Monday, December 12, 2005

Liturgical Catch-up

Yesterday was the third Sunday of Advent: Gaudete Sunday, one of only two times during the year when rose vestments are worn.

It was also the day on which one of the old Carmelite beati was honoured. Blessed Francum Lippi is another of those saints whose feast day didn't make it past Vatican II. Here is his vita from an old Carmelite history that the Carmels of Boston and Santa Clara compiled in 1927. It seems to be taken almost word-for-word from the old second nocturn of his office:

Francum Lippi, a Brother of Carmel, born in 1211, was a glorious penitent of Sienna. From the deeps of wickedness, he rose to sublime sanctity. His life cannot be read without tears. He had innumerable and exalted visions, but never for a moment did he forget his sins, hence his macerations, and the instruments of them, still preserved, are terrible to behold. Before entering Carmel he went barefooted on a pilgrimage to Rome and was absolved by Gregory X. His spirit was tested year upon year, and it was not until he was seventy that the doors of Carmel opened to admit him. There was nothing sufficiently poor, humble or repugnant to satisfy him and he became the admiration of the community and the entire city. His cell was often so flooded with light, that it was thought to be on fire. One day, while meditating upon the Passion, Our Lord appeared to him, nailed to the Cross, his Head bound with thorns, His body covered with wounds, saying: "See, Francum, what I have suffered for men, and how slight is the gratitude they show Me." At these words Francum burst into tears and with a discipline of iron scourged himself to blood. From that time he always held a crucifix in his hand.

His love for silence was so great he kept a leaden pellet in his mouth that he might be reminded never to speak without necessity, but his devotion to the crucifix was ever his distinguishing feature. He wished to die upon a cross like our Saviour, and his last words were, "Lord Jesus Christ, receive my spirit." Immediately after the air resounded with angelic voices leading his soul to Paradise, and such prodigies and miracles ensued, that in 1308, only sixteen years after his death, (December 11, 1291), Clement V beatified him at the supplication of Sienna and all Tuscany.

Ah, they don't write 'em like that any more.

These days there is a new saint filling the December 11 slot on the Carmelite calendar, Saint Maria Maravillas of Jesus, a Spanish nun and mystic who endured the horrors of the Communist atrocities in the Spain of the 1930's. There are several websites relating her story. This one gives a fairly complete life story. This one has a shorter version but contains a few pictures, apparently based upon photographs. This one is more of a meditation on the spiritual lessons of her life. And the Vatican website has this to say about her.


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