St Francis of Paola on the Army of the Lord
The prophecies of St Francis of Paola (1416-1507) are quite detailed, graphic, and most astounding. There is a lot to take in, to reflect upon, and to revisit again and again, because there is so much depth in these letters that cannot possibly be taken in upon a first reading, in my humble opinion.
In order to try to smooth this path, I will give a brief overview here, focussing on some of the more salient points of his prophecies as also providing some context.
For the full text of St Francis’ letters please see this link.
Francis of Paola was a gift to his parents through the intercession of St Francis of Assisi—for they had difficulty conceiving a child and thus had recourse to the intercession of Francis of Assisi.
St Francis of Paola led an extremely ascetic life from an early age, attracted many followers, founded dozens of monasteries, frequently performed miracles, ministered to kings and paupers alike, multiplied bread loaves, raised the dead, walked on water, foretold the fall of Constantinople in 1453, and made several astounding prophecies regarding the end times army of the Lord—prophecies which are astonishing in their scope and detail.
The prophecies are found within the body of seven letters to Simeon de Limena, Count of Montalto, (now known as Montalto Uffugo), in the province of Cosenza, Kingdom of Naples.
These prophecies, which have been reproduced many times, are so graphic in their detail—revealing aspects of the future army of the Lord hitherto unknown, but also exhibiting some resonance with prophecies from St Bonaventure, St Louis de Montfort, and others.
Some of the more astounding features of his prophecies include an end time, new Order of “Cruciferi” (bearers of a “sign” of the holy Cross) who will convert virtually the entire world to the Faith of Christ, will overcome “the sect of Mahomet”, will work marvels of grace in the whole world, and will endure until the end of the world.
In fact, St Francis of Paola often makes reference to the “cross” in relation to this “Holy Militia of the Holy Spirit” (the army of the Lord):
1. They shall “wear on their breasts, and much more within their hearts, the sign of the living God, namely, the cross.”
2. “The first person that will openly wear the sign of the living God shall belong to that city…”.
3. The leader of the Holy Militia “shall be a great captain and prince of holy men, who shall be called the holy Cruciferi (cross-bearers) of Jesus Christ.”
4. “An infinite number of wicked men shall perish through the hands of the Cross-bearers, the true servants of Jesus Christ.”
5. “O holy Cross-bearers of the Most High Lord, how very pleasing you will be to the great God.”
6. “These holy Cruciferi shall reign and dominate holily over the world until the end of time. The founder of these holy men shall, my lord, be one of your posterity. But when shall this take place? When crosses with the stigmas shall be seen, and the crucifix shall be carried as the standard. May our blessed Lord Jesus Christ reign!” (Fifth Letter)
Note that this prophecy refers to the appearance of “crosses with the stigmas”, as well as “the crucifix shall be carried as the standard.”
The “crosses with the stigmas” may possibly allude to a miraculous mark representing the Cross of Christ, much in the same way as in the experience of St Francis of Assisi, who was miraculously marked with the five wounds of Christ in his body, commonly known as the “stigmata”.
If so, then there is a correspondence here with a prophecy given by St Bonaventure (1221–1274), who identified St Francis of Assisi with the angel of Revelation 7:2—
“Then I saw another angel ascend from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God.”
Fr Joseph Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI), in a commentary on St Bonaventure’s prophetic work in 1969, notes in this regard:
“At this moment, ‘another angel’ ascends from the rising of the sun ‘with the seal of the living God.’ He commands the plagues to cease until the servants of God have been marked with the seal of God…..There are two facts in the life of St. Francis [of Assisi] which apparently occasioned the application of this citation to his person, for both of these facts seem to point immediately in this direction.” (The Theology of History in St Bonaventure, Chapter 1, page 34)
In other words, it is quite possible that both Saint Francis of Paola and Saint Bonaventure are both pointing to the same future phenomenon: the seal of the living God bestowed upon Christian souls who would, at the appointed time, come to form the army of the Lord.
But more on the prophecies of St Bonaventure in a future post which will provide a thorough analysis of this work.
All in all, the prophecies of St Francis of Paola are highly significant, profound, and deserve thorough and repeated readings.