December 20. 4th Sunday of Advent B. St Francis and Mary, the Queen of the Friars. St Francis chose Mary as the patroness and Queen of the Friars because of his great love for her which was described as “inexpressible, for it was she who made the Lord of majesty our brother.” Francis often reflected on her courage in accepting the challenges she had to face in her life by responding, “your will be done,” from being asked as a young virgin to become the mother of the Son of God to accompanying him to his final Crucifixion. Francis composed a litany of her special qualities and exhorted his friars always to possess a true and living devotion to the Mother of God.
He and other brothers experienced her presence on a number of occasions as contained in The Little Flowers of St Francis52. Brother Peter witnessed how Brother Conrad implored the Virgin Mary to obtain from her Blessed Son that he might experience some of the sweetness which Simeon experienced on the day of the Purification when he held Jesus in his arms. The Virgin Mary answered his request and as the Queen of Heaven appeared in great splendour, with her Blessed Son in her arms and approaching Brother Conrad placed the Holy Child in his arms. He received him most reverently and clasped him to his breast, his heart overflowing and burning with divine love and consolation.
According to a pious legend, one day St. Francis of Assisi had a vision in which he saw his friars trying to reach Christ by a ladder that was red and very steep. After climbing a few rungs, they would suddenly fall back. Our Lord then showed St. Francis another ladder, white and much less steep, at whose summit appeared the Blessed Virgin, and He said to Francis: “Advise your sons to go by the ladder of My Mother.” (From BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, Queen of the Friars Minor Capuchin.)
Significantly in apparitions of Mary in modern times she almost invariably calls for fasting, prayer and peacebuilding. Pope Francis: The mother who cared for Jesus now cares with maternal affection and pain for this wounded world. Just as her pierced heart mourned the death of Jesus she now grieves for the suffering of the crucified poor and all the creatures of the world laid waste. At her side is St Joseph, her husband who cared with tender devotion for the Holy Family, as they too were exiles in Egypt. LS241
For reflection and sharing: The Adams family always took this Sunday to remind themselves about devotion to Mary, the mother-to-be who would have been on their way to Bethlehem with Joseph at this time. They prayed especially for other mothers-to-be.