Altar of St Louis of Toulouse
Tempera on wood, 200 x 188 cm (without predella)
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples
“Jesus Christ is all my riches; he alone is sufficient for me.” ~St. Louis of Toulouse
Blessed Feast Day to you and your loved ones!
Here is a reflection by Pope Francis on the significance of this feast of Our Lady.
“Brethren, let us love him above all, our most loving heavenly Father, and let our obedience be a sign of this perfect love, especially when we have to sacrifice our own wills in the process. And as for a book from which to learn how to grow in the love of God, there is no better book than Jesus Christ crucified.” ~Taken from a letter of St. Maximilian Kolbe
Let us pray.
All-powerful, ever-living God, you gave Saint Maximilian Kolbe the courage to witness to the gospel of Christ even to the point of giving his life for it. By his prayers help us to endure all suffering for love of you and to seek you with all our hearts, for you alone are the source of life. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Breathe in me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy;
Act in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too may be holy;
Draw my heart, Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy;
Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy;
Guard me, then, Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.”
~St. Augustine of Hippo
St. Clare of Assisi, 1194-1253
A letter from St Clare to Blessed Agnes of Prague:
“Happy the soul to whom it is given to attain this life with Christ, to cleave with all one’s heart to him whose beauty all the heavenly hosts behold forever, whose love inflames our love, the contemplation of whom is our refreshment, whose graciousness is our delight, whose gentleness fills us to overflowing, whose remembrance makes us glow with happiness, whose fragrance revives the dead, the glorious vision of whom will be the happiness of all the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem. For he is the brightness of eternal glory, the splendor of eternal light, the mirror without spot.
Look into that mirror daily, O queen and spouse of Jesus Christ, and ever study therein your countenance, that within and without you may adorn yourself with all manner of virtues, and clothe yourself with the flowers and garments that become the daughter and chaste spouse of the most high King. In that mirror are reflected poverty, holy humility and ineffable charity, as, with the grace of God, you may perceive.
Gaze first upon the poverty of Jesus, placed in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes. What marvelous humility! What astounding poverty! The King of angels, Lord of heaven and earth, is laid in a manger. Consider next the humility, the blessed poverty, the untold labors and burdens which he endured for the redemption of the human race. Then look upon the unutterable charity with which he willed to suffer on the tree of the cross and to die thereon the most shameful kind of death. This mirror, Christ himself, fixed upon the wood of the cross, bade the passers-by consider these things: ‘All you who pass this way look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow.’ With one voice and one mind let us answer him as he cries and laments, saying in his own words: ‘I will be mindful and remember and my soul shall languish within me.’ Thus, O queen of the heavenly King, may you ever burn more ardently with the fire of this love.
Contemplate further the indescribable joys, the wealth and unending honors of the King, and sighing after them with great longing, cry to him: ‘Draw me after you: we shall run to the fragrance of your perfumes, O heavenly bridegroom.’ I will run and faint not until you bring me into the wine cellar, until your left hand be under my head and your right hand happily embrace me and you kiss me with the kiss of your mouth.
In such contemplation be mindful of your poor little mother and know that I have inscribed your happy memory indelibly on the tablets of my heart, holding you dearer than all others.”
Let us pray…
Lord God, in your mercy you led Saint Clare to the love of poverty. Help us, by her intercession, to follow Christ in poverty of spirit, so that, in the kingdom of heaven, we may see you in your glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
“Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of a bus, the end of the rain, the return on a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not a waiting passivity until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else. Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.” From Bread for the Journey by Henri. J.M. Nouwen
“Upon Mount Tabor, Jesus revealed to his disciples a heavenly mystery. While living among them he had spoken of the kingdom and of his second coming in glory, but to banish from their hearts any possible doubt concerning the kingdom and to confirm their faith in what lay in the future by its prefiguration in the present, he gave them on Mount Tabor a wonderful vision of his glory, a foreshadowing of the kingdom of heaven. …
Therefore, since each of us possesses God in his heart and is being transformed into his divine image, we also should cry out with joy: It is good for us to be here – here where all things shine with divine radiance, where there is joy and gladness and exultation; where there is nothing in our hearts but peace, serenity and stillness; where God is seen. For here, in our hearts, Christ takes up his abode together with the Father, saying as he enters: Today salvation has come to this house. With Christ, our hearts receive all the wealth of his eternal blessings, and there where they are stored up for us in him, we see reflected as in a mirror both the first fruits and the whole of the world to come.” ~From a sermon on the Transfiguration of the Lord by Anastasius of Sinai, bishop, 7th Century AD
“I assure you, my sons and daughters, that when a Christian carries out with love the most insignificant everyday action, that action overflows with the transcendence of God. That is why I have told you repeatedly, and hammered away once and again on the idea that the Christian vocation consists of making heroic verse out of the prose of each day. Heaven and earth seem to merge, my sons and daughters, on the horizon. But where they really meet is in your hearts, when you sanctify your everyday lives.” ~St. Josemaria Escriva (Conversations, 116)
A reading from the Major Life of St. Francis by St. Bonvanture:
“The Portiuncula [Little Portion] was an old church dedicated to the Virgin Mother of God which was abandon. Francis had a 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. He heard that the angles often visited it, so that it used to be called St. Mary of the Angels, and 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 that he began his religious life in a very small way; it was here that 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 St. Francis founded the Order of Friars Minor 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 he 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 prayers 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.” (Bonaventure, Major Life 2,8; 3,1; 9,3)
Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, you filled the heart of 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 lead others to Christ and form them as disciples of your Son. Through the intercession of Our Lady of the Angels my we be steadfast in our faith and remain true to our calling. Grant this through your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Find here another blog post about today’s feast.