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  • Writer's pictureFr. Scott Haynes

Portiuncula Indulgence

Fr. Scott A. Haynes

In the Gospel we read,
"Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life."
We ought not to focus to much on worldly things but try to focus on heavenly things. In another place the Gospel exhorts us:
"Take care to guard against all greed."
Rather, we are to store up treasure in heaven. We are to strive to be “rich in what matters to God.”

St. Francis of Assisi had the spiritual insight to see this. Born into riches, he forsook these and embraced Lady Poverty. He sought the heavenly treasure of grace and wanted to share this with sinners, so that they might be saved. Like the Lord who wept over Jerusalem who would not repent, St. Francis wept bitterly for sinners, praying for their conversion.

Our blessed Lady heard those tender cries of St. Francis and so she sent an angel to St. Francis so that St. Francis might come before her. The angel appeared before St. Francis in his cell, his little room and the angel bid him come through the gates of the Portiuncula, the small Church that the Franciscans had repaired and restored.

As St. Francis entered the gates of the Portuniuncula Church, St. Francis beheld Our Lord and Our Lady surrounded by a multitude of angels. St. Francis came into the presence of Jesus, Mary and the angels as a humble man. He came with a holy desire to help sinners repent. He came with tears.
The saint took courage and begged that all sinners visiting the Church of the Portiuncula, who confessed their sins with a contrite heart might receive full pardon. Jesus replied to him:
"Francis, you ask much, but I will favor you with greater things still; your prayer is granted, but go to my vicar, the Pope, and in my name ask for the indulgence which I have granted to you."

The next day in company St. Francis ran to Rome to see Pope Honorius III. Prostrate before him, St. Francis begged the Holy Father to proclaim that everyone visiting the Church of the Portiuncula and there confessing his sins with a contrite heart would be as pure from all sin and punishments as he was immediately after baptism.

Pope Honorius was astonished at this strange petition and hesitated to grant it. But Francis said:
"What I ask, I do not ask of myself; our Lord Jesus Christ sends me to you and commands me to make this request."
Nonetheless, the Pope was convinced of the truth of his speech, granted his petition and ordered that the Church of the Portiuncula should be solemnly consecrated, and the indulgence proclaimed for the second day of August. From that time pilgrims from all parts of the world flocked to the Portiuncula Church in order to gain the indulgence, and indeed thousands of conversions occurred at the Portiuncula, nicknamed the Church of St. Mary of the Angels.

In order to make this indulgence more accessible to the faithful, the Church subsequently extended it to all parish churches and Pope Paul VI transferred it to the first Sunday of August, today, so that all the faithful might more easily enjoy the Portiuncula indulgence.

As I recalled this story of St. Francis being called into the presence of Jesus and Mary by a holy angel, I thought of the inscription comes from the Bridge of the Angels in the Holy City of Rome:
"Hinc humilibus venia. Hinc retributio superbis." ("From this point there is salvation for the humble. From this point there is retribution for the proud").
This inscription comes from the Bridge of the Angels in the Holy City of Rome. Like St. Francis, who came before the Lord with such humility, seeking only the grace of God, let us always enter this Holy Church and come before Jesus, Mary and the angels with humility and with sincere love.
For if we come with humility, we can find salvation not only for ourselves, but we can win back other souls for Christ by our tears of contrition.

Dear company of Jesus and Mary, give your heart today to Our Lady of the Angels. She will penetrate your heart with the love of her Son. She will prepare you to make a good confession, to make a truly Holy Communion and to gain today’s Portiuncula indulgence, purifying our souls before God


Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.

Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done;

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation;

but deliver us from evil.

Prayers for the Intentions of the Holy Father

Any prayer of your choice may be offered. He we recommend the "Memorare."

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,

that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection,

implored your help, or sought your intercession,

was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence,

I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.

To you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.

O Mother of the Word Incarnate,

despise not my petitions,

but in your mercy, hear and answer me.



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