Francis of Assisi

O Holy Virgin Mary!

(Part 4)

          Toward the Mother of Jesus, Francis was filled with an inexpressible love,
because it was she who made the Lord of Majesty our Brother.  

So wrote Friar Thomas of Celano, the first biographer of St. Francis of Assisi.  An ardent Marian devotion is but one of the Gospel legacies that the Little Poor Man bequeathed to his spiritual progeny.

  The Mother of Jesus was his Mother, too, and Francis did not hesitate to entrust to her from the very beginning his rapidly expanding family of Lesser Brothers, Poor Sisters and dedicated layfolk.   

Mary was to be the Queen, the advocate and the protector of his religious family, acknowledged, loved and honored by all because she was the true gate of salvation, the Mother of our Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ.

In the Office of the Passion, a unique “Liturgy of the Hours” which the Seraphic Father composed to commemorate the saving mysteries of Christ’s love, he prefaced each hour’s meditative psalm with a singularly Franciscan Marian antiphon.  This brief text, which Francis himself prayed at regular intervals throughout the day, invites us to deepen our love for the Mother of Christ, who as the handmaid of the Lord is also our Mother and Queen, the advocate and guide on our pilgrimage of faith to His heavenly Kingdom:

O Holy Virgin Mary,

there is none like unto thee born in the world among women:

daughter and handmaid of the Most High King, the heavenly Father;

Mother of our Most Holy Lord Jesus Christ;

Spouse of the Holy Spirit.

Pray for us with St. Michael the Archangel

and all the virtues of heaven and all the saints

to thy beloved Son,

our Lord and Master.

 

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