8/6 – Feast Day of the Transfiguration

THE FOURTH LUMINOUS MYSTERY – THE TRANSFIGURATION


Reflection:

Through the knowledges and truths on the living in the Divine Will, Jesus manifests His Divinity to the soul; He manifests how His Divine Will operated with His human will, He manifests the interior life of the Incarnate Word, He transfigures Himself before her eyes – and not just to give her simple news, but to let her share in His very Divinity, to transform her and transfigure her within Himself.  And the soul who lives in His Will is not frightened as were the disciples in hearing the voice of the Father; she does not need to descend from the high mountain of the Divine Will, because the Divine Will dwells within her; she cannot keep quiet about this manifestation, but will proclaim and effuse the Divinity of Christ through each of her acts; and the tent which she prepares as permanent dwelling for Jesus and the whole Celestial Court is her very being.

From the Writings:

(Jesus)  “…It is my usual way to do minor things first, as preparation for greater ones – these, being the crowning of the minor things….  I maintained this order also in Redemption.  My birth was without glamour, rather, it was neglected; my childhood was without splendor of great things before men; my life in Nazareth was so hidden that I lived as if ignored by all; I adapted Myself to do the smallest and most common things of human life.  During my public life there were a few great things, but still – who knew my Divinity?  Nobody, not even all of the Apostles.  I passed through the crowds like any other man, so much so, that anyone could approach Me, talk to Me, and if needed, even despise Me.”  And I, interrupting Jesus’ speaking, said:  ‘Jesus, my Love, how happy those times were, and even happier those people who, just by wanting it, could come close to You, talk to You, and be with You!’  And Jesus:  “Ah! my daughter, only my Will brings true happiness.  It alone encloses all goods within the soul, and making Itself crown around the soul, constitutes her queen of true happiness.  Only these souls will be the queens of my throne, because they are a birth from my Will….”  (April 15, 1919  Volume 12)

 

(Jesus) “…My love wants to pour itself out; it wants to make known the excesses which my Divinity operated in my Humanity for the creatures – excesses which greatly surpass the excesses that my Humanity operated externally.  This is also why I often speak to you about living in my Will, which I have not manifested to anyone until now.  At the most, they have known the shadow of my Will, the grace and the sweetness of doing It.  But to penetrate inside of It, to embrace immensity, to be multiplied with Me and – even while being on earth – penetrate everywhere, both into Heaven and into the hearts, laying down the human ways and acting in divine ways – this is not yet known; so much so that not to a few will this appear strange, and those who do not keep their minds opened to the light of the Truth will not understand a thing.  But little by little I will make my way, manifesting now one truth, now another, about this living in my Will, so that they will end up understanding.

“Now, the first link which connected the true living in my Will was my Humanity.  My Humanity, identified with my Divinity, swam in the Eternal Volition, and kept tracing all the acts of creatures in order to make them Its own, to give to the Father a divine glory on the part of creatures, and to bring the value, the love, the kiss of the Eternal Volition to all the acts of creatures.  In this sphere of the Eternal Volition, I could see all the acts of creatures – those which could be done and were not done, and also the good acts done badly – and I did those which had not been done, and redid those done badly.  Now, these acts which were not done, except by Me alone, are all suspended in my Will, and I await the creatures to come to live in my Volition, and repeat in my Will that which I did.  This is why I chose you as the second link of connection with my Humanity, a link which becomes one with mine, as you live in my Volition and repeat my own acts.  Otherwise, on this side my love would remain without its outpouring, without glory from the creatures for all that my Divinity operated within my Humanity, and without the perfect purpose of Creation, which must be enclosed and perfected in my Will.  It would be as if I had shed all my Blood and suffered so much, and nobody had known it.  Who would have loved Me?  Which heart would have been shaken?  No one; and therefore in no one would I have had my fruits – the glory of Redemption.”

Interrupting Jesus’ speaking, I said:  ‘My Love, if there is so much good in this living in the Divine Will, why did You not manifest it before?’  And He:  “My daughter, first I had to make known what my Humanity did and suffered externally, to be able to dispose souls to knowing what my Divinity did inside.  The creature is incapable of understanding my work all together; therefore I keep manifesting Myself little by little.  Then, from your link of connection with Me, the links of other souls will be connected, and I will have a cohort of souls who, living in my Volition, will redo all the acts of the creatures.  I will receive the glory of the many suspended acts done only by Me, also from the creatures – and these, from all classes:  virgins, priests, lay people, according to their office.  They will no longer operate humanly; but rather, as they penetrate into my Will, their acts will multiply for all in a way which is fully divine.  I will receive from creatures the divine glory of many Sacraments administered and received in a human way, of others which have been profaned, of others sullied with interest, and of many good works in which I remain more dishonored than honored.  I yearn so much for this time; and you, pray and yearn for it together with Me, and do not move your link of connection with Mine, but start – as the first one.”  (January 29, 1919  Volume 12)


Prayer:

Oh! my Sun, my beautiful One, I want to enter right into the center, that I may remain submerged completely within this most pure light.  Oh Divine Sun, let this light precede me, follow me, surround me everywhere and penetrate into every intimate hiding place of my interior, that my terrestrial being may be consumed, and You may transform it completely in your Divine Being.

Oh! my all and beautiful Jesus, if You communicate so much peace in the few moments You manifest Yourself in this life – in such a way that one can suffer the most painful martyrdoms, the most humiliating pains with the most perfect tranquillity – what will it be like in Paradise?

Oh! how beautiful You are – all beautiful, oh my sweet Jesus!  (Volume 1)

(Jesus:) “My daughter, as the sun, when it rises, makes the darkness flee, so it brings with it the dawning of the light which replaces the dampness of the night which has so invested the plants that they have become oppressed, numbed, and dejected. As the sun rises, that dampness changes into pearls making everything glisten: plants, flowers, and all of nature. It’s silvery brilliance restores joy and beauty as it removes the stupor of the night; and with its enchantment of light it seems as if it gives a hand to all of nature to vitalize her, make her beautiful, and give her life. The sea, the streams, and the springs become all armed and enlarge the diversity and vivacity of the colors.

Similarly, as My Volition rises, all human acts rest enveloped with light, they take their place of honor in My Will, [and] each receives its special tint of beauty and the tone of the Divine colors – in such a way that the soul remains transfigured and covered with an indescribable beauty. As the Sun of My Volition rises It places in flight all the evils of the soul and takes away the numbness produced by the passions. Rather, before the Light of the Divine Fiat the same passions taste that light and seek to convert themselves into virtues so they may give homage to My Eternal Volition. As It rises all becomes joy, [even] the very sufferings [which], like the seas of the night, create fear in the poor creature. Where My Volition rises It puts to flight the night of the human will, and removing every fear It thoroughly forms Its gold in those pains, and with Its Light It invests the bitter waters of suffering and crystallizes them into seas of sweetness so as to form an enchanting and admirable horizon. What can My Volition not do? It can do all, and wants to give all; [and] where It rises, It does things worthy of Our creative hands.”  (March 22, 1927, Volume 21)

8/5 Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major

File photo of Pope Francis praying in front of Marian icon in Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome

Pope Francis prays at ancient Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome

 

M_Basilica St Mary Major

Basilica St. Mary Major

Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome

 THERE are in Rome three patriarchal churches, in which the Pope officiates on different festivals. These are the Basilics of St. John Lateran, St. Peter’s on the Vatican Hill, and St. Mary Major. This last is so called because it is, both in antiquity and dignity, the first church in Rome among those that are dedicated to God in honor of the Virgin Mary. The name of the Liberian Basilic was given it because it was founded in the time of Pope Liberius, in the fourth century; it was consecrated, under the title of the Virgin Mary, by Sixtus III., about the year 435. It is also called St. Mary ad Nives, or at the snow, from a popular tradition that the Mother of God chose this place for a church under her invocation by a miraculous snow that fell upon this spot in summer, and by a vision in which she appeared to a patrician named John, who munificently founded and endowed this church in the pontificate of Liberius. The same Basilic has sometimes been known by the name of St. Mary ad Præsepe, from the holy crib or manger of Bethlehem, in which Christ was laid at His birth. It resembles an ordinary manger, is kept in a case of massive silver, and in it lies an image of a little child, also of silver. On Christmas Day the holy Manger is taken out of the case, and exposed. It is kept in a sumptuous subterraneous chapel in this church.

(Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)

 

 

8/5 The Holy Crib

J_Holy Crib

Holy Crib at St. Mary Major Basilica

The Holy Crib

In the crypt under the high altar of the St. Mary Major Basilica llies the celebrated relic known as the Holy Crib. A statue of Pope Pius IX kneeling before the ancient wooden pieces of the manger serves as an example to the faithful who come to see the first humble crib of the Savior. Pius IX’s devotion to the Holy Crib led him to commission the crypt chapel, and his coat of arms is visible above the altar. The precious crystal urn trimmed in silver, through which the faithful can venerate the relic, was designed by Giuseppe Valadier.

Arnolfo di Cambio’s “Crib”

The spiritual and sentimental image of the reconstruction of the “Crib” in remembrance of the venerated event of Christ’s birth, originated in 432 when Pope Sixtus III (432-440) created, within the primitive Basilica, a “cave of the Nativity” similar to that in Bethlehem. Numerous pilgrims returning to Rome from the Holy Land, brought back precious fragments of the Holy Crib (cunambulum), which are now kept in the golden Confessional shrine.

During the following centuries several popes took care of Sixtus III’s Holy Cave, until Pope Nicolò IV in 1288 commissioned a sculpture of the “Nativity” by Arnolfo di Cambio.

Many changes and reconstructions took place in the basilica. When Pope Sixtus V (1585-1590) wished to erect the large Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament or Sistina in the right nave, he ordered the architect Domenico Fontana to transfer, without dismantling, the ancient “cave of the Nativity” with its surviving elements of Arnolfo di Cambio’s sculpture.

The three Magi, dressed in elegant vestments and shoes in a rough gothic style, and Saint Joseph admire with a sense of wonder and reverence  the miracle of the Baby in the Virgin Mary’s arms (of P. Olivieri) warmed by the ox and the donkey.

8/4 Eve of the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome

M_StMaryMajor The Confessio believed to contain relics of the Crib of Bethlehem
The Confessio believed to contain relics of the Crib of Bethlehem
St. Mary Major Basilica 

1/10/03 – Vol. 4

The most pleasing and consoling words for the sweet Mama: ‘Dominus Tecum’.

This morning, after I struggled very much, the Queen Mother came with the Baby in Her arms, and She gave Him to me, telling me to keep Him courted with continuous acts of love. I did as much as I could, and while I was doing this, Jesus told me: “My beloved, the most pleasing and most consoling words for my Mother are: ‘Dominus Tecum’ [‘The Lord is with Thee’]. In fact, as soon as they were pronounced by the Archangel, She felt the whole of the Divine Being being communicated to Her, and therefore She felt invested with Divine Power, in such a way that, in the face of the Divine Power, Her own dissolved; and so my Mother remained with the Divine Power in Her hands.”

***

Vatican Website:

The Patriarchal Basilica of St. Mary Major reigns as an authentic jewel in the crown of Roman churches. Its beautiful treasures are of inestimable value, and represent the Church’s role as the cradle of Christian artistic civilization in Rome. For nearly sixteen centuries, St. Mary Major has held its position as a Marian shrine par excellence and has been a magnet for pilgrims from all over the world who have come to the Eternal City to experience the beauty, grandeur and holiness of the basilica.

Among the Patriarchal Basilicas of Rome, St. Mary Major is the only one to have kept its original structure, though it has been enhanced over the course of years. Special details within the church render it unique including the fifth century mosaics of the central nave, the triumphal arch dating back to the pontificate of Pope Sixtus III (432-440) and the apsidal mosaic executed by the Franciscan friar Jacopo Torriti at the order of Pope Nicholas IV (1288-1292). Other gems of the church include the Cosmatesque pavement donated by the Roman nobleman Scoto Paparone and his son in 1288, Arnolfo di Cambio’s Nativity scene from the thirteenth century and the coffered ceiling in gilt wood designed by Giuliano Sangallo in 1450. The numerous chapels, from the most ornate to the most humble, constructed by popes, cardinals and pious confraternities, the high altar begun by Ferdinando Fuga and later enriched by the genius of Valadier, the Baptistery and finally the relic of the Holy Crib complete the array of splendors contained within these walls. Every column, painting, sculpture and ornament of this basilica resonates with history and pious sentiment.

From the devout pilgrim absorbed in prayer to the studious art-lover, every visitor to St. Mary Major finds both spiritual and visual fulfillment in this holy place. A visit to the Liberian basilica, as it is also called in honor of Pope Liberius, enriches both the mind and soul. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see visitors rapt in admiration before the spellbinding beauty of the artwork nor, at the same time, to observe the devotion of all those engrossed in prayer in search of comfort and assistance before the image of Mary, who is venerated here under the beloved title of Salus Populi Romani.

Every August 5th, a solemn celebration recalls the Miracle of the Snows. Before the amazed eyes of the congregation, a cascade of white petals descends from the coffered ceiling, blanketing the hypogeum. From the very beginning of his pontificate, Pope (Now Saint) John Paul II requested that an oil lamp burn day and night under the icon of the Salus Populi Romani, as witness to his great devotion to the Madonna.

This same Pope, on the eighth of December 2001, inaugurated another precious jewel of the basilica – the museum, where a modern structure would house ancient masterpieces offering visitors a unique perspective of the history of the Basilica.

The numerous treasures contained in the museum render St. Mary Major a place where art and spirituality combine in a perfect union, offering visitors a unique experience in contemplating the great works of man inspired by God.

8/1 The Portiuncula Indulgence (that we can gain every year from vespers ( noon) of the first of August until sundown on the second of August, the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels. )

THE PORTIUNCULA INDULGENCE

(THE PARDON PRAYER OF SAINT FRANCIS)

FROM VESPERS (NOON) OF AUGUST 1st
UNTIL SUNDOWN OF AUGUST 2nd,
THE FEAST OF OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS 

In the words of Saint Francis:

“O my brothers and sisters, I want you all to go to Heaven!”

 

The Portiuncula Indulgence is a grace not to be missed – not only for yourself but for the many suffering souls in Purgatory.

The conditions to obtain the Plenary Indulgence of the Forgiveness of Assisi (for oneself or for a departed soul) is as follows:

  1. Sacramental Confession: to be in God’s Grace (the Sacramental Confession can be done during the eight days before or after).
  2. Participation in the Holy Mass and Eucharist.
  3. Recitation of the Apostles Creed, Our Father and also a prayer for the Pope’s Intention (such as an Our Father, Hail Mary, etc.).

Mark your calendar for the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels beginning at Vespers (Noon) on the First of August to August 2nd at Midnight.

Tell everyone of the magnitude of this gift. Once again, we see the unfathomable Divine Mercy of God.

DISTINGUISHING THIS INDULGENCE FROM OTHERS:

*On the day (August 2nd) on which it is granted, it can be gained not only once, but oftener. You can gain other indulgences only once on the same day, but the Portiuncula
Indulgence you can gain on the first Sunday of August, and that, too, as often
as on that day you visit a church of the Franciscans, or the parish church,
(you may go out of the church and re-enter as many times as you wish) and there
pray according to the intention of the Holy Father. The Congregation of the
Council has twice confirmed the Indulgence on July 17, 1700 and again on
December 4, 1723.

Again, the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences on February 22, 1847 reaffirmed the Indulgence and noted that Communion did not have to be received only in a Franciscan Church. Pope Pius IX confirmed these decisions by a decree dated July 12, 1849. It is indeed true that on one day we can gain a plenary indulgence for ourselves only once,
but this does not interfere with the doctrine that the Portiuncula Indulgence
can be gained more than once on the same day, for we may apply it to the souls
in purgatory, if we gain in the second and the third time, etc. A question
arose if a visit was made on the second Sunday if the indulgence still applies,
and the visit repeated the answer by the Congregation of Indulgences on Feb.
22, 1847 was in the affirmative.

*(excerpted from: http://friarsminor.org/sermons/portiuncula.html)

NOTE: A review of the meaning of the above with a retired provincial of the Holy Name Province, of the Franciscan Order, and in consultation with the Franciscan Ordo, states that this indulgence may only be transferred to Sunday as a special concession to
remote areas of the world where Mission Chapels are not usually open during the
week. Otherwise, the normal rules for August 2nd apply.

 

As we honor Our Lady of the Angels, may we find inspiration for our own growth and development  in the Gospel way of life that Saint Francis embraced and lived so completely.

 

ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI AND THE PORTIUNCULA INDULGENCE

(THE GREAT PARDON)

by Susan Tassone

 

The Portiuncula (small portion) refers to the land in Assisi, Italy, that belonged to the
Benedictines. On this land was an old church dedicated to the Virgin Mother of
God but abandoned.

The great St. Francis had great devotion to the Queen of the world and when he saw that the church was deserted, he began to live there constantly and repair it. He heard that the angels often visited it, so that it was called St. Mary of the Angels.

The Benedictines wanted to give Francis the church but in order to remain faithful to lady Poverty, Francis rented it from them with the annual compensation of a basket of fish from the Tescio River. Here is where Francis began his service to Christ and
His Church.

Here Francis founded his Order, received Clare as his spiritual daughter, and where he died commending this spot above all others to the friars.

St. Francis had great love and compassion for everyone.

On a night in July, 1216, Francis was praying in the little church of the Portiuncula devoured by love for God and a thirst to save souls. He prayed for the forgiveness of sins of mankind.

Suddenly a brilliant light shone all around. In great splendor Jesus and Mary appeared in the midst of a dazzling cloud surrounded by a multitude of radiant angels.

Out of fear and reverence, St. Francis adored Our Lord prostrate upon the ground.

Then Jesus said to him: Francis you are very zealous for the good of souls. Ask me what you want for their salvation. St. Francis was rapt in ecstasy before Jesus.

When he regained his courage he said: “Lord, I a miserable sinner beg You to concede an indulgence to all those who enter this church, who are truly contrite and have confessed their sins. And I beg Blessed Mary, Your Mother, intercessor of man, that She intercede on behalf of this grace.”

Our Lady at once began to beseech Her Son on behalf of Francis. Jesus answered: “It is a very great thing that which you ask Me, but you are worthy of even greater things, Friar Francis, and greater things you will have. So I accept your request, but I want you to go to My Vicar, to whom I have given the power to bind and loose in Heaven and on earth, to ask him on My behalf for this indulgence.” (ed. Note: Matthew 16:19).

With one of his companions, Francis hastened to Pope Honorius III and prostrate implored him to proclaim that every one visiting the church and confessing their sins with a contrite heart would be as pure from all sin and punishments as he was immediately after baptism. The Pope granted this petition. This indulgence has been extended to all parish churches throughout the world.

The date was set from vespers (noon) of the first of August until sundown on the second of August, the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels. It is said that St. Francis was given this day by Our Lord because the Feast of the Chains of St. Peter celebrated on August first is the day Peter was released from prison and his chains removed.

This is an extraordinary demonstration of God’s Mercy in removing the chains of sin from those whodevoutly and faithfully seek to gain the indulgence by completing its requirements.