by<br />Fr. Franco M. Azzalli, OSM<br />Fr. Gino M. Leonardi, OSM<br />LdO<br />ChapterOne<br />THE HONOR AND DIGNITY OF OUR ORDER<br />
The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ is, in a general way, a refuge for each andevery sinner, and without doubt she obtains from her Son the mercy they ask through her intercession15. She is alsoknown as the Mother of all who are just; she wins grace for them and for this they love her with all their hearts. And thirdly, she is recognized as the sovereign Lady of all who serve Christ in any religious Order whatsoever, since it is in her that they trust and are assured of the eternal glory whichshe will ask of her Son.<br />
All this notwithstanding, she is a special refuge,<br />the only Mother<br />and sovereign Lady<br />in a most singular way<br />for the members<br />of our Order,<br />be they sinners or just<br />or faithful servants.<br />Our Order, after all,<br />is uniquely<br />dedicated to her,<br />in fact rightly takes its name from her.<br />
And yet, as anyone can see who runs down a list of the various Orders, they all have some particular saint, the founder of each of the Orders, to whom these other religious turn. It is this founder who is for them that special refuge, that father of their own, that unique sovereign when they want to ask God something for themselves or for their Order through his intercession.<br />
But the friars of our Order, consecrated to<br />Our Lady in a special way and called by her name, do not recognize any saint as the founder of the Order, but only Our Lady herself. They are singularly dedicated to her. She is their special refuge, the only Mother and sovereign to whom they can and should turn in their needs for themselves<br />or for the Order.<br />
It is clear from what has been said that Our Lady never intended to give the friars of her Order any special saint<br />as its founder. This implies that, while she shows herself a refuge, a mother and a sovereign to all the friars of her Order the same as she does to everyone else, asking of her Son mercy, <br />grace and glory.<br />
At the same time our friars should turn to her as to a very special refuge, their only Mother and sovereign Lady <br />when they want to ask particular help<br />for themselves<br />or for the Order.<br />The End<br />
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