In Madrid. The unpublished prayer of St. Francis, the discoverer Father Horowski speaks


The text of the unpublished prayer of St. Francis

The text of the unpublished prayer of St. Francis -.

It defines the recent discovery of an unpublished “prayer” attributed to the Poverello of Assisi, “unearthed” in the National Historical Archives of Madrid (about which we wrote in June LAWS ed), “An important discovery from a religious and historical point of view”. Speaking is the Capuchin friar minor Aleksander Horowski. Polish historian and editor of the magazine Collectanea Franciscana, explains the relevance of the text within Franciscan sources.

And it was the same religious in an article signed by him, which appeared in the scientific publication Brother Francis, magazine of Franciscan culture, to present in detail and “sufficiently validated” the meaning of this discovery. Father Horowski’s essay is entitled «“ Oratio composita ”. An unprecedented prayer from Francis of Assisi? ». “The discovery, or rather the rediscovery of this text because it had been identified as early as 1974 and then relegated to the writings of dubious authorship, without having been published – says Brother Aleksander -, makes us understand above all the importance of the liturgy both for the cultural and theological formation of Francis, both for his way of praying.

According to the saint, in fact, the liturgical texts (the antiphons of the breviary, the biblical readings present in the Missal, the sequences and the hymns) are a source of inspiration for composing a personal prayer and also for praying together with others. The same phenomenon can be observed, for example, in the “Office of the Passion” which Francis compiled for the first fraternity and which St. Clare of Assisi also recited every day, having learned it by heart ».

In the eyes of the Capuchin, the discovery of the text has above all the flavor of «something moving because suddenly we are reached by the voice of Francis who speaks to us of“ peace ”. What is even more precious in today’s context “.

With the mind the religious returns to the discovery with such original features. «I was revising the Latin edition of the ‘Testament’ and the ‘Blessing’ of Saint Clare which are found, among other things, in the code L.1258 of the National Historical Archive of Madrid. For this reason I wanted to see what are the other texts transmitted by this manuscript. So I became aware of this prayer that the copyist attributes precisely to St. Francis, writing: “Oratio composita a beato Francisco”.

Intrigued, I verified that, after Kajetan Esser who dedicated a half page of introduction to the evaluation of the authenticity of the text in 1976, no one else has dealt with the problem any more. I therefore made the transcription discovering, surprisingly, many stylistic, lexical and conceptual similarities with other authentic writings of St. Francis ».

The scholar – who is a member of the Historical Institute of the Capuchins in Rome – dwells above all on the singularity of this new Franciscan source. “Prayer focuses on the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God: He – as Francis says -” most of all showed us mercy, when he assumed our nature in his most holy temple, most sacred womb of the Virgin “. For the saint of Assisi, God is worthy of praise both in his eternal glory, as “great King over all gods”, and in the work of our salvation, as “Redeemer and Savior” ».

Fra ‘Horowski – this is also deduced from the essay on the text – does not know the reason that prompted the Poverello to leave the “rediscovered” prayer to posterity. “We have no external testimony relating to this prayer. In fact, none of the biographical or hagiographic sources gives us information on the circumstances in which the text was born. We are left – it is the final reflection – only the analysis of its content. We can say that, as in one of the letters in which Francis invites the recipients to venerate the Eucharist, here too he shares his experience with others: by loving Christ incarnate, he invites him to men, saints, angels and all creatures to praise and bless him ».

We would like to give thanks to the writer of this article for this outstanding material

In Madrid. The unpublished prayer of St. Francis, the discoverer Father Horowski speaks


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