17 February, Friday — The true meaning of being Complete

17 Feb – Memorial for The Seven Holy Founders of the Order of Servites

The Order of the Servants of Mary (Servites) was named the fifth mendicant order by Pope Martin V. It was founded in 1233 by Sts. Alexis Falconieri, Bartholomew degli Amidei, Benedict dell’Antella, Buonfiglio Monaldi, Gherardino Sostegni, Hugh dei Lippi-Uguccioni, and John Buonagiunta Monetti.

They were beatified on 1 December 1717, and canonized on 1887 as The Seven Holy Founders. On the Feast of the Assumption in 1240, the Founders received a vision of Our Lady. She held in her hand a black habit, and a nearby angel bore a scroll reading ‘Servants of Mary’. Mary told them:

“You will found a new order, and you will be my witnesses throughout the world. This is your name: Servants of Mary. This is your rule: that of St. Augustine. And here is your distinctive sign: the black scapular, in memory of my sufferings.”

From their first establishment at La Camarzia, near Florence, they moved to the more secluded Monte Senario where the Blessed Virgin herself conferred on them their habit, instructing them to follow the Rule of St. Augustine and to admit associates. The official approval for the order was obtained in 1249, confirmed in 1256, suppressed in 1276, definitely approved in 1304, and again by Brief in 1928. The order was so rapidly diffused that by 1285, there were 10,000 members with houses in Germany, France, Italy and Spain; and, early in the 14th century, it numbered 100 convents, besides missions in Crete and India.

The Reformation reduced the order in Germany, but it flourished elsewhere. Again meeting with political reverses in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, it nevertheless prospered, being established in England in 1867, and in America in 1870.

The Servites take solemn vows and venerate in a special manner the ‘Seven Dolours of Our Lady’. They cultivate both the interior and the active life, giving missions and teaching. An affiliation, professing exclusively the contemplative life is that of the ‘Hermits of Monte Senario’. It was reinstated in France in 1922.

Cloistered nuns, forming a Second Order, have been affiliated with the Servites since 1619 when Blessed Benedicta di Rossi called the nuns of her community ‘Servite Hermitesses’. They have been established in England, Spain, Italy, the Tyrol, and Germany.

A Third Order, the Mantellate, founded by St. Juliana Falconieri under St. Philip Benizi (c. 1284) has houses in Italy, France, Spain, England, Canada and the United States. Secular tertiaries and a confraternity of the Seven Dolours are other branches.

  • Patron Saint Index

Gen 11:1-9
Mk 8:34-9:1

“There will be nothing too hard for them to do.”

This reflection caught me off guard. Despite reading Genesis multiple times over the years, the above words in Verse 6 of Genesis 11 had never stood out to me until now.

I have had conversations with different people about relationships in the past few months. Having celebrated 25 beautiful years with my wife in 2022, people were curious about how we managed to maintain such a strong relationship at a time when marriages continue to be at risk.

One of the talking points comes down to a phrase found in the movie ‘Jerry Maguire’, where… (spoiler ahead for those who have not yet watched the movie…) the female protagonist uses the phrase, “You complete me”. 

Many who have shared their love for this movie often talk about how it was so beautiful that both parties in the relationship were able to find what was missing in each other. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it?

I agree that it is essential that a couple find something in the relationship that ‘completes’ them. There is a danger, however, that stems from this. What happens if this co-dependence is unhealthy? For example, one party could be dependent on a substance, such as alcohol or drugs, and incapable of self-care or love, while the other could see it as their role to ‘complete’ this relationship. Instead, I believe this completeness is most fruitful when it is synergistic, for example, when we say “1+1=3” versus the “¾+1¼ = 2” kind of situation.

For me, this is the first I have come across a passage in the Bible where Father God talks about His earthly children being so competent that they are capable of everything they set their minds to. In my mind, I have always thought of our relationship with Him as one of complete dependency, where we seek all our missing attributes from Him. On reflection, this sets the foundation for an unhealthy relationship. The danger is that if we fail to obtain the things we seek, we blame God for it. The parallel of this possibility with our human relationships blew my mind.

As children of God, we should look at self-love, being confident that we are good enough, as a product of being created out of ultimate godly love. Only with this realisation and foundational understanding, can we truly develop a complete and healthy relationship with our Father God.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)

Prayer: Help us learn to self-love as we pursue a deeper relationship with You, Father. Be with us, Father, as we grow in this self-confidence.

Thanksgiving:  We are grateful for Your love, Father God. Thank You for loving us, regardless of how we have hurt You with our errant ways.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: