jeudi 23 avril 2015

Bienheureux GILLES d'ASSISE, confesseur franciscain

Bienheureux Gilles

Un des six premiers compagnons de saint François d'Assise ( 1262)

Confesseur. 

A l'âge de vingt ans, frère Égide ou Gilles d'Assise, quitte ses bœufs pour suivre le Poverello dont il est la quatrième recrue. Il voyagea d'abord beaucoup. Il se rendit à Tunis où les Maures le renvoyèrent en Italie au lieu de lui donner la couronne du martyre qu'il désirait. Nous le trouvons sur les routes de la Terre Sainte, pèlerin gagnant son pain comme journalier dans les fermes ou comme fossoyeur dans les cimetières. Les trente dernières années de sa vie se passèrent dans les ermitages franciscains des environs de Pérouse où le pape Grégoire IX et des cardinaux venaient prendre conseil de lui. Les "fioretti" de saint François ont recueilli de lui une centaine de propos toujours pleins de profondeur et souvent pleins d'humour, raillant les dissertations cérébrales des théologiens comme des "secrétions sans importance." Saint Bonaventure, le grand théologien, qui l'avait connu disait de lui: "Cet illettré pratiqua la vertu à un degré sublime et mérita d'être élevé aux sommets de la contemplation. Je l'ai vu ravi en extase. Il semblait mener ici-bas une vie angélique plutôt qu'humaine."

À Pérouse en Ombrie, l’an 1263, le bienheureux Gilles d’Assise, religieux de l’Ordre des Mineurs. Compagnon de saint François, il brilla dans ses pérégrinations par sa foi intrépide et son admirable simplicité.


Martyrologe romain


Le Bienheureux Frère Gilles
Frère Gilles le bienheureux, Saint Bonaventure disait de ce saint religieux que tous ceux qui l’invoquent pour les choses qui regardent l’affaire de leur salut, sont exaucés.
On l’invoque contre tous les dérangements de la bile.

Le bienheureux frère Gilles suivit saint François et sa règle d’obéissance et de pauvreté. Son désir d’être le dernier de tous n’avait d’égal que sa très grande piété. Il portait toujours les robes les plus rapiécées et faisaient toutes sortes de travaux humbles. Dieu le ravit en extase à plusieurs reprises et son zèle s’en trouvait à chaque fois ravivé s’il en était besoin.

Le Bienheureux Frère Gilles cheminait priant et louant Dieu. Il prêchait la confiance totale en Dieu et ne possédant rien ne manqua jamais de rien.

Lorsque Le Bienheureux Frère Gilles mourut, en 1272, une grande lumière environna son pauvre corps mis à vif par le cilice qu’il portait toujours.

INVOCATION

Nous vous supplions, ô Dieu tout-puissant, de nous placer tout particulièrement sous la protection du bienheureux Gilles, afin que ce saint Religieux, si zélé pour le salut des âmes, fasse croître en nous l’Esprit de piété, le désir ardent de vous servir parfaitement. Délivrez-nous, par son intercession, de tout ce qui mettrait notre salut éternel en danger, et nous ferait perdre le bonheur éternel que vous nous destinez, ô Dieu notre Sauveur. Ainsi soit-il.

Bienheureux saint Gilles, qui avez une grâce spéciale pour assurer notre salut éternel, veillez sur nous et assistez-nous sans cesse.


ORAISON

Oh mon Jésus, roi des rois, maître et vie de mon âme, puisse mon cœur être uni avec votre cœur et avec toutes ses douleurs! En vous, ô mon Sauveur, est l’abondance du salut, l’abîme inépuisable des miséricordes divines, et la plus pure béatitude. Oh glorieux dominateur, puissant protecteur de vos fidèles, vous êtes le plus précieux joyau de la dignité humaine; vous êtes l’habile artisan de notre rénovation spirituelle; vous êtes le docteur le plus compatissant, le plus sage conseiller, le meilleur défenseur, le plus fidèle ami, et le bonheur le plus doux de ceux qui vous aiment. Ainsi soit-il.




Blessed Giles of Assisi, OFM (AC)
(also known as Egidius)

Born in Assisi, Italy; died at Perugia, Italy, 1262. One of the first and liveliest companions of Saint Francis, Giles is described delightfully as the "Knight of the Round Table" in the Fioretti . After receiving the habit from Francis in 1208, Giles accompanied Francis on many of his missions around Assisi. He made pilgrimages to Compostella, the Holy Land, and Rome, then went to preach to the Saracens in Tunis. His mission was a failure; the Christians of Tunis, fearful of the repercussions of his religious fervor, forced him back on a boat as soon as he had landed.


The rest of his life he spent in Italy, being eagerly consulted by all sorts of people on spiritual matters. From about 1243, Giles could be found at the Monte Rapido hermitage on the outskirts of Perugia. He experienced ecstasies, had a vision of Christ at Cetona, and is considered the most perfect example of the primitive Franciscan. Known for his austerity and silence, Giles' The Golden Sayings of Brother Giles is noted for its humor, deep understanding of human nature, and optimism (Benedictines, Delaney, Gill).

Bl. Aegidius of Assisi

One of the original companions of St. Francis. He is also known as Blessed Giles, and holds the foremost place among the companions of St. Francis, "The Knight of our Round Table" St. Francis called him. Of his antecedents and early life nothing certain is known. In April, 1209, moved by the example of two leading fellow Assisians, who became the first followers of St. Francis, he begged permission to join the little band. and on the feast of St. George was invested in a poor habit St. Francis had begged for him. Almost immediately afterwards he set out with St. Francis to preach in the Marches of Ancona. He accompanied the saint to Rome when the first Rule was approved orally by Innocent III, and appears to have then received the clerical tonsure. About 1212 Aegidius made a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James at Compostella, in Spain. Shortly after his return to Assisi he started for Jerusalem, to venerate the Holy Places, visiting on his way home the Italian shrines of St. Michael, at Monte Gargano, and St. Nicholas, at Bari. We next find him in Rome and still later at Tunis. In these journeys Aegidius was ever at pains to procure by manual labour what food and shelter he needed. At Ancona he made reed baskets; at Brindisi he carried water and helped to bury the dead; at Rome he cut wood, trod the wine-press, and gathered nuts; while the guest of a cardinal at Rieti he insisted on sweeping the house and cleaning the knives. A keen observer of men and events, Aegidius acquired in the course of these travels much valuable knowledge and experience, which he turned to good account. For he lost no occasion of preaching to the people. His sermons, if such they can be called, were brief and heartfelt talks, replete with homely wisdom; he never minced his words, but spoke to all with apostolic freedom. After some years of activity Aegidius was assigned by St. Francis to the hermitage of Fabriano, where he began that life of contemplation and ecstasy which continued with very visible increase until his death. It was in 1262, on the fifty-second anniversary of his reception into the Order of Friars Minor, that Aegidius passed away, already revered as a saint. His immemorial cultus was confirmed by Pius VI, and his feast is celebrated on the twenty-third of April.

Aegidius was a stranger to theological and classical learning, but by constant contemplation of heavenly things, and by the divine love with which he was inflamed, he acquired that fullness of holy wisdom which filled his contemporaries with wonder, and which drew men of every condition, even the Pope himself, to Perugia to hear from Aegidius' lips the Word of Life. The answers and advice these visitors received were remembered, talked over, and committed to writing, and thus was formed a collection of the familiar "Dicta" or "Sayings" of Aegidius, which have often been edited in Latin and translated into different languages. St. Bonaventure held these "Sayings" in high esteem, and they are cited in the works of many subsequent ascetical writers. They are short, pithy, popular counsels on Christian perfection, applicable to all classes. Saturated with mysticism, yet exquisitely human and possessing a picturesque vein of originality, they faithfully reflect the early Franciscan spirit and teaching. The latest and best edition of the "Dicta" is that published at Quaracchi, in 1905. There is a critical English translation of the same: "The Golden Words of the Blessed Brother Giles", together with a sketch of his life, by the writer of this article (Philadelphia, 1906); also a new German version, "Der selige Aegidius von Assisi, sein Leben und seine Sprüche", by Gisbert Minge (Paderborn, 1905).

Sources

Acta SS., III, April, 220 sqq.: Chronica XXIV Generalium (Quaracchi, 1897), 74-115; Vita Beati Aegidii Assisiatis (Quaracchi, 1901); Fratini, Vita del B. Egidio d'Assisi (Assisi, 1898); Sabatier, Actus B. Francisci et sociorum ejus (Paris, 1902), Robinson, The Blessed Giles of Assisi in Franciscan Monthly (London, Jan.-June, 1906).

Robinson, Paschal. "Bl. Aegidius of Assisi." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 23 Apr. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01170d.htm>.



Blessed Giles of Assisi

(Bl Gilles d’ Assise)


Feast Day – April 23

Two companions from Assisi had already joined St Francis when Giles, a well-to-do young man of the town, heard that young men were joining St Francis. Blessed Giles of Assisi repaired to the poor hermitage yard by Assisi, which the three occupied.

Prostrate upon his knees, Blessed Giles begged St Francis to accept him into his company. Francis presented him to the other two, saying: "See here a good brother whom almighty God has sent us." This was on April 23, 1209. On the same day, both went to Assisi, where Giles begged in God's name for a bit of cloth to make a habit. Blessed Giles of Assisi divided his entire fortune among the poor.

Blessed Giles of Assisi was plain and simple in mind, of a mild temperament, but also full of power and energy when it served to accomplish anything good.

Recognizing humility as the necessary foundation for perfection, Giles sought humiliation and contempt, but fled from honors. Once when Blessed Giles of Assisi was passing through the March of Ancona with the holy Founder and at some places special honor was shown to them, he said, "O my Father, I fear we shall lose the true honor if we are honored by men."

Blessed Giles of Assisi entertained a great desire to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Places, and since Francis knew that he did much good everywhere by his holy example, he gladly granted his desire. Giles visited the tomb of the Apostle James at Compostela in Spain, and then went to the Holy Places of the Passion of Christ in Jerusalem. He also visited the sanctuary of the holy Archangel Michael on Mt. Gargano in Italy, and the town of Bari, there to honor St. Nicholas.

His whole appearance preached poverty, humility, and piety. He also utilized every opportunity to encourage penance and love of God. He endeavored to earn his livelihood mainly through manual work; whatever he obtained over and above his immediate needs, he at once gave to the poor; if he lacked necessities, he begged them for God's sake. Once a poor woman who was dressed in the barest necessaries asked Brother Giles for an alms. As he had nothing to offer her, he compassionately took off his capuche and gave it to her.

In the year 1219, at the great chapter of 5,000 brothers, St. Francis commissioned Giles to go to Africa with several companions, to preach the gospel to the Mohammedans. But they did not achieve their purpose. As soon as they landed in Africa, the Christians there, who feared a general persecution, led them by force to another ship which brought them back to Italy. At this time Brother Giles was sent to the quiet convent of Perugia, which remained his abode until his death. He lived practically only for God. Even at his work, thoughts of the last judgment, of eternity, and of the glory of heaven constantly occupied his mind.

Once when two distinguished gentlemen asked him to pray for them, he said: "Oh you do not need my prayers." "Why not?" they asked. Blessed Giles of Assisi answered, "You live among all the comforts of the world and still believe that you will get to heaven; but I, a poor human being, spend my days in labor and penance, and yet I fear I will be damned."

When he reflected on the joys of heaven, Blessed Giles of Assisi was beside himself with longing. Often when the children in the street called out to him the mere word "paradise," he was rapt in ecstasy.

Pope Gregory IX had heard of the contemplative gift of Brother Giles, and being just then in the neighborhood of Perugia, he sent for him. When the pope began to speak to Giles about divine and heavenly matters, Giles at once went into an ecstasy. When he came to again, he humbly begged the Holy Father's forgiveness -- it was his weakness, he said, that he was immediately beside himself. The pope required that he give him some good advice for the administration of his burdensome duties.

Quite confounded, Giles excused himself saying that he could not advise the head of the Church. But when the pope commanded him in obedience, he said, "Holy Father, you must have two eyes in your soul. The right eye must be kept on heavenly things; the left one, on the things of this earth, which you must regulate."

St Bonaventure considered himself fortunate to have lived at the time when he could still see and speak with Brother Giles. When he came to Perugia as provincial of the order, Giles said to him one day," My Father, God has accorded you great kindness, since you are so learned and can, therefore, serve God so perfectly; but we unlearned ones, how shall we correspond to the goodness of God and arrive at heaven?"

The learned general of the order answered him: "My brother, in order to get to heaven, it suffices that one love God, and a poor unlearned woman can love God as well as, maybe even better than, a great theologian."

Thereupon Giles ran out into the garden that led to the street, and filled with joy, cried aloud, "Come, ye simple and unlearned men, and ye poor women! You can love God as well as, and perhaps even more than, Brother Bonaventure and the greatest theologians."

A religious of great learning, who, however, was much troubled with doubts concerning the virginity of Mary, came to Brother Giles for advice. The holy brother cried out, as he struck the earth with a stick, "Yes! yes! She was a virgin before the birth of Jesus!" and immediately a beautiful lily sprouted forth. Giles struck anew and said, "She was a virgin during the birth," and again a lily sprouted forth. Then he beat a third time upon the earth, saying the words, "She was a virgin after the birth," and the third lily sprouted forth.

Finally, pure as a lily, the soul of Brother Giles went to the vision of things divine, which he had so often contemplated. He died on April 22, 1262, on the anniversary of his entrance into the order, to which he had belonged for 53 years. His grave in the Franciscan church at Perugia is highly venerated. Pope Pius VI sanctioned the veneration accorded Blessed Giles of Assisi from time immemorial.

*from: The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, ofm.


Blessed Giles of Assisi


Humility and simplicity.
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Blessed Giles, one of the first companions of St. Francis, was received into the order on the feast of St. George, April 23, 1208.  Francis called him his Knight of the Round Table.  The spiritual teachings of Blessed Giles are similar to those of the early Desert Fathers and can be found in the book "The Golden Sayings".  Giles made many notable pilgrimages which are recorded in the Little Flowers of St. Francis.  Wherever he stayed, Giles insisted upon earning his keep by manual labor.   Brother Giles was eventually assigned by St. Francis to the hermitage of Fabriano, where he died in 1262.
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"Once when St. Bonaventure came to Perugia, Giles asked him if an ignorant person could love God as much as a scholar. Bonaventure, one of the leading theologians from the University of Paris and at the time minister general of the friars, responded, 'A little old woman can love God even more than a master of theology.' Giles immediately ran out, met an old woman and told her, 'O poor little old woman, though you are simple and uneducated, just love the Lord God and you can be greater than Brother Bonaventure.'" - Source
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Giles before the Pope.
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"Pope Gregory IX, the former Cardinal Hugolino and a great admirer of St. Francis, once brought Giles to Viterbo in order to experience his holiness firsthand. They began speaking of heaven, and Giles twice went into ecstasy for long periods of time. The pope was convinced. Another time the pope asked Giles for some advice about fulfilling his duties as pope. Giles told him that he should have two eyes in his soul: one to contemplate heavenly things and the other to direct earthly things. As the pope and Bonaventure agreed, Giles was a master of the spiritual life." - Source
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April 23

Blessed Giles of Assisi

d.1262
Two companions from Assisi had already joined St. Francis when Giles, a well-to-do young man of the town, heard about it.  He repaired to the poor hermitage yard by Assisi, which the three occupied, and prostrate upon his knees, he begged St. Francis to accept him into his company.  Francis presented him to the other two, saying: “See here a good brother whom almighty God has sent us.”  This was on April 23, 1209.  On the same day, both went to Assisi, where Giles begged in God’s name for a bit of cloth to make a habit.  Giles divided his entire fortune among the poor.  He was plain and simple in mind, of a mild temperament, but also full of power and energy when it served to accomplish anything good.

Recognizing humility as the necessary foundation for perfection, Giles sought humiliation and contempt, but fled from honours.  Once when he was passing through the March of Ancona with the holy Founder and at some places special honour was shown to them, he said, “O my Father, I fear we shall lose the true honour if we are honoured by men.”
Giles entertained a great desire to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Places, and since Francis knew that he did much good everywhere by his holy example, he gladly granted his desire.  The Apostle James at Compostela in Spain, then to the Holy Places of the Passion of Christ in Jerusalem.  He also visited the sanctuary of the holy Archangel Michael on Mt. Gargano in Italy, and the town of Bari, there to honour St. Nicholas.

His whole appearance preached poverty, humility, and piety.  He also utilized every opportunity to encourage penance and love of God.  He endeavoured to earn his livelihood mainly through manual work; whatever he obtained over and above his immediate needs, he at once gave to the poor; if he lacked necessities, he begged them for God’s sake.  Once a poor woman who was dressed in the barest necessaries asked Brother Giles for an alms. As he had nothing to offer her, he compassionately took off his capuche and gave it to her.

In the year 1219, at the great chapter of 5,000 brothers, St. Francis commissioned Giles to go to Africa with several companions, to preach the gospel to the Mohammedans.  But they did not achieve their purpose.  As soon as they landed in Africa, the Christians there, who feared a general persecution, led them by force to another ship which brought them back to Italy.

At this time Brother Giles was sent to the quiet convent of Perugia, which remained his abode until his death.  He lived practically only for God. Even at his work, thoughts of the last judgment, of eternity, and of the glory of heaven constantly occupied his mind.  Once when two distinguished gentlemen asked him to pray for them, he said: “Oh you do not need my prayers.”  “Why not?” they asked.  Giles answered, “You live among all the comforts of the world and still believe that you will get to heaven; but I, a poor human being, spend my days in labour and penance, and yet I fear I will be damned.”  When he reflected on the joys of heaven, he was beside himself with longing.  Often when the children in the street called out to him the mere word “paradise,” he was rapt in ecstasy.

Pope Gregory IX had heard of the contemplative gift of Brother Giles, and being just then in the neighbourhood of Perugia, he sent for him.  When the pope began to speak to Giles about divine and heavenly matters, Giles at once went into an ecstasy.  When he came to again, he humbly begged the Holy Father’s forgiveness -- it was his weakness, he said, that he was immediately beside himself.  The pope required that he give him some good advice for the administration of his burdensome duties.  Quite confounded, Giles excused himself saying that he could not advise the head of the Church.  But when the pope commanded him in obedience, he said, “Holy Father, you must have two eyes in your soul.  The right eye must be kept on heavenly things; the left one, on the things of this earth, which you must regulate.”

St. Bonaventure considered himself fortunate to have lived at the time when he could still see and speak with Brother Giles.  When he came to Perugia as provincial of the order, Giles said to him one day,” My Father, God has accorded you great kindness, since you are so learned and can, therefore, serve God so perfectly; but we unlearned ones, how shall we correspond to the goodness of God and arrive at heaven?”  The learned general of the order answered him: “My brother, in order to get to heaven, it suffices that one love God, and a poor unlearned woman can love God as well as, maybe even better than, a great theologian.”  Thereupon Giles ran out into the garden that led to the street, and filled with joy, cried aloud, “Come, ye simple and unlearned men, and ye poor women!  You can love God as well as, and perhaps even more than, Brother Bonaventure and the greatest theologians.
A religious of great learning, who, however, was much troubled with doubts concerning the virginity of Mary, came to Brother Giles for advise.  The holy brother cried out, as he struck the earth with a stick, “Yes! yes! She was a virgin before the birth of Jesus!” and immediately a beautiful lily sprouted forth.  Giles struck anew and said, “She was a virgin during the birth,” and again a lily sprouted forth.  Then he beat a third time upon the earth, saying the words, “She was a virgin after the birth,” and the third lily sprouted forth.

Finally, pure as a lily, the soul of Brother Giles went to the vision of things divine, which he had so often contemplated.  He died on April 22, 1262, on the anniversary of his entrance into the order, to which he had belonged for 53 years.  His grave in the Franciscan church at Perugia is highly venerated.  Pope Pius VI sanctioned the veneration accorded him from time immemorial.

CONCERNING THE GOOD INTENTION

1.  What the divinely enlightened brother said to the pope and observed so faithfully himself, we, too, must observe.  The right eye of our soul must be directed to things of heaven, while the left eye looks at the things of this earth which we have to deal with, that is, amid all our occupations the higher regard of our soul should be directed towards God, so that we may do everything according to His good pleasure and with good intention. Yes, the Apostle warns us always to bear about in our hearts the best, the most perfect intention, which desires nothing but the honour of God:” whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31).  If we do everything as God wants it, and because it pleases God, we thereby promote His honour.  Have you always been thus minded at your work?

2.  Consider how precious in the sight of God our dealings become through our good intention.  In order to make our good intention most perfectly, we should unite it with that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The first thing in the morning it is well to make the intention which Pope Leo XIII prescribed for the members of the Apostleship of Prayer, offering up all our works, prayers, and sufferings of the day, and everything else we do, for the purpose with which the Son of God, Jesus Christ, offers Himself to the heavenly Father in all the holy Masses of the day.  What value our works must thereby acquire in the sight of God!  United with the sacrifice of His Divine Son, they appear as a part of the holy sacrifice of His Divine Son, they appear as a part of the holy Sacrifice itself, and as He once assured St. Gertrude, God hardly knows how to reward such gifts sufficiently. Should that not inspire us never to forget this good intention and to renew it often during the day?

3.  Consider how a good and pure intention in our actions preserves us in tranquility of heart and interior peace.  That is it, in fact, that makes so many people restless and tortures them at their work but the thought of what people will say about them, or what success they will have in the eyes of the world.  “If God were always the only object of our desires we should not easily be disturbed,” says Thomas a Kempis (1.14).  Let people think of us what they may, and let us not be fearful about the results which so often are not in our control.  Doing what is assigned to us, and directing our whole intention towards God, we shall always preserve interior peace.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

O God, who didst deign to raise Thy blessed confessor Giles to the height of extraordinary contemplation, grant through his intercession that in our actions we may always direct our intention to Thee, and through it arrive at the peace which surpasses all understanding.  Through Christ our Lord. 
Amen.

Blessed Giles of Assisi

22 April 2012, 8:46 am

Also known as
  • Aegidius
Profile

Friend and third follower of Saint Francis of Assisi. Sent as a missionary to Muslims in Tunis, but had no success. Upon his return, he lived at various places in Italy where for the rest of his days he was in demand as a spiritual advisor; his “Sayings” have been printed in many editions. Assigned later to the hermitage of Fabriano where he led a life of quiet contemplation.

Born