Angela of Foligno: My Love for Thee was no Deceit Friday, Mar 29 2013 

AngelaFoliginoI heard the divine voice saying within my soul, “My love for thee was no deceit.”

This word was as a shock of mortal pain unto my soul, for the eyes of my mind were instantly opened, and I saw that what He said was very true.

I saw the working and effect of that delight; I saw all that the Son of God had done for the sake of this love, and I saw what Christ Crucified had borne in life and in death for the sake of this deep and unspeakable love.

Wherefore did I understand that it was indeed true that His love for me had been no deceit or jest, but love most perfect and profound.

Then did I perceive just the opposite in myself, that is to say, I knew that I loved Him deceitfully and not truly.

[…] Then were other words spoken unto me… : “My love for thee was no deceit, My service of thee was not feigned….”

Then cried my soul, saying, “Oh Master, that which Thou sayest is not in Thee, is wholly in me; for never have I loved Thee saving deceitfully. I have served Thee with lies and I have never desired to draw nigh unto Thee in very truth for fear lest I might feel those burdens which Thou didst feel and bear for my sake. Wherefore have I never served Thee sincerely and for Thine own sake, but with negligence and duplicity.”

Now when I perceived how that He had loved me sincerely, how that He bore in Him all the signs of true love, and how that He had drawn nigh unto me to such a degree that He was become Man in order that He might more completely bear and feel in Himself all our sufferings, I did feel such exceeding great anguish that…I thought mine heart would burst asunder.

[…] After this He spake certain words unto me which did manifest and show forth His boundless love, saying: “If there were any person who desired to feel Me in his mind, I would not withdraw Myself from him; and unto whomsoever did desire to behold Me would I willingly show Myself, and with whomsoever did desire to speak unto Me would I joyfully converse.”

These words did arouse in me the desire never to feel or say or do aught which should offend God. And this is what God desireth and especially seeketh in His sons and His elect; for He hath called and chosen them in order that they may think, see, and speak according unto His will, and that they may take heed to do nothing contrary thereunto.

Angela of Foligno (1248-1309): Book of Divine Consolation, pp. 207-209.

Angela of Foligno: The Only Thing Necessary is to Find God and Wholly Fix Our Minds Upon Him Friday, Jan 4 2013 

AngelaFoliginoThe soul, therefore, hears and understands only those matters into the inner meaning of which it can penetrate.

For when the soul is illumined by the presence of God and reposes in God’s bosom and God is in the soul, then is it exalted above itself and hears and rejoices and rests in that divine goodness, concerning which none can report because it is above all intelligence and all manner of speech and above all words.

But herein does the soul swim in joyfulness and in knowledge, and, thus enlightened, it comprehends the meaning of all the difficult and obscure sayings of Christ.

[…] Sometimes the soul is suddenly exalted unto God with such joy that, if it were to endure, I do think that the body would not be able to bear it, but would lose all its members and its sensation.

God often treats thus with the soul and in the soul, and when the soul desires to hold Him fast He instantly departs.

There remains, nevertheless, great joy and assurance in the soul, truly such great joy that it in no way doubts that God is still present, but there is nothing which I can liken unto that seeing and hearing, nor am I able to describe it.

[…] You must know…that there is only one thing necessary unto us, which is God, to find God and wholly fix our minds upon Him. This is necessary unto us.

But in order that our minds may be the better fixed upon God it is needful that we should cast off all perverse and useless habits, all superfluous familiarity with men and women of whatsoever nature, all superfluous knowledge and the desire to hear many new things, all superfluous labours and occupations.

And, briefly, it is needful that man should put away from him all things which do distract his mind.

Then must he instantly plunge into the abyss of his wretchedness and bethink him what things he hath done in times past, what he is doing in the present, and what he will do in the future, and how that his fate in the next world will be according unto his deserts.

Then comes death, which will be unto all eternity. And no day and no night must pass wherein he doth not think upon these things.

Wherefore must he constantly think and meditate and use all his endeavour to comprehend the mercy of God, how that He did most mercifully ordain that Christ Jesus should suffer all this wretchedness with him, and he must take heed that he never forgets this great benefit.

Angela of Foligno (1248-1309): Book of Divine Consolation, pp. 36-39.

Bonaventure: The Archangel Raphael – God’s Healing Thursday, Oct 25 2012 

Raphael means God’s healing….

Raphael the Healer leads us forth from weakness of soul and brings us into the bitterness of contrition.

Thus in the book of Tobit Raphael says: When thou enterest into thy house, anoint his eyes with gall. He did so, and he saw.

Why could not Raphael do this himself? Because an Angel does not bestow compunction, but he shows the way to it.

By gall, the bitterness of contrition is to be understood, for it heals the inner eyes of the mind.

[…] Secondly, Raphael brings us forth from our slavery to the devil, by recalling Christ’s Passion to our mind.

There is a figure of the Passion in the sixth chapter of Tobit, where it is said that if a piece of the heart [of a fish] is put on the embers, its smoke will drive out all kinds of devils.

It is said in the eighth chapter of Tobit that Tobias put a piece of the heart on the embers, and Raphael bound the devil in the utmost parts of Egypt.

What does this mean?… We are to understand that nothing so frees us from the devil’s slavery as the Passion of Christ, which issued from the root of his heart, or of his love.

For the heart is the fountain, or hot centre, of all life.

Therefore if you put the heart of Christ, that is the Passion, that he underwent, issuing from the root of charity and the fountain of heat, on the embers, that is, on the flame of memory, then immediately the devil will be bound, and he will be unable to hurt you.

Thirdly Raphael delivers us from God’s displeasure, which we incur by transgressing against God; he does this by leading us to instant prayer, and this is what Raphael said to Tobit in the twelfth chapter: When thou didst pray with tears, I did bring your prayers before the Lord.

For the Angels reconcile us to God, as far as they are able. The devils are accusers before God, but the angels excuse us, when they offer our prayers, and when they urge us to pray devoutly.

[…] They offer your prayer, so that they may reconcile you to God.

It is said in the Gospel of S. Luke, that Christ being in an agony, prayed more earnestly, and there appeared an Angel of the Lord strengthening him.

And all of this was done for our sake: for he had no need of strengthening, but it was to show that the Angels willingly assist those who pray devoutly, and help and strengthen them, and bring their prayers before God.

Bonaventure of Bagnorea (1221-1274): De Sanctis Angelis Sermo 5, from Mattins of the feast of S Raphael in the Old Breviary @ http://lzkiss.net/cgi-bin/horas/brevi.pl.

Lawrence of Brindisi: Happy St. John, Blessed with the Gift of Divine Charity, because Jesus Loved Him Thursday, Jul 21 2011 

St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist, the beloved disciple of Christ and, after the Most Holy Virgin Theotokos, the singular son of the Cross of Christ, was relegated to the island of Patmos.

There he suffered many things for the Faith of Christ, but was consoled in the same place by God with many celestial and divine revelations.

For, as St Paul says:  As there has abounded in us the sufferings of Christ, so also through Christ abound our consolations.

Again, According to the number of my sorrows in my heart, Thy consolations have made my soul rejoice.

St. John had rested upon the breast of the Lord during the Last Supper, and had chosen the best part, as Mary had done, which would not be taken from him.

With singular effort he had always been intent, after the Ascension of Christ the Lord into Heaven, upon divine contemplations.

In the time of tribulation he used to employ himself more vehemently with divine things; for this was the custom of the Saints.

At that time St. John, enkindled by a more ardent flame, was rapt unto God, and driven above by certain, seraphic ardors.

He began also to be overflowed more abundantly that usual and much more copiously with the sweetness of divine contemplation, and to feel more accumulatively the gifts of heavenly emissions.

God the Father of mercies, and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in our every tribulation had consoled him, just as once He did to Jacob, the Patriarch, with the vision of the heavenly Staircase, to Moses with the divine apparition in the burning bush, to the three youths in the ardent furnace with angelic consolation and heavenly refreshment.

He consoled St. Paul, whom for the sake of consolation, He snatched up to the third heaven, unto Paradise itself, in an ineffable manner with the vision of celestial glory.

Now in like manner He consoled St. John in many ways.  Often, with Heaven unbolted, He showed him, just as He had done to St. Stephen, the glory of Paradise, the glory of Christ, the glory of God.

Often He rendered him glad with the vision and locution of the Angels, and steeped him in great joy.

Often from the sublimity of the heavens, the most sweet Savior appeared to him.

Often he was deigned even with the vision of the glory of the Father.

O happy St. John, thrice and four times blessed, with the gift of divine charity!

Because Jesus loved him.

Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619): On the Vision of St. John, the Evangelist, 1.

Bonaventure: The Lord’s Prayer and the Gifts of the Spirit Tuesday, Jul 19 2011 

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are touched upon in the Lord’s Prayer.

Those gifts are not had except from the Father of lights. For that reason Christ, wanting to teach us in what manner we can obtain them, teaches us to ask for them in the Lord’s Prayer.

In the first part the gift of fear is asked for, when He says: Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.

Secondly piety is asked for, when He says: May Thy Kingdom come.

Third the gift of knowledge is asked for, when He says: Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Fourth the gift of fortitude is asked for, when He says: Give us this day our daily bread. Bread strengthens the heart of a man.

Fifth the gift of counsel is asked for, when He says: And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.

Sixth the gift of understanding is asked for, when He says: And put us not to the test.

Seventh the gift of wisdom is asked for, when He says: But free us from evil. Amen.

In the first our sanctification is asked for, and this through the gift of fear, when He says, Our Father, who art in Heaven; hallowed be Thy Name.

Isaiah says: Hallow the Lord of Hosts, He is both thy trembling and they fear.

In the second the consummation of human salvation is asked for, which is not had except through the gift of piety; let there be judgment without mercy for him who has not worked mercy.

That gift is touched upon, when He says: Thy Kingdom come.

In the third part the fulfillment of the divine law is asked for through the gift of knowledge, because it teaches how to ask well and avoid evils.

This gift is touched upon, when He says: Thy will be done etc..

In the fourth part the reheating of eternal virtue is asked for, and through this the gift of virtue or of fortitude, when He says: Give us this day our daily bread. For Bread strengthens the heart of a man.

In the fifth the remission of sins is asked for through the gift of counsel, when He says: And forgive us our debts, as etc..

In the sixth petition the warding off of hostile deceit is asked for through the gift of understanding, when He says: And put us not to the test.

In the seventh petition the subjugation of carnal concupiscence is asked for through the gift of wisdom, when He says: But free us from evil. Amen.

It is impossible, that the soul tame its flesh, unless it be filled full with the gift of wisdom.

Bonaventure of Bagnorea (1221-1274): Conferences on the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Cap. 2,3-4.

Bonaventure: The Grace of God, Healing for the Human Race, Descends to Us Through Mary Wednesday, Jun 1 2011 

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of the great King by reason of a noble kind of conception, according to the message given her by the Angel.

[…] Because she conceived him on whose thigh was written, King of kings and Lord of lords, was Queen not only of earth but also of heaven as soon as she conceived the Son of God.

This is indicated in the Apocalypse where it says: A great sign appeared in haven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.

Mary the Queen outshines all others in glory, as the Prophet clearly shows in the Psalm which particularly concerns Christ and the Virgin Mary.

It first says of Christ: Thy throne, O God, stands forever and ever, and shortly thereafter of the Virgin: The Queen takes her place at thy right hand, that is, in the position of highest blessedness, for it refers to glory of soul.

It continues: In garments of gold, by which is meant the clothing of glorious immortality which was proper to the Virgin in her Assumption.

For it could not be that the garment which clothed Christ, the garment completely sanctified on earth by the incarnate Word, should be the food of worms.

As it was fitting for Christ to grant the fullness of grace to his Mother at her Conception, so was it fitting that he grant her the fullness of glory at her Assumption.

And so we are to hold that the Virgin, glorious in soul and body, is enthroned next to her Son.

Mary the Queen is also the distributrix of grace. This is indicated in the book of Esther, where it is said: The little spring which grew into a river and was turned into a light and into the sun.

The Virgin Mary, under the type of Esther, is compared to the outpouring of a spring and of light, because of the diffusion of grace for two uses, that is, for action and for contemplation.

For the grace of God, which is a healing for the human race, descends to us through her as if through an aqueduct, since the dispensing of grace is attributed to the Virgin not as to its beginning, but because of her position through merit.

By position the Virgin Mary is a most excellent Queen towards her people: she obtains forgiveness, overcomes strife, distributes grace, and thereby she leads them to glory.

Bonaventure of Bagnorea (1221-1274): Homily, from Mattins of the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen, in the Old Breviary @ http://lzkiss.net/cgi-bin/horas/brevi.pl.

Catherine of Genoa: He Requires Nothing of Us but that We Should Love Him with that Same Love with which He Has Loved Us Sunday, Apr 3 2011 

When God wills to purify a soul from self-love, he first sends her his divine light, that by it she may discern a spark of that pure love wherewith he loves her, and how much he has done and still does by means of this love.

[…] He also reveals to her that our sins can never excite his anger so far that he ceases to do us good while we are in this world.

Rather does it seem that the more our sins remove us from him, so much the more does he seek to draw us toward himself by many incentives and inspirations, in order that his continued love and his benefits may keep us still in his love.

The better to effect this, he uses countless ways and means, so that every soul, beholding what he has done for her, may exclaim, full of admiration:

“What am I that God seems truly to have no care for anyone but me?”

And, among other things, he reveals to her that pure love with which he created us;

and how he requires nothing of us but that we should love him with that same love wherewith he has loved us;

and that we should remain ever with him, expecting no return except that he may unite himself to us.

[…] God, moreover, made known to this soul that he had created man for the highest good, namely, that with soul and body he might enter into his heavenly home.

He also showed her how great an evil is sin, into which she had herself fallen, and for which there was no remedy but another manifestation of his love….

And he further instructed her in that ardent love for us of which our Lord Jesus Christ gave such proof on the earth.

[…] He allowed her to see the great patience with which he had waited for her, and borne with so many of her sins, in which, if she had died, she would have been lost forever.

[…] He also reminded her of the many inspirations he had given her to save her from sin.

Although she had not only disregarded, but even gone contrary to his will, yet in his goodness, he did not cease to send them, now in one way, now in another.

He allured her free-will in such a way that he had, as it were, forced her to do that which in his goodness he required.

And this, too, he did so gently and patiently, that no example of human love was ever known on earth, which could compare with it.

Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510): Spiritual Dialogues 1,8.

Catherine of Genoa: He Drives Forth Our Enemies One after Another, and Restores to the Soul its Baptismal Robe of Innocence Friday, Jan 21 2011 

God in his goodness had left the Soul to wander for awhile among the things of this world until she became disgusted.

(For she soon found by experience that such things could never satisfy her; but that, on the contrary, they became daily more distasteful.)

Then this merciful God sent a light which penetrated her intellect, and showed her all the errors and dangers into which she had fallen, and from which God alone could deliver her.

She saw just where she was, and what path she was pursuing, and that the death of the body was on one side, and the death of the soul on the other.

She found herself in the midst of so many enemies whom she allowed to lead her like a beast to the shambles, and even seemed to go joyfully on her way.

Then terror seized upon her and with a deep and piteous sigh she turned to God, and cried to him as best she could.

Her soul spoke thus: “O wretched creature that I am! Who will deliver me from all this misery? God alone is able: Domine, fac ut videam lumen – Lord, grant that I may see light, that I may escape these snares”.

No sooner had she directed her thoughts to God, and implored his help, without which she saw she had no power to move, but could only go from bad to worse, than suddenly her confidence in him became firm.

She left him to do his own will in what manner, and so far as it pleased him, and she added:

Her soul said: “From henceforth all that befalls me I will receive as from the benign hand of God, excepting my sins, for they are all my own.

“Committing them is always contrary to the divine will, and therefore they are our own property; nothing is ours but voluntary sin.”

This firm resolution, made by the Soul before God, was secret and in her own spirit alone, without any outward demonstration.

Now, when God sees that man distrusts himself, and places his whole confidence in Providence, he immediately stretches forth his holy hand to help him.

He stands ever at our side, he knocks, and, if we open to him, he enters; he drives forth our enemies one after another, and restores to the Soul its baptismal robe of innocence.

And all this God does in different modes and ways, operating according to the state in which he finds his creature.

For the present we will speak of his dealings with Self-Love, and how he purifies the soul from it.

Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510): Spiritual Dialogues 1,7.

Benedict XVI on Angela of Foligno (4): The More You Pray, the More You will be Illumined Thursday, Oct 14 2010 

Continued from previous post

In Angela’s spiritual itinerary the passage from conversion to mystical experience, from what can be expressed to the inexpressible, happens through the crucifix.

And the “suffering God-man,” who becomes her “teacher of perfection.”

Hence, all her mystical experience tends to a perfect “likeness” with him, through ever more profound and radical purifications and transformations.

In such a stupendous enterprise Angela puts her whole self, soul and body, without sparing herself penances and tribulations from the beginning to the end, desiring to die with all the pains suffered by the God-man crucified to be transformed totally in him.

“O children of God,” she recommended, “transform yourselves totally in the suffering God-man, who so loves you that he deigned to die for you the most ignominious and all together ineffably painful death and in the most painful and bitter way. This only for love of you, O man!”.

This identification also means to live what Jesus lived: poverty, contempt, sorrow because, as she affirmed:

“Through temporal poverty the soul will find eternal riches; through contempt and shame it will obtain supreme honor and very great glory; through a little penance, made with pain and sorrow, it will possess with infinite sweetness and consolation of the Supreme God, God eternal”.
From conversion to mystical union with Christ crucified, to the inexpressible. A very lofty way, whose secret is constant prayer:

“The more you pray,” she affirms, “the more you will be illumined; the more you are illumined, the more profoundly and intensely you will see the Supreme Good, the supremely good Being.

“The more profoundly and intensely you see him, the more you will love him; the more you love him, the more he will delight you.

“And the more he delights you, the more you will understand him and become capable of understanding him.

“You will arrive successively to the fullness of light, because you will understand that you cannot understand”.

Benedict XVI (b. 1927): On Medieval Mystic Blessed Angela of Foligno (translation by Zenit).

Benedict XVI on Angela of Foligno (3): The More We See the God and Man Jesus Christ, the More we are Transformed in Him through Love Thursday, Oct 14 2010 

Continued from previous post

Understand that, in her mystical journey, Angela understood profoundly the central reality:

What would save her from her “unworthiness” and from “deserving hell” will not be her “union with God” and her possessing the “truth,” but Jesus crucified, “his crucifixion for me,” his love.

In the eighth step, she says: “However I did not yet understand if my deliverance from sin and hell and conversion to penance was a greater good, or his crucifixion for me”.

And the unstable balance between love and sorrow, perceived in all her difficult journey toward perfection.

Precisely because of this she contemplated by preference the crucified Christ, because in this vision she saw realized the perfect balance:

On the Cross is the man-God, in a supreme act of suffering, which is a supreme act of love.

In the third Instruction the blessed insists on this contemplation and affirms: “The more perfectly and purely we see, the more perfectly and purely we love.

“That is why the more we see the God and man Jesus Christ, the more we are transformed in him through love.”

“What I have said of love…I say also of sorrow: The more the soul contemplates the ineffable sorrow of the God and man Jesus Christ, the more it sorrows and is transformed in sorrow”.

To be immersed, to be transformed in love and in the sufferings of Christ crucified, is to be identified with him.

Angela’s conversion, begun with that confession of 1285, came to maturity only when God’s forgiveness appeared to her soul as the free gift of love of the Father, source of love:

“There is no one who can give excuses,” she affirms, “because each one can love God, ad He does not ask the soul other than that He wills it good, because He loves it and is its love”.

Benedict XVI (b. 1927): On Medieval Mystic Blessed Angela of Foligno (translation byZenit)

 

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