ON ST. FRANCIS…
Creatures obey St. Francis
God's condescension towards him.
When St. Francis was staying in the hermitage of Greccio one time the local people were in a very bad way because of a series of disasters which had struck them. Every year the corn and the vineyards were laid waste by hailstorms and ravenous packs of wolves had been known to attack human beings as well as livestock. St. Francis had pity on them in their misfortune, and he promised them in a sermon that all of their troubles would be at an end if they went to confession and were genuinely sorry for their sins, adding that he would guarantee it himself. They repented as a result of his exhortation and the moment they did so the danger passed and they suffered no more calamities; neither the wolves nor the hailstorms did any further damage. In fact, hailstorms which swept over neighboring areas and were approaching their territory either died away or changed course.
On another occasion, St. Francis was journeying about the valley of Spoleto preaching when he came to a place near Bevagna in which a huge flock of birds of various kinds had gathered. The moment he saw them the Spirit of God came upon him and he hurried to them. He greeted them cheerfully and told them to be quiet and listen to the word of God attentively. He spoke to them at length about the benefits God bestows on his creatures and the praise which they owe him. The birds showed their pleasure in a wonderful manner; they stretched out their necks and clapped their wings, opening their beaks and looking at him closely. They seemed to be trying t o feel the marvelous power of his words. It was only right that St. Francis, who was so full of God, should have felt such tender affection for these irrational creatures; in their turn, they were so attracted towards him that they listened as he taught them and obeyed when he commanded them. They flocked about him quite tamely, when he came to them, and they stayed with him without any encouragement when he wanted them to listen to him.
When St. Francis tried to go overseas in search of the prize of martyrdom, he was prevented from achieving his goal by bad weather at sea. There the Rule of all came to his aid and provided for him in his goodness; he worked a miracle for him when he was at sea, so that he was saved from the danger of death, together with a number of others. Francis was trying to make his way back from Dalmatia to Italy and he boarded a ship without any provisions whatsoever. Even as he stepped on the vessel, a man was sent by God bringing the food which Christ's beggar would need. He called a member of the crew who was a religious man and gave it to him, telling him to give it to the friars who had nothing, when the time came. The ship was unable to make any headway because of the gale-force winds and they ran out of supplies, so that only a small portion of the alms St. Francis received from heaven was left. By his merits and prayers this small supply increases so much with God's help that it provided for all their needs, as the storm continued for several days before they reached Ancona, the port, which was their destination.
Bonaventure—Minor Life 1263
Homily by Fr. Robert Altier
Reading I (2 Kings 5:14-17) Reading II (2 Timothy 2:8-13)
Gospel (St. Luke 17:11-19)
In the second reading today, Saint Paul says to Timothy: "This saying is trustworthy: If we have died with Him, we will rise with Him; if we persevere to the end, we will live with Him." Then he goes on to say: "If we deny Him, He will deny us; but if we are faithful (and even if we are unfaithful), He will always remain faithful because He cannot deny Himself."
What does that mean? Well, first of all, Saint Paul begins that reading by telling us to remember Jesus Christ raised from the dead. He says that is the Gospel that he preaches. That is the central point of all human history: the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everything revolves around that. If He had not died for us, our sins would not be forgiven. If He had not risen from the dead, we would not have eternal life. And so, the very definition of who we are as Christian people revolves around this mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ.
That is how we need to learn to define ourselves. We need to look to Christ and we need to look to His resurrection because we would not be Christian if it were not for that. It is not something that we can keep at an arm's distance; it needs to get inside and it needs to shape our lives. It is precisely that paschal mystery that defines us, as Christian people. Therefore, everything we do and everything we are must revolve around that specific point of the death and resurrection of Our Lord.
It is precisely in that, then, that Saint Paul picks up on that next point of the denial of the Lord. Most of us, I do not suspect, are going to deny Him outright. That is, if somebody at work asked you, "Do you really believe in Jesus?" I do not suppose most of us would say, "No, no, no. I really do not believe that." Or if somebody said, "Do you really believe Jesus rose from the dead?" I doubt most of us would deny that He did. But the fact is that many Christian people deny Him by other words and, particularly, by their actions. Even though we might not deny Him absolutely outright, the way we live is, oftentimes, a denial of Jesus. It is that point that Our Lord made of giving Him lip service while our hearts are far from Him. He told us that those people are going to be condemned. So, if we say, "Yes, we believe," on one hand, but we refuse to live what we profess, we have no part in Him. We will stand before Him one day and we will knock and say, "Lord, Lord, open the door!" And He will say, "I tell you, I do not know who you are," because He told us if we deny Him before men, He will deny us before His heavenly Father. And that denial (our denial of Him) is much easier in action than it is in word.
But even if you think of our words, how often we deny the Lord! How often do we use the Lord's name in vain? We hear Christian people using Our Lord's name all the time. It is a very frequent problem. How can we, on one hand, say, "Jesus Christ is Lord," then turn right around and use His name as a swear word? That is a denial of the Lord. It is a violation of the commandment to never use the Lord's name in vain. How often do we use the titles of "God" and "Lord" and "Jesus" in vain? It is a denial of the Lord. How often does other filth spew forth from our mouths? Vile jokes and disgusting stories; sick and disgusting and vulgar words coming forth because we want to fit in with everybody else. It is a denial of the Lord.
If we are going to claim to be Christian people, especially if we are going to claim to be Catholic people, we need to live the faith we profess - and not only for one hour on Sunday morning when we come here and go through the motions of being at Mass. We need to enter into the Mass. We cannot keep what happens on the altar apart from us because then we come forward and have the audacity to receive Jesus into our own selves. It is not separate; it is within and it needs to shape our lives. So we need to look at how we live and how we act.
When Naaman the Syrian, this pagan man, comes to Israel, he comes bearing loads of gifts to give to the king to see if he can be healed. The king tears his garments because he says he recognizes that the Assyrian king is trying to start a war with him by making him some kind of a god who is able to heal him. Elisha says to the king: "Tell him to come to me so he will know that there is a God in Israel." When he is healed, he brings his gifts over to Elisha and tries to give Elisha all the gifts that he brought. Elisha says "no" because it was not Elisha who healed him, it was God who healed him. He keeps trying to give Elisha the gifts and Elisha refuses to take them. Finally, the man recognizes what it is that is happening. He says, "Fine. Then, let me take two mule-loads of soil back because I will no longer offer sacrifice or holocaust to any god but the Lord - because there is no god but the Lord."
There are loads of false gods, but they are precisely that: false. There is only one God and He is a Trinity of Persons and it is to Him alone that we offer worship and adoration. It is to Him alone that we are to offer sacrifice and holocaust. And the only holocaust we offer to Him is His Son, but we can also offer ourselves in union with that Holocaust. That is how we live our faith; that is how we are to live it everyday.
Just as Naaman would recognize the necessity to come back and then to offer sacrifice to the Lord when he saw what the Lord did in his life, how about us? We have not been healed from physical leprosy, but we have certainly been healed over and over again from spiritual leprosy, which is our sin. Every time we sin it is like leprosy of the soul. We come before the Lord and we confess our sins. Thanks be to God, you do not try to come back and offer gifts to the priest because the priest is the one who healed you; no, it is not the priest who healed you - it is God, working through that priest, who healed you. Offer your sacrifices and your gifts to the Lord, but recognize that He alone is God and it is Him who you serve.
That is what Elisha made very clear to Naaman, as well, when he said: "As the Lord lives whom I serve." Are those the kind of words that come out of our mouths? Probably not. For most people in America, the only time the word "Lord" is on their lips is when it is used in a wrongful manner. Certainly, it is not going to be a public pronouncement: "The Lord whom I serve." But why not? It is precisely what it ought to be if we are going to truly be honest about who we are. If we are going to live what it is that we profess, then we should be saying: "As the Lord lives whom I serve," because that should be everything that our lives revolve around: the Lord who lives, the Lord who has been raised from the dead, the Lord who has ascended into glory and sits at the right hand of the Father. That is the Lord whom we serve.
So, the real question is do we serve Him? Or are we merely giving Him lip service? Do we roll out of bed on Sunday morning and show up for Mass, then we walk away and all our actions deny Him for the rest of the week? Maybe we cannot say, "As the Lord lives whom I serve," because maybe we really do not serve Him very well.
The Lord also reminded us in the Gospel reading that there were ten lepers who were healed, but only one (who, once again, was a pagan) returned to give thanks. The rest were concerned about themselves. They were going to go to be pronounced "clean" because that was the way it had to be in the Old Testament times. If one had leprosy and was healed, first it was the priest who had to pronounce that, indeed, this was leprosy and then it was the priest who had to pronounce that they had been healed and were now clean. They were willing to go to the priest because that was the way they could be reintegrated into society. They could be pronounced "clean" and would no longer have to ring the bell before them and shout out, "Unclean! Unclean!" as they walked down the streets. So it was a selfish point. But one man recognized that he needed to come back and not merely show himself to the priest but glorify God. He threw himself at the feet of Jesus and he gave thanks.
How about us? How often do we really stop to recognize the gifts that Our Lord has given to us? And how often do we come to give Him thanks? It is true that we come to Mass, but are we really here to give Him thanks? Or are we simply doing the things that we know we are supposed to do, like the other nine lepers going through the motions because that is what they needed to do? Or are we here because we really want to give thanks to God and we really want to worship Him and adore Him? You see, we must be very careful that we do not deny Jesus Christ by our actions, by our failure to live the faith we profess, by keeping Him at an arm's distance and just merely going through the motions so that one day we will be able to stand before the Lord and say, "Hey, didn't I show up for Mass on Sunday?" He will say, "I tell you, I do not know who you are." If the only thing we will be able to present to the Lord on the Day of Judgment is that for one hour a week we took out a little bit of time for God, we are, in essence, denying Him.
If the Gospel that we preach and the Gospel that we live is the Gospel of Jesus Christ risen from the dead, then that must be our entire life. That is what it has to be about. Not one hour a week, not just going through the motions, but taking this in and allowing it to shape our lives. When Jesus looked at the leper who came back, it was not a matter that he had been healed of leprosy, but Jesus looked at him and said, "Your faith has saved you." The other nine were healed. It was not their faith that healed them, but this man, because he came back to give thanks to God for what had happened, made a public profession of his faith and that faith saved him.
Jesus has healed us and we need to live our lives, now, in a different manner, in a manner that is going to give glory and honor to Almighty God. It is in that that we will give public expression of our faith and that faith will save us. Then, we will be able to stand confident before the Lord on the Day of Judgment, knowing that we did not deny Him by our words or by our actions, knowing that everything we do and everything we say will glorify God. Then, and only then, will we be able to look back and say that we have persevered to the end. Therefore, we will reign with Him.
Saint Paul, when he talks about what he has endured, when he talks about how he can be confident on the Day of Judgment that now he will be able to receive this merited crown which awaits him, talks about how he had been whipped and beaten and shipwrecked and all these different things that happened to him - and he had remained faithful through it all. So, too, we must be the same way. Maybe we are not going to be whipped and beaten and shipwrecked for our faith, but we must be willing to live that faith publicly.
Jesus has already ignited a fire within you; do not put it under a bushel basket - let it shine. That means, bring it out into the darkness of the world. The darkness hates the light and you will not be well liked if you are going to live your faith. But the alternative is to put that faith under a bushel basket and deny that that fire is burning, deny that that light is shining; just be like everyone else out there and deny Jesus by your words and actions. If we deny Him, He will deny us. That is not what we need. We need to be faithful; we need to persevere to the end. Then, we will live with Him. That is what our Christian life is to be: to center around Jesus Christ raised from the dead, to die with Him in order to live with Him, to be faithful so that we will reign with Him, to persevere to the end so that we will reign with Him for all eternity.
Note: Father Altier does not write his homilies in advance, but relies solely upon the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This text was transcribed from the audio recording with minimal editing.
Dear Friends in Christ,
This month we celebrate the feast of St. Francis, Saturday, October 4, which is a solemnity for us with no fasting or abstinence. It is wonderful to have such a role model as this great Saint. We recently watched a movie on St. Francis that Linda Curtiss BSP sent us. Thank you Linda! It was a very good movie that accurately reflected the spirit of his life. The turning point in his life comes when he is imprisoned following a military action. Both the reality of the fighting and of the prison was harsh, complete with torture and death. In this setting, thanks to the Gospel witness of a cellmate, he slowly decides to change his life and become one with the poor. To do that he has to leave his rich life, which he does complete to disrobing completely in the public square before the Bishop and disowning his heritage, which factually is what he did according to the histories of his life. The pure poverty, simplicity and detachment of his new way of life jumps out at you in the movie. It is almost overwhelming.
He gives his money to the poor, dons beggars clothes, cares for the lepers he had previously avoided, and goes barefoot even in the snow. He eats only what he begs, and he takes nothing for his journey. He preaches the Gospel, but he no longer has a place to rest his head, like Jesus, who he sincerely tries to imitate to the letter. Nature takes heed of him. Birds flock to him, and wolves become his friend. When the brothers try to rebuild a church with new stone and make it beautiful and ornate he gets on the roof and begins to tear it down. When they pack bags to travel he tells them to dump them, and they do, and go on their way without bags, or money, to preach the Gospel in distant places. He opposes every effort of his followers to add affluence to their lives. He appears before the pope and ultimately is recognized, due to a dream the Pope has which history records did happen, as the agent of change that the Church needed. In all things he lives simplicity with complete detachment, and remains joyful.
Yesterday we had our monthly chapter meeting and were blessed to have it with Father Altier, Visitor of the BSP. We had a wonderful meeting and although he is a Carmelite in his spiritual advice to us he said the first thing we needed to do as penitents was to live in simplicity and detachment from all things like St. Francis. Detachment comes first he said. We cannot allow ourselves to develop attachments to any person or thing in this life. Detachment is the first thing that goes if a religious turns from their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. So, if we wish to advance in the spiritual life God must be first with us. He also said that this is not about selling what we own, because as lay people, with families, we need to own things to live. It is about staying focused on God in all things, and being grateful to him for his gifts to us. In doing that we embrace, as lay people, the spirit of St. Francis.
So, on this beautiful feast let's reflect on just who we are for the Lord. Let's examine our lives and live in simplicity and detachment from all things. Let us focus on Christ. Praised be Jesus forever!
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
Administrators of the BSP
From the Second Reading 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Janet Klasson BSP
"I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
It is difficult these days not to become alarmed and concerned for the future. It is very providential that the Holy Father has put the focus on St. Paul during this year so that we might pay more heed to his letters for our guidance and benefit. Our longstanding familiarity with the letters of St. Paul might cause us to overlook the treasure that is contained in them. That would be a mistake, for I believe this treasure holds new value in our time.
The above passage from Philippians speaks very clearly to those of us who are trying to live with increasing detachment from worldly things. As the world situation gets more unstable, we will need to cling to the direction that Scripture and the church gives us, for the temptations will likely be great to fear, to protectionism, and to despair. It is challenging even in good times to know how to judge what we have against what we need and what we owe to those who are in greater need. Then, what will it be like when times are bad? Here is a quote from a document of the Church:
But if the question be asked: How must one's possessions be used? - the Church replies without hesitation in the words of the holy (St. Thomas Aquinas): "Man should not consider his material possessions as his own, but as common to all, so as to share them without hesitation when others are in need." . . . True, no one is commanded to distribute to others that which is required for his own needs and those of his household; nor even to give away what is reasonably required to keep up becomingly his condition in life, "for no one ought to live other than becomingly." But, when what necessity demands has been supplied, and one's standing fairly taken thought for, it becomes a duty to give to the indigent out of what remains over. . . . It is a duty, not of justice (save in extreme cases), but of Christian charity - a duty not enforced by human law. But the laws and judgments of men must yield place to the laws and judgments of Christ the true God, who in many ways urges on His followers the practice of almsgiving.-- Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum
It is good to keep these things in mind as world events unfold. We who have lived in the affluent West really have no idea how we will react when faced with deprivation. I think the strength of the temptations could take us by surprise. I also think we will be glad of the discipline gained in following the Rule. In any case, it is certainly time to step up our prayer, penance, and time spent in Scripture. That is the only way to remain faithful, hopeful, and filled with peace regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Give me neither poverty nor riches; (provide me only with the food I need;) lest, being full, I deny you, saying, "Who is the LORD?" Or, being in want, I steal, and profane the name of my God. (Proverbs 30:8-9)
Jesus, I trust in you, who strengthens me. May God have mercy on us all.
Janet Klasson BSP - Canada
NO GREATER LOVE: by PAUL BEERY BSP - October 2008
"Conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the Gospel of Christ." (Philippians 1, 27)
There are few things about which I am more passionate than being Pro-Life, and advancing the Kingdom of God – the end result being to increase in every heart the love of God. But there is a huge obstacle that must be overcome: ignorance of the nature of the conflict - and the enemy - we face. From a Christian perspective, we see two armies arrayed in battle, each on opposite sides of an immense cultural chasm. They are the forces of good vs. evil, the Gospel of Life vs. the Culture of Death: Pro-Life vs. "Social Justice." The latter is in quotation marks because the words are the same, but the Christian concept of Social Justice has been stolen, morphed into something unrecognizable, to be used for political and ideological purposes. This daring theft - in broad daylight - should be offensive to the Christian community. But it's not. Why not?
The Drumbeat. The best description I've ever seen of the intensity of the propaganda machine aimed at battering down the walls of Western Christian Civilization today, comes to us via an article titled "The Drumbeat," by William Staneski in the American Thinker.
The Drumbeat. It's always there. Day and night. Rain or shine. Winter or Summer. Sunday or Monday. It comes at you from every direction. It comes over the TV, the radio, at work, at school, in music, in the newspapers (and magazines, movies, and the wretched example of many Hollywood personalities), from politicians, in conversation with others, even in church. It wears you down. It robs you of the will to resist its message. Even short-lived victories, which stop it briefly, leave you with the knowledge it will return; each minor victory bound to be lost to the redoubled efforts of this patient and persistent force. You can't escape it. It never stops. It never gives up. It never ends. It rains upon you from every possible angle, from every possible source.
It's the drumbeat of the left. It is political, philosophical, theological, and social. It pervades every activity. It is post-structural, post-modern, post-everything in the parlance of the day. It is tolerant, diverse, non-judgmental, nondiscriminatory, egalitarian, politically correct, multicultural, globalist, and collectivist. It insists that there is no right and wrong, no moral absolutes. It turns everything upside down in its looking glass world. It denies… what our culture revered before the deconstruction of the world in accordance with the tenets of CULTURAL MARXISM.
It DENIES GOD, human exceptionalism, AND THE SOUL. We are reduced to Darwinian animals floundering in an amoral sea of meaninglessness. It is a product of the nihilistic, existentialist philosophical movement, which went hand in hand with modern art, atonal music, scientific materialism and modern physics, and the generally discordant nature of the twentieth century.
It is said that a fish is unaware of the water in which it swims since it is totally immersed in it. This is the way cultural Marxism is TAKING OVER THE WORLD in its inexorable Gramscian march. We swim in it. It enters every pore of our existence. It is everywhere. We can't escape it. Many people accept this world without even realizing it, just as the fish accepts the water in which it swims. They don't realize it as the left CREATES NEW conventional WISDOM, and new intuitions about truth. The Cultural Marxists convince us that the truth is, THERE IS NO TRUTH! And even though this irresolvable paradox lies at the very center of all this, the constant Drumbeat keeps the masses in line, anesthetized enough to not make an issue of it - fed a constant diet of sex, drugs, poisonous pop culture, materialistic trinkets, and unkeepable promises of security provided by a HUGE LEFTIST GOVERNMENT.
The Drumbeat brings a special urgency to the Church Militant to RESIST its spell. WE MARCH TO A DIFFERENT DRUMMER, following the footsteps of Jesus Christ. To one who was brought up on the anti-Communist teachings of Bishop Sheen, I find it easy to see that "change" will not bring about anything new, but the same old Marxism dressed in new clothing. Only we don't call it Communism anymore. "Dialectical Materialism" is now a "leftist" value, but the principle remains the same. Down with God, for religion is the opium of the people. The State becomes god, an earthly savior, taking care of its subjects from cradle to grave. Big Government is an all powerful force in people's lives, dictating its will in every detail, with its "unkeepable promises of security" removing any need for God. All means of communication are controlled by cultural Marxists, and children are educated by the State to be loyal to the party line. Staneski didn't even mention the effect of such bias on impressionable students who can't escape. Used to be called "brainwashing." It still works. The inability of many college graduates to think critically after twenty years of mostly leftist teachers is testimony to Secular education's lack of wisdom.
The Drumbeat doesn't work in isolation. It promotes a political party, the party of cultural Marxism, which in turn unmistakably promotes "progressive" leftist values. All the signs are there. The worst is the first: Downgrading God, while simultaneously demeaning people of Christian faith. When in Pennsylvania, a presidential candidate of the left tried to explain what happens to people in difficult economic circumstances: "They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion…as a way to explain their frustrations." This perfectly sums up leftist ideology. People only turn to God, to religion, when the State doesn't meet their economic needs, for religion is the opium of unhappy people. That's not a God-centered Christian worldview. Can't have it both ways. Many Catholic politicians give to Caesar what is God's, and to God mere lip-service.
One must have some sympathy for those caught up in the Drumbeat. But I separate those who are anesthetized by it from THOSE WHO ARE BEATING THE DRUMS. Catholics with an informed conscience SHOULD KNOW BETTER. We are currently witnessing an unprecedented public intervention by Catholic bishops with Pro-Abort Catholic politicians who are subverting the principles of the faith. After being corrected by numerous bishops on when human life begins – at the moment of conception – the Speaker of the House now says many "Catholics" don't believe that. So now the mask is off. It's no longer a question of confusion that needed to be clarified, but outright DISOBEDIENCE. There is no longer any doubt about when human life begins. Modern science has resolved that dilemma. Secularized Catholics don't WANT to believe it. Fr. Corapi was in a debate with a Feminist getting frustrated because he wouldn't allow her to dance around this issue. He finally asked her, "Then what is inside a mother's womb?" She said: "It's WHATEVER I WANT IT TO BE!" If I WANT a child, it's HUMAN, a person to be loved and cared for. If I DON'T WANT a child, it's an INCONVENIENCE to be gotten rid of by any possible means. Pro-Aborts no longer have a leg to stand on. Their "reasoning" is grossly dishonest, even on a human level. Who is beating the drums for abortion?
Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon, takes up this issue when trying to make sense of Catholic politicians, in this case the Speaker of the House, who publicly deny the teachings of their own Church. "If I were to think a bit more critically I would be inclined to conclude that the public official accepts the views of the Church which agree with her view and rejects those views which do not. In other words, she is not formed by either Augustine or the Catholic Church on any of these social or moral issues, but simply happens to agree on some points. This then would have nothing to do with any true conviction about the goodness, beauty or truth of the teachings of the Catholic Church but rather PURE POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY (emphasis mine).
Because they hold and support properly Catholic views on the social issues, they (feel they) should not be held accountable for their rejection of Catholic teachings on the more direct life issues such as abortion, assisted suicide and embryonic stem cell research…where a human life is at stake (and we are dealing) with the direct and intentional taking of the life of a completely innocent person. One may work very admirably to alleviate poverty but this does not justify ignoring the GREATEST POVERTY which is the one which fails to recognize THE VALUE OF LIFE. A person may work very admirably to promote social justice but this does not justify turning a blind eye to the GREATEST INJUSTICE OPENLY OPERATIVE IN OUR SOCIETY which is the UNJUST DEPRIVATION of the pre-born of their MOST BASIC constitutional right, THE RIGHT TO LIFE."
Do we live in the same world as our heroes of old? St. Anthony of Padua, one of the most loyal followers of St. Francis, was called "The Hammer of Heretics." We need him today. We need someone to "connect the dots." Take the obvious facts and produce a logical conclusion. What does it take to be a heretic today? How many ways can a person deny the basic tenets of the faith and still be called a Catholic in good standing? How long will faithful followers of Jesus Christ see the "goodness, beauty and truth of the Church" USED for pure political expediency? I for one grieve at seeing the goodness, beauty and truth of our Christian faith dragged through the mud, twisted and distorted before the world, totally obscuring the message of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: the Good News of Eternal Love and happiness in store for the FAITHFUL, those who "conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the Gospel of Christ!"
To be concluded with the "Social Gospel."
Paul Beery BSP
THE ADMONITIONS OF ST. FRANCIS
XXII. The talkative religious
Blessed that religious who never says anything just for what he can get out of it. He should never be "hasty in his words" (Prov. 29:20) or open his heart to everyone, but he should think hard before he speaks. Woe to that religious who does not keep the favours God has given him to himself; people should see them only through his good works, but he wants to tell everybody about them, hoping he will get something out of it. In this way he has received his reward, and it does not do his listeners any good.
MORNING STAR: NEWS ON THE ASSOCIATION
We are most pleased to announce that soon we will have a Handbook in the Association. It will replace the first one we published which many of you have. This one is intended to put at the fingertips of our members and friends the key elements of the lifestyle for their general use and meditation, without any fluff.
Lisa Drago BSP, who professed this past year undertook this project for us. We are grateful to her for her dedication and effort. We are in the process of getting the new Handbook approved by our Visitor, Father Altier, and when that is accomplished we will announce the availability of the book. It seems that it will be around 50 pages in length, and cost about $9 an issue. Lisa will handle publication and distribution. Keep this project in prayer.
Our next project is to re-do the formation program, to enrich it, and update it. Of course this will not affect those of us who are professed except where we are formation advocates. The current program will remain in place and operational until it is replaced.
If you have any questions or comments to share on these projects please let us know.
MEETING WITH ARCHBISHOP NIENSTEDT
Archbishop John Nienstedt, who recently replaced Archbishop Harry Flynn in our diocese, has set up a meeting with him on the subject of the BSP in October. We will be discussing with him how we can better serve the Church and promote the Association. Please keep this meeting in prayer and we will give everyone an update of what he shares with us next month. Bruce and Shelley Fahey and hopefully our Visitor will be in attendance.
We were blessed to receive a call in September from Sherri Canada. Sherri is a professed member who went inactive about six years ago to enter a cloister. She has lupus, and has died once and met the Lord, but was sent back to us. Her disease has advanced again to the point she faces almost certain death in the near future. Please keep her in prayer, and her care-giver, Bernie Meno BSP, who also went inactive about when Sherri did. It turns out that Bernie has been living with Sherri and caring for her for some years, with her husband, who had Alzheimer's disease. Sherri shared that Bernie's husband died recently, and so Sherri and Bernie have had some very tough circumstances to deal with. Please keep Sherri and Bernie in prayer.
There are a number of members working to form new Chapters here and overseas. Please keep this effort in prayer.
The grave of St.Francis
in Assisi, Basilica di San Francesco
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
firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
"Slaves, obey your human masters in everything, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but in simplicity of heart, fearing the Lord."