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.