This morning, I was doing some online research, intending to write about how people suffering from illnesses and various infirmities have bravely carried their crosses and become a light to others. Slowly, I began to sense a leading, somehow connected to St Francis, Our Lady, Rosary, Healing, Angels and St Raphael…
In a while, unawares, I felt myself gently placed at the feet of Our Lady of the Angels.
I had never heard of this particular devotion before, so, curious about its origins, I continued to search, and it brought me to St Francis and the budding and blooming of A Call…
The Portiuncula is an ancient church dedicated to Mary under the title Our Lady of the Angels and is located in Assisi, Italy. It was a spot very dear to the heart of Saint Francis. The Portiuncula was an old church dedicated to the Virgin Mother of God which was abandoned. Francis had great devotion to the Queen of the world and when he saw that the church was deserted, he began to live there constantly in order to repair it. Some attribute the name of the church to the singing of angels which had been frequently heard there. St Francis too heard that the Angels often visited it, so he decided to stay there permanently out of reverence for the angels and love for the Mother of Christ.
He loved this spot more than any other in the world. It was here he began his religious life in a very small way; it is here he came to a happy end. When he was dying, he commended this spot above all others to the friars, because it was most dear to the Blessed Virgin.
This was the place where Saint Francis founded his Order by divine inspiration and it was divine providence which led him to repair three churches before he founded the Order and began to preach the Gospel.
This meant that St Francis progressed from material things to more spiritual achievements, from lesser to greater, in due order, and it gave a prophetic indication of what he would accomplish later.
As he was living there by the church of Our Lady, Francis prayed to her who had conceived the Word, full of grace and truth, begging her insistently and with tears to become his advocate. Then he was granted the true spirit of the Gospel by the intercession of the Mother of mercy and he brought it to fruition.
He embraced the Mother of Our Lord Jesus with indescribable love because, as he said, it was she who made the Lord of majesty our brother, and through her we found mercy. After Christ, he put all his trust in her and took her as his patroness for himself and his friars.
St Francis died, in his cell, not fifteen yards from the church, at sunset on Saturday, 3 October 1226.
FAITH, GRACE & THE INTERCESSION OF OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS
Heavenly Father, You filled the heart of St. Francis with a special love for the Mother of Your Son, Jesus, and for the Portiuncula. In this hallowed place You nourished his spiritual life and inspired him to found the Franciscan Order.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of the Angels may we be steadfast in our faith and remain true to You.
Grant us the faith and grace always to do Your will.
Grant this through Your Son, Jesus Christ.
Why was I brought to this, I wonder. To discover that years before his passing, there was a terrible temptation, a deep struggle, and he sought the pain of rose thorns to stay true to his Jesus. To read, for the first time, that St Francis died on the 3rd of October, and to read it on the very day today.
Why was I brought to this, just after the Feast of the Guardian Angels, Oct 2nd? The stillness in my heart, the gentleness in the leading, unseen hands making a path before me, urging me on…
Most of all, why this saint for me?