Monday, October 4, 2010

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

 "If thou wilt be perfect go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor and follow Me...."Take nothing for your journey, neither staves nor scrip, neither shoes nor money."...If any man will come after Me, let him take up his cross and follow Me."  Then said St. Francis to Bernard, "Behold the counsel that Christ giveth us.  Go, therefore, do faithfully what thou has heard, and blessed the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath deigned to reveal to us the life evangelical." - from the Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi Chapter Two:  Of Friar Bernard Quintavalle, the First Companion of St. Francis, and How He Came to Forsake the World to Follow Him.  And Likewise How Silvester Forsook the World.
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Francis was very hurt that Brother Bernard had not answered his calls.   In fact, Brother Bernard was so engrossed in prayer, he did not hear Francis calling him three times.  Francis then went off by himself.  He proceeded to prostrated himself in prayer asking God to reveal to him why Brother Bernard had ignored his calls.  God said to Francis:   

"O poor little one, wherefore art thou troubled?  Ought a man to forsake God for His creature?  When thou didst call, Friar Bernard was united with Me, and therefore could neither come to thee nor answer thee. Marvel thou not if he could not respond, for he was so lifted out of himself that of thy words he heard none..."   Francis to Brother Bernard:  "I command thee by holy obedience that, in order to punish the arrogance and rashness of my heart, though shalt now, even as I lay me supine on the ground, set one foot on my neck and the other on my moth and so pass thrice from one side to the other, reviling and crying shame on me; and especially shalt thou say, "Lie there, churl, son of Peter Bernadone! whence cometh such pride to thee, though that art so vile a creature?"... - Chapter Three: How St. Francis, by Reason of an Evil Thought he Had Cherished Against Friar Bernard, Commanded the said Friar that he Should Treat on his Neck and Mouth. 
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"O good youth, prithee give them to me, lest birds so gentle, that chaste, humble, and faithful souls are compared to them in the scriptures, fall into the hands of cruel men who would kill them."..."O my little sisters, ye simple doves, innocent and chaste, wherefore suffer yourselves to be caught?  Now will I rescue you from death, and make nests for you, that ye may be fruitful and multiply, according to the commandments of our Creator."  - from Chapter Twenty-two: How St. Francis Tamed the Wild Turtle Doves, and Took into the Friary the Youth Who had Snared them but Had Given them Over.

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..."Come hither friar wolf; I command thee in the name of Christ that thou do hurt neither to me nor to any man."... - from Chapter Twenty-one: Of The Most Holy Miracle that St. Francis Wrought When He Converted the Fierce Wolf of Gubbio.

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Painter - Gerrit van Honthorst

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Painter Annibale Carracci

St. Francis in Ecstasy by Carravacchio

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Death of St. Francis by JoséSantiago Garnelo y Alda
...for when St. Francis came to die, after the manner of the holy patriarch Jacob, with his devout children standing around him, all sorrowing and weeping at the departure of so loving a father, he asked, "Where is my first-born?  Come nigh to me, my son, that my soul may bless thee ere I die."  Then Friar Bernard said secretly to Friar Elias, that was vicar of the Order, "Father, go to the right hand of the saint that he may bless thee."  And Friar Elias drew nigh to his right hand, and St. Francis, that had lost his sight through excess of weeping, placed his right hand on Friar Elias' head, and said to Friar Bernard, "God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ bless thee with all spiritual and celestial blessings.  Thou are the first born, chosen in this holy Order to give evangelical example, and to follow Christ in evangelical poverty, for not only gavest thou thine own substance and didst distribute it wholly and freely to the poor for love of Christ, but though didst offer thyself as to God in this Order, a sacrifice of sweetness.  Blessed be thou therefore by our Lord Jesus Christ and by me, poor little in, His servant, with blessings everlasting, walking and standing, watching and sleeping, living and dying.  Let him that blesseth thee be filled with blessings, and he who curseth thee go not unpunished.  Be thou lord over thy brethren and let all the friars obey thy commands, whosoever thou wilt, let him be received into this Order; let no friar have lordship over thee, and be it lawful to thee to go and to abide wheresoever it may please thee."  - Chapter Six: How St. Francis Blessed the Holy Friar Bernard and Appointed him to be his Vicar on Earth When that he should Pass from this Life. 

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Excerpts from the Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi, The Peter Pauper Press, Mount Vernon.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please let my sweet little cat Peeta come home. And may the prayers of all who have lost their beloved babies be answered as well.

Esther Gefroh said...

Your prayer request has been posted. We are praying for Peeta's safe return home.