Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mary Protectoress of the Franciscan Family, My May Column for Fraternity Newsletter

“Toward the Mother of Jesus he was filled with an inexpressible love, because it was she who made the Lord of Majesty our brother. He sang special Praises to her, poured out prayers to her, offered her his affections, so many and so great that the tongue of man cannot recount them. But what delights us most, he made her the advocate of the order and placed under her wings the sons he was about to leave that she might cherish them and protect them to the end.” (Second Life of St. Francis, Thomas of Celano)

“Mary, Mother of Jesus, is the model of listening to the Word and of Faithfulness to vocation; we, like Francis, see all the gospel virtues realized in her. The brothers and sisters should cultivate intense love for the most holy virgin, imitation, prayer, and filial abandonment. They should manifest their own devotion with expressions of genuine faith, in forms accepted by the Church.” (Art. 16.1, General Constitutions, Secular Franciscan Order)

At St. Bonaventure University in New York State, the University Chapel has a small side chapel. On the wall behind the altar was a mosaic depicting Mary with the Child Jesus, surrounded by friars. It illustrates how important Mary was to Francis and to the Franciscan Family. Francis asked her to be the Advocate for his order, his movement, before God. She is a model for us on how to live as a follower of Jesus. It begins with listening to His Gospel, then meditating on it, then living it.

One practice of meditation we have is the Franciscan Crown, a form of rosary where one meditates on seven joyful mysteries of Our Lady: 1) The Annunciation; 2) The Visitation; 3) The Birth of Our Lord; 4) The Presentation of Jesus; 5) the Finding of Jesus in the Temple; 6) the Resurrection of Our Lord; 7) The Assumption of Our Lady. The Franciscan Crown dates back to the early 15th Century, it officially became a devotion of the Franciscan Order in 1422. The Crown is a part of our spiritual legacy, during this month of May, Mary’s month, we should strive to learn more about it and practice it, in honor of Our Lady and Protectoress.

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