaculate’s will”; or again, “the accomplishment of the Immaculate’s will is the shortest and surest way to holiness.”  At first, perhaps, a doubt arose in our minds whether such expressions are strictly true.

Since our supreme legislator is God, our salvation depends on carrying out His will. The Immaculate is, indeed, the mother of God , but compared with God’s perfection she is infinitely inferior to Him: a creature brought into being by His will.

Yes, it is true: the Immaculate is only one of God’s works and like every work, incomparable inferior to her creator and entirely dependent on Him.  But at the same time she is God’s most perfect and most holy creation, because God, as St. Bonaventure affirms, ” could create a world greater and more perfect than this one; but even He could not raise any creature to a more exalted dignity than that which He has bestowed on Mary.” (more…)

St. Clare: a Light through the Centuries

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

Ave Maria Meditations

Clare was born in Assisi, Italy in about 1194 into a family of knights and nobles. At the age of eighteen, Clare became the first female follower of Saint Francis when she left her home on Palm Sunday night in 1212 in order to be consecrated as the handmaid of Christ. Saint Francis soon took her to San Damiano where she anchored her whole self for over forty years. Because she remained rooted in one place, she liked to call herself the Little Plant of St. Francis. She was shortly joined by her sister who also had to escape from the family home and then in later years yet another sister and her own mother also joined her in religious life.

Saint Clare was the first woman in history to write a Rule. She took her form of life from Saint Francis who wanted to live the Gospel radically. She also chose to live with the privilege of poverty. This desire to live a rule of total poverty was opposed; it was said that it could not be done, especially by women. All the remaining years of her life she fought to have this privilege in her Rule of Life for her sisters. Only days before her death did the Holy Father finally grant this great wish. She placed her security in the providence of the Father of Mercies and trusted He would take care of her and her sisters through the goodness of the faithful. This has been proved true for over 800 years.

Clare also had a deep devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. When the Saracens attacked her monastery, she had herself led to the door with the Blessed Sacrament. She begged Jesus to protect her Sisters whom she was unable to protect. She heard the voice of our Lord promise: “I WILL ALWAYS PROTECT YOU.” The Saracens fled in terror, and peace returned. St. Clare is most often pictured holding a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament.

Clare had a supremely Marian Vocation. (more…)