Optional Memorial of the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites

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The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order receiving their habit from Our Lady, Italian painting, c. 1700. Image via Wikipedia.

Today the liturgy honors seven noble Florentines who in the thirteenth century, at a time when Florence and all Italy was torn by civil strife, banded together to found, not far from Florence on Monte Senario, the Order of Servites of the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially dedicated to penance and meditation on the sorrows of our Lady in the passion of our Savior. This order was approved by the Holy See in 1304. One of the seven, Alexis Falconieri, died on this date in 1310. According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite this feast is celebrated on February 12.

I first became acquainted with the Servite Order when I conducted a two-week compliance review of my agency’s field office in Portland. The two-week trip sandwiched Divine Mercy Sunday and of course, I needed to find a place to go to Sunday Mass. Well, God be praised because as I was thinking of a second place to Adore Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament, I came across information concerning “the Grotto” and the fact that they would be celebrating Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday at noon with Adoration to follow. Unsurprisingly, I found this out while Adoring Christ at Immaculate Heart of Mary parish (home parish of apologist and speaker Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers).

Please enjoy the pictures below and I apologize if they are not as good as they should have been but I forgot my camera when I departed for this trip so I was using my BlackBerry Curve 8330m. Oh, and please do not forget to read the information below on the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites and the Scripture Readings for today.

A tour of the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother (The Grotto) in Portland, Oregon.
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Seven Founders of the Orders of Servites

These seven men were the founders of the Servite Order, a community instituted for the special purpose of cultivating the spirit of penance and contemplating the passion of Christ and Mary’s Seven Sorrows. Due to the spirit of humility cherished by the members of the Order, their accomplishments are not too widely known. But in the field of home missions great things are to their credit, and certainly they have benefited millions by arousing devotion to the Mother of Sorrows.

The Breviary tells us that in the midst of the party strife during the thirteenth century, God called seven men from the nobility of Florence. In the year 1233 they met and prayed together most fervently. The Blessed Mother appeared to each of them individually and urged them to begin a more perfect life. Disregarding birth and wealth, in sackcloth under shabby and well-worn clothing they withdrew to a small building in the country. It was September 8, selected so that they might begin to live a more holy life on the very day when the Mother of God began to live her holy life.

Soon after, when the seven were begging alms from door to door in the streets of Florence, they suddenly heard children’s voices calling to them, “Servants of holy Mary.” Among these children was St. Philip Benizi, then just five months old. Hereafter they were known by this name, first heard from the lips of children. In the course of time they retired into solitude on Monte Senario and gave themselves wholly to contemplation and penance. Leo XIII canonized the Holy Founders and introduced today’s feast in 1888.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Things to Do:

  • With the aid of the Gospels, meditate on the Seven Sorrows of Mary: the prophecy of Simeon; the flight into Egypt; the loss of the Child Jesus in the temple; the meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross; the Crucifixion; the taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross; the burial of Jesus.
  • Learn more about the Order of Servites at Patron Saints Index and EWTN.
  • via Catholic Culture : Liturgical Year


    Daily Scripture Readings

    First Reading: Gn 9:1-13

    God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them:

    “Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth. Dread fear of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon all the creatures that move about on the ground and all the fishes of the sea; into your power they are delivered. Every creature that is alive shall be yours to eat; I give them all to you as I did the green plants. Only flesh with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat. For your own lifeblood, too, I will demand an accounting: from every animal I will demand it, and from one man in regard to his fellow man I will demand an accounting for human life. If anyone sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; For in the image of God has man been made. Be fertile, then, and multiply; abound on earth and subdue it.”

    God said to Noah and to his sons with him:

    “See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark. I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.”

    God added:

    “This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you: I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

    Responsorial Psalm: Ps 102:16-18, 19-21, 29 and 22-23

    R. (20b) From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

    The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
    and all the kings of the earth your glory,
    When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
    and appeared in his glory;
    When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
    and not despised their prayer.

    R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

    Let this be written for the generation to come,
    and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
    “The LORD looked down from his holy height,
    from heaven he beheld the earth,
    To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
    to release those doomed to die.”

    R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

    The children of your servants shall abide,
    and their posterity shall continue in your presence,
    That the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion,
    and his praise, in Jerusalem,
    When the peoples gather together,
    and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.

    R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

    Gospel: Mk 8:27-33

    Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

    He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

    via USCCB | NAB – February 17, 2011.

    Just in case some do not see the parallel, Matthew recounts this event (in a little more detail) in Chapter 16 of his Gospel:

    Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

    From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.” (Matthew (RSV) 16:13-23)

    This passage from Matthew contains two key verses that show that Peter is made by Jesus the “Chief of the Apostles” otherwise known today as the pope (Mt 16:18), the bishop who has primacy over all bishops and is the visible head of the Christ’s Church on earth and whose office is protected by God, the holy Spirit from teaching error as is the Church herself. The next verse, 19, we find the fulfillment of a prophetic verse in Isaiah 22:22, “And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.”

    Some Protestants have used the second part of the two passages quoted above to show that Jesus’ rebuke of Peter demonstrates that he was more of Satan than of Christ. However, this is not the case as Mark’s account clarifies – Peter is not thinking of Christ’s mission as that of spiritual redemption but more in line with what many Jews then, and now, wrongly perceived the Messiah to be – a political liberator.

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