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Feast of the Stigmata of Saint Francis

While he dwelt in the hermitage which, from the place in which it is situated, is called Alverna, two years before he gave back his soul to Heaven, he saw in a vision of God a man like a seraph having six wings, standing over him with hands outstretched and feet joined together, fixed to a cross. Two wings were raised above his head, two were spread out for flight, and two veiled the whole body. Now, when the blessed servant of the Most High saw this, he was filled with exceeding great wonder, but he could not understand what this vision might mean. Yet he rejoiced greatly and was filled with vehement delight at the benign and gracious look wherewith he saw that he was regarded by the seraph, whose beauty far exceeded, all estimation; but the crucifixion, and the bitterness of the seraph’s suffering smote him altogether with fear. Thus he arose, so to speak, sorrowful and glad; and joy and grief alternated in him. He anxiously pondered what this vision might portend, and his spirit labored sore to come at the understanding of it. And while he continued without any clear perception of its meaning, and the strangeness of the vision was perplexing his heart, marks of nails began to appear in his hands and feet, such as he had seen a little while before in the Man crucified who had stood over him.

His hands and feet seemed pierced in the midst by nails, the heads of the nails appearing in the inner part of the hands and in the upper part of the feet, and their points over against them. Now those marks were round in the inner side of the hands and elongated on the outer side, and certain small pieces of flesh were seen like the ends of nails bent and driven back, projecting from the rest of the flesh.  So also the marks of nails were imprinted in his feet, and raised above the rest of the flesh. Moreover his right side, as it had been pierced by a lance, was overlaid with a scar, and often shed forth blood, so that his tunic and drawers were many times sprinkled with the sacred blood.  Alas! how few were found worthy to see the sacred wound in his side while the crucified servant of the crucified Lord was yet alive!  But happy was Elias who was found worthy to see it somehow while the Saint was living; not less happy Rufino who touched it with his own hands.  For once, when brother Rufino had put his hand into the most holy man’s bosom that he might scratch him, his hand (as it often chances) slipped down to Francis’ right side, and he happened to touch that precious scar, at which touch the Saint of God was not a little distressed, and, pushing the hand away, he cried to the Lord that he might forgive him (Rufino). For he concealed the stigmata most diligently from strangers, and from those about him he hid them so carefully that even the brethren at his side and his most devoted followers were for a long time unaware of them.  (Thomas of Celano, The First Life of St. Francis of Assisi, Part II, Chapter 3)

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Hmmm

Act bravely, my Brethren; take courage, and trust in the Lord. The time is fast approaching in which there will be great trials and afflictions; perplexities and dissensions, both spiritual and temporal, will abound; the charity of many will grow cold, and the malice of the wicked will increase.

The devils will have unusual power, the immaculate purity of our Order, and of others, will be so much obscured that there will be very few Christians who will obey the true Sovereign Pontiff and the Roman Church with loyal hearts and perfect charity. At the time of this tribulation a man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavour to draw many into error and death.

Then scandals will be multiplied, our Order will be divided, and many others will be entirely destroyed, because they will consent to error instead of opposing it.

There will be such diversity of opinions and schisms among the people, the religious and the clergy, that, except those days were shortened, according to the words of the Gospel, even the elect would be led into error, were they not specially guided, amid such great confusion, by the immense mercy of God.

Then our Rule and manner of life will be violently opposed by some, and terrible trials will come upon us. Those who are found faithful will receive the crown of life; but woe to those who, trusting solely in their Order, shall fall into tepidity, for they will not be able to support the temptations permitted for the proving of the elect.

Those who preserve their fervour and adhere to virtue with love and zeal for the truth, will suffer injuries and, persecutions as rebels and schismatics; for their persecutors, urged on by the evil spirits, will say they are rendering a great service to God by destroying such pestilent men from the face of the earth. But the Lord will be the refuge of the afflicted, and will save all who trust in Him. And in order to be like their Head [Jesus Christ], these, the elect, will act with confidence, and by their death will purchase for themselves eternal life; choosing to obey God rather than man, they will fear nothing, and they will prefer to perish [physically] rather than consent to falsehood and perfidy.

Some preachers will keep silence about the truth, and others will trample it under foot and deny it. Sanctity of life will be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in those days Jesus Christ will send them not a true Pastor, but a destroyer.

Attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, Works of the Seraphic Father St. Francis Of Assisi, Washbourne, 1882, pp. 248-250)

It is tempting to read this prophesy as predicting contemporary troubles in the Church, and many Catholic sites do so.  However, after Saint Francis’ death his Order was divided between the Fraticelli and the main body of the Franciscans, with the Fraticelli being declared heretical by Pope Boniface VIII in 1296.  Pope Boniface is known to us today chiefly as the pope cordially hated by Dante.  Boniface was elected Pope by the conclave of 1294 in fairly suspicious circumstances after the resignation of Pope Saint Celestine V.  Celestine died a year after his resignation, and enemies of Pope Boniface, and they were legion, accused him of murdering Celestine.  I suspect the above “prophesy” was written during this time.  Thus the above, in reference to our time, is not a true prophesy, but is rather an example of the only true thing ever written by Karl Marx:  History does tend to repeat itself.  The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

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Francis, They Hardly Know Ye

Hattip to Elliot Bougis in regard to the below video.  Strong content advisory for the video for anyone who occasionally suffers from Kumbaya flashbacks to the Seventies.

 

 

For the benefit of those who believe that Saint Francis was some sort of medieval precursor to hippies/ecologists/ occupy wall street/new agers:

Like most very great men and women, legends began to cluster about Saint Francis even while he lived.  One of these involved his meeting with Pope Innocent III.

While the Vicar of Christ listened attentively to a parable told by Francis and its interpretation, he was quite amazed and recognised without a doubt that Christ had spoken in this man.  But he also confirmed a vision he had recently received from heaven, that, as the Divine Spirit indicated, would be fulfilled in this man.  He saw in a dream, as he recounted, the Lateran basilica almost ready to fall down.  A little poor man, small and scorned, was propping it up with his own back bent so that it would not fall.  “I’m sure,” he said, “he is the one who will hold up Christ’s Church by what he does and what he teaches.”  Because of this, filled with exceptional devotion, he bowed to the request in everything and always loved Christ’s servant with special love.  Then he granted what was asked and promised even more.  He approved the rule, gave them a mandate to preach penance, and had small tonsures given to all the lay brothers, who were accompanying the servant of God, so that they could freely preach the word of God. 

 

Cf. St. Bonaventure’s Major Legend of St. Francis, III:10

Saint Francis is probably the most popular Catholic saint among non-Catholics.  It is always pleasing of course for Catholics when non-Catholics recognize the heroic sanctity of one of their champions, but in the case of Saint Francis, I fear this popularity among non-Catholics is largely due to a fundamental misunderstanding about Saint Francis.  Saint Francis is often portrayed as a precursor of the modern environmental movement, a pantheist and a pacifist, someone, in short, who was preaching a message in the thirteenth century that accords nicely with twenty-first century liberal secular sensibilities.

Of course none of this is true.   Saint Francis never preached any doctrines in accord with the modern ecological movement and simply was not concerned with those types of issues that were absolutely foreign to his time.  Saint Francis was a completely orthodox Catholic who worshiped God with such intensity that he was the first to receive the stigmata.  Saint Francis never breathed a word against the Crusades and participated in the Fifth Crusade to Egypt.

As popular as Saint Francis is with non-Catholics, Innocent III would likely be equally unpopular if historical ignorance were not so wide-spread today.  He was the most powerful pope in secular matters in the history of the Church.  He made and unmade kings and emperors;  in his pontificate Constantinople fell to western crusaders, although he opposed this;  he began the Albigensian Crusade;  he dominated his age as no pope before or since.  To many moderns Innocent III would be the anti-Saint Francis. Continue Reading

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Gag

politifact_photos_St_Francis_sultan

 

Please read this letter and then in the comboxes give me a guesstimate  of the percentage of people at the Vatican who actually believe that Catholicism is the True Faith:

 

Christians and Muslims: 

Beneficiaries and Instruments of Divine Mercy

Dear Muslim brothers and sisters,

1. The month of Ramadan and ‘Id al-Fitr is an important religious event for Muslims around the world, focused on fasting, prayer and good deeds, and is esteemed by Christians, your friends and neighbours. On behalf of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Christians all over the world, we extend best wishes for a spiritually rewarding fast, supported by good deeds, and for a joyful feast.

As is our cherished custom, we wish to share with you on this occasion some reflections in the hope of strengthening the spiritual bonds we share.

2. A theme that is close to the hearts of Muslims and Christians alike is mercy.

We know that Christianity and Islam both believe in a merciful God, who shows his mercy and compassion towards all his creatures, in particular the human family. He created us out of an immense love. He is merciful in caring for each of us, bestowing upon us the gifts we need for our daily life, such as food, shelter and security. God’s mercy is manifested in a particular way, however, through the pardon of our faults; hence he is the one who pardons (al-Ghâfir), but the one who pardons much and always (al-Ghafour).

3. To underscore the importance of mercy, His Holiness Pope Francis declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy to be celebrated from 8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016. In this regard he said: “Here… is the reason for the Jubilee: because this is the time for mercy. It is the favorable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone, everyone, the way of forgiveness and reconciliation” (“Homily”, 11 April 2015).

Your pilgrimage (hajj) to the Holy places, mainly Mecca and Medina, is surely a special time for you to experience God’s mercy. In fact, among the well-known aspirations addressed to Muslim pilgrims is: “I wish you a blessed pilgrimage, praiseworthy efforts and the pardon of your sins”. Making a pilgrimage to obtain God’s pardon for sins, both for the living and dead, is truly a salient custom practice among believers.

4. We, Christians and Muslims, are called to do our best to imitate God. He, the Merciful, asks us to be merciful and compassionate towards others, especially those who are in any kind of need. So too he calls us to be forgiving of one another.

When we gaze upon humanity today, we are saddened to see so many victims of conflicts and violence – here we think in particular of the elderly, and children and women, especially those who fall prey to human trafficking and the many people who suffer from poverty, illness, natural disasters and unemployment.

5. We cannot close our eyes to these realities, or turn away from these sufferings. It is true that situation are often very complex and that their solution exceeds our capacities. It is vital, therefore, that all work together in assisting those in need. It is a source of great hope when we experience or hear of Muslims and Christians joining hands to help the needy. When we do join hands, we heed an important command in our respective religions and show forth God’s mercy, thus offering a more credible witness, individually and communally, to our beliefs.

May the Merciful and Almighty God help us to walk always along the path of goodness and compassion!

6. We join our prayerful good wishes to those of Pope Francis for abundant blessings during Ramadan and for a lasting joy of ‘Id al-Fitr.

Happy Feast to you all!

From the Vatican, 10 June 2016

Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran

President

Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.I.

Secretary

Continue Reading

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Christ and Saint Francis

While the Vicar of Christ listened attentively to a parable told by Francis and its interpretation, he was quite amazed and recognised without a doubt that Christ had spoken in this man.  But he also confirmed a vision he had recently received from heaven, that, as the Divine Spirit indicated, would be fulfilled in this man.  He saw in a dream, as he recounted, the Lateran basilica almost ready to fall down.  A little poor man, small and scorned, was propping it up with his own back bent so that it would not fall.  “I’m sure,” he said, “he is the one who will hold up Christ’s Church by what he does and what he teaches.”  Because of this, filled with exceptional devotion, he bowed to the request in everything and always loved Christ’s servant with special love.  Then he granted what was asked and promised even more.  He approved the rule, gave them a mandate to preach penance, and had small tonsures given to all the lay brothers, who were accompanying the servant of God, so that they could freely preach the word of God.

                                                                                     Saint Bonaventure

Today is the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi.  Of all the saints, I have thought that Saint Francis attempted most closely to follow in the footsteps of Christ, and that is why he was granted that mysterious sign of love, the stigmata.  G.K. Chesterton tells us how the life of Saint Francis helped to illuminate aspects of the earthly life of His Master: Continue Reading

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Why The Secular Left Dislikes Tim Tebow

“Seriously!” I can still hear that word echo through my brain even though the event took place this past summer. At a social gathering a young gentleman and his lady friend (and I use that term loosely) were gesticulating wildly when someone in the crowd told them about Tim Tebow beliefs.  Evidently they weren’t football fans, so someone brought them up to speed about Tebow. At this point in his career many now say, “he’s a nice kid but…,” However, at that point they didn’t even say that; they simply used words like a “Bible thumper” or someone “lost in the 50s.” Now they have to throw him a bone by at least saying, “He’s a nice kid, but…” However, wait until next year when someone connects the dots and assumes he probably won’t vote for the Obama-Biden ticket. The secular left is going to throw everything at him including the kitchen sink.

I was recently asked by someone to give a Catholic perspective about Tebow. I had to explain to this individual that Pope Benedict XVI probably doesn’t even know who Tebow is, but that I am sure the Holy Father would appreciate his earnest approach. Now I also quite convinced that our friends on the Secular Catholic Left probably wish Tebow would shut up or at least voice his concern about their favorite make believe topics such as man made Climate Change.

I heard as much recently while channel surfing. A glutton for punishment I stopped briefly on MSNBC to hear one of their emasculated males go on some sort of tirade about Governor Rick Perry because the Texas Governor (in a Iowa TV commercial) said he believed in marriage between a man and a woman. This particular MSNBC host seemed to really enjoy his own commentary because he concluded by saying he was surprised that the particular Perry Commercial wasn’t in black and white because it seemed right out of the 1950s.

The left has so many things going for it with their social engineering, the daily liberal propaganda they try to shove down the throats of those in the western world via the mainstream media, along with the silver screen and television; one would think they would be ecstatic. However,  when they hear about Evangelicals like Tim Tebow or the increase in Catholic seminarians and young women in religious life who happen to actually believe in what the Catholic Church teaches and even goes so far as to wear cassocks and habits, well this to them is outrageous. Anyone who adheres to what Tebow or these young seminarians and women religious believe, well they must be either dolts or dangerous right wing throwbacks.

These nefarious conspirators want to throw American back into the 1950s when people actually went to church, believed in right and wrong and almost universally applauded any leader (like our current Pope Benedict XVI) who railed against the Dictatorship of Relativism. These counter revolutionaries might even want to cling to their guns and religion.  

In all my days as a player and coach, I don’t think I ever really prayed for a victory. To me God has His purposes and I as a humble adherent to his message just chose to follow Him. However, that doesn’t mean that just once in a while God may actually engineer a game or two for His purposes. Maybe, just maybe Tim Tebow’s miraculous last six victories are meant to send us all a message. Believe, even when the world says there is no God. Believe, when some say God is just some sort of absent minded Mr. Magoo as Bill Maher and some of his Apatheists think. Believe, when a disbelieving world says for God “it’s all good,” and there are not right or wrongs just different shades of gray. Believe, even when leaders think abortion is a fine alternative after all they would hate to see their teenage daughters punished with a child.

Reggie Johnson and or myself might just ask Tim Tebow (if he agrees to appear) how his faith came to grow and flourish on the Christian Peschken produced television program Non Negotiable, which God willing should be on the air in 2012. By now you may have probably heard that doctors tried to talk Tebow’s parents into having him aborted since it was believed he would be deformed and probably too small to live if he was born. (You might recall Tebow and his mother appeared in a Super Bowl Pro Life ad while he was still in college.) God only knows how many others parents were probably told the same scenario. All of these factors cause those with or without beliefs to evaluate their own beliefs when someone is so adamant and happy go lucky as is Tebow with his beliefs. Continue Reading

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Saint Francis of Assisi and Pope Innocent III

 

Today is the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi.  Like most very great men and women, legends began to cluster about him even while he lived.  One of these involved his meeting with Pope Innocent III.

While the Vicar of Christ listened attentively to a parable told by Francis and its interpretation, he was quite amazed and recognised without a doubt that Christ had spoken in this man.  But he also confirmed a vision he had recently received from heaven, that, as the Divine Spirit indicated, would be fulfilled in this man.  He saw in a dream, as he recounted, the Lateran basilica almost ready to fall down.  A little poor man, small and scorned, was propping it up with his own back bent so that it would not fall.  “I’m sure,” he said, “he is the one who will hold up Christ’s Church by what he does and what he teaches.”  Because of this, filled with exceptional devotion, he bowed to the request in everything and always loved Christ’s servant with special love.  Then he granted what was asked and promised even more.  He approved the rule, gave them a mandate to preach penance, and had small tonsures given to all the lay brothers, who were accompanying the servant of God, so that they could freely preach the word of God. 

 

Cf. St. Bonaventure’s Major Legend of St. Francis, III:10 Continue Reading

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Mira Circa Nos: Canonization of Saint Francis of Assisi

Tomorrow is the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi and I will be having a post on him then.  However, I thought our readers would enjoy having a look at Mira Circa Nos, the papal bull which canonized Saint Francis less than two years after his death.  There has been some criticism of recent canonizations on the ground that they occur too rapidly after the death of the person canonized.  By and large this is a just criticism. However, there are some saints so remarkable that canonization seems to be simply a recognition of a self-evident reality, and the canonization of Saint Francis was certainly in that category.

Continue Reading

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Christus Victor

Thou art holy, Lord God, who alone workest wonders. Thou art strong. Thou art great. Thou art most high. Thou art the Almighty King, Thou, holy Father, King of heaven and earth. Thou art the Lord God Triune and One; all good. Thou art good, all good, highest good, Lord God living and true. Thou art charity, love. Thou art wisdom. Thou art humility. Thou art patience. Thou art security. Thou art quietude. Thou art joy and gladness. Thou art justice and temperance. Thou art all riches to sufficiency. Thou art beauty. Thou art meekness. Thou art protector. Thou art guardian and defender. Thou art strength. Thou art refreshment. Thou art our hope. Thou art our faith. Thou art our great sweetness. Thou art our eternal life, great and admirable Lord, God Almighty, merciful Saviour.

                                                              Saint Francis of Assisi