Saturday, January 29, 2011

Two Salutations from St. Francis

Last night at our fraternity meeting we read two prayers by St. Francis: The Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and The Salutation of the Virtues.

We had a lively discussion trying to figure out some of the parts of these prayers, and what precisely St. Francis meant in some passages.

Why did he end a prayer to Mary with a salute to the virtues?

Why did he pair the virtues that he did: Wisdom and Simplicity, Poverty and Humility, Charity and Obedience?

One observation I made is that he was a poet, not a theologian, so "reason" is not always the best approach to what he wrote.

But I did wonder what he meant by "carnal fear"?

Fear of temptations of the flesh? Fear for one's physical life that keeps one from fully committing to the adventure and danger of faith?

Still mulling that over.

The Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Hail, O Lady, Holy Queen,
Mary, holy Mother of God:
you are the Virgin made Church
chosen by the most Holy Father in heaven
whom He consecrated with His most holy beloved Son
and with the Holy Spirit the Paraclete,
in whom there was and is all fullness of grace and every good.

Hail His Palace!
Hail His Tabernacle!
Hail His Dwelling!
Hail His Robe!
Hail His Servant!
Hail His Mother!

And hail all you holy virtues
Which are poured into the hearts of the faithful
through the grace and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit,
that from being unbelievers,
you may make them faithful to God.

The Salutation of the Virtues

Hail, Queen Wisdom, may the Lord protect you
with your sister, holy pure Simplicity.

Lady, holy Poverty, may the Lord protect you
with your sister, holy Humility.

Lady, holy Charity, may the Lord protect you
with your sister, holy Obedience.

O most holy Virtues, may the Lord protect all of you,
from Whom you come and proceed.

There is surely no one in the entire world
who can possess any one of you
unless he dies first.

Whoever possesses one of you
and does not offend the others,
possesses all.

And each one destroys vices and sins.

Holy Wisdom destroys
Satan and all his subtlety.
Pure holy Simplicity destroys
all the wisdom of this world
and the wisdom of the body.

Holy Poverty destroys
the desire of riches
and avarice
and the cares of this world.
Holy Humility destroys
and all the people who are in the world
and all the things that belong to the world.

Holy Charity destroys
every temptation of the devil and of the flesh
and every carnal fear.
Holy Obedience destroys
every wish of the body and of the flesh
and binds its mortified body
to obedience of the Spirit
and to obedience of one's brother
and the person who possesses her is subject and submissive
to all persons in the world
and not to man only
but even to all beasts and wild animals
so that they may do whatever they want with him
inasmuch as it has been given to them from above by the Lord.

Pax et bonum

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blessed Pope John XXIII saves me from books

The Good Looking One and I went out to the Catholic bookstore in Spencerport yesterday.

I stumbled across at least five books that in the past I would have been tempted to buy. And a couple of DVDs. But since last summer I've had a new rule in place: For every book I buy, I have to get rid of two that I already own.

Too many books. Not in keeping with Franciscan poverty.

Heck, I don't even have a enough room to put them all out on shelves anyway.

So ... I left the bookstore without purchasing anything.

I helped to counter the temptation to buy by thinking of all the books I had at home that I had not finished, or even started. I thought in particular of Blessed Pope John XXIII - maybe inspired by the recent news concerning Pope John Paul II's impending beatification.

Last night I got out our copy of the DVD about Blessed Pope John XXIII (the one starring Ed Asner), and my copy of John XXIII: The Official Biography by Mario Benigni and Goffroedo Zanchi. He was, of course, a lover of knowledge and books himself.

We made it as far as his election as Pope before bed beckoned.

In the book, I picked up where I had left off: When he was a seminarian, ages 17-19.

His prayer life even at that young age tweaked my 55-year-old conscience. His struggles with pride sounded familiar.

I was particularly struck by his battle with trying to draw attention to himself by showing off his knowledge.

"He hints (in Journal of a Soul) that he used words and clever phrases out of a secret desire to flaunt his knowledge and to make known, whether directly or indirectly, that he had studied."

Just like me. How often do I make sure I insert some joke or comment just to make sure the other people know how much I know?

I need to learn to hold my tongue and follow the humble example of Blessed Pope John XXIII - another pope I hope to see declared a Saint in my lifetime.

Pax et bonum