ON ST. FRANCIS…
THE STIGMATA OF ST. FRANCIS
At Potenza in Apulia there was a cleric named Roger who entertained frivolous thoughts about St. Francis stigmata. Then, without warning, he suffered a wound in his left hand, beneath his glove, as if he had been hit by an arrow from a crossbow; the glove itself, however, was complete untouched. For three days he was tormented by agonizing pain, so that he was heartily sorry for what he had done, and he appealed to St. Francis, pleading with him to help him by his glorious stigmata. He was cured so completely that all his pain disappeared and no trace of the injury remained. This is a clear indication that the stigmata were impressed on Francis by the power of Christ and shared his virtue, because it is he who punishes by inflicting injury, and cures by applying remedies, crushing the rebellious and restoring the brokenhearted (Lk 4, 18).
It was only right that St. Francis should be decorated with this extraordinary privilege; all his efforts, whether they were known to others or made in secret, were directed towards our Lord's Cross. What was his extreme gentleness, his austerity, his deep humility, his ready obedience, his absolute poverty, his perfect chastity; what were his bitter contrition his gift of tears, his heartfelt compassion, his ardent zeal, his longing for martyrdom, his unlimited charity; what were all the outstanding virtues which made him so like Christ, if not the signs of an every increasing likeness to him and a preparation for the reception of his stigmata? The whole course of his life from the very beginning was marked with the glorious mysteries of Christ's Cross. Eventually, at the sight of the majestic Seraph and of the Abjection of Christ crucified, he was completely changed into the likeness of what he saw by a transforming fire of divine origin. For this we have the testimony of those who saw the stigmata and felt and kissed them; they took an oath that this was true, asserting that they had seen them with their own eyes and so made their testimony more certain.
CHAPTER VII—St. Francis Death
Francis now hung body and soul upon the Cross with Christ; the fervor of his seraphic love raised him up to God and he was consumed with zeal for souls, so that he shared his Lord's thirst for their salvation. He could no longer walk because of the nails protruding from his feet, and so he had himself carried, half-dead as he was, about the towns and villages. Like "the second angel coming up from the east" (AP 7,2) of whom St. John speaks in the Apocalypse, he enkindled the hearts of God's servants with a divine fire, and set their feet on the way of peace, marking their brows with the seal of the living God. He longed with all his heart to return to the humble beginning he had made at first, and to nurse the lepers once more, as he had done before, making his body which was already worn out with toil, serve him once again, as it had served him before.
Bonaventure—Minor Life 1263
On Humility and Righteousness
Homily by Fr. Robert Altier
Reading I (Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13) Reading II (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 )
Gospel (St. Matthew 5:1-12a)
We all know that the Christian life is contrary to the life that this world presents. Today, in the readings, we see this in a most stark and clear manner. Saint Paul, for instance, in the second reading that we heard today, tells us that not many of us were wise, that not many of us were considered to be of royal blood or high-born. Most of us would be lowly; most of us would be considered among those that the world would not necessarily consider the great ones. Yet we are the ones that God has chosen. Saint Paul says that God chooses the weak to shame the strong. He chooses, rather, those who are foolish to put to shame those who are considering themselves to be wise. God chooses the lowly; He chooses the despised of this world to bring to nothing those who thought that they were something.
So you see the task which God has put before each one of us. It is not to be puffed up with pride thinking that we are something simply because we have been chosen. We have to remember that we were chosen because we were not something impressive, because we were the lowly ones, because we were the foolish ones; that is why God chose us.
Now most of us, because of the society we live in, when we hear talk like that we would naturally recoil and think: "Not me. I'm not weak. I'm not foolish. Who does Saint Paul think that he is talking like that?" If that is the reaction, then what we have to be able to do is to say, if nothing else, that we are proud. And that needs to go because we read in the first reading today that we are to seek humility and to seek righteousness. The prophet Zephaniah tells us that on the day of God's anger there will be a remnant that will be saved, but it will be a people who are lowly; it will be a people who seek the truth. He tells us that no lie is going to come from their mouths, that they will find their refuge in the Name of the Lord.
If we think that we are something, if we think that we have some kind of power in and of ourselves, if we think that we have ability of ourselves, then we rely on ourselves or on wherever it is that we think we have the power - whether that is our money, our position, our material goods, whatever it might be. Instead of relying on the Lord, instead of calling on Him, we simply look to ourselves because we do not think that we need Him.
Now, obviously, all of us sitting here would say, "No, I do need the Lord." But the reality is, if we look at our day-to-day existence, many of us probably do not think about the Lord very often; many of us probably do not call on His Name often throughout the day. Most of us probably do not seek our refuge in the Lord, but rather, we seek our refuge in anything and everything other than the Lord, most often.
You can ask yourself: When you feel stressed, do you turn to pray? When you are feeling attacked, do you turn to Our Lord? When you are feeling lowly or lonely or despised, do you turn to the Lord? Many of us, in answer to those things, would probably say that we call someone else on the phone, we turn on the TV or we eat. We turn to material things; we look to all kinds of other things other than God. We do not necessarily seek our refuge in the Lord.
What we need to strive for is true humility. There is not one single individual in Heaven who is not humble, not one. There is not one single person in Heaven who sought refuge in himself or herself. There is no one in Heaven who did not seek the Lord. We need to be very clear about that. We have a choice to make. And the choices that we make in this world are also eternal choices. I have asked many times from this pulpit: Do you want to serve the Lord? Or do you want to serve some other god? Most of us are not going to bow down before idols; that is, little gods made of wood, silver, or gold. But there are lots of idols in this society that many, many, many people bow down before, that many people put before God. We need to choose whom we are going to serve.
Jesus tells us in the Gospel what the life of the Christian person is to look like. We are to be poor in spirit. We are to be mourning over sin. We are to be meek. We are to be lowly. We are going to be persecuted. We are going to be slandered. He makes all those points in the Beatitudes and calls those people blessed. Now that is not what anybody who lives a worldly life would call blessed. But the Lord does.
And so, we need to ask ourselves: Are we seeking our reward in Heaven? Or are we seeking our reward here on earth? Remember, if we go out of our way to seek the attention of others Our Lord tells us: "You have already received your reward." I think the same, then, can be said when we look at the Beatitudes. If we are seeking the things of this world - the comforts and the riches and all of the things that this world affords - if we are trying to be wise in the ways of the world, if we are trying to fit in, we have already received our reward, which means that we are not going to receive it in the end. We will stand before God on the Day of Judgment and He will say, "I do not know you."
The goal of our Christian life is to be conformed to Jesus Christ, indeed, even more: to be transformed into Jesus Christ. Jesus was poor and meek and lowly. Jesus sought to serve others. He gave of Himself, poured everything out for our sake. He was persecuted. He was slandered. And that is what is going to happen to us if we want to follow Him. That is the choice we have to make. Do we want to be like Jesus? Or do we just want to keep Jesus at a far distance and give Him lip service while our lives and our hearts are far from Him? The choice is entirely ours.
The day of God's wrath is drawing near. There will be a remnant that will be saved through it. And it will be a remnant only of those who seek refuge in the Name of the Lord. Do not think that when that day comes you are suddenly going to seek refuge if it is not what you are accustomed to already. It is something that we have to do every day because then when that day comes we will be accustomed to calling upon the Name of the Lord. When that day comes, whether it is the day of our own individual judgment or a day of the Lord that will befall this world, it is not going to frighten us; it is not going to be a problem for us if we are accustomed to being humble and righteous and seeking our refuge in the Lord. But if instead we seek pride, power, selfishness, if we are seeking our refuge in wealth, materialism, position, or anything else, then when the day of the Lord comes upon us we will not be seeking the Lord, but we will be seeking all the other things.
It is absolutely essential that we strive for humility, that we strive for righteousness, and that we call upon the Name of the Lord.
It is not something that is just a good idea. It is not something that [we can say], "Well, of course, we would hear it in church. But that is what we hear in church; we don't really have to live it or pay attention to it." It is not something that we can compartmentalize and say, "Well, that's on Sunday morning, but the rest of my life I don't have to pay attention to that," because one day each one of us will stand before the Lord and the choice we make now is the choice we will make then. Seek righteousness, seek humility, and seek refuge in the Name of the Lord.
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.
Meeting with our Visitor
We were blessed to schedule a meeting with Father Robert Altier, our Visitor, in January. What follows is a brief summary of the subjects we discussed, and his response to us on them. If you have any questions regarding any of them please feel free to email us at
firstname.lastname@example.org , copy to
email@example.com, and/or call us at 651-433-2753.
ON FATHER TONY:
Father Altier is very excited and happy for us to have Father Tony with us now as he is a Franciscan. Both priests agree that Father Altier should serve as the primary Visitor of the Association as he is located in the Twin Cities with the BSP. We will be meeting with Father Tony in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, in late March. Please keep this meeting and our travel in your prayers. After our meeting with him we should be able to more clearly define what his role to the BSP will be.
USE OF DREAMS AND VISIONS:
Many of our members have had dreams and visions regarding the BSP. Gifts from the Lord. The marathon image we routinely use to describe our journey to heaven by way of living this rule is one such vision that a member had. Father Altier cautions us all to share these things carefully and to always remember that visions and dreams can be from Satan too. St. John of the Cross pointed out that visions from the Lord have their effect immediately upon being given, and either are, or have been, fulfilled, so they need not be shared. If you have any such visions or dreams to report feel free to contact the BSP headquarters and we can bring them before Father Altier before we do any further sharing.
ONE "LITTLE HOUR"
A member recently asked if there is now "one little hour" that replaces the 'three little hours' of daytime prayer in the Divine Office, and if there is such an hour, can we use it to replace these prayers. Father Altier said he is not aware of such a thing. He said some parish priests are now only required to pray one of the three little hours as part of their responsibility to pray the Divine Office but our prayers remain as defined in the Rule and Statutes.
"THE HEROIC ACT"
The 'heroic act' is when a person renounces all of the merits of all of the indulgences for all of the prayers and good works they do and gives them to the souls in purgatory. Father Altier said it is fine to do this although he stopped short of encouraging us all to do it, although he further said that it has the benefit of bringing to that person the prayers of all those they aid in Purgatory.
SNACKS AND FASTING
In response to a question from a member we asked Father Altier when we were required to refrain from having snacks. He said that the only time we are prohibited from enjoying snacks is when we are fasting. He did say that not snacking can also be a fast.
OUR FORUMS AND INACTIVE MEMBERS
While all of our members and most inquirers have access to the BSP forums on the Web page very few use it for communications or sharing on a regular basis. Father Altier advises us to continue to allow members and inquirers to have access to the Forums regardless of whether or not they share there own thoughts on subjects being discussed on the Forums so that they can at least read up on what is being shared there by others. If you are having trouble accessing the Forums please contact BSP headquarters for assistance.
Yours in Christ, His Mother, and St. Francis who loved them both as we should.
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
From the Gospel, Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Janet Klasson BSP
"For this purpose I have come..." And for what purpose have we come? For what purpose are we called to a life of penance? Is it penance for the sake of penance or is it something more?
Each of us is called to the penitential lifestyle for a unique reason. Jesus spent time in prayer, penitentially in the middle of the night, in order to be strengthened for mission. That he lived in poverty and simplicity was not accidental, but essential. He knew that if he did not die to self every day, he would be unable to die at the appointed time. If our Lord practiced these mortifications, and so many more that we do not know about, how much more does the mission of sinners require that we live a life of penance.
Through trials, fasting, and prayer, we are strengthened for the work God is calling us to do. Our Rule is our anchor, and Father Francis our navigator. What a blessing to have an anchor in the rough seas of this age! Yet, our Lord is not calling us to ride out the storm in a harbor. He is calling us to cast out into the deep. How intimidating this can be! We feel unworthy and very, very small. St. Basil offers us words of comfort:
"First, let me say that we have already received from God the ability to fulfill all his commands. We have then no reason to resent them, as if something beyond our capacity were being asked of us. We have no reason either to be angry, as if we had to pay back more than we had received. When we use this ability in a right and fitting way, we lead a life of virtue and holiness. But if we misuse it, we fall into sin." (St. Basil the Great)
I once heard someone say: "The church has a mission; the mission has a church." We each have a mission within the church for which we have been fully equipped. Like threads in a beautiful tapestry, we all have a part to play in the plan of God. He paints us and weaves us, leading us in and out, around and through. "Follow me," He says. It only remains for us to say "Fiat!" And for that, we must love God more than we love our own life. But how? How do weak and sinful creatures learn to love God more than they love themselves? By dying to self every day. One very good and holy way to do that is to live the Rule of St. Francis of 1221.
"Whoever is in love with himself is unable to love God. The man who loves God is the one who abandons his self-love for the sake of the immeasurable blessings of divine love. Such a man never seeks his own glory but only the glory of God." (Diadochus of Photiké)
This death to self ignites the flame of divine love, leads the soul to contemplation, moving always towards the interior castle (as St. Theresa of Avila named it), to intimate union with the living God of love.
"Such a man lives in this life and at the same time does not live in it, for although he still inhabits his body, he is constantly leaving it in spirit because of the love that draws him toward God. Once the love of God has released him from self-love, the flame of divine love never ceases to burn in his heart and he remains united to God by an irresistible longing. As St Paul says: If we are taken out of ourselves it is for the love of God; if we are brought back to our senses it is for your sake. " (Ibid.)
In the Scripture passage referred to, St. Paul teaches about love and mission, love of God and love of neighbor, for that is what mission is. What we give up in living the life of penance is paltry, minuscule, insignificant compared to the vast riches to be gained. Then what are we waiting for? Let us run joyfully down the path of penance. The Rule of 1221 is our pearl of great price, our means to imitate Christ on the way of the cross each day.
"Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed."
Janet Klasson BSP - Divine Mercy Chapter - Canada
Divine Mercy Chapter News
The Divine Mercy Chapter of the BSP is growing up! This January saw three of our members, Allison Bennett, Rhonda L'Heureux, and Jake Hlady, advance into Novice 1 of their formation.
Divine Mercy Chapter: Fr. Ray Guimond, Spiritual Advisor, Janet Klasson, professed, Allison Bennett, Rhonda L'Heureux, and Jake Hlady. Missing: Irene Deprey, professed, Sherry Matteotti, and Lorne Scherger, members at large.
Our Lord has blessed us in giving us all we need to form a BSP Chapter. Daily He moves us forward in the spiritual life, giving us all we need for our encouragement and growth, not least of which is the Chapter itself. Getting together with other penitents is a great gift as we struggle to live the Rule of 1221 in an increasingly secular world.
The Statutes encourage us to form chapters and there is great wisdom this, for in meeting together to pray and encourage one another in the penitential lifestyle, we build up the Association and, indeed, strengthen the building blocks of the Church itself.
I encourage everyone within proximity to other members to "live in community", as much as lay life permits, by forming chapters and making monthly chapter meetings a priority where daily duty allows. Let us continue to pray for each other, dear brothers and sisters. God be with you.
Janet Klasson BSP
Divine Mercy Chapter
NO GREATER LOVE: by PAUL BEERY BSP - February 2009
"The Father Himself loves you because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father. I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (Gospel of John, discourse of Jesus at the Last Supper.)
"There is only One Person's prayer that God the Father has ever heard, or will ever hear – that of His Son Jesus Christ."
Stop for a moment and think about the ramifications of that quote. It comes courtesy of Douglas Bushman S.T.L., professor of Theology at Ave Maria University. Some of the following thoughts were inspired by his talk: "Prayer: Dialogue with the Father in His Church." But as a whole, this is a continuation of last month's reflection on "The one thing necessary" in life, which becomes crystal clear with the approach of death.
First, however, is a prayer for eternal rest for two great American luminaries who have just crossed over: Cardinal Avery Dulles and Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. Both were strong advocates of the Gospel of Life, through fidelity to Jesus Christ and His Church. Their witness will be sorely missed. While Cardinal Dulles was not well known to most people, Fr. Neuhaus had a very public ministry. As a Lutheran pastor he was among those that sought Christian unity. As the Lutheran Church began going in a different direction, he converted to Catholicism. With Chuck Colson he began a dialogue that led to ECT, Evangelicals and Catholics Together. He also edited an ecumenical journal, First Things, a very influential periodical. But he was probably best known as a commentator on EWTN, the Eternal Word Television Network. There he covered major Catholic events with his inimitable flair and good humor. The man has left quite a legacy.
Fr. Neuhaus wrote "Death on a Friday Afternoon." A prayerful reading of this book would be a great preparation for lent. At that time Neuhaus had a really close call with death. His comments on the seven last words of Jesus as He lay dying on the Cross thus carry a special significance. He says the last words of Jesus should be part of our DAILY meditation: "Good Friday is the drama of the love by which our every day is sustained." (Introduction)
"Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." The only way we know about God our Father is through Jesus. The first and most basic truth Jesus tried to communicate was the love of God for us. "For God so loved the world that He sent his only begotten Son." We can endure anything if we know someone loves us. There is no greater need in the human heart than to know that GOD LOVES US. There is a hole in our heart put there by our Creator for a purpose, which ONLY HE can fill. What greater gift could Jesus have given than to communicate the love of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit for each and every one of us, treating each individual as though he/she was the only person on the planet. Jesus set us free from the doubt that we are good, that we are lovable, and that we are loved with infinite, passionate intensity. Imagine then how easy prayer would be if these facts were indelibly imprinted in our consciousness, never to be forgotten. At times I just love to be in the Presence of God before the Blessed Sacrament in Church reflecting on these things. "We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be," from the Consecration to the Sacred Heart. Think how pleasing that must be to the One who wishes only that we live in union with Him.
But then, there are other times…
Then we need to become like little children. The Catechism, #2559, would say that humility is the foundation of prayer. It should be obvious: "man is a beggar before God." (St. Augustine) We can't pretend that prayer is something we can claim as our own. Jesus wants us to ask for it: "Lord, teach us to pray." That's where it is fascinating to see how the disciples of Jesus progressed in their understanding. They watched Jesus go off by Himself to pray. They realized the necessity of prayer, even for Jesus, as He showed them how He communed with His Father. Who had ever called God - His Father – before? Nor said: "No one comes to the Father except through Me."
It's true then that the Father only hears the prayer of His Son, it obviously means we must be IN UNION WITH JESUS for our prayers to be heard. This simple truth sheds light on the absolute necessity of being imitators of Jesus in order to become more perfect images of Him. His disciples were confounded by Jesus, so much so that even after three long years of daily instruction by the greatest teacher the world has ever known, they still didn't understand even elementary things like the coming of the Kingdom of God. But the disciples were in the midst of the drama, had seen only the first two acts, and had no idea of the outcome. They had to learn the hard way. But we have all the advantages of hindsight, and need only to apply them.
We also have the Church which Jesus founded, guided by His Holy Spirit, who will teach us all things. We have received the grace of becoming sons and daughters of God through baptism, joining Holy Mother Church, where we learn to live in union with Jesus, the Head of a Mystical Body. He teaches us to see God as our Father, to pray – dialogue with the Father in His Church.
We also live in union with those who have gone before us, that "great cloud of witnesses" to the faith. SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE ALWAYS COMES FIRST. Bushman used the term "will-acts." Love is an act of the will. We learn how the saints grew to love good and avoid evil. Just think of all the good will-acts it took on the part of others for us to come into existence. For example, our parents. They loved each other, and they loved us into existence. And that's how Jesus wanted us to see God - as our Father, "Abba, Father." He willed us into existence from the very foundations of the world. How can one grasp the significance of that statement? And for what reason? What does God want from us? What can we possibly give Him that He doesn't already have? What else matters in comparison to the answer to that question?
There is a great mystery here. Pope Benedict reveals part of it in his encyclical "God is Love." He quotes the prophet Hosea on God's love for Israel: "For I am God and not man – the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath." It seems that way many times; in fact the term 'salvation' can be defined as our being saved "from the wrath of God." It's more a consequence of our own actions; just as we pray in the Our Father, God does not "lead us" into temptation. Bad translation, wrong idea. The question is, what choice does He have? He has to let us know the consequences of our unrepentant sinful actions, and justice demands they be carried out. How on earth can God prevent consequences for the unrepentant? Divine Mercy wills the salvation of all. But if one refuses to put on the wedding garment, there will be much weeping.
God gave up many options when He gave us free will. He can't MAKE us do anything! He can't force us to love Him, or it wouldn't be love. How can you convince someone to love you? Have we been in that situation? How can God convince us to love Him? It seems that He is reduced, if that is the proper term, to pleading with us, to making us aware of His advances, to pointing out that He first loved us, that the Father so loved the world He gave His only begotten son to die a most horrible death on the cross for our salvation. That's a scandal to many. How could a father sentence his son to death? No, it's the opposite. We call it heroic when one willingly sacrifices his life for another. There is NO GREATER LOVE than that one lay down his life for his friends. After all, with God it's about hard facts that prove His love, never mere appearances.
We enter into dialogue with the Father in His Church to discover the beauty of His love, after having seen the facts, the actions taken by the Creator to prove His case. Jesus born into this world as one of the lowly. His patient teaching in the midst of misunderstanding and fierce opposition. His sacrifice on the Cross offered by both Father and Son. Parents say they suffer more than their children. Imagine then how God the Father suffered in sending His Son Jesus to the Cross, not for a minute or an hour, but for all eternity. That was plan A, not plan B. He knew the human race would need a Redeemer. He knows we will fall and need Him to help us up. All of Sacred Scripture is a passionate love letter from God calling to His recalcitrant children to alter their ways if they would return to Paradise. The Gospel tells the story of how Jesus tries to convince us of the Truth of God's plan, and how we are to respond: THIS IS HOW ITS DONE! Follow ME!
Paul Beery BSP
Morning Star Chapter
MORNING STAR: NEWS ON THE ASSOCIATION
The Handbook is complete and in the hands of Archbishop Nienstedt for final approval before printing. We apologize for the delay but it was Father Anthony's recommendation that we have the Archbishop approve the Handbook before we printed it. When he is done with his review, which we anticipate could take a couple of weeks more, we will be ready to mail it out. Thanks for your patience!
To order a Handbook simply send $15, cash, check, or money order, to BSP Headquarters, 20939 Quadrant Ave. N., Scandia, MN. 55073 and give us the address, or addresses, you want the Handbooks mailed to and we will have them sent there. They are going to be published by BSP Headquarters now. Once we get them printed it will take a few weeks before you get one. You can order them via email too by sending a request to us at
INTRODUCING LEONA TROST...
Leona Trost is the latest member of Our Lady of Sorrows Chapter in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, which is shown above.
Rebecca, Dorothy and Leona
From left to right, are Rebecca Maness BSP and Dorothy Winczewski, professed members who are founding members of the Chapter, and Leona Trost.
Leona attended her first Chapter meeting on January 24th which was jointly held by the members of Morning Star and Our Lady of Sorrows Chapters (Morning Star members in attendance are not in the picture above). Leona is currently in formation as a postulant in the Association. She discovered the BSP some years ago and was striving to live the life on her own before she inquired.
Welcome Leona! It is great to have you with us on this journey to heaven!
SKYPE is an Internet based telephone communications system that allows computer to computer, and computer to phone, based communications worldwide at a greatly reduced rate. We have purchased the system for use in the BSP as we recently announced on the BSP forums, and will be up and running soon. We are very excited that SKYPE will help us routinely communicate better worldwide.
A SPECIAL MESSAGE TO US ALL:
From Father Brian, 2008
(Written by Fra. Giovanni Giocondo on Christmas Eve, 1513)
I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see. And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!
Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you will touch the angel's hand that brings it to you.
Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty, believe me, that angel's hand is there. The gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too – be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal more divine gifts.
Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage, then, to claim it – that's all! But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, winding through an unknown country toward home.
And so at this time, I greet you. Not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound esteem, and with the prayer that for you now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows fly away.
(submitted to BSP Headquarters by Lisa Drago BSP…)
THE ADMONITIONS OF ST. FRANCIS
XXVI. Religious should be respectful towards the clergy
Blessed is that servant of God who has confidence in priests who live according to the laws of the holy Roman Church. Woe to those who despise them. Even if they fall into sin, no one should pass judgment on them, for God has reserved judgment on them to himself. They are in a privileged position because they have charge of the Body and Blood of our Lord to others, and so anyone who sins against them commits a greater crime than if he sinned against anyone else in the whole world.
"Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
"The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple"
Andrea Mantegna, Italian painter (painted around 1465)
Berlin, Germany, Staatliche Museum
BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE OF ST. FRANCIS
a.k.a. 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!