Ponder Francis’ and Clare’s Devotion to Mary, Mother of Jesus this Advent

by Sister Anne Marie Lom on December 6, 2010

Franciscan Sister Anne Marie Lom shares her thoughts about an ‘Advent Ponderings’ retreat day that she led recently for her Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity on Francis’ and Clare’s devotion to Mary, Mother of Jesus.

Franciscan Sister Victoria ponders Mary

Franciscan Sister Anne Marie Lom invites thoughts on St. Francis' and St. Clare's devotion to Mary, Mother of Jesus.

During the Advent season, I wanted to explore, with our Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, several Marian prayers. I wondered about Saint Francis and Saint Clare’s devotion to Mary. The research began and thoughts finally crystallized into three sessions for our Advent Ponderings:

  • Francis’ Praises of Mary and Salutation to Mary
  • The Angelus
  • The Magnificat.

Francis’ love for the humanity of Christ affected and heightened his devotion to Mary. Without Mary, he reasoned, there would be no God-man. While Francis was seen as a “footprint” of Jesus, Clare became known as a “footprint” of Mary. Marian devotion and subsequently Marian art, poetry and music were highly influenced by Franciscan friars preaching and teaching in the late 1200s and beyond. The friars preached, enacted dramas and prayed in the “mother tongue” of their audiences.

St. Bonaventure and other Franciscans promoted the Angelus. They wanted the common people to sense God’s closeness and desire for intimacy with people. The friars brought the “hours of prayer” out of the monasteries by encouraging people to pause throughout the day to pray Hail Marys and recount Mary’s willingness to cooperate with God’s plan.

The Magnificat, prayed daily by all who pray the Liturgy of Hours, compels us to look at how God raises up the lowly. The poor are exalted while the mighty are brought low. This praise of poverty of spirit and littleness were core to Francis’ vision of God’s great reversal: the almighty God became a little baby. The great God “bent low”, so to speak, to come close to us. Some term this the “humility of God”.

What stirs within you during this Advent season? What captures your imagination? What connects to your heart’s desire for intimacy with God?

34 thoughts on “Ponder Francis’ and Clare’s Devotion to Mary, Mother of Jesus this Advent”

  1. Sister Jolynn says:

    In St. Francis’ Prayer Praising Mary the Mother of God, one sees the phrase “Hail His Tabernacle!”. Mary carried Jesus within her womb for 9 months. Let us look at that womb as a Tabernacle. Mary was indeed the first Tabernacle of the Lord.

    As a young Community member, I remember one of our Chaplains praying aloud as he reserved the Lord to the Tabernacle after our weekly benediction. “May the Heart of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament be praise, adored and loved with grateful affection in all the Tabernacles of the world even to the end of time,” I think of Mary loving, yes, praising and adoring the life in her womb, that first Tabernacle.

    And then I need to ponder; when am I a Tabernacle??

  2. ponderer says:

    Being reminded that the Angeles sanctified my day (morning, noon, and night) renewed my interest in saying the prayer with more awareness.

    Crib, Cross, Ciborium and Creation-Francis embodied what my way of life struggles to be. Jesus is center and He is the one I strive to follow with Francis as a guide. (Just a memory revisited again.)

  3. Sister Caritas says:

    It is times like this that God reminds us of who we are called to be-God's WORD “re-fleshed”-that we may give birth to that WORD in our actions…be it thru spoken WORD, song, praise, poetry, paintings…any way that our hearts/minds/talents draw us to give birth to the WORD as Mary did.

    The wor “impregnated” struck me all day and then I thought: Every day/whenever I say “YES” and open our hands to receive/take the Eucharist…I am “impregnated” -given the Body of Christ within me…that I may bring forth that WORD…everyday…as God calls me to do.

  4. Geralynne says:

    The former comment regarding being a “Tabernacle” finds me emracing that imagery and making it my own as I move forward this Advent Season……my words, my thoughts, my prayers of praise, intercession, reconciliation and those of celebration- be they song, writings or heartfelt actions are being shared from that Tabernacle within !!! I will continue to prayerfully consider words or actions before I undertake them to remind myself they should originate from the Tabernacle that carries the Word and from this eachh day my calling is to represent my best with the grace of God!

  5. The desire for God in our lives is especially real as we walk with young women discerning this inner disturbance of “where is God leading me?” Living with the mystery of Jesus in your very being, as Mary did, is what we are called to do in a most intimate way today!

    Thanks Sister Anne Marie for inviting us to enjoy looking to our Blessed Mother for help, hope, and inspiration during this Advent time!

  6. Lois Rizzo says:

    Deeply rooted in piety, the Angelus is a short devotion to announce the Holy Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary. The Angelus recalls the event in which the word became flesh in the womb of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit according to the Father's Plan. This century's old prayer a was once used only at night, and later 3 times per day with the ringing of 3 bells. The lay Faithful might participate in this Devotion on special occasions, meetings, conventions, at Holy Blesssed Mother Shrines, and Sacred Mary times throughout the liturgical year.
    Blessed Mother Mary is our protector and especially so during this Holy Advent Season. As she protected and Baby Jesus in her womb for those 9 months, so she can protect us if we only ask her.
    She is the Blessed Mother of All. Jesus was conceived at the Annunciation on March 25. As the Angelus says, “The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary and she conceived of the Holy Spirit. During these weeks of Advent, all Catholic Woman should recite the Joyful Mysteries asking for the virtue of humility that Mary received when she said “Be it done unto me according to thy word.” Amen

  7. A.R. says:

    I had never thought of the Magnificat as a social justice prayer. It very clearly is and how wonderful to think of the days when the hungry poor will weep no more. Also the image of Mary and Elizabeth embracing with Jesus and John the Baptist visible was very touching. I had never seen that before and I just think it is amazing how each artist sees things in different ways.

  8. Sr. Jerianne says:

    The insight I received from this “Advent Recollection Day” is that the Rule of St. Francis was to live the Gospel and we as a third order Community of Franciscans are not called to be monastic, we are called to “go among the people”, what better way to live the Gospel, in the same way as the followers of St. Francis were out in the fields helping the people. I know I've been called by God to the right Community because there is a satisfaction in being among the people and sharing the WORD, and remaining open to God.

  9. F.S. says:

    Through this reflection day I am even prouder to be a Franciscan and grateful to those who have gone before me.

  10. grateful says:

    Advent Pondering-was an excellent opportunity to become better acquainted with Mary-the Mother of God. What an awesome privilege to take the time to ask her through the Holy Spirit that I might be more impregnated with the graces of this Holy Season. How fortunate we are!

  11. srsharon says:

    Sr. Anne Marie, thank you for the reflection on Mary and how appropriate on this beautiful Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Happy Feastday! What intrigued me was your comment that St. Clare became known “as a footprint of Mary.” Then, on the other hand we walk in the “footprints” of Jesus everyday. One of Edward Hayes' tidbit from ADVENT BLESSINGS says: “O Come, all ye faithful, and by your faith see Christ in each of those you love and in the stranger. With such a faith, the Prince of Peace will be your holy guest this Christmas.”

  12. sdw says:

    Thanks, Sr. Anne Marie. I like the connections you make with life in these Advent ponderings. Thank you for your insights and reflective questions. The Holy Spirit beckons us all…

  13. A. P. says:

    The day fo Recollection as Advent Preparation was based on the 'Magnificat' prayer and Angelus. After today and reflections in the coming days this prayer will, I pray, continue to help me grow in God's working in my life.

    It has not only roots in scripture, but in Franciscan tradition, issues of social justice, self surrender, etc.

    It has been a powerful amount of inspiration even in such a short time.

  14. Sister Mary Frederick says:

    Sister Anne Marie, during your presentations you brought out so many facts (historical) about the Angelus and the Magnificat that I had never heard/forgot. I will pray these prayers with much more fervor, I hope.

    This was a wonderful day of “Spirit-lifting”. Many thanks. God bless you.

  15. Annette Longworth says:

    Thank you Sister Ann Marie Lom, It is important to have prayer in my daily life. During this Advent season I can't help but praise Mary for her strength and faith she had.

  16. Matfanz123 says:

    The Angelus is an excellent marian devotion.

  17. Patdreidosf says:

    As a Franciscan woman I am touched Anne Marie by your wisdom in bringing to us Mary, mother, teacher and friend. How I desire to come close to Jesus and Mary is the way.
    May we all desire to know and see the Light.

  18. Anne Marie Lom says:

    Thank you, Pat, for your comment and happy birthday today, Dec. 9.

  19. Sister Carla says:

    Thank you Sister Ann Marie for sharing your pondersings. I love the feeling of anticipation during Advent and ponder how Mary may have felt durig he last month of her pregnancy. She had to think of how to provide for Jesus' material needs as well as his need for a safe envirnment and love. I try to stretch my heart to be more inclusive and understanding of others for Jesus comes to me in others. Another thought I ponder is that God's trusts us human beings with his son. It reminds me how precious human life is, our own and others'.
    Sister Carla

  20. Deaconji says:

    Sr. Anne Marie … thanks for the quiet moment of pondering, reflection and contemplation … as I continue my days of Advent preparation … peace and blessings always.
    Deacon John

  21. Sandy Putman says:

    Thank you, Anne Marie. I do so like being reminded of God's closeness and of God's “desire for intimacy with us”. Also, while I try to remember to pause during the day I often forget. A blessed Advent to you.

  22. Kelly says:

    I am a “common person” and the prayers to our Lady have helped me raise our three children. Knowing Mother Mary cooperated with God's plan lead me to be the the best mother I could be. What would I have done without this knowledge of Our Lady. Thank you for sharing Jesus' Mother with all the world.
    Kelly Vidmar
    Oshkosh, WI

  23. Sister Maria says:

    I have always been close to Mother Mary. This session has enhanced by love for Mary with even a greater love and gratitude to her Son for giving us His Mother.

  24. Sister St. Louis says:

    Sister Anne Marie, your delivery of your great knowledge and living the Franciscan spirit touches the hearts of many who hear you.
    I have attended each one of your experiences about St. Francis and would hate to miss any. They really inspire me.

  25. FS says:

    I found the presentation valuable and well delivered. I appreciated especially how “Mary walked in the footsteps of Jesus”.

  26. Sr. Elaine says:

    Advent-at time of waiting, of hope, of awe, of being open and empty in order to be filled with the surprises God has in mind for me. Mary, I ask for your guidance that I may be open to God's will in my life as you were in yours. May I see and listen with the eyses and ears of faith so I can 'give birth' to Jesus in all those I meet each day.

  27. Sr. Mary Lou says:

    Thanks a million for making our Blessed Mother 'more real' for me. You have a wonderful, spiritual insight. Mary gives us an example of how we should say 'yes' to God's call in our lives. Our Blessed Mother is everyone's Mom.

  28. Ruthannmyers says:

    Each of your thoughts triggered a whole series of thoughts within myself. Just “Francis' love for the humanity of Christ” makes me think that if we focused more on Christ's humanity and saw the divine within the human, we would bring out the best in ourselves and in those around us. Too much focus on what is wrong with ourselves and others leaves too little room for the Goodness of God within ourselves and others.
    Sister Ruth Ann

  29. Anne Marie Lom says:

    Again, my thanks and appreciation for all who are commenting and sharing insights. Now that we have completed Vespers, we have entered the Third Week of Advent. I hope that the joy of the rose colored candle and, perhaps, vestments, will urge us to think not only of the coming of Jesus in history but Jesus already present in the sacraments, in scripture, and in each other. God is so abundant!

  30. Bfl35 says:

    Thanks for the reminder of just how important Mary is to us. I was reminded of this again through the readings for December 8th, Immaculate Conception. How Mary seemed fearful and troubled at what the Angel said to her but a few sentences later she was responding “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” What a great example of being willing to respond YES to God regardless of what is being asked.

  31. Jdonlon says:

    How beautiful! Just what I wanted to read at this time of year. The three questions but particlarly- what connects to your heart's desire for intimacy with God?

  32. Jdonlon says:

    really moved me…..

  33. Lesley says:

    Dear Sisters,
            This a.m. I had a thought…I know St. Francis had a deep devotion to Mary. In this day and age there are many statues of different Mary's…Our Lady of Grace, Fatima, Guadalupe etc. etc. etc. Does anyone know if there was a specific Mary that our dear frather francis had a devotion to? (I know they are all the same Mary, but I hope you know what I am trying to say!!)
     My husband and I will be building a retreat center and chapel for our dear priests one day and I was thinking about the different statues we would have, hence this question. Iwant to keep it authentic to our father francis' day.  
    Please pray for “Top Lot” Ministry for priests to be completed in God's time and in His way and will. (long story!) Thank you for your prayers, In His love, peace, joy, good health, perseverance and prayers,
    Lesley V.
    sfo

  34. After checking with one of our Sisters who has done and continues to be a Franciscan scholar, she would say that Francis had a devotion to Mary as the Immaculate Conception. It is difficult to know what image of Mary was his favorite while on earth.

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