Category Archives: Franciscan saints & blesseds

St Maximillian Mary Kolbe

Maximilian Kolbe

With the Church we pray:

O God, who filled the Priest and Martyr Saint Maximilian Kolbe with a burning love for the Immaculate Virgin Mary and with zeal for souls and love of neighbor, graciously grant, through his intercession, that, striving for your glory by eagerly serving others, we may be conformed, even until death, to your Son.

An excerpt from a letter by the saint:

Obedience is the one and the only way of wisdom and prudence for us to offer glory to God. If there were another, Christ would certainly have shown it to us by word and example. Scripture, however, summed up his entire life at Nazareth in the words: He was subject to them; Scripture set obedience as the theme of the rest of his life, repeatedly declaring that he came into the world to do his Father’s will. Let us love our loving Father with all our hearts. Let our obedience increase that love, above all when it requires us to surrender our own will. Jesus Christ crucified is our sublime guide toward growth in God’s love.

We will learn this lesson more quickly through the Immaculate Virgin, whom God has made the dispenser of his mercy. It is beyond all doubt that Mary’s will represents to us the will of God himself. By dedicating ourselves to her we become in her hands instruments of God’s mercy even as she was such an instrument in God’s hands. We should let ourselves be guided and led by Mary and rest quiet and secure in her hands. She will watch out for us, provide for us, answer our needs of body and spirit; she will dissolve all our difficulties and worries.

From a letter of Maximillian Mary Kolbe
(Scritti del P. Massimiliano M. Kolbe, Italian translation, vol. I, pt, 1 [Padua, 1971], 75-77, 166)

St Clare of Assisi

St Clare of Assisi relicFrom a letter from Saint Clare of Assisi, virgin, to Saint Agnes of Prague:

Happy indeed is she who is granted a place at the divine banquet, for she may cling with her inmost heart to him whose beauty eternally awes the blessed hosts of heaven; to him whose love inspires love, whose contemplation refreshes, whose generosity satisfies, whose gentleness delights, whose memory shines sweetly as the dawn; to him whose fragrance revives the dead, and whose glorious vision will bless all the citizens of that heavenly Jerusalem. For his is the splendor of eternal glory, the brightness of eternal light, and the mirror without cloud.

Queen and bride of Jesus Christ, look into that mirror daily and study well your reflection, that you may adorn yourself, mind and body, with an enveloping garment of every virtue, and thus find yourself attired in flowers and gowns befitting the daughter and most chaste bride of the king on high. In this mirror blessed poverty, holy humility and ineffable love are also reflected. With the grace of God the whole mirror will be your source of contemplation.

Behold, I say, the birth of this mirror. Behold his poverty even as he was laid in the manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes. What wondrous humility, what marvelous poverty! The King of angels, the Lord of heaven and earth resting in a manger! Look more deeply into the mirror and meditate on his humility, or simply on his poverty. Behold the many labors and sufferings he endured to redeem the human race. Then, in the depths of this very mirror, ponder his unspeakable love which caused him to suffer on the wood of the cross and to endure the most shameful kind of death. The mirror himself, from his position on the cross, warned passersby to weigh carefully this act, as he said: All of you who pass by this way, behold and see if there is any sorrow like mine. Let us answer his cries and lamentations with one voice and one spirit: I will be mindful and remember, and my soul will be consumed within me. In this way, queen of the king of heaven, your love will burn with an ever brighter flame.

Consider also his indescribable delights, his unending riches and honors, and sigh for what is beyond your love and heart’s content as you cry out: Draw me on! We will run after you in the perfume of your ointment, heavenly spouse. Let me run and not faint until you lead me into your wine cellar; your left hand rests under my head, your right arm joyfully embraces me, and you kiss me with the sweet kiss of your lips. As you rest in this state of contemplation, remember your poor mother and know that I have indelibly written your happy memory into my heart, for you are dearer to me than all the others.

Pardon of Assisi or Portiuncula Indulgence

PortiunculaOn August 2, the Franciscan family celebrates the Dedication of the Chapel of St. Mary of the Angels. It is known as the Portiuncula or “Little Portion,” restored by Saint Francis and the place where he and the early Friars made their home. Likewise, the Chapel is the place where Francis received Clare into the “movement” on March 28, 1211 and where he died in 1226.

Long connected with the Mother of God, it is a good idea that today we pray with the Poor Man of Assisi in these words: “Hail, O Lady, holy Queen, Mary, holy Mother of God, you are the virgin made Church, and the one chosen by the most Holy Father in heaven…in whom there was and is all the fullness of grace and every good.”

Based on mystical vision St. Francis experienced of Jesus and Mary in the Portiuncula chapel on August 1, 1216. The Little Portion Chapel, thereafter, has been the site of a venerable tradition of being a place of forgiveness, indulgence, justice and mercy. One of the traditions of today’s feast day is for pilgrims to the Portiuncula for the Feast of Saint Mary of the Angels may pray for the “Pardon of Assisi” or Portiuncula Indulgence, granted to all those who come to this chapel seeking reconciliation and are repentant of sin. This plenary indulgence may ordinarily be gained between August 2 and 15. However, the Indulgence is granted today to anyone with the intention of honoring Our Lady of the Angels reciting the Creed, praying the Our Father, Hail Mary, praying for the pope’s intentions, along with fulfilling other conditions (of receiving forgiveness of sin).

On Thursday (August 4th), Pope Francis will make a private pilgrimage to the Little Portion Chapel to mark the Jubilee Year of Mercy. In 2015, Pope Francis said on the feast of Our Lady of the Angels of Porziuncola that the Assisi Pardon “is a powerful reminder to bring ourselves closer to the Lord in the Sacrament of Mercy and to receive Communion.”

2016 is the 800th anniversary of the granting of this Indulgence.

St. John Paul II once said the message of the Portiuncula Indulgence is one of “pardon and reconciliation, that is, of grace, which divine goodness pours out on us if we are well disposed because God is truly rich in mercy.”

Solanum Casey’s 59th anniversary of death

Solanus Casey tombToday is the anniversary of death for Venerable Servant of God Father Solanus Casey.

The Sacrifice of the Mass was offered at the Capuchin Shrine in Detroit where his tomb exists. The Archbishop of Detroit, Allen H. Vigneron, offered Mass.

Father Solanus Casey, was born November 25, 1870, on a Wisconsin farm, joined the Capuchin friars in 1896 and ordained priest on July 24, 1904.

Prayers for the beatification of Father Solanus Casey.

St Bonaventure

St BonaventureWe are honoring the memory of St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio (ca. 1221-1274) today. One of the great scholastic theologians and pastors of the Church. I hope the Thomists won’t get mad!

There are many who make the claim that the best general introduction to the thought of Bonaventure is Sister Ilia Delio’s, Simply Bonaventure (New City Press, 2nd ed.) And I agree. But if you need another resource, consider this encyclopedia entry (2005/2013).

Bonaventure, having joined the new movement of Friars in Paris, his priestly and academic career was centered at the Franciscan School of Theology at the University of Paris from 1248-1257. By this time he garnered the attention of his brothers and churchmen at large. He was elected General Minister of the Order governed his brothers for 17 years. It may be said that after the early days of Francis and the early leadership of the Franciscan movement Bonaventure makes his Order credible and and reliable. Thereafter, Bonaventure was elected to serve the Roman Pontiff as Cardinal-Bishop of Albano and expert at the Second Council of Lyons; At Lyons, he died during the Council.

The scholarship on Saint Bonaventure reveals to us that he emphasized all learning must serve the ultimate goal of human life: communion with God. His work is greatly trinitarian and Chriwstocentric. For him, and for us, Christ is the one and true Master! This is a critical point for knowing today’s saint: learning is not meant for self-aggrandizement but to help a person realize that he or she is on a journey toward union with a loving God –a communio theology. You could say with seriousness that to do otherwise is to reduce theology and learning to absurd levels and miss the point of knowing, loving and serving the Blessed Trinity.

Consider this passage from his treatise, “The Tree of Life”:

“You soul devoted to God,
whoever you are, run
with living desire
to this Fountain of life and light
and with the innermost power of your heart
cry out to him:

‘O inaccessible beauty of the most high God
and the pure brightness of the eternal light,
life vivifying all life,
light illumining every light,
and keeping in perpetual splendor
a thousand times a thousand lights
brilliantly shining
before the throne of your divinity
since the primeval dawn!

O eternal and inaccessible,
clear and sweet stream from the fountain
hidden from the eyes of all mortals,
whose depth is without bottom,
whose height is without limit,
whose breadth cannot be bounded,
whose purity cannot be disturbed.

From this Fountain
flows the stream of the oil of gladness,
which gladdens the city of God,
and the powerful fiery torrent,
the torrent, I say, of the pleasure of God,
from which the guest at the heavenly banquet
drink to joyful inebriation
and sing without ceasing
hymns of jubilation.

Anoint us
with this sacred oil and refresh
with the longed-for waters of this torrent
the thirsting throat of our parched hearts
so that amid shouts of joy and thanksgiving
we may sing to you
a canticle of praise,
proving by experience that
with you is the fountain of life,
and in your light we will see
light (see Ps 36:10).”

This image of Saint Bonaventure, is depicted by the Veronese painter, Paolo Morando Cavazzola (1486-1522). Few medieval depictions of Bonaventure exist; Bonaventure was not canonized until 1482.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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