Wednesday, September 17, 2014

St. Francis and Monte Alverna

"To rise from the contemplation of God`s symbols in creatures to the vision of uncreated goodness itself..."

"While I meditated on the possibility of the soul ascending to God, presented to me, among others, was that wondrous event that occurred in that place to Blessed Francis, namely, the vision of the winged seraphim in the form of a crucifix. And meditating on this, immediately I realized that such a vision offered me the contemplative ecstasy of Father Francis himself and at the same time the way that leads to it" (Journey of the Mind in God, Prologue, 2, in Opere di San Bonaventura. Opuscoli Teologici / 1, Rome, 1993, p. 499).

The six wings of the seraphim thus became the symbol of six stages that lead man progressively to the knowledge of God through observation of the world and of creatures and through the exploration of the soul itself with its faculties, up to the satisfying union with the Trinity through Christ, in imitation of St. Francis of Assisi.

The last words of St. Bonaventure's "Itinerarium," which respond to the question of how one can reach this mystical communion with God, would make one descend to the depth of the heart:

"If you now yearn to know how that happens (mystical communion with God), ask grace, not doctrine; desire, not the intellect; the groaning of prayer, not the study of the letter; the spouse, not the teacher; God, not man; darkness not clarity; not light but the fire that inflames everything and transport to God with strong unctions and ardent affections. ... We enter therefore into darkness, we silence worries, the passions and illusions; we pass with Christ Crucified from this world to the Father, so that, after having seen him, we say with Philip: that is enough for me" (Ibid., VII, 6). - Taken from Idle Speculations

Lord Jesus Christ,who reproduced in the flesh of the most blessed Francis, the sacred marks of your own sufferings, so that in a world grown cold our hearts might be filled with burning love of you, graciously enable us by his merits and prayers to bear the cross without faltering and to bring forth worthy fruits of penitence: You who are God, living and reigning with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen

The feast of the Stigmata ...

Today's feast, once celebrated universally as an optional memorial, is now observed primarily by Franciscans. This feast had been permitted to enliven the hearts of men with the flame of love and devotion.
To enkindle love for Jesus crucified in the hearts of the faithful, Paul V extended the feast of the stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi (September 17) to the universal Church. The prayer for the Mass is as follows: "Lord Jesus, who at a time when charity was growing cold in the world, to enkindle our hearts with the fire of Thy love, didst renew the sacred stigmata of Thy passion in the flesh of the Blessed Francis, grant us, in Thy goodness, that by his merits and prayers, we may continually bear the cross and bring forth worthy fruits of penance. Thou who livest," and so on. In this prayer we see the great realism of the Church, which to the highest elevation of thought unites the effective practice of all the virtues. - Three Ages of the Interior Life

Really allow yourself to be loved - let yourself be attracted by the spiritual, the extraordinary, the ecstatic.  Allow yourself to be raised above the complexities - try to see the situation as God sees it.  


  1. Now, more so than ever before, at least to me, we really have to hang tight onto Jesus and Mary and the Saints. All the clamoring and rumors and smears, the barely veiled sneering towards the Holy Father, from inside the Church, are too much to bear many times over.

    St. Francis pray for us to love Jesus and the Church and each other as you did. Pray for us to see Christ in the face of our neighbor much like you did when you embraced the leper and kissed him.


    p.s. I am off to spend some quiet time in Church this hot lazy afternoon. I will lift you up, Terry and everyone else who visits your fine blog, in my prayers.

  2. Thank you, yet again, Terry, for another of your lovely banquets - I appreciate how you prepare the feast for us, how you even give us poor souls 'visuals'.....
    lately I ponder on deep internal suffering - and what a grace this is. it Tears us away from coldness ! and if we have Any Wisdom in us at All - we throw ourselves upon Our Father, upon the entire Trinity - otherwise the pitiful thing which is our heart can....just....die. Thank God for Francis, for the witness of all of the Saints.
    Suffering...not just about ourselves....but about the pitiful & dreadful condition of this world, and sensing what great grief this brings Our Lady and Her Son.


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