Let us all, brothers, consider the Good Shepherd who to save His sheep bore the suffering of the Cross. The sheep of the Lord followed Him in tribulation and persecution and shame, in hunger and thirst, in infirmity and temptations and in all other ways; and for these things they have received everlasting life from the Lord. Wherefore it is a great shame for us, the servants of God, that, whereas the Saints have practised works, we should expect to receive honor and glory for reading and preaching the same.
-From the Admonitions of Our Holy Father St. Francis, Of the Imitation of the Lord
A blessed Feast of Our Holy Father Saint Francis to everyone! This solemnity of our founder has crept up on us this year, we have been so busy with unexpected travel, on top of the regular things that keep us busy. One of the mortifications of religious life is that you never get to finish anything – no matter what you are doing, when the bell rings calling you to the next duty, whether to prayer or recreation or meals, you must stop what you’re doing and go. This is always hard to adjust to. And of course sometimes God rings a different kind of bell in our lives and we are forced to drop everything and go. This happened to us recently and we found ourselves traveling out-of-state due to the unexpected passing of Sr. Mary Peter’s father, Jules. Please pray for the blessed repose of his soul, and for the comfort and consolation of his family.
God brought many surprise blessings from this sorrow, one of them being this beautiful painting of St. Francis blessing his friars and sending them out two by two. We don’t know the provenance of this work, but we are so thrilled to have it grace our little “monastery”. We can’t wait for the day when it is it can adorn the wall in our permanent home. As mentioned in our last blog, we have also obtained an incredible set of Stations of the Cross, all hand-carved a hundred years ago. They are stunning, and we can’t wait to share pictures of them with you. It’s exciting to think that one day they will be installed in our chapel and the faithful can pray and meditate with them. We spent yesterday cleaning a decade’s worth of dust off of them (they have been in storage for that long), which was kind of a fitting way to spend the vigil of Our Holy Father Francis, since the history of this devotion is closely linked to the Franciscans.
Looking for a hymn to include with this blog we came across an interesting article about the Franciscan chant in the medieval liturgy. If you are musically inclined you might want to check it out. There is also a beautiful hymn, though not well-known, to St. Francis, which focuses on his stigmata. We were going to post Nos Autem, which would have been a fitting chant for today, but were excited to find a beautiful mp3 of Corda Pia Inflammantum which we could share with you. It might have been more appropriate for September 17, the Feast of the Stigmata of Our Holy Father Francis, but since this painting portrays his stigmata so well, we thought it would be great today, and that way we don’t wait to have to wait another year to share it with you.
Click here for a PDF of notation and words.
Tonight we will enjoy a special Mass celebrated in our chapel by our priest friend, Fr. Matthew, and a good dinner (Italian, of course, like our holy founder) – a small reflection on earth of the feasting and communion St. Francis and all the blessed now enjoy in the eternal light of the Blessed Trinity.
We’ll leave you with a couple verses from Corda Pia:
Fac ut nos in regno lucis Perfru ́amur fructu Crucis, Quo læt ́emur cæ ́litus.
Collaud ́etur Crucif ́ıxus, Franc ́ıscus prorsus inn ́ıxus Super mundi fœ ́dera.
Make us benefit from the fruit of the Cross in the kingdom of light where we may rejoice with the heavenly one.
Let the Crucified One be praised with Francis who is resting above the plottings of the world.