We adore You, O Lord Jesus Christ, in this Church and all the Churches of the world, and we bless You, because, by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world. Amen.
Saint Francis' Prayer Before the Blessed Sacrament
TOMB OF ST. FRANCIS (Assisi)
«AII praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Death, from whose embrace no mortal can escape.» Francis' words express his conviction that all men are equal because they die, but not all are equal because of how they die: «Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she (death) finds doing your will! The second death can do no harm to them.» To die to sin is more important than to die physically! The saint's tomb in Assisi invites everyone to live in the simplicity and humility of Christ.
ST. DAMIAN'S CHURCH (Assisi)
«Come and help me with this monastery of St. Damian, for here there will be an order of ladies whose fame and holy life will glorify the heavenly Father in his whole Church. These prophetic words of St. Francis announced the life and rule of St. Clare and her sisters, all daughters and handmaids of the most high supreme King and Father of heaven. They lived according to the poverty of Christ and his blessed Mother.
«The happy Father used to say that it had been revealed to him by God that the blessed Mother of God loved this church, among all the other churches built in her honor throughout the world, with a special love; for this reason the holy man loved it above all others."
Not only many events in the early history of Franciscanism but also the death of St. Francis are connected with the Church of St. Mary of the Little Portion (Portiuncula) or Our Lady of the Angels.
«The saint was filled with an inexpressible love toward the Mother of Jesus 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...
St. Francis would often retire to solitary places where, far from worldly cares and absorbed in deep prayer, he could be alone with God. One of his preferred places, close to Assisi, was the hermitage of Carceri. «He always sought a hidden place where he could adapt not only his soul but also his whole body to God...when he prayed in the woods and in solitary places, he would fill the woods with sighs, water the places with his tears.»
LA VERNA (Assisi)
At the hermitage of La Verna, on September 14, 1224, during the fast that St. Francis was accustomed to observe in honor of St. Michael, he received a unique grace: he saw the true image of the Cross appear to him in the form of a seraph. At the end of that vision, Francis bore the signs of Christ's passion. «True love of Christ had transformed his lover into his image.
One of the first places where Francis and his friars lived was Rivotorto, near Assisi.«ln that place there was a certain abandoned hovel..., and there they kept themselves safe from the rains. All his sons and brothers lived in this same place with their blessed father, working much, lacking everything. That place was so very cramped that they could hardly sit down or rest in it. But no murmur was heard over these things, no complaint; but with a serene heart and a mind filled with joy they kept their patience.-
BASILICA OF ST. CLARE (Assisi)
The Poor Man of Assisi wrote to Clare and her sisters, «l, little Brother Francis, wish to live according tothe life and poverty of our most high Lord Jesus Christ and his most holy Mother and to persevere in this to the last. And I beseech you, my Ladies, and I exhort you to live always in this most holy life and poverty...
The Basilica of St. Clare testifies that she and her poor ladies were faithful to Francis' exhortation. In this church are kept the mortal remains of Clare and the Crucifix of St. Damian from which Christ told Francis to go and rebuild his Church.
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