This being the month of Mary, our weekly formation/meeting has been focusing on Mary. We’ve been learning some Marian hymns that have been part of Franciscan tradition for centuries. One of these older and more famous hymns is “Ultima In Mortis Hora”. You can find it on YouTube. The best rendition that I’ve found is sun by Franciscan Brother Benedict from the Custody of the Holy Land. Check it out.
The Ultima, as it’s commonly known by Franciscans has an unknown origin. But it tells us something very important about the Franciscan family. From our very early days, before the Franciscan family grew and began to diversify into many branches of the first, second and third order, as well as other independent Franciscan congregations and societies, May’s role as the mother of the Church and the Franciscan family was well establish. Franciscans counter on her to accompany us our last day on earth and to beg her son for peaceful and grace filled death.
Check out some of these quotes from early Franciscans, including Francis of Assisi himself.
Hail, holy Lady, most holy Queen, Mother of God, Mary who art ever Virgin, chosen from Heaven by the most Holy Father, whom He has consecrated with the most holy beloved Son and the Ghostly Paraclete, in whom was and is all the fulness of grace and all good. Hail thou His palace!
Hail thou His tabernacle!
Hail thou His house!
Hail thou His garment!
Hail thou His handmaid!
Hail thou His Mother and all ye holy virtues which by the grace and illumination of the Holy Ghost thou infusest in the heart of the faithful, that from infidels ye mayest make them faithful to God.
The Franciscans of Life have a very special attachment to the Gospel of John, because it was St. Francis’ favorite Gospel. One of my favorite passages in this mystical gospel is Jn 2:5.
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.
Mary is the Queen Mother who intercedes before the King on behalf of his people and who speaks to his people with the authority of a quee. She does not suggest that they do whatever he tells them. She does not request or encourage them. She COMMANDS them. Grounded in revealed truth, the Franciscans of Life, venerate Mary and pay close attention to her as the Queen Mother of the King who is the redeemer of the human race, the second person of the Trinity, the Word of God who has become incarnate, the Risen Lord who left behind an empty tomb. This is is his Queen Mother.
No matter how Protestants and other denominations cut it, there is not denying that she is truly the Queen mother, not simply the mother of a King. This is a woman who intercedes for her people and commands her people to do whatever her son tells them.
I want to close this blog entry with a few statements from some of our more illustrious Franciscans throughout history.
St. Anthony of Padua
Now the Lord has established a refuge of mercy, Mary, even for those who deliberately commit evil. Mary provides shelter and strength for the sinner.”
Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary.
Bl. John Duns Scotus
She becomes the embodiment of all perfection in creation, freed from sin and from its effects through the saving power of Jesus Christ, the universal Mediator between God and humankind. It was fitting that God would choose a Mother for His Son, who would be totally free from any stain of original and actual sin, in order to become a channel of grace to us all.
St. Pius X (Secular Franciscan)
If we trust as we should in Mary, we shall recognize in her, the Virgin Most Powerful ‘who with virginal foot did crush the head of the serpent’.
St. Maximilian Kolbe — PROTESTANTS: Pay attention!
Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.
St. Padre Pio
Always stay close to this Heavenly Mother, because she is the sea to be crossed to reach the shores of Eternal Splendour.”
So there is is folks. Eight-hundred years of Marian-Franciscan history.
In our effort to return to Tradition, the Franciscans of Life are recovering our Marian roots in song, prayer, cultus and most of all imitation of the Immaculate Mother of God and Queen of the Franciscan family.
Come and see . . .