Blessed Jacopone da Todi 22 December 2016

Blessed Jacopone da Todi

Saint of the Day for December 22

Italy – feast on 16th December

While there are many later stories about this extraordinary saint, there is little we can be sure of. He was born into the high-ranking Benedetti family of northern Italian city of Todi and baptized Jacomo (James). He became a wealthy lawyer – perhaps not always honest – and married a young noblewoman. One account says her name was Vanna, and that she was crushed to death in an accident. When Jacomo came to her side he discovered that she was wearing a hair-shirt under her fine robes, doing penance for his own greed and worldliness.   [continue]1

Another Life: 


Franciscan poet, born at Todi in the first half of the thirteenth century; died at Collazzone about 1306. Very little is known with certainty about the life of this extraordinary man. Although the oldest lives go back only to the fifteenth century, yet a few earlier records exist. The oldest and most authentic document we have is Jacopone’s signature to the manifesto of Cardinals Jacopo and Pietro Colonna against Boniface VIII, dated Lunghezza (between Rome and Tivoli), 10 May, 1297. [See text in “Archiv für Litteratur and Kirchengesch.”, V (1889), 509 sq.] Angelo Clareno in his “Chronica septem Tribulationum”, written about 1323 [“Archiv f. Litt. u. Kirchengesch.”, II (1886), 308; Döllinger, “Beitrage zur Sektengesch.”, II (Munich, 1890), 492], mentions Jacobus Tudertus among those spiritual friars who, in 1294, sent a deputation to Celestine V, to ask permission to live separate from the other friars and observe the Franciscan Rule in its perfection — a request which was granted. The next reference to the poet is found in Alvarus Pelagius’s “De Planctu Ecclesiae”, written principally in 1330; he quotes two of Jacopone’s sayings (lib. II, cc. lxxiii and lxxvi; ed. Venice, 1560, f. 196 r b, and f. 204 r b), and calls him a perfect Friar Minor. This passage occurs also in “Chronica XXIV generalium” (“Analecta Franciscana”, III, Quaracchi, 1897, 460), which was compiled in great part before 1369 and completed in 1374. About 1335 the “Catalogus sanctorum Fratrum Minorum” (in “Speculum Vitae beati Francisci et Sociorum eius”, Venice, 1504, f. 200 r; cf. the separate reprint of the “Catalogus” by Lemmens, Rome, 1903, 9) uses even more emphatic words of praise.[continues]

Quotes of Blessed Jacopone Todi 2
“What happens to the drop of wine
That you pour into the sea?
Does it remain itself, unchanged?
It is as if it never existed.
So it is with the soul: Love drinks it in,
It is united with Truth,
Its old nature fades away,
It is no longer master of itself.

The soul wills and yet does not will:
Its will belongs to Another.
It has eyes only for this beauty;
It no longer seeks to possess, as was its wont–
It lacks the strength to possess such sweetness.
The base of this highest of peaks
Is founded on nichil,
Shaped nothingness, made one with the Lord.”


Jacopone da Todi, The God-Madness
“O Love, divine Love, why do You lay siege to me?
In a frenzy of love for me, You find no rest.From five sides You move against me,
Hearing, sight, taste, touch, and scent.
To come out is to be caught; I cannot hide from You.
If I come out through sight I see Love
Painted in every form and color,
Inviting me to come to You, to dwell in You.
If I leave through the door of hearing,
What I hear points only to You, Lord;
I cannot escape Love through this gage.
If I come out through taste, every flavor proclaims:
“Love, divine Love, hungering Love!
You have caught me on Your hook, for you want to reign in me.”
If I leave through the door of scent
I sense You in all creation; You have caught me
And wounded me through that fragrance.
If I come out through the sense of touch
I find Your lineaments in every creature;
To try to flee from You is madness.
Love, I flee from You, afraid to give You my heart:
I see that You make me one with You,
I cease to be me and can no longer find myself.
If I see evil in a man or defect or temptation,
You fuse me with him, and make me suffer;
O Love without limits, who is it You love?
It is You, O Crucified Christ,
Who take possession of me,
Drawing me out of the sea to the shore;
There I suffer to see Your wounded heart.
Why did You endure the pain?
So that I might be healed.”
― Jacopone da TodiThe God-Madness