'FOLLOW ME!'
Luke 9:23

Published for the Lay Association of

The BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE

Butterfly Symbol of the BSP of Saint Francis

of
          St. Francis

December 2006

Christmas
FROM US TO YOU,

WE WISH YOU A HOLY AND HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

IT IS A JOY TO SERVE YOU IN THE NAME OF THE INFANT JESUS!

BRUCE AND SHELLEY FAHEY BSP
CO-ADMINISTRATORS




ON PRAYER: FROM ST. AMBROSE

This writing from St. Ambrose is a wonderful reflection on the meaning of prayer in our lives as penitents, and how we should approach it.

Excerpts from the 26th Week in Ordinary Time: Second Reading

The Lord Jesus in his divine wisdom, taught you about the goodness of the Father, who knows how to give good things, so that you might ask for the things that are good from Goodness itself. He urges you to pray earnestly and frequently, not offering long and wearisome prayers, but praying often, and with perseverance. Lengthy prayers are usually filled with empty words, while neglect of prayer results in indifference to prayer.

Again, Christ urges you, when you ask forgiveness for yourself, to be especially generous to others, so that your actions may commend your prayer. The Apostle, too, teaches you how to pray: you must avoid anger and contentiousness, so that your prayer may be serene and wholesome. He tells you also that every place is a place of prayer, though Our Savior says: Go into your room.

But by "room" you must understand, not a room enclosed by walls that imprison your body, but the room that is within you, the room where you hide your thoughts, where you keep your affections. This room of prayer is always with you, wherever you are, and it is always a secret room, where only God can see you.

You are told to pray especially for the people, that is, for the whole body, for all its members, the family of your mother the Church; the badge of membership in this body is love for each other. If you pray only for yourself, you pray for yourself alone. If each one prays for himself, he receives less from God's goodness than the one who prays on behalf of others. But as it is, because each prays for all, all are in fact praying for each one.

To conclude, if you pray only for yourself, you will be praying, as we said, for yourself alone. But if you pray for all, all will pray for you, for you are included in all. In this way there is a great recompense; through the prayers of each individual, the intercession of the whole people is gained for each individual. There is here no pride, but an increase of humility and a richer harvest from prayer.

St. Ambrose

THE ADMONITIONS OF ST. FRANCIS
III: Perfect and Imperfect Obedience

Our Lord tells us in the Gospel, "Everyone of you who does not renounce all that he possesses cannot be my disciple" (Lk. 14:33), and "He would save his life will lose it." (Mt. 16:25). A man takes leave of all he possesses and loses both his body and his life when he gives himself up completely to obedience in the hands of his superior. Any good that he says or does which he knows is not against the will of his superior is true obedience. A subject may realize that there are many courses of action that would be better and more profitable to his soul than what his superior commands. In that case he should make an offering of his own will to God, and do his best to carry out what his superior commands. This is true and loving obedience which is pleasing to God and one's neighbor.

If a superior commands his subject anything that is against his conscience, the subject should not spurn his authority, even though he cannot obey him. If anyone persecutes him, a religious who prefers to suffer persecution rather than be separated from his confreres, certainly perseveres in true obedience, because he lays down his life for his brethren (cf. Jn 15:13). There are many religious who under the pretext of doing something more perfect than what their superior commands look behind and go to their own will that they have given up (cf. Prov. 26:11). People like that are murderers, and by their bad example they cause the loss of many souls.

Father Robert Altier
VISITOR'S MESSAGE: Fr. Robert Altier:
Tuesday November 30, 2004, First Week of Advent

Reading (Romans 10:9-18) - Gospel (St. Matthew 4:18-22)

We hear in the Gospel reading today that when Jesus called Andrew and Peter, and also when He called James and John, they immediately abandoned everything to follow Him. Now that is a striking point because it does not seem to make a whole lot of sense on the natural level. If you had your own business and you were doing pretty well, would you simply drop it and walk away? That is what they did. They owned their own fishing business, they dropped everything, and they walked away from it. But that is because they had found something that was far, far greater: They had found the Lord. And they knew He was the Lord – they believed that – consequently they followed Him. They did not count the cost; they simply were obedient.

But it is precisely their obedience and their willingness to let go of everything to follow Him that makes their words so believable. We hear from Saint Paul that their word has gone out to the end of the world, that they have indeed been heard, and he tells us (quoting Isaiah) that we do not have faith unless we have heard something, unless somebody has preached the Word to us. When we look at those early apostles, we see the faith they had. It is precisely that faith they had in Jesus, the faith that was strong enough to be willing to leave everything behind in order to serve Him, that made their words so believable, that brought faith to other people when they heard these apostles. They were not highly educated men but they were men who believed. And it was that faith that brought the Faith to now millions and millions of people.

And so for us, we need to learn a lesson from Andrew. Andrew, of course, was looking for the Messiah. We hear in Saint John's Gospel that Andrew was the first to believe and that when Jesus came and Saint John the Baptist pointed Him out, Andrew followed Christ and then went to find his brother Peter. So too, we need to be looking always for the Lord, to be able to see Him at every moment of our lives, to see the Lord at work within because then we recognize that the things that happen to us are part of God's Providence – not just simple coincidence that may happen within the day-to-day living out of our lives. Every single moment is a gift from the Lord, every single moment is an opportunity for us to grow in holiness, and every single event in our lives is given to us by Christ. If we can see the Lord at work within us and within our lives, if we are looking for Him, then, like Andrew, we will be able to see Him; we will be able to recognize Him at work within our lives and we will bring the message of Christ to others just as he did. Then that apostolic voice will continue to resound throughout the world and more people will be able to believe.

In our world there are so many voices that people are hearing and these voices are pulling them away from Christ. Each one of us needs to be the voice of Christ. Each one of us needs to help people to see the Lord at work within their lives so that each one of us will be among those Saint Paul mentions when he quotes Isaiah: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the Good News. If we can bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to other people, we are sharing in that apostolic work. We are the ones, then, who will receive the blessings given to those who preach the Good News. Many others will hear that Gospel and it is in that only that they will be saved. When they will believe in Jesus Christ and live the word they have heard, it is only in that way that they can be saved. That is something we need to have etched into our minds and our hearts: No one is going to be saved by simply being a nice person; they will be saved only by Jesus Christ. How can they believe in Him, of Whom they have not heard? And how will they hear, unless somebody preaches? So that is our call. It is a call from Christ Himself to live the Gospel in which we believe and to bring Jesus Christ to others.

* This text was transcribed from the audio recording with minimal editing.

Bruce Fahey and Shelley, his wife, BSP Administrators
ADMINISTRATORS MESSAGE:
by Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP

Christmas + our treasures

The Office of Readings are beautiful. On Monday of the 34th Week in Ordinary time, Pope Leo the Great quotes the Lord in saying: " Where your treasure is there also will your heart be" (Lk. 12:34), and goes on to point out that "where delight and enjoyment are found there the heart's desire is attached." In this Christmas season this is a particularly good meditation for all of us as we scurry about buying gifts and preparing things for our Christmas celebrations.

Provided we keep Jesus in our mind and heart, these celebrations are certainly most appropriate. Should we celebrate the Lord's birthday less than we do others? Of course not, and in time and history that has come to mean giving gifts to others as an act of love to celebrate the greatest gift we have all received or ever will receive, the birth of the Savior; the roots of our salvation from the King of Love, Jesus Christ.

However, in this busiest of seasons it is also a good time to meditate on spiritual things anew. Where does our treasure lie? It is a question that has an answer in everyone's life. We all have things we enjoy and those pleasures, whether simple or complex, sinful or ordinary, can become over time our treasures and the things we will devote more and more of our time, energy and resources to. The treasures the Lord is speaking of in His Word are those in the deep recesses of our heart but manifested by the amount of time and energy we devote to them. We want to give them that time and energy as they are in fact pleasant to us. So, this wonderful season is a good time to meditate on where our treasures are. Is our treasure in God alone? Or, are we caught up in other things that keep us from making our treasure God alone? There are many possibilities, but the reality in each of our lives is what matters. Where is our treasure? That IS the question.

Now it goes without saying that as people converted to God, shouldn't our greatest treasure be only Jesus? Shouldn't God be always number one? Hopefully we, in the BSP, would submit that such should be the truth in our lives. The key words here are 'should be the truth in our lives'. Are we are trying to be holy? Are we trying to be disciples and servants of the Lord? We each must answer these question in ourselves. Jesus says, and it is very clear and demanding that: "If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." (LK 14:26), and in another place, "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me." MT 10:38) The challenge we have is to reconcile the words of the Lord in the reality of our lives and relationships with others.

Now clearly we cannot 'hate' our family and friends for He also says "I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another." (JN 13:34) We cannot hate those we must also love and say we serve Jesus. To hate someone or some thing in the Gospel context means WE DO NOT make it first in our lives. So, we should start from the premise that we want Him to be our greatest treasure and we want to live His Words, the Gospel, literally and perfectly in our lives. The way He gave us to live encompasses the Ten Commandments. To live them perfectly we must live as Jesus lived, and love as Jesus loved. Salvation does not come to us from others. It comes to us from Jesus. It was born with the babe of Bethlehem at Christmas. Nothing is a greater good to us, in time or in eternity, than the promise of eternal life with God and each other. That promise is made to each of us and all of us by Jesus. It is His Christmas gift to every person who has or ever will live. He said: "...ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (LK 11:9) Within Jesus, now as in the day He was born salvation exists for us if we seek it. If we don't seek it we won't find it. To seek Jesus is the same as to seek anything. It takes time and energy, and that time and energy makes Him our treasure. So, if you want to know if Jesus is your treasure you need only ask yourself one question. How much time do I spend with Jesus? How much time do I spend in prayer, that is communicating with Jesus to show my Faith in Him? How much energy do I give to leading a holy life?

Of course, also, within the promise of salvation is the inherent possibility of not realizing it. Our treasures will decide if we are worthy of that promise, for to be worthy of salvation we must be worthy of Jesus. He and our salvation are one and the same. In Him is that salvation. For that salvation He was born on Christmas day.

We become locked in our treasures with death. If our treasure is of the earth then the reward we receive will be earthly and we know that all the earth holds out to us will someday perish. It doesn't matter how much money we have amassed, or goods we have acquired, or trophies or honors for we have received. It doesn't matter if we are loved by the masses, or even our own children, families or friends. All that matters is us and Jesus. What is our relationship to Jesus? Is He our treasure? What have we given to acquire this treasure? This is the real Christmas message. Make Jesus your treasure.

Praised be Jesus forever! Have a holy and happy Christmas!

Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
Co-Administrators

Janet Klasson
A meditation
FROM THE GOSPEL...SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT:
by Janet Klasson BSP

(John the Baptist) went throughout (the) whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one crying out in the desert: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'" (Luke 1:3-6)

For some reason I have found myself doing a lot of apologizing lately. So much so, that I have felt compelled to reflect on the phenomena. Two possibilities emerge: either I have been acting more rashly than usual lately, or else the Lord is giving me some new illumination on the effects my words and actions are having on others. If it is the latter, then comes the horrifying thought that I have habitually acted in ways that are arbitrarily hurtful to others. Mercy!

"Every mountain and hill shall be made low." As I read the above gospel reading, I begin to realize that these humiliations may be meant to form part of my "fast of St. Martin". The mountains of my pride and the hills of my arrogance are being laid low, one at a time. Gee, I wonder how many there are?

As painful and humiliating as the process is, I must be grateful to God for the grace of it. The more the rough ways of my selfishness are made smooth, the more comfortable a resting-place will my heart be for the Prince of Peace when he comes. I suppose it is Mary's doing. As I prepare to renew my consecration to her on December 12, I can imagine her making ready the poor and lowly manger of my heart to receive the Infant King. Her loving care for my miserable soul dazzles like the star of Bethlehem. Who can fathom her love for us and for all she does to make us ready to receive her Son?

I am reminded of an Advent experience about 4 years ago. It was a time of great personal trial for me. Our business was failing and the future seemed far from certain. It was at this very low point of my life, during Advent, that God withdrew from me any smidgen of evidence that he was there. I had no comfort. Prayer was a chore. I felt heavy. It was a feeling that went beyond the circumstances of my life. Spiritually speaking, it was a dark night. There was one prayer I prayed over and over, but even that I prayed without feeling. It was from Psalm 116, vs 10: "I trusted, even when I said, 'I am sorely afflicted.'" It was a prayer of the will, not the heart. But it was all I could muster, and I clung to it.

It was a long, dry Advent for me. I could not look forward to Christmas in any way. When I went to confession, even though I had not told the priest about my darkness, he made this comment out of the blue, "I see a baby. Why don't you invite the Infant Jesus into your heart this Christmas." I did not give his words much thought. They were far too simplistic for what I was going through. Then, the BSP newsletter came out. In Bruce's column, lo! and behold, he also encouraged us to invite the Infant Jesus into our hearts at Christmas. Okay,okay, I'll do it, I thought. Something simple can always be tried, I suppose. But, like Naaman (2 Kings: 5), I didn't hold out much hope.

I dragged myself to Christmas Eve mass even though I had no heart for it. After communion I decided to try the "simple thing". I invited the Infant Jesus into my heart. At that very moment, the darkness lifted. The Light was back! I could not believe or understand it, but there it was! My life circumstances had not changed, but my Jesus was back in my heart! With unprecedented joy my heart sang, "Glory to God in the highest! And peace to his people on earth!" My prayer of trust had been answered most spectacularly in my very own Christmas miracle!

If I were to draw a single lesson for penitents from these Advent experiences it would be to encourage all of us to remain docile to whatever the Lord or his Mother ask of us during Advent. As penitents we have a special role to play in making straight the way of the Lord. Let us not begrudge our Lord and Lady anything they ask, but offer it all up for the forgiveness of sins and for the conversion of sinners.

May our Advent sacrifices make straight the way of the Lord, so that all flesh may see the salvation of God this Christmas. May the Infant Jesus dwell in every heart.

Janet Klasson BSP
Canada

Paul Beery
NO GREATER LOVE:
by PAUL BEERY BSP
Merry Christmas! 2006

"An angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them: 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be FOR ALL THE PEOPLE. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.'" (Luke 2)

Every Christmas I thank St. Francis of Assisi for giving us the means, through the public display of the manger scene, to celebrate the second greatest event in the history of the world: the birth of Jesus our Savior! The first, of course, is the fulfillment of the promise of eternal life by the passion, death and Resurrection of Jesus as Savior of ALL THE PEOPLE. We see the divine Son of God as a helpless child in the manger, or in the arms of Mary His Blessed Mother ("Behold all generations will call me BLESSED, for the Almighty has done great things for me, and HOLY is HIS NAME"). A child easily communicates with other children, especially with the training of a Blessed Mother.

Will we ever realize how fortunate we are to KNOW we are children of God? And that as we become like little children we can easily communicate with God our Creator? What an incomparable gift we have received with that knowledge, especially in light of the fact that the majority of mankind still lives in the darkness of ignorance. Having written about Islam the past few months has given me an overwhelming appreciation of the gift we have received in knowing Jesus Christ as our Savior. How many do not know Him, whose lives are not directed to their proper end by that lack of knowledge?

Why are we here, where are we going, and how do we get there? These philosophical questions should nag at the heart of every thinking individual. The questions are there for a reason, for reason has been given us by God to lead us back to Him. But do we listen? St. Augustine put it perfectly: "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O God." If we are aware of the deepest impulses of our heart, that we are CREATED to participate in life's GREAT ADVENTURE, we must not only listen, but obey. To not respond is the greatest missed opportunity in the history of mankind.

God doesn't wish to keep it a secret. It's as though we had in our hands a treasure map, and we are in search of gold, the seeking of which has brought many to the ends of the earth. But real gold is the love of God. How far are we willing to go in search of it? "And Jesus said to the scribe, 'You are not far from the kingdom of God.'" Our pastor explained that the scribe knew SOMETHING, but not SOMEONE. He had knowledge, for he knew that he had to love God with all his heart and soul. But he needed something more than mere knowledge, which is useless unless we know the ultimate SOMEONE who can lead us to the next step: bringing knowledge to love. Did the scribe realize he was standing before the very SOMEONE, Jesus, who ALONE could bring him to the Kingdom of God?

Those of us fortunate enough to be taught from the old catechism recall the simple question: "Why did God make me?" And the equally simple yet profound answer: "God made me to know, love and serve Him in this life, and to be happy with Him for all eternity." Countless times I have recalled those words and always received comfort and encouragement. In those simple words we see that knowledge of God must lead us to the next stage, love, and who can do that but God Himself, for God IS LOVE! Many study the religions of the world and get confused. But clarity comes when the words: "Divinely revealed" are added to "religion," which narrows the field to only the Judeo/Christian tradition. Any man-made religion pales in comparison with what is Divinely revealed. We see why Jesus gave the mandate: "Go out to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." Even Muslims, who have a great devotion to doing the will of Allah, do not have the most elementary knowledge of what the will of God is, because they lack Divine revelation. They know something, but not SOMEONE, Jesus, to show them the Way, the Truth, and the Life. God only wants our happiness: living a life of love with the freedom of the children of God, not slavish devotion to a deity (Allah) that cannot be known, loved, or served (without violence).

When the ten lepers were cleansed, only one returned to Jesus and gave Him thanks. Did the other nine not realize they were cured by Jesus? Or did they think it was purely accidental? Nothing happens by accident in this life. What an incredible blessing, to be transformed from an outcast with a hideous disease to a normal member of society. And ninety percent could not even acknowledge the source of that blessing. We must be among the ten percent who return and give thanks to Jesus for curing us. We have undergone an even more powerful transformation: outcasts from God with the hideous disease of sin - to a privileged member of a super-natural society that realizes it is made in the image and likeness of God. A Christian society recognizes the greatest EVIL: slavery to sin, and the consequent abandonment of the pursuit of God. And the greatest GOOD: witness to the world that it has been redeemed by a radical change in behavior from degradation and alienation, to a beautiful new grace-full joy in the Lord - having found the gold. And then we proclaim the SOMEONE who is responsible.

Is there any story in the New Testament more revealing of God our Father than that of the owner of the vineyard? How can He deal with his recalcitrant laborers who have gone astray? They wouldn't listen; they wouldn't work; they killed the overseers. He said, "Surely they will listen to My Son." Anyone who listens and obeys will be among His Chosen. But who would have expected the Son of God to live a humble life? "Learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Mt. 11, 29. And who would have expected the King of Kings to be born in a stable?

Anyone paying attention, that's who. Even Herod found where the Messiah was to be born. Through Sacred Scripture God reveals Himself to all who have eyes to see, and a humble heart to understand. And it all starts with the stable. If the Son of God showed by His example how important humility is, we need to learn that lesson. "Associate with the lowly," St. Paul reminds us. Only those who are humble, having "become like little children" in childlike trust can understand the mystery, can have true knowledge that will lead them to love through the guidance of the One who was born in that stable.

Jesus said to Pilate: "My Kingdom is not of this world." But it starts here, for "the Kingdom of God is within you." The early Christians found the pot of gold: "See how they love one another." Their knowledge led to love, which in turn led to His service. Let us be like the early disciples of Jesus, with our knowledge leading us to love, and our love to His service. Then we won't be strangers when we meet Him to give an account of our lives. Instead, we will be among those who can proclaim: "Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests."

Paul

FRANCISCAN SAINTS: Princess Zinaida Volkonskaya (1792-1862)

Zinaida Volkonsky

Who was Zinaida Volkonskaya? Zinaida Beloselskaya-Belozerskaya was born in 1789 into one of Russia's oldest and wealthiest families. Her father was Czar Alexander First's Chamberlain, and his ambassador to various European courts. Zinaida's early life coincided with the Napoleonic Wars. Beautiful and charming, she spoke several languages, wrote poetry and prose in French, played the piano and harp, and sang like an angel. She embodied the romantic spirit of her age.

Zinaida became lady-in-waiting to the Dowager Emperess Maria Feodorovna and moved to the Russian imperial court of the Czar Alexander I. The young Zinaida, who was 17 years old, captured the heart of the 23-years-old Czar himself. They had a love affair but the story soon was ended. Zinaida married Prince Nikita Grigorovich Volkonsky (1781-1841), a lieutenant of the Czar, Major General in the war against Napoleon, and Counselor at the Imperial Court. She left the Court, following her husband across Europe during the Napoleonic Wars.

Afterward, at the peace celebrations, she won wide praise in London and Paris, Vienna and Verona, for her musical performances. Her exceptionally lovely voice and her musical and dramatic talents were widely praised during the peace celebrations in London and Paris and at the Congress of Vienna.

After travelling across Europe, Zinaida returned to Russia. In the 1820s, Zinaida became the hostess of one of the most influential literary and musical salons in Moscow, where Alexander Pushkin was a frequent guest. She was called the "Queen of the Muses and of Beauty".

Zinaida was rich and powerful. When Prince Sergei Volkonsky supported the Decembrist uprising in 1825 and was exiled to Siberia for 30 years, Zinaida had the connections to ride out the resultant storm. Her own wealth was derived from vast estates and mines and the thousands of "souls," as serfs were known in Russia, that went with them.

For most of her life, Zinaida moved from palace to palace, travelling from St. Petersburg to Venice to Paris to Rome to Vienna and back at a time when such travel was rare and arduous. She attracted young men, ignored her too patient husband, and impressed all around her with her many talents. She was also a lifelong supporter of liberal causes as diverse as Russian constitutional reform, Polish independence and the education of Europe's new urban poor.

Beautiful, rich, influential and talented though she was, Zinaida did not sail smoothly through her life. Her marriage to Prince Nikita Volkonsky was neither close nor happy. The princess was also dogged by bouts of severe depression. After the birth of her son Alexander in 1811 she endured a serious nervous breakdown.

Change and travel became a psychological necessity for Zinaida to overcome depression. By the end of 1828, depression had turned Russia into a prison for Zinaida. She moved to Rome, where she spent all the last years of her life, from 1828 to 1862. A new life began for Zinaida. She built a lovely villa with enchanting gardens (now the residence of the British Ambassador to Italy) and worked her charms on Cardinals and Bishops. Here she at first created another salon, entertaining among the many Russian and foreign artists, Stendhal, Rossini, Donizetti, Glinka, and Sir Walter Scott. Above all Nikolai Gogol became a close friend, working on part of his great novel Dead Souls in the garden of her villa. Her parties in Rome were frequented by outstanding people of her time. The renowned composer J. Rossini adapted his opera Tankred for one such party, with the princess singing the main part, and F. Mendelson, another famous musician, participating in the show.

But Zinaida soon became depressed again. She was feeling so empty inside, and realized she needed to discover the true meaning of human life, which can't be found in honors, riches and pleasures. And God was awaiting her, ready to save her soul. One of the people associated with Zinaida was Leon Yoleivitch (Rabbi Moshe ben Zalman) who secretly had become a Catholic in 1820. Leon had the answers that Zinaida had been looking for during all her life. The holy man influenced her. They had conversations and discussions, and she finally converted to Catholicism, and was baptized.

She became a Franciscan tertiary, began a life of prayer and penance, took a private vow of poverty, and gave up the last decade of her life to helping the poor and educating the illiterate.

She died supposedly out of pneumonia after having handed over her coat to a poor woman. At her death in Rome, in February 1862, her coffin was followed to its last resting place by crowds of beggars, nuns, together with princes and cardinals. To everybody she was known simply as 'la beata' 'the blessed.'

Zinaida Volkonskaya was buried in St. Vincenzo church in Rome.

"She was an example of most rare virtues, particularly of penance and abstinence," said an obituary in the Vatican newspaper.

Submitted by Anna Ferroni—Turin, Italy

THE FIVE POVERTIES

The Second Poverty: POVERTY OF SELF

In the Second Joyful Mystery, Mary sets off to assist her cousin Elizabeth who is expecting a child as well. Scripture says that Mary stayed there "three months."

The first trimester is usually the most tiring for women. The rapid development of the baby, changes in hormones, all the emotions… and yet, it was during this time that Mary impoverished her own needs to help her cousin.
The authentic Christian is one who empties himself in service for the other. God is first. My neighbour is second. I am third.
This is the most powerful form of poverty. It's face is that of love.



...he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave... becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. –Phil 2:7

(Next issue: The Third Poverty)
Submitted by Linda Curtiss BSP

SPECIAL ARTICLE: THE U IN JESUS

From the Internet and Deacon John BSP

Before U were thought of or time had begun,
God stuck
U in the name of His Son.
And each time U pray, you'll see it's true,
You can't spell out JesUs and not include U.
You're a pretty big part of His wonderful name,
For U, He was born; that's why He came.
And His great love for U is the reason He died.
It even takes
U to spell crUcified.
Isn't it thrilling and splendidly grand
He rose from the dead, with U in His plan?
The stones split away, the gold trUmpet blew,
and this word resUrrection is spelled with a U.
When JesUs left earth at His upward ascension,
He felt there was one thing He just had to mention.
"Go into the world and tell them it's true
That I love them all - Just like I love U."
So many great people are spelled with a
U,
Don't they have a right to know Jes
Us too?
It all depends now on what
U will do,
He'd like them to know,
But it all starts with
U.
Will YOU pass it on.

A DEATH IN OUR FAMILY

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT IN LATE NOVEMBER A POSTULANT IN THE BSP AND PERSONAL FRIEND TO BRUCE AND SHELLEY FAHEY, DUANE ERNEST "WOODY" WOODWORTH, WHO LIVED IN SOUTHERN MINNESOTA, DIED OF CANCER. PLEASE KEEP 'WOODY', HIS WIFE PATRICIA AND CHILDREN IN PRAYER. HE WAS A HOLY AND GOOD MAN, AND A GREAT FRIEND.

THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS

THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS IS THE EIGHT DAYS FOLLOWING CHRISTMAS. THIS IS THE SOLEMNITY OF CHRISTMAS AND DURING THIS TIME THERE IS NO FASTING OR ABSTINENCE UNDER THE RULE. ENJOY THIS SEASON, AND REJOICE IN THE VIRGIN MOTHER MARY AND HER NEWBORN CHILD, JESUS.


Jesus' Birth
Jesus Birth
Napoli, Basilica di San Lorenzo Maggiore
painted in 14th century

The
BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE OF ST. FRANCIS

a.k.a. the BSP, is a non-profit 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 blessing 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. Just send them to the BSP at minncc@aol.com. 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



Welcome to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance!

Website: www.bspenance.org
Email: minncc@aol.com

There is a God in heaven. He will prevail! (St. Gerard Majella)

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


Communication Center & Headquarters:

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

minncc@aol.com

postmaster@bspenance.org