January 8, 2010

Blessed Angela

I notice this morning from View from the Choir that I somehow missed the feast of Blessed Angela of Foligno yesterday. She seems to have a checkered history in the liturgical calendar. Her feast day appears as a semiduplex in the 1942 Missale Romano-Seraphicum on January 4, but by the 1954 and 1962 editions of the M R-S she seems to have fallen off the calendar. She reappears in the current Roman-Franciscan liturgical calendar as an optional memorial for members of the Third Order on January 7.

Angela is one of the real characters that you meet in the history of the Franciscan family. Complicating her eccentricity is her relationship with the friar who was her spiritual director and amanuensis in the production of what we call her writings. They go from sublime to disarmingly plain to almost bizarre. All of these are from the Paulist Press edition, Angela of Foligno: Complete Works:

On hair style and beginnings in the spiritual life:

She likewise told me, brother scribe, that once while she was in prayer and asked God to teach her, he showed her, first of all, how she had offended him in every way possible; and he said to her: "Let's begin with what you do with your hair." This was beautiful, useful, and long instruction but I, brother scribe, could not write it because it was time for us to leave the church, and later I did not take time to do so because other things needed to be written.

On sexual purity and spiritual direction

My body (which nonetheless suffers less than my soul) experiences such burning in three places--the shameful parts--that I used to apply material fire to quench the other fire, until you [brother director] forbade me to do so. (198)

On the Eucharist:

My soul then understood that the medicine was his blood and he himself was the one who administers this medicine to the sick. (155)

And he made it understood that he himself was the table and the food which he was offering. (159)

On the intersection of compunction and spiritual joy:

This awareness is of such clarity, certitude, and abysmal profundity that there is not heart in the world that can ever in any way understand it or even conceive it. (213)


qualcosa di bello said...

thanks for the link to the book; i did not know about it.

one of my very favorite spiritual quotes is attributed to her:

"Make yourself a capacity, and I will make myself a torrent."

God bless!

berenike said...

classic. I must get the book!