In the medieval world, an “admonition” was more than a warning. It was the practical application in life of a biblical passage. In his time, St Francis of Assisi left 28 admonitions for his brother friars, passages of Scripture and Francis’ own reflection upon them. These admonitions were found in five 13th-century manuscripts that were collections of writing of Francis and about Francis. The one constant in the five different collections were the Admonitions, referred to in one manuscript as the “Canticle of Minority.”
This week includes the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (Oct 4th). There will be many posts around the sphere attending to Francis as a lover of animals, a patron of ecology (both true), along with many of his so-called quotes (most of them fanciful). This week I will try to share some of Francis’ own writings from the Admonitions and let the Saint speak for himself.
One of the topics that Francis (in his own writings) most often mentioned and reflected upon is the Eucharist. And this is the topic of his first Admonition:
Admonition 1: The Body of Christ
1 The Lord Jesus says to his disciples: I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me. 2 If you had known me, you would also have known my Father and from now on you will know him and have seen him. 3 Philip says to him: Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us. 4 Jesus says to him: Have I been with you for so long a time and you have not known me? Philip, whoever sees me, sees also my Father [Jn. 14:6-9].
5 The Father dwells in inaccessible light [cf. 1 Tim. 6:16], and God is spirit [Jn. 4:24] and, no one has ever seen God [Jn. 1:18]. 6 Therefore he cannot be seen except in the Spirit since it is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh has nothing to offer [Jn. 6:64]. 7 But because he is equal to the Father, is the Son seen by anyone other than the Father or other than the Holy Spirit. 8 All those who saw the Lord Jesus according to the humanity, therefore, and did not see and believe according to the Spirit and the Divinity that he is the true Son of God were condemned. 9 Now in the same way, all those who see the sacrament sanctified by the words of the Lord upon the altar at the hands of the priest in the form of bread and wine, and who do not see and believe according to the Spirit and the Divinity that it is truly the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, are condemned. 10 [This] is affirmed by the Most High himself Who says: This is my Body and the Blood of my new covenant [which will be shed for many] [cf. Mk. 14:22, 24] 11 and whoever who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life [cf. Jn. 6:55].
12 It is the Spirit of the Lord, therefore, That lives in Its faithful, That receives the Body and Blood of the Lord. 13 All others who do not share in this same Spirit and who presume to receive him eat and drink judgment to themselves [cf. 1 Cor. 11:29]. 14 Therefore, children how long will you be hard of heart? (Ps. 4:3) 15 Why do you not know the truth and believe in the Son of God? (cf. Jn. 9:35) 16 Behold each day He humbles Himself [cf. Phil. 2:8] as when He came from the royal throne [Wis. 18:15] into the womb of the Virgin; 17 each day He comes to us, appearing humbly; 18 each day He comes down from the bosom of the Father [cf. Jn. 1:18] upon the altar in the hands of the priest. 19 And as He revealed Himself to the holy apostles in true flesh, so He reveals Himself to us now in the sacred bread. 20 And as they saw only His flesh by insight of their flesh, yet believed He was God as they contemplated him with their spiritual eyes, 21 let us, as we see bread and wine with our bodily eyes, see and firmly believe that they are His most holy Body and Blood living and true. 22 And in this way the Lord is always with his faithful, as he himself says: Behold I am with you until to the end of the age [cf. Mt. 28:20].