Skip to comments.Friars Minor Support Pope's Measures for Assisi
Posted on 11/25/2005 4:33:04 PM PST by NYer
ROME, NOV. 24, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Order of Friars Minor has expressed its full support for the measures established by Benedict XVI for the oversight of Assisi's holy places.
The order's communiqué was issued after the publication last Saturday of the apostolic letter which established a papal legate as a sign of the bond between the Apostolic See and Assisi and the jurisdiction of the local bishop over the "two major Franciscan churches" at the town.
The Pope has named a new bishop in Assisi and given him additional authority to oversee more closely the activities of the basilicas of St. Francis and of St. Mary of the Angels.
The Basilica of St. Francis, which houses the saint's remains, is entrusted to the Conventual Franciscans. The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, which contains the Portincula chapel, is looked after by the Order of Friars Minor.
In an apostolic letter issued "motu proprio" (on his own initiative), Benedict XVI wrote: "In the course of the centuries, the Conventual Friars and the Friars Minor, with their solicitous work and testimony, have kept alive the spirit and charism of St. Francis, spreading his evangelical message of peace, fraternity and goodness throughout the world."
"Fully in favor"
In the communiqué, the representatives of the Order of Friars Minor said: "[T]he new juridical disposition with its special modalities of collaboration, prescribed by the 'motu proprio,' between the Sanctuary and our Pastors, finds us fully in favor of and desirous to continue such collaboration.
"We are confident that the measures quoted will permit an even more profitable pastoral cooperation and efficacious ecclesiastical communion between the Friars working in the Sanctuary and the diocesan and universal Church."
They added: "We also wish to reaffirm our filial obedience to and communion with the Holy Father and the new Diocesan Bishop assigned by him -- Monsignor Domenico Sorrentino -- for the good of the Church itself and of the People of God."
The communiqué is signed by Fathers Massimo Reschiglian, provincial minister of Umbria, and José Rodríguez Carballo, minister general of the order.
The name "Porziuncola " means "little portion". Francis took a vow of poverty. It was the Dominicans who gave him this "little portion" for his community. It is a tiny church (now surrounded by the huge basilica).
If you ever plan a trip to Italy, you MUST visit this beautiful little church. Francis, when he was dieing, asked the brothers to carry his litter down to this church and place it against the outer wall. He placed his hand on the wall and told the brothers that the church was blessed; that our Lord and His Blessed Mother watched over it. He also told them that whoever enters the church with a sincere heart, their prayer will be answered by God. In 1985, I visited the Porziuncola, read that story, repeated an ongoing 14 year prayer and it was finally answered!
That is fascinating! Thank you.
St. Francis of Assisi
Feast Day: October 4, 2007
Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literallynot in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a mite of self-importance.
Serious illness brought the young Francis to see the emptiness of his frolicking life as leader of Assisi's youth. Prayerlengthy and difficultled him to a self-emptying like that of Christ, climaxed by embracing a leper he met on the road. It symbolized his complete obedience to what he had heard in prayer: "Francis! Everything you have loved and desired in the flesh it is your duty to despise and hate, if you wish to know my will. And when you have begun this, all that now seems sweet and lovely to you will become intolerable and bitter, but all that you used to avoid will turn itself to great sweetness and exceeding joy."
From the cross in the neglected field-chapel of San Damiano, Christ told him, "Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down." Francis became the totally poor and humble workman.
He must have suspected a deeper meaning to "build up my house." But he would have been content to be for the rest of his life the poor "nothing" man actually putting brick on brick in abandoned chapels. He gave up every material thing he had, piling even his clothes before his earthly father (who was demanding restitution for Francis' "gifts" to the poor) so that he would be totally free to say, "Our Father in heaven." He was, for a time, considered to be a religious "nut," begging from door to door when he could not get money for his work, bringing sadness or disgust to the hearts of his former friends, ridicule from the unthinking.
But genuineness will tell. A few people began to realize that this man was actually trying to be Christian. He really believed what Jesus said: "Announce the kingdom! Possess no gold or silver or copper in your purses, no traveling bag, no sandals, no staff" (see Luke 9:1-3).
Francis' first rule for his followers was a collection of texts from the Gospels. He had no idea of founding an order, but once it began he protected it and accepted all the legal structures needed to support it. His devotion and loyalty to the Church were absolute and highly exemplary at a time when various movements of reform tended to break the Church's unity.
He was torn between a life devoted entirely to prayer and a life of active preaching of the Good News. He decided in favor of the latter, but always returned to solitude when he could. He wanted to be a missionary in Syria or in Africa, but was prevented by shipwreck and illness in both cases. He did try to convert the sultan of Egypt during the Fifth Crusade.
During the last years of his relatively short life (he died at 44) he was half blind and seriously ill. Two years before his death, he received the stigmata, the real and painful wounds of Christ in his hands, feet and side.
On his deathbed, he said over and over again the last addition to his Canticle of the Sun, "Be praised, O Lord, for our Sister Death." He sang Psalm 141, and at the end asked his superior to have his clothes removed when the last hour came and for permission to expire lying naked on the earth, in imitation of his Lord.
Francis of Assisi was poor only that he might be Christ-like. He loved nature because it was another manifestation of the beauty of God. He did great penance (apologizing to "Brother Body" later in life) that he might be totally disciplined for the will of God. His poverty had a sister, humility, by which he meant total dependence on the good God. But all this was, as it were, preliminary to the heart of his spirituality: living the gospel life, summed up in the charity of Jesus and perfectly expressed in the Eucharist.
"We adore you and we bless you, Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all the churches which are in the whole world, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world" (St. Francis).
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