Monday, 18 March 2013


 Pope Francis is a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. At his inauguration on 19 March, the solemnity of St Joseph the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and patron of the universal Church, in the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch, the servers were said to be friars of Mount La Verna, the mountain where St Francis received the stigmata in 1224. Francis lived the Passion through a vision of the seraphim, the angels of God's love. As Bob Moynihan points out, it was this vision and the stigmata that led many to identify St Francis with the Angel in Chapter 7 of the Book of Revelation – and the emphasis in the Pope's homily on "protecting" seems to bear this out. "To 'protect' means to make sure what one protects is not harmed, not hurt. And so this emphasis on 'protecting' seems to recall a passage in the Book of Revelation which focuses on 'not hurting', that is, protecting. In Chapter 7 of Revelation, an angel ascends from the east, bearing 'the seal of the living God' [stigmata?]. This angel cries out in a 'loud voice' to the other 'angels,' who had been 'hurting' the earth." Bonaventure describes Francis in this way in his biography of Francis, the Legenda Major, and he interprets the vision of the seraph in his mystical treatise Itinerarium Mentis in Deo. Mystical times!

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