The Rule, Article 4

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blessed Angela of Foligno

Today is the feast of Blessed Angela of Foligno, Religious, Third Order

Blessed Angela was born in Umbria in the year 1248. Putting aside the allurements of the world which attracted her for a time she joined the Third Order of Penance of St. Francis and drew many women to follow her example. She was conspicuous for her fervent love of Gd and fellowmen, especially the poor, and for her humility, patience and poverty. Blessed by God with heavenly favors she had a special devotion to the mysteries of the life of Christ and left remarkable writings on spiritual topics which gained for her the title "Teacher of Theologians." She died at Foligno in the year 1309. (from the common of holy women, 1462)

The following was taken from the spiritual writings of Blessed Angela:

My God, make me worthy to grasp your ardent and ineffable love overflowing from the Blessed Trinity and effecting the profound mystery of the holy Incarnation, the source of our salvation. The Incarnation does two things for us: it fills us with love, and it renders us certain of our salvation. O Love, exceeding our understanding! There is no greater love than for God to become man to make me God.

O Love that emptied itself! You abased yourself to make me when you took on our human nature. You did not abase yourself to diminish yourself or your divinity. It is the unfathomable mystery of your Incarnation that causes me to use these expressions. You who surpass our understanding have become understandable! You who are uncreated have become a creature! You who surpass our power of thought have become comprehensible! You who cannot be touched can now be felt by physical contact!

Lord, make me worthy to plum the depths of this profound love which you manifested to us in this most Incarnation. Make me worthy, uncreated God, to know the depth of your love and glowing charity. Make me worthy to grasp the unspeakable love that you communicated to us when you showed us your Son, Jesus Christ, in the Incarnation, and the way the Son in turn showed you to us as Father. Make me worthy, Lord to recognize and grasp your love forward us when you created me.

You who surpass man's understanding, make me capable of recognizing and grasping your inestimable burning love by which you emptied yourself. From all eternity you chose to let the human race see you face to face, even as you, Most High, willed to see our face. Supreme Being, make me worthy to understand this the greatest of gifts, that all the angels and saints have no other gift save to behold you, the object of their love, and to love and contemplate you.

O gift surpassing all gifts because you are love. O greatest Good, you condescend to have us recognize you who are love, and to bring us to love such love. All those who come into your presence will be filled according to the love they have. And there is nothing else that could lead the blessed to contemplate you, nothing else but genuine love.
Taken from Proper Office of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours. This book is available in the Good News BookShop at the Franciscan Prayer Center, Independence, MO.

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