From the Franciscan supplement to the Divine Office:
OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS OF THE PORTIUNCULA Feast
Our Seraphic Father Francis in keeping with his special love for the Blessed Virgin was especially fond of the chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels known as the Portiuncula. It was here in the designs of Divine Providence that he started the Order of Friars Minor, inaugurated the Order of the Poor Clares and brought his sojourn on earth to its holy end.
In this chapel according to tradition our Holy Father obtained the famous indulgence which the Supreme Pontiffs confirmed and extended to many other churches. On account of the many blessings conferred here the celebration of a liturgical feast was granted for this day which marks the anniversary of the dedication of this chapel.
And St. Bonaventure wrote in the Major Life of St. Francis: Francis had great devotion to the Queen of the world and when he saw that the church was deserted, he began to live there constantly in order to repair it. He heard that the Angels often visited it, so that it was called Saint Mary of the Angels, and he decided to stay there permanently out of reverence for the angels and love for the Mother of Christ.
He loved this spot more than any other in the world. It was here he began his religious life in a very small way; it is here he came to a happy end. When he was dying, he commended this spot above all others to the friars, because it was most dear to the Blessed Virgin.
This was the place where Saint Francis founded his Order by divine inspiration and it was divine providence which led him to repair three churches before he founded the Order and began to preach the Gospel. This meant that he progressed from material things to more spiritual achievements, from lesser to greater, in due order, and it gave a prophetic indication of what he would accomplish later.
As he was living there by the church of Our Lady, Francis prayed to her who had conceived the Word, full of grace and truth, begging her insistently and with tears to become his advocate. Then he was granted the true spirit of the Gospel by the intercession of the Mother of mercy and he brought it to fruition. He embraced the Mother of Our Lord Jesus with indescribable love because, as he said, it was she who made the Lord of majesty our brother, and through her we found mercy. After Christ, he put all his trust in her and took her as his patroness for himself and his friars.
Santa Maria degli Angeli
where the Portiuncula is located within the Basilica
A Beautiful Gift : Portiuncula Indulgence
Background on this Grace: Everyone knows how special the Church of The Portiuncula in Assisi was to St. Francis. It is there that he began his service to Christ and His Church. It is there that he was called to rebuild the Church. It is there that he made humble service, obedience, love, and dedication to Our Lord and Our Lady the cornerstones of his unique and inspiring life. It was even there that St. Clare, the spiritual daughter of St. Francis, received her
call, lost her locks of hair to the scissors of Francis, and gained her place in the service of God and in the list of great saints.
During one of his many conversations with Jesus and Our Blessed Mother. Francis requested and
received this indulgence as a measure and means of God's Divine Mercy and love for us. Upon receiving the approval of Our Lord, Francis took this cause to the Pope, Honorious III, in who finally approved as well. While the benefits of this indulgence were not taken advantage of in the days of Francis given the difficult travel and poor roads, we are given a unique and
fortunate opportunity to benefit today given easier transportation.
The Indulgence Itself
The magnitude of this indulgence is nothing less than the full remission of the punishments due to one's sins from the day of Baptism to the day one enters the church to perform the indulgence requirements!!
Conditions To Obtain The Plenary Indulgence of The Forgiveness of Assisi
(For oneself or for a departed soul)
* Sacramental Confession to be in God's Grace (within 8 days before or after)
* Participation in the Holy Mass and Eucharist
* Visit to a Franciscan Church, followed by the Profession of Faith
* Say the Our Father
* A Prayer for the Pope
Indulgences as Gifts and Opportunities
Once again we see the beauty, majesty, magnitude, and Divine Mercy of God Almighty! All that Our Lord asks is that we humbly and contritely seek forgiveness, that we receive His Most Sacred Body in The Eucharist that we visit a Franciscan church and profess our faith, that we say The Our Father, and that we pray for the Pope. Despite those things on which we may not
agree with the Pope, this indulgence provides us with the opportunity to declare our eternal loyalty to preserving the Faith and not abandoning our mission and duty to be soldiers for our God.
Eventually, the Church modified the conditions and said the faithful could obtain the indulgence either on August 2nd or on the following Sunday and by going to any Catholic church with the intention of gaining this special indulgence. May we take advantage of this beautiful gift and the opportunities which it provides to approach our God in renewed contrite purity, love, appreciation, and loyalty!