In the Latin Breviary office of Prime, it states that ‘When the Saracens tried to invade it, (Assisi), she, (St. Clare), commanded that the Blessed Sacrament be brought and prayed most humbly, and they at once took to flight.’
But the matter of fact is, that it was the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II who, in 1224, intended on plundering Assisi. After St. Clare’s prayers and exposing the Blessed Sacrament, his soldiers were overcome with terror and fled, leaving Assisi unharmed.
Who was this Emperor Frederick II, (1194-1250)? His mother raised him and ruled with him when he was a baby in Sicily. When she died he was actually raised by Pope Innocent III. But that did not make him a ‘Holy’ Roman Emperor. In fact he was excommunicated 4 times and Pope Gregory IX, (1145-1241), called him the Antichrist.
When he was coronated king, and again Holy Roman Emperor by Honorius III in 1220, he vowed to go on the 5th Crusade to Egypt. But he kept putting off. Ayyubid sultan Al-Kamil promised to restore the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem to the pope’s legate Pelagius if they would withdraw from Egypt. Pelagius put this off because he was waiting for Fredrick to arrive in Egypt. This crusade failed. The Catholics of Europe and Pope Honorius III blamed it on Frederick’s delay.
He was at odds with the popes because he was constantly fighting the papacy and trying to take the Papal States away from them. Since Frederick II was Emperor over Sicily, Most of Italy, Germany and Burgundy, the Papal States were in his way and he wanted them.
He attempted to go to Jerusalem on the 6th Crusade, but got sick and had to return to Italy. Since he had been excommunicated, he technically could not participate in any crusade.
Although he was very bad, he was one of the greatest promoters of the sciences and arts.
The story ends well. He got sick with dysentery and died in the habit of the Cistercian monks on December 13, 1250.
The prayers of a humble poor contemplative servant of God, St. Clare, were more powerful than the ‘Holy Roman Emperor’.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.