Sunday, March 28, 2010
Francis loved the poverty that he saw in Christ and in His Blessed Mother, but he saw it only as a condition for the infinite love that occupied his every desire. He realized so well that only Christ, God alone, is worthy of infinite love; and on the other hand, he knew that we poor mortals are incapable of loving infinitely and completely. But Francis conceived a way out of this dilemma.
Perfect poverty is the answer to perfect love in so far as a creature is able to love perfectly. We must withdraw our hearts from the attachment to all other love, and give them to Almighty God by complete poverty. Such poverty entails the surrender of every material thing, and even more; namely, the uprooting of all vanity and pride by perfect simplicity and humility. It also requires the renunciation of oneself and one's own will in perfect obedience. How necessary then, is poverty, if the love of God, which demands absolute detachment, cannot be attained without it!
It is therefore especially true in the case of the Franciscan that poverty must be a characteristically Franciscan virtue and must be outstanding in us.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
In his Christ–centered spirituality, the Franciscan is co–crucified in his own humanity with Christ,thus enabling him to live supernaturally and divinely in Him. There follows quite naturally from this Christ–centered spirit, the traditional Franciscan attachment to the Holy Mother of Jesus.
In his devotion to the Mother of Christ, the Franciscan, who is united with and transformed into Christ,makes Mary his own Mother. How can it be otherwise, for it was Mary who begot Christ, and hence it is Mary who has given the True Life to the Franciscan.
Mary is our Mother because she is the Mother of the Head of the Mystical Body, of which we are members.She is the one Mother of the One Christ. Francis ‘embraced the Mother of Jesus with an indescribable love,because she made the Lord of Majesty our brother.’ Moreover, how great should be the Franciscan's love for the Most Holy Eucharist! Is not the Sacred Host upon our altars the corporeal presence of our Beloved Christ,who is the life of our life, the Host offered upon the cross, for love of us, in union with whom is our entire perfection and our entire love?
‘Francis was on fire with love for the Sacrament of the Body of the Lord with every fiber of his being, holding Its dignity and right to our devoted love, in greatest awe.’
Sunday, March 7, 2010
The devotion of the Franciscan toward Christ crucified expresses the deep compassion that he has for the Savior in the greatest manifestation of His love. But the true meaning of this devotedness has a deeper purpose than merely compassion.
The Franciscan devotion to Christ crucified indicates a desire for one's own crucifixion, so that dying with Christ, we may live with Him, through Him, and in Him, in a new supernatural mode of life. To what avail would one weep over the death of Jesus, unless he dies with Him in a union of love? The Seraphic Doctor, Saint Bonaventure, admonishes us to bear our cross joyfully if we would be loyal followers
of Christ. ‘The true lover of God and disciple of Christ, who desires to be conformed perfectly with the Savior of all mankind Who was crucified for him, ought to pursue this union with great zeal. Then he shall be able to bear the Cross of Christ wherever he goes, both in mind and in body; and the words of the Apostle shall be verified in him.''