ST. FRANCIS BORGIA, CONFESSOR
The Roman Breviary
Matins: Lesson 4,5,6
Francis, fourth Duke of Gandia, was the son of John Borgia, Duke of Gandia, and of Joan of Aragon, daughter of Alfonso, natural son to Ferdinand V surnamed the Catholic, King of Aragon. [He was born at Gandia, in the kingdom of Valencia, in the year of our Lord 1510.] He passed his boyhood at home in great innocence and godliness, and was still more remarkable for his Christian graces and the hardness of his living, at the Court of the Emperor Charles V, and as Viceroy of Catalónia. [On May the 1st, 1539] The Empress Isabella died, and Francis, as master of her horse, was commanded to attend her body to Granada, where it was to be buried. [At Granada the cofﬁn was opened, in order that he might swear to the magistrates of the city that it was indeed the body of the late Empress,] and the sight of the awful change which death had made in her countenance so thrilled him with the thought of our mortality and corruption, that he bound himself by vow, as soon as he lawfully might, to give up all things, and to serve the King of kings only. From that time, he so advanced in Christian graces, that his life might be called the miracle of princes, shewing, in the midst of a vast mass of business, an image of perfection attained in a cloister.
His wife, Eleanora de Castro, died [on the 27th of March, 1546,] and [in 1551] he entered the Society of Jesus, that therein he might hide himself more safely, and bar by the obligation of a vow the path to dignities. He was the worthy leader of many princes who have embraced a life of hardship, and Charles V himself when he resigned the Empire did not deny that he had been moved and shewn the way by Francis. In his struggle after austerity Francis, by fasting, by iron chains, by the roughest of haircloth, by long and bloody flagellations, and by denying himself any but very little sleep, reduced his body to the last degree, but would still spare no toil to overcome himself and to save souls. Thus full of ghostly strength, he was appointed by holy Ignatius Commissary-General of the Society in Spain, Portugal, and the Indies, and notwithstanding all the precautions he could take to prevent it, he was chosen by the general Congregation of the Society to be General, being the third who held that office. In this position his wisdom and holiness of life greatly endeared him to Princes and Popes, and besides founding or enlarging very many houses in divers places, he sent brethren into the kingdom of Poland, into the islands of the Ocean, and into the provinces of Mexico and Peru, and into other lands also Apostolic men who spread the Roman Catholic faith by their preaching, their sweat, and their blood.
He thought so little of himself that he gave himself the nickname of “Francis the sinner.” By the Popes he was oftentimes offered the dignity of Cardinal of the Roman Church, but the lowly firmness with which he refused it could never be overcome. In his cheap esteem of the world and of himself his chief pleasures were to clean the house, to beg for food from door to door, and to wait upon the sick in hospitals. He spent many hours every day, oftentimes eight and sometimes ten, in prayer and meditation. A hundred times every day he worshipped God upon his knees. He never missed the opportunity of offering the Holy Liturgy, and the fire from God which burnt within him sometimes shone forth in his countenance when he was lifting the Sacred Host, or preaching. By an inward power given him from God he could tell where the most Holy Body of Christ, under the Eucharistic veils, was kept. The blessed Pius V sent Francis with the Cardinal Alessandrini on an embassy to unite the Christian princes against Turkey. His vital strength was then nearly worn out, but, through obedience, he undertook the toil of the journey. He became much worse during the travelling, and on his return brought to a blessed end at Rome, as had been his desire, the pilgrimage of this life, in the sixty-second year of his own life, and that of salvation 1572. Holy Teresa, who used his advice, called him a holy man, and Gregory XIII, a faithful servant. He was famous for many and great signs and wonders, and Clement X at last numbered him among the Saints.
St. Francis Borgia, Confessor
Semi-Double White Vestments
Missa – ‘Os justi’
Psalm 36: 30, 31
Os justi meditabitur sapientiam, et lingua ejus loquetur judicium: lex Dei ejus in corde ipsius. Ps. Noli æmulari in malignantibus: neque zelaveris facientes iniquitatem. Gloria Patri.
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgment: the law of his God is in his heart. Ps. Be not emulous of evildoers: nor envy them that work iniquity. Glory be to the Father.
Domine Jesu Christe, veræ humilitátis et exémplar, et præmium: quæsumus; ut, sicut beátum Francíscum in terréni honóris contémptu, imitatórem tui gloriósum effecísti, ita, nos ejúsdem imitatiónis et glóriæ tríbuas esse consórtes: Qui vivis et regnas.
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who art the pattern of true humility and its reward, we beseech Thee, that, as Thou didst make blessed Francis Thy glorious imitator in contempt of earthly honours, so Thou wouldst grant us to share his imitation and his glory: Who livest and reignest.
Ecclesiasticus 45: 1-6
He was beloved of God and men, whose memory is in benediction; He made him like the saints in glory, and magnified him in the fear of his enemies; and with his words he made prodigies to cease; He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him commandments in the sight of his people, and showed him his glory; He sanctified him in his faith and meekness, and chose him out of all flesh; for He heard him and his voice, and brought him into a cloud; and He gave him commandments before his face, and a law of life and instruction.
Psalm 20: 4-5
O Lord, Thou hast prevented him with blessings of sweetness; Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones. He asked life of Thee, and Thou hast given him length of days for ever and ever.
Alleluia, alleluia. The just shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus. Alleluia
Matthew 19: 27-29
At that time, Peter said to Jesus: Behold we have left all things, and have followed Thee: what therefore shall we have? And Jesus said to them: Amen I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of His majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Isræl. And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.
Psalm 20: 3,4
Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, O Lord, and hast not withholden from him the will of his lips: Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones.
May the holy Francis, we beseech Thee, O Lord, obtain by his prayers that the Sacrifice laid on Thy holy altar may profit us unto salvation. Through our Lord.
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: through Christ our Lord. through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, Dominations worship, Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
Luke 12: 42
This is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord setteth over his family: to give them their measure of wheat in due season
May the pleading of blessed Francis for us, as well as the reception of Thy Sacrament, protect us, O Lord, that we may both share in the glory of his works, and receive the help of his intercession. Through our Lord.