Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth: The Franciscan Connection

These final days of Advent are marked in the liturgy by the great “O Antiphons,” with their sense of joyful expectation. Today (December 19), the church prays: “O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.”

Francis held the Nativity of the Lord in great reverence

Francis’s early biographers tell us that “he held the Nativity of the Lord in greater reverence than any other of the Lord’s solemnities, saying: “After the Lord was born for us, it was certain that we would be saved,’” (Mirror of Perfection, 114). For Francis, the decision of God’s eternal Word to empty self, humbly entering creation as one of us, sharing our poverty and fragility, demonstrated—even without Jesus’s suffering and death—that God

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