First Sunday of Advent
2nd Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.
Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it. You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus.
Testament of Saint Francis (1226)
1In this way did the Lord give me, Brother Francis, the grace to begin doing penance: when I was in sin, it seemed too bitter for me to see lepers. 2And the Lord Himself led me among them and I showed mercy to them. 3And when I left them, what had seemed bitter to me was changed into sweetness of soul and body. And afterwards I delayed a little and left the world.
The Legend of the Three Companions IV,11 (1241-1247)
11One day, while he was praying enthusiastically to the Lord, he received this response: “Francis, everything you loved carnally and desired to have, you must despise and hate, if you wish to know my will. Because once you begin doing this, what before seemed delightful and sweet will be unbearable and bitter; and what before made you shudder will offer you great sweetness and enormous delight.”
He was overjoyed at this and was comforted by the Lord. One day he was riding his horse near Assisi, when he met a leper. And, even though he usually shuddered at lepers, he made himself dismount, and gave him a coin, kissing his hand as he did so. After he accepted a kiss of peace from him, Francis remounted and continued on his way. He then began to consider himself less and less, until, by God’s grace, he came to complete victory over himself.
After a few days, he moved to a hospice of lepers, taking with him a large sum of money. Calling them all together, as he kissed the hand of each, he gave them alms. When he left there, what before had been bitter, that is, to see and touch lepers, was turned into sweetness. For, as he said, the sight of lepers was so bitter to him, that he refused not only to look at them, but even to approach their dwellings. If he happened to come near their houses or to see them, even though he was moved by piety to give them alms through an intermediary, he always turned away his face and held his nose. With the help of God’s grace, he became such a servant and friend of the lepers, that, as he testified in his Testament, he stayed among them and served them with humility.
1The Lord gave me, Brother Francis, thus to begin doing penance in this way: for when I was in sin, it seemed too bitter for me to see lepers. 2And the Lord Himself led me among them and I showed mercy to them. Sir 35:4 c 3And when I left them, what had seemed bitter to me was turned into sweetness of soul and body. And afterwards I delayed a little and left the world.
4And the Lord gave me such faith in churches that I would pray with simplicity in this way and say: 5“We adore You, Lord Jesus Christ, in all Your churches all Your churches throughout the whole world and we bless You because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.”
6Afterwards the Lord gave me, and gives me still, such faith in priests who live according to the rite of the holy Roman Church because of their orders that, were they to persecute me, I would still want to have recourse to them. 7And if I had as much wisdom as Solomon and found impoverished priests of this world, I would not preach in their parishes against their will. 8And I desire to respect, love and honour them and all others as my lords. 9And I do not want to consider any sin in them because I discern the Son of God in them and they are my lords. 10And I act in this way because, in this world, I see nothing corporally of the most high Son of God except His most holy Body and Blood which they receive and they alone administer to others. 11I want to have these most holy mysteries honoured and venerated above all things and I want to reserve them in precious places. 12Wherever I find our Lord’s most holy names and written words in unbecoming places, I want to gather them up and I beg that they be gathered up and placed in a becoming place. 13And we must honour all theologians and those who minister the most holy divine words and respect them as those who minister to us spirit and life.
14And after the Lord gave me some brothers, no one showed me what I had to do, but the Most High Himself revealed to me that I should live according to the pattern of the Holy Gospel.
1182 Birth of Francis
1202 (November) war against Perugia; Francis is taken prisoner; remains there for a year
1203 Francis is released from prison; he is sick
1204 A year a sickness
1205 (April?) Francis leaves for Puglia to fight with Pope’s army but turns back
1205 (towards the end of year?) Francis encounters the leper
1208 Francis is joined by Bernardo di Quintavalle
1226 Death of Francis
[Admonition XVIII & XIX]
Blessed is the person who supports his neighbour in his weakness as he would want to be supported were he in a similar situation. Gal 6:2 Mt 7:12
Blessed is the servant who returns every good to the Lord God because whoever holds onto something for himself hides the money of his Lord Mt 25:18 God within himself, and what he thinks he has will be taken away from him. Lk 8:18
Blessed is the servant who does not consider himself any better when he is praised and exalted by people than when he is considered worthless, simple, and looked down upon, for what a person is before God, that he is and no more.
Woe to that religious who has been placed in a high position by others and [who] does not want to come down by his own will.
Blessed is that servant Mt 24:46 who is not placed in a high position by his own will and always desires to be under the feet of others.
A Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Hail, O Lady,
Mary, holy Mother of God,
Who are the Virgin made Church,
chosen by the most Holy Father in heaven
whom he consecrated with His most holy beloved Son
and with the Holy Spirit the Paraclete,
in whom there was and is
all fullness of grace and every good.
Hail His Palace!
Hail His Tabernacle!
Hail His Dwelling!
Hail His Robe!
Hail His Servant!
Hail His Mother!
And hail all You holy virtues
which are poured into the hearts of the faithful
through the grace and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit,
that from being unbelievers,
You may make them faithful to God.