'FOLLOW ME!'
Luke 9:23

Published for

The BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE

Butterfly Symbol of the BSP of Saint Francis

of
          St. Francis

June 2004

FROM THE WRITINGS ON ST. FRANCIS:

St. Anthony of Padua and St. Francis, Simone Martini, Assisi, Upper Church of the Basilica
St. Anthony of Padua and St. Francis
by Simone Martini
Assisi, Upper Church of the Basilica
          Francis, therefore, the most valiant knight of Christ, went about the towns and villages announcing the kingdom of God, preaching peace, teaching salvation and penance unto the remission of sins, not in the persuasive words of human wisdom, but with the learning and power of the Spirit. He acted boldly in all things, because of the apostolic authority granted to him, using no words of flattery or seductive blandishments. He did not know how to make light of the faults of others, bet he knew well how to cut them out; neither did he encourage the life of sinners, but he struck hard at them with sharp reproof, for he had first convinced himself by practicing himself what he wished to persuade others to do by his words; and fearing not the censurer, he spoke the truth boldly, so that even the most learned men, men enjoying renown and dignity, wondered at his words and were struck with wholesome fear by his presence. Men ran, and women too ran, clerics hurried, and religious hastened that they might see and hear the holy man of God who seemed to all to be a man of another world. Every age and every sex hurried to see the wonderful things that the Lord was newly working in the world through his servant. It seemed at that time, whether because of the presence of St. Francis or through his reputation, that a new light had been sent from heaven upon this earth, shattering the widespread darkness that had so filled almost the whole region that hardly anyone knew where to go. For so profound was the forgetfulness of God and the sleep of neglect of his commandments oppressing almost everyone that they could hardly be aroused even a little from their old and deeply rooted sins.

Francis shone forth like a brilliant star in the obscurity of the night and like the morning spread upon the darkness. And thus it happened that in a short time the face of the region was changed, and it took on a more cheerful aspect everywhere, once the former foulness had been laid aside.

Celano, First Life, 1229

COMMENTARY:

St. Francis always felt that his work was a direct gift from God, and that what was done in him and in his work was accomplished by the Holy Spirit. He was the humblest of men, and in all things he sought to be the least of all men. It was this part of his actions that caught the eyes of others. He never called himself a founder of anything, but yet three Orders rose in his name. His was a call to service. To obedience and littleness. His was the humble and sorrowful way of the cross. Nothing else ever sufficed for him but to love the crucified Savior and to become like Him. This attracted people to him.

We are among those that see in St. Francis and the message of the Rule he gave us the means to draw closer to Christ. We seek to be a light to our world by living the Gospel more perfectly. We realize we must put on Jesus Christ as St. Francis did. We must die to self to live for Him. In doing this, we become an aid to those around us to find a deeper relationship with Christ.

ADMINISTRATOR’S MESSAGE: GOD’S FIRE

Bruce Fahey, Minister
Shelley Fahey, Messenger
Dear Brothers and Sisters of Penance and friends of Christ,

At the end of May we celebrate Pentecost. His coming was the birth of the Church, God’s fire among us, and it is a wonderful meditation on the history and life of the BSP as well. Consider the coming of the Holy Spirit: “And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” (Acts: 2:2-2:4)

The entire life and future of the BSP is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. He is its founder, and even though we have each been called in a deeply mystical and wonderful way to form this Association, we are only instruments in God’s hands. As we look back on where the spiritual journey that lead to the BSP for most of us we really find the call embracing our entire lives. The first calls often came in our childhood and the fingerprints of God are everywhere in our lives. For that reason this Association belongs to God, and He has blessed those of us who chose to enter it to serve His Church. How? We lose our lives in helping others to find a deeper relationship with Christ. The Lord said “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mt. 10:39) We become one of those who help others find Christ in a more powerful and wonderful way, and that makes us leaders. This is everyone of us, we are all leaders, who takes this life into our lives and touch others with a message we have learned from living the Gospel this way more fully.

God has chosen us as his instruments to make it happen. Each of us must decide, happily, what that means in our lives. It is still the truth that MOST Catholics do not feel called to this life of penance, yet Our Lord said “if you do not repent, you will all perish…” (Lk 13:3) Our journey is still going on. Where? In each of us called to this life. The Holy Spirit has given us each different gifts, and crosses too! Each perfectly suited to the life God has given us in the place where we are so we can attain perfection. Praise God!

Father Valerius Messerich O.F.M. once said that the BSP should be an instrument of the Church to reach out to others. That our function as pledged members is to evangelize others. The word ‘evangelize’ means: “to preach the Gospel”. As St. Francis once added: “Use words if you must”. We, its members, who fully embrace the life, are called to “preach the Gospel” to others, beginning with those of the Faith. We are to share our faith with others in the Church, and our call to penance, not to glorify ourselves, but in humility for the good of all, like St. Francis did.

Did we not just read in the Office of Readings this past Ascension that: “The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all men with his gifts. It is He who gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, in roles of service for the faithful for building up the body of Christ till we become one in faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, and form that perfect man who is Christ come to full stature.” (Eph. 4:10-12) We are among that number as evangelists and teachers if we live this life and promote it in the Church. We must take heed of this responsibility so that we can have more of the mystery of the love of Christ in our hearts, for Our Lord said: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”(Lk. 12:48) Just in embracing this life we have been entrusted with more. Let’s get and stay busy! :)

Ultimately, of course, we must become Saints.

Yours in Christ,

Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
Administrators

AS WE MOVE ON: SOME BUSINESS ITEMS

Our membership continues to grow, for which we deeply thank the Lord. His Spirit is on us, and He is moving us all to a deeper relationship with Him. The journey we are each on is our own gift to the Lord. A bright rose in the bouquet of good in our life which we will give Him when we meet Him as we all will one day.

To our new Inquirers a big Welcome to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis! If you have not yet begun submitting your lessons please feel free to do so at any time. All of you should have been given access to our formation section on the website, which is password protected to provide some privacy to our members and avoid piracy or inappropriate outside communications from others who do not accept or respect the mission of the BSP. You can submit your lessons by postal mail, email, by phone to the Communication Center (some members really enjoy this and if you set this up we will call you), or on the forums on the web site which is actually the least used of all means.

Prayer requests also can be submitted in the Formation section of the website or directly to prayers@bspenance.org . Let us all pray for these causes on some basis daily.

On formation, we have decided you can submit your lessons as rapidly as you wish provided that your spiritual director or confessor agrees with you, and your formation people can keep up! :) . Some of our over older members have said they wish to do that so they can pledge while they are still alive! And we need leaders. It is still an imperative that you go through the formation lessons before you pledge, and that your spiritual director agrees that you can make a pledge to live this beautiful Rule for all of your life. One lesson each month for four years is still normal. If you have any questions on this, please call or write the BSP Communication Center at the number on the last page of this newsletter.

Plans for the retreat are advancing well. We will open the retreat to the diocese here soon as two of our spiritual guides are diocesan priests and we are listed in the Official Catholic Directory for the diocese. As such we feel an obligation to afford area parishioners an opportunity to attend the retreat. With Fathers Altier, Belden, Valerius and Archbishop Flynn attending the retreat we anticipate some local interest. So, if you plan on coming to the retreat please send your $25 deposit to the Communication Center as soon as possible. Members will be given first priority to attend. The retreat center can handle 58.

Anyone who is coming to the retreat can bring a friend, and can come a day earlier for the retreat, on Thursday, July 29th, for an additional $50 complete. Several members are doing this, and nothing but silence is planned for those who come Thursday. No BSP business meetings will be held during the retreat, but we have one conference room that will be staffed by a BSP leader at all times, and silence will not be observed there. A detailed retreat schedule and prayer-book are being prepared by a member for us to all use to pray the Divine Office together. This should simplify our common prayer times. We hope to do the prayers of the Divine Office in plainchant beginning with night prayer on Friday.

Bruce and Shelley

Father Corey Belden

Father Corey Belden

Father Corey is our new Visitor, and is fully involved in parish work as the Parochial Vicar for St. Mary’s and St. Michael’s Parishes in Stillwater, Minnesota. He was born, raised, and ordained in the Twin Cities and is very excited to help us in the Association. We happily welcome Fr. Corey Belden! Questions may be directed to Father Corey through the Communication Center of the BSP.


Father Robert Altier


Archbishop Harry Flynn


Father Valerius Messerich


Father Corey Belden

- RETREAT 2004 -

The 2004 retreat for the Brothers and Sisters of St. Francis will be held at the Franciscan Retreat Center at Prior Lake, Minnesota from Friday evening, July 30th to Sunday noon, August 1st.

The expected cost is $120 for everything.

We are very happy to report that the Visitor of the BSP,
Father Corey Belden, and Father Valerius Messerich O.F.M., our first Visitor, both hope to be at the retreat, and that our primary retreat speaker will be Fr. Robert Altier, a very renowned speaker in the Twin Cities area. Fr. Altier’s talks and much more are recorded on his Web site at:
http://www.desertvoice.org/ .

We will also be blessed to have
Archbishop Harry J. Flynn celebrate Mass on Saturday night, and we are sure the Archbishop will have a powerful message of support for all present.

If you wish to book your attendance at the retreat please send a $25 deposit to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis; 20939 Quadrant Ave. N., Scandia, Minnesota 55073.

Travel arrangements can be coordinated with the BSP Communication Center at the same address if you are planning on coming in by rail or air. The retreat schedule will be published as we get closer to the date. If you have any questions please call Bruce or Shelley at the BSP Communication Center at 651-433-2753.

A NOTE TO ALL:

Lord Jesus, when the world was growing cold, You renewed in the flesh of St. Francis the sacred marks of Your Passion and inflamed in his heart a fire of love for You. Divine Savior, impress on my heart an ardent death, that I may cheerfully carry my cross and with joy embrace my penances.

Lord show me the are as of my life where I need mostly to follow the example of St. Francis.

Pax Et Bonum!

Donna Kay SFO

OPEN DOOR POLICY

If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it.
He sends you flowers every spring.
He sends you a sunrise every morning.
Whenever you want to talk, He listens.
He can live anywhere in the universe, but He chose your heart.
Face it friend, He is crazy about you!
God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain,
but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears,
and light for the way.

THE ADMONITIONS OF ST. FRANCIS:
V. No one should give way to pride but boast only in the cross of the Lord

      Try to realize the dignity God has conferred on you. He created and formed your body in the image of his beloved Son, and your soul in his own likeness (cf. Gen 1: 26). And yet every creature under heaven serves and acknowledges and obeys its Creator in its own way better than you do. Even the devils were not solely responsible for crucifying him; it was you who crucified him with them, and you continue to crucify him by taking pleasure in your vices and sins.

       What have we to be proud of? If you were so clever and learned to know everything and could speak every language so that the things of heaven were an open book to you, still you could not boast of that. Any of the devils, knew more about the things of heaven, and knows more about the things of earth, than any human being, even one who may have received from God a special revelation of the highest wisdom. If you were the most handsome and richest man in the world, and could work wonders and drive out devils, all that would be something extrinsic to you; it would not belong to you and you could not boast of it. But there is one thing of which we can all boast; we can boast of our humiliations (Cor. 12:15) and in taking up daily the holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

THE HEART OF JESUS CALLS FOR PENANCE - By Joy Pachowicz BSP

Gazing upon the Image of the Sacred Heart in the quiet hours of the morning, one can easily fall into a deeply spiritual meditation..That is what happened to me one morning..

I have a huge image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus...Found it in a dollar store here in Point Pleasant. It was the only one there..moreover, it is the only one I have seen since.. I know our Lord wished for me to have it.

Any way while preparing my soul for Holy Mass, I gazed up this Sacred Image..and found myself drawn to the beautiful Heart Jesus' hand pointed to..Around it was a glow of light..It was encircled with thorns and from the top of it..Fire gushed out ...

I immediately thought of St Margaret Mary and the mission she received..I thought of my own Parish: Sacred Heart and ..I thought of the BSP of St Francis...How we embrace for love our life of penance..

As I pondered before the Sacred Heart I realized it was love that moved Jesus to come with His Heart exposed as the Sacred Heart..It is love that causes flames to shoot from the top of His Sacred Heart..But it is lack of love, that caused the thorns to intertwine around His Holy Heart.

I remember, while in Portugal, hearing how our Lady showed the little children of Fatima a vision of Hell..I remember also our Lady had told them.."Many souls go to Hell, because there are none to pray for them"

While having such an assortment of thoughts while gazing on the Sacred Heart, I began to wonder: Is this a single meditation or many together.

Before my thoughts ceased a vivid recollection came back to me..It was a memory of my last Confession in Portugal..I recall the Priest..Who spoke Portuguese kept me on my knees for one hour..I remember also that I didnt even get sore knees..

Why I recall it is because throughout the Priests exhortation one theme alone stood out..Reparation..The Good Priests explained to me..that many people come and think Fatima is about our Lady..He told me I should not think so..He wanted me to understand that the whole purpose of Fatima is Reparation...and that my life should be an echo of this..so much so that when I die and people go around my casket..I will sit up and say one more time: "Reparation"

Leaving Fatima was very hard..Yet I knew God never leads where He does not want you..Before the Sacred Heart I realized that as He points to His Heart and looks at us, He is asking us to participate somehow in this love that pours forth from His Heart..

As members of the BSP we can ponder over the meaning of the Sacred Heart this June and respond to His Invitation by living our life as Penitents for Love of His Sacred Heart...In reparation for the love He does not receive from so many..We can live our lives so that souls will not fall into the fiery pits of Hell..

Though devotion to the Sacred Heart was not yet in practice when Francis walked this earth, I am most certain that if it was our dear Holy Father would have embraced it with as much tenderness as he did his devotion to the Holy Eucharist..

The message of the Sacred Heart is Love..and our penance..if it is going to bear fruit in the lives of others..should also spring from hearts full of love and mercy...

Let us pray this month, of the Sacred Heart, that well known prayer of yesterday...Each and every time we do a penace required by our rule: Jesus Meek and Humble of Heart, Make my Heart Like unto Thine.

Joy

Paul Beery
NO GREATER LOVE: by PAUL BEERY BSP

       

        “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” Donna and I recently had the pleasure of attending the funeral of a faithful servant of Jesus, Beatrice Heinz of Minneapolis. Bea was a long-time member of the Third Order of St. Francis who combined the active and contemplative aspects of her vocation in a unique way, a perfect blend of personal piety and charitable action. It was said of her that she never said a cross word to anyone in her life, yet everyone knew her unflinching devotion as a Pro-Life person of faith. She blossomed in an atmosphere of hostility, for her local church had become a haven for the avant-garde, whose liturgical dissent from Church teaching would have sent me packing.

        Her funeral was a bittersweet homecoming. At the service, the choir director among others lauded her “in spite of our theological differences.” I thought, here everyone sees the manifest holiness of this person, but they refuse to do what she did. It’s like they said, “I want to be like Bea, but I won’t do what she did to become such a saintly person.” Hello? A lot of people want to be like St. Francis too, but don’t think they need to do what he did to become a great saint. "I want to be like Jesus," says the song. How do we do that? For the disciple, there is only one Way, one Master to follow for anyone who seeks the Truth for Life.

        People love platitudes. Bea put her words into action. As the last person to offer her tribute at the service, I said that as a Pro-Life advocate Bea had a great desire to attend the caucus in March earlier this year. She wanted to introduce an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman, and she asked me to go with her to make sure it was done. She knew what was important. I said Bea was such a great nfluence for all of us because she was faithful to Jesus. Thank God for people like Bea. Like Francis she was small in stature and a clear reflection of the image of our Creator. And to me it showed most of all through her fidelity in the midst of infidelity.

        Thank God the shepherds He has entrusted with His flock are finally realizing the importance of fidelity, having seen the depths to which the unfaithful have fallen. I wish to highlight two heroes of the Gospel of Life. The first is Bishop Sheridan of the diocese of Colorado Springs, who has brought the issue of fidelity full circle by issuing “A Pastoral Letter to the Catholic Faithful on the Duties of Catholic Politicians and Voters” on May 1, 2004. Ever since Pope John Paul II issued his encyclical “The Gospel of Life” in 1994 in which he took Catholic politicians to task for the public scandal they gave by failing to live up to the tenets of their faith, the pressure on politicians who call themselves Catholic has increased. Many bishops have clearly stated that unrepentant Pro-Abortion politicians are not to present themselves for Holy Communion because they are not in union with the Church. They have done this because Life is not negotiable. No other issue can compare with the protection of innocent human life. Abortion by its very nature is an intrinsically evil act, the destruction of God's creative action. The Singular moral issue of our time is the protection not only of the pre-born, but the Sacrament of Marriage in the Plan of God that welcomes and nurtures that new life in the domestic church, the family. All other issues pale in comparison. Bishop Sheridan addresses the general duty of Catholic voters to apply the Pro-Life message of the Gospel in choosing morally qualified candidates for public office.

        The second hero, his fellow bishop, gave an inspiring Gospel message on discipleship with specifically Franciscan overtones at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio on April 2, 2003. He is Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver; the highest ranking Franciscan in America. His talk was titled: “Francis as the model of authentic Church reform.” Was there a flood of publicity about his message in various Franciscan publications and the secular news media? No. Why? Why is the truth not heard by the average Catholic? The answer, unfortunately, is that the message of the Gospel is not being faithfully transmitted.

        Fidelity to Jesus and true discipleship is not important to most of those who transmit the news (a spectacular exception being EWTN, Mother Angelica's wonderful television - and radio—network). Perhaps authentic Church reform should begin with the Church's bureaucracy. “He who hears you hears Me,” is more like “He who hears you hears you.” We are hearing mere opinions instead of the Word of God. The Good Shepherd told Peter to “Feed My sheep.” The successor of Peter and other good shepherds are still doing that, but their voice is not reaching the faithful. Don't listen to those who transmit their own opinions instead of the Word of God. Don't listen to shepherds not in union with Peter, or wolves in sheep's clothing.

       Archbishop Chaput said that Francis “called his brothers to live the Gospel with simplicity and honesty. He saw that the Gospel wasn’t complicated, but it WAS demanding and difficult.” He says that at the time of Francis there were “theologians and Church lawyers who had written commentaries that were very good at either explaining away the hard parts of the Gospel, or diminishing our need to follow Christ’s demands. Francis wanted none of that. He was a radical in the truest sense. He wanted to experience discipleship at its root.” The more times change, the more they remain the same. Fr. Benedict Groeschel remarked that most people want the consolation of religion, but “Don’t tell me what to do!” Well, Jesus is very good at telling us EXACTLY WHAT TO DO! For those who are interested in hearing the truth from GOOD SHEPHERDS, the aforementioned documents are available on the internet, or I will send copies upon request. We MUST BECOME TRUE DISCIPLES OF JESUS.

       “Do whatever He tells you,” said His Mother, who gave us the example to follow, she who “Heard the word of God and kept it.” If God wrote me a letter telling me what I needed to do to be happy in this life and for all eternity, then I’D DO IT, or die trying! If instead of listening to God who made the promise, we are led astray by the mere opinions of the confused, then who do we have to blame? If pure Love seeks our company, would we bring along a theologian to interpret the conversation? Where are our priorities? If One has clearly shown that there is indeed NO GREATER LOVE, then a good and faithful servant will not be satisfied with anything less.

Paul
Morning Star Chapter—BSP

Donna Beery BSP
HE WHO HEARS YOU, HEARS ME...
by Donna Beery BSP

        I learned an explanation of Jesus Christ's words, "He who hears you hears Me." Before microphones, when there was a large crowd, in order to get the message, people were appointed to repeat what was said. So the appointed person, in about every ten rows, would repeat what he heard. Therefore, when Jesus spoke to a very large crowd, many did not hear Him speak; yet all the people got the Lord's message.

The Blessed Virgin Mary and other saints have been appoined by God to give His people His messages. What does our Blessed Mother repeat over and over again in her appearences? She tells us to pray. Have you ever wondered, "Why does Mary ask that a chapel or church be built on the site of her apparitions?" For Catholics to pray in church is to be in God's presence before the Blessed Sacrament; to be in the Lord's presence is to be with Jesus in His body and blood, soul and divinity.

Before the Incarnation Mary was "full of grace" without the benefit of the Eucharist. When the angel said, "The Lord is with you," wasn't that the first moment that Jesus was present in His body, soul and divinity! In a very short time, Elizabeth recognized what Mary contained in her womb. Mary, for Elizabeth, was a tabernacle of the most high Lord--body and blood, soul and divinity. So our Blessed Mother is sent to tell us to pray, pray, pray here is this church. We hear the message of Jesus: pray, pray, pray here in this church before Me and with Me in this Blessed Sacrament which is my body and blood, my soul and divinity.

When we speak, we represent the Lord. "He who hears you, hears Me."

Donna

FRANCISCAN SAINTS: Blessed Marguerite Bays (1815-1879)

Marguerite Bays
Marguerite Bays was a humble lay woman, whose life was hidden with Christ in God. She was a very simple person with an ordinary life, in which each of us can recognize himself. She walked humbly with God, accomplishing every act in her daily life with love.

Marguerite was the second daughter of farmers living in La Pierraz, near Fribourg, Switzerland. She was given a very limited education.
She took a vow of virginity. but did never become a nun or a sister, and spent all her life in her own neighbourhood, working as a dressmaker, living in humility and silence. In her parish she was an exemplary committed lay person, especially dedicated to teaching catechism to children and young girls. She also visited the sick and the dying. She was a true friend of the poor, whom she called "God's favourites". She established in her parish the Societies of the Propagation of the Faith and the Holy Childhood.

Marguerite Bays put the greatest trust in prayer, the focus of her life, to which she had been inclined since childhood. She had deep love for Our Lady, whom she venerated by frequently reciting the Rosary and visiting her shrines. She also had immense love for Jesus in the Eucharist, before which she spent long hours in adoration. From Eucharistic Adoration Marguerite drew inner strength. She also worshipped Jesus in the Eucharist at daily mass in her Parish Church, and prayed in the quiet of her room while meditating on the Stations of the Cross.

God was her greatest love. She deplored human indifference to Him and insistently demanded: "What can we do to love God more?". Her constant concern to be centered on God made her profoundly humble. She felt she was the lowliest of creatures and a great sinner.

She developed intestinal cancer at the age of 35 and asked Our Lady to intercede with her Son to exchange her suffering for the kind of pain that would enable her to share more directly in the Passion of Our Lord. She was miraculously healed from cancer on December 8, 1854 at the moment when Pius IX pronounced the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Instead, she had to bear a "mysterious affliction" which immobilized her in ecstasy every Friday when, physically and spiritually, she relived the phases of Jesus' Passion from Gethsemane to Calvary.

In 1860 she became a member of the Franciscan Third Order. Ever since then, Marguerite identified increasingly with the suffering of Jesus on the Cross. She fled attention and always sought to hide the great marks of favour she had been granted: the stigmata. She received this precious gift 15 years before her death. Happy to be called to follow the Crucified and to imitate Saint Francis, she showed no sign of suffering and on the contrary "could be heard to utter words of adoration and submission to God's holy will". She died at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, 27 June 1879, absorbed in her love for the Crucified Lord.

How does Marguerite's life relate to us? Here's something to ponder. Suffering is a very important element of salvation; without it we cannot be saved. There are many types of suffering, not only in the flesh but also in the mind; in the soul; in the spirit; in everyday's life. So, through our daily lives, when God calls us to submit to His Will, do we freely submit ourselves to Him so He can share His Cross in our being? Sufferings that we have each day are bound together with Our Lord's. The secret of perfection is in the acceptance of God's Will, freely; in accepting the trials and the sufferings that Our Lord sends to each soul each day. The more that we carry the cross the more we resemble Our Lord, in every way.

Marguerite Bays also encourages us to make our life a way of love. She also reminds us of our mission in the world: to proclaim the Gospel. And considering her life we discover the importance of prayer in lay life. It does not distance one from the world. Far from it, it broadens one's interior life, disposing one to forgiveness and fraternal life.

Pope John-Paul II beatified Marguerite Bays on the 29 October 1995. He said in his discourse: Marguerite achieved nothing extraordinary, and yet her life was a long, silent walk on the way of holiness. In her life shines the glory of the blessed who followed in Christ's footsteps: "Those who humble themselves will be exalted".

Submitted by Anna Ferroni—Turin, Italy

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD[*]: OUR RULE AND STATUTES

Saint Francis
Article 5 of the Rule

5. They are not to go to unseemly parties or to shows or dances. They shall not donate to actors, and shall forbid their household to donate.

  • For the Love of God - Our response to this is easy! Don’t go to questionable or “unseemly” parties, avoid unnecessary shows including TV, and dances except those proper to your life and family situation, for instance weddings, family gatherings or graduations, etc. In this regard we cannot control others but where it is our responsibility or option we should shut off bad TV programs and never knowingly rent unseemly, vulgar, or indecent videos, which wasn’t an option in St. Francis’ times. It is also useful and appropriate that we pray for the conversion of the actors and actresses who provide sinful entertainment or behavior to our modern world, which is so in need of good examples, not bad ones.

    Also, in response to this article, we should not donate to anything that either does not support or enhance wholesome Christian entertainment or is at least free of any moral error. Of course, we can forbid our households to do the same, if they need to be forbidden, and we can do so without starting a war! We should have no problem recommending good causes to others without getting disturbed if we get ignored. As a disciple of the Lord this is a gentle and courteous witness to Christian values.

  • For the Love of God - Remember that St. Francis found his joy in spiritual things. It is recorded that "Sometimes Francis would act in the following way. When the sweetest melody of spirit would bubble up in him, he would give exterior expression to it in French, and the breath of the divine whisper which his ear perceived in secret would burst forth in French in a song of joy. At times, as we saw with our own eyes, he would pick up a stick from the ground and putting it over his left arm, would draw across it, as across a violin, a little bow bent by means of a string; and going through the motions of playing, he would sing in French about his Lord. This whole ecstasy of joy would often end in tears...". The point being St. Francis found his joy within, not in exterior entertainment, for he fully recognized that the “kingdom of God is at hand”.(Mark 1:15)

  • For the Love of God - Never forget that "...anyone who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his thoughts." (Matt. 5:28) Note that this Scripture says nothing about whether the woman is real or not! Sinful thoughts can be generated by TV, books, or any other media. We need to be careful what we watch, or allow others in our families to watch. We need to guard the gate, our eyes, for “if your eye causes you to sin tear it out and throw it away” (Matt 18:9).

    Why do we think we can gaze at shows, TV, books, or other entertainment that is promiscuous or inappropriate in content without sinning in some way? If nothing else, with even the purest of hearts, by viewing and supporting these things we are actually promoting them in the world to the detriment of others. Nowhere in the Gospel of Our Lord or the life of St. Francis is it recorded that they spent time at plays or supported actors. We should all take this lesson very seriously, realizing that it is one area of Christian witness that is very conspicuous to those around us. When we turn down an opportunity to go to a party or movie that we feel is questionable in content people notice and talk!


[*] This is a meditation on the Rule of 1221 written by Bruce and Shelley Fahey prior to the creation of the BSP. Do not confuse this meditation with the official Rule and Statutes of the BSP as posted on the web page at www.bspenance.org which define how we live the Rule today. A copy of the Rule and Statutes of the BSP may be obtained by writing the BSP Communication Center.

CONGRATULATIONS!!
TO IRENE DEPREY BSP AND HER HUSBAND!!

Their son, Erik, was ordained a priest in Lincoln, Nebraska, on the feast of St. Rita, Saint of the Impossible, May 22nd, 2004. His very first Mass will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Lincoln in the Latin rite. This month he will celebrate his first Mass in his hometown of Creston, Canada in Latin with Gregorian Chant, which has not been done for 40 years in that parish.

Let us all keep Erik and the Deprey’s in our prayers!

FROM THE WEBMASTER: ON PENTECOST

Pentecost is the day we celebrate the coming of the Spirit. Spiritual writers have often spoken of the transformation of the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, and called it "the second conversion".

From the time of the Ascension the Apostles had been deprived of the perceptible presence of Jesus Himself. They had suffered distress. When we consider that our Lord had become their very life, we realize they must have had a feeling of the greatest loneliness, even of death. This was a complete blank, which must have seemed to take from them all power of thinking. During the Passion our Lord was still there; now He had been taken away from them, and they seemed to be completely deprived of Him. It was in the night of the spirit that they were prepared for the outpouring of the graces of Pentecost.

The Acts of the Apostles show us what were the effects of the descent of the Holy Ghost. The Apostles were enlightened and fortified. First of all, the Apostles received enlightenment from the Holy Spirit regarding the price of the Blood of the Savior, regarding the mystery of Redemption, foretold in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New. They received the fullness of the contemplation of this mystery which they were now to preach to humanity for the salvation of men. Such was their conversion; it was a complete transformation of their souls.

Their first conversion had made them disciples of the Master, attracted by the sublime beauty of His teaching. This second enabled them to understand the mystery of the Cross, a mystery which they will constantly live until their martyrdom.

There must be something similar in the life of every Christian. We must receive the Holy Spirit. Usually, we don't receive Him in one moment but through a constant life of recollection and prayer. Unless we cultivate a recollected mode of life, we remain essentially unfit for receiving the holy imprint of the Spirit.

Let's consider Saint Francis' life. Saint Francis' second conversion began when he encountered the Lord in the little Church of San Damiano and continued during all his life. We admire a spirit of peace and recollection in Saint Francis. Christ was really living in Francis. Well, Francis' secret was prayer.

Prayer for the Saint was not simply a question of repeating formulas. It was such an essential aspect of who he was that he succeeded in living in a constant loving relationship with God. Francis was so intent on being aware of the Lord’s presence that "he would direct all his attention and affection toward the one thing he asked of the Lord, not so much praying as becoming totally prayer".

Celano, Saint Francis' biographer, said: The brothers who lived with him know that daily, constantly, talk of Jesus was always on his lips, sweet and pleasant conversations about Him, kind words full of love. Out of the fullness of his heart his mouth spoke. So the spring of radiant love that filled his heart within gushed forth. He was always with Jesus: Jesus in his heart, Jesus in his mouth, Jesus in his ears, Jesus in his eyes, Jesus in his hands, he bore Jesus always in his whole body.

May we imitate Francis in recollection and prayer, and get the fruits of prayer life: a true and deep humility, and a living faith that begins to relish and savor the mysteries of salvation, and a foretaste of eternal life.

Anna Ferroni BSP - Italy


Mary and Child with St. Francis, St. John the Baptist, St. John the Evangelist, St. Anthony of Padua
Mary and Child, with St. Francis and St. John the Baptist on the left of the picture,
and St. John the Evangelist and St. Anthony of Padua on the right side of the picture.
Author: Domenico Veneziano, 1354
Now in Paris, Louvre Museum


The
BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE OF ST. FRANCIS

is a Private Association of the Faithful, which is dedicated to renewing the ancient way of penance as contained in the First Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis of 1221 for lay people in our modern world. We have the approval of the Catholic Church to do this through several of its bishops. If you are bound by another Rule of life in another profession of the way of St. Francis that does not permit you to enter other religious families you are nonetheless invited to become an Honorary member of our Association and add the elements of this beautiful way of life that Saint Francis of Assisi gave us to the lifestyle of your profession.
All members, and Franciscans, are welcome to submit articles for consideration for inclusion in this newsletter if they are directed towards the spiritual formation of members or are the outgrowth of the lifestyle of the Association or a committed Franciscan life. Just send them to the BSP of St. Francis at the address on this newsletter.
Feel free to share this newsletter with your friends or neighbors. It is intended to be the primary monthly communication of the Association. And if you can find it in your heart and in your budget remember that donations to the BSP are used strictly to promote the lifestyle and are tax deductible. We remain, always, sincerely yours in the love of Jesus Christ!

Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP



Visit our Web site at:
www.bspenance.org

During June pray especially to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He always loves us and is there for us.

Welcome to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance!

In the world, but not of it, for Christ!


Communication Center:

20939 Quadrant Avenue N - SCANDIA MN USA 55073
Phone: 651-433-2753   

bspenance@yahoo.com

postmaster@bspenance.org