St. Bonaventure 1221-1274
Giovanni di Fidanza was born in Bagnoregio, Italy, in 1217, son of Giovanni di Fidanza and Maria la Titella, and according to a persistent legend, received the name Bonaventure from St. Francis of Assisi, who cured him of a childhood illness. He became a Franciscan in 1238 (1243) and studied at Paris under the brilliant Franciscan theologian, Alexander of Hales, whose disciple he became. He went on to teach theology and Scripture at Paris, 1248-55. He is recognized to this day for his contributions to the academic excellence of the University of Paris.
His teaching was interrupted because of the opposition of the secular professors to the new mendicants. He was involved in the controversy defending the mendicant orders against the attacks, headed by William of Saint-Armour. In 1256 Pope Alexander IV denounced Saint-Armour and ordered the attackers of the mendicant orders (of which the Franciscan Orders were key) to desist. When the mendicant orders were re-established at Paris, Bonaventure received his doctorate in theology, with Thomas Aquinas, in 1257, and taught alongside him for years. Earlier the same year Bonaventure had been elected minister general of the Friars Minor and labored to reconcile the dissident factions in the Franciscan Orders, pursuing a policy of moderation but condemning the polices of the extremist groups.
At a general chapter of the Franciscan Order at Narbonne in 1260 he promulgated a set of constitutions on the rule, which had a profound and lasting effect on the Franciscan Order. He refused the archbishopric of York in 1265, and in 1271 he helped secure the election of Pope Gregory X. In 1273, he was appointed cardinal-bishop of Albano, and the following year Gregory appointed him to draw up the agenda for the fourteenth General Council at Lyons to discuss reunion of the Eastern churches with Rome. Bonaventure was a leading figure in the success of the Council that effected reunion, but he died as a cardinal at Lyons on July 15, 1274, while the Council was still in session. It was thought he was poisoned. When, in 1434, Bonaventure's body was moved to the new church erected at Lyons in honor of St. Francis his head was found in a perfect state of preservation, the tongue being as red as in life. Bonaventure was canonized in 1482 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1588 on July 15th, the date of his death.
Bonaventure was an outstanding philosopher and theologian and one of the great minds of medieval times. Known as "the Seraphic Doctor", he wrote numerous treatises, notably his Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, the theological tracts Breviloquium, Itinerarium mentis in Deum, and De reductione atrium ad theologium, biblical commentaries, some five hundred sermons, and the official Franciscan biographies of St. Francis, one of which we have been quoting in this newsletter for some time and will continue next month, Legende Minor. As a spiritual master he taught a method of contemplation that united the believer to God through the progressive states of purgation, illumination, and union.
(Source: Dictionary of Saints; John J. Delaney 1980)
Looking Forward to the Resurrection
Homily by Fr. Robert Altier - Fifth Week of Lent
Reading I (Ezekiel 37:12-14) Reading II (Romans 8:8-11)
Gospel (St. John 11:1-45)
Saint Paul in his Letter to the Romans, which we heard in the second reading today, tells us that if we are in the flesh we have no part of Christ. Now this is an odd saying because at the time that Saint Paul wrote this he obviously was in the flesh. And the people to whom he wrote it, the people of Rome, obviously were still in the flesh as well. So the question is why would he say such a thing? It is not a question of whether one is alive; but rather, it is a question of whether we are simply trying to live a natural life or a supernatural life. It is a question of whether our focus is on the body or on the soul. And that choice is entirely ours. Saint Paul tells us that if the Spirit of Christ is not in us, then we have no part of Christ; if the Spirit of Christ is in us, then we are living the life of Christ. And if we are living the life of Christ, then the body is dead because of sin, while the spirit lives.
And so each one of us can only look at our own self and ask ourselves: Am I living the life of Christ? Is Christ living in me? When I am living my life out in the world, do people see Christ in me? Do they hear Christ in my words? Do they recognize Christ in my actions? Do they realize that after they have had an encounter with me that they have really had an encounter with Jesus Christ? Can we say that? Or instead, would we have to say that what we have been doing is to indulge the flesh? The senses? To make sure that we are well entertained? That all of the things that are comforts for the body are number one? To see to it that we are surrounded with all of the things we like so that we have an easy way for the body, while paying little attention to the soul?
If we just simply look at our own lives and ask how much time out of the day we spend in prayer and how much time out of the day we spend on the body, for most Americans, very little is spent in prayer, if any at all. But many, many hours out of the day are spent on the body – the body which Saint Francis of Assisi called "Brother Donkey" – not exactly where we ought to be putting so much emphasis. Certainly, because we are alive in this world, we need to eat and we need to sleep and we need to care for the body; we are the stewards of the body. But Saint Paul would say, "I pummel my body lest, after preaching to others, I myself might be lost." We need to discipline the flesh so the spirit will be able to live. But the American way is to give into the desires of the flesh and in turn to kill the spirit.
Now for all of us as Christian people, we know fully well that this life is only a passing reality. It is something which is exceedingly temporary. We can look at people who die when they are 80, 90, or even 100 years old, and we talk about how they lived a long life. But we know that we are called to eternity, life without end. One hundred years is as nothing, a tiny slice of the fullness of reality. And so when we look at trying to make sure that we have everything in this world in this life, it is a pagan way of living; it is to say that we are going to put all the emphasis here so we can make sure that we have it easy, that we are living the "good life" as they would say – not necessarily that we are living a good life, but that we are living the good life.
Instead, we need to look beyond. And that is what the Church provides for us in the first reading and in the Gospel today: God telling us through the prophet Ezekiel that He will open our graves and have us rise from them. There is life beyond death. That is not the American reality. "This is the only time. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!" We, as Christian people, should be praying that tomorrow we would die so that we could rise from the dead and live for the spirit and not for the flesh, live for Christ and not for this world. But in this world, we need to learn already to live for Christ, not for the self. We have been purchased and at a price, the price which is the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are to die to the flesh in order to live in the spirit.
This time of Lent is all about trying to put the flesh to death. Not to commit suicide, in that sense; but rather, to look at all the things of the senses and to learn how to deny the desires of the body in order to see what is most important - and that is the soul. Saint Paul tells us in his Letter to the Galatians that the spirit and the flesh are at war with one another. The body, the flesh, and the senses, war against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh. So the question each one of us has to ask is where are we going to put the emphasis? Do we want to live in the life of the spirit? Do we want to live in Jesus Christ and for Jesus Christ? Or do we want to live the life of the flesh, to live in and for this world, so we can make sure that we live only in the immediate, in the American way of immediate gratification, immediate fulfillment of whatever it is that we desire? That is not the way of Christ. The way of those who live in the spirit is to live in this world as only a passing reality because we are looking forward. We are looking, not to immediate gratification, but rather to a gratification that is going to come only after this life. It is trying to develop the spiritual life here in this world because we know what we are called to is the life of the spirit for all eternity. So we want to be able to develop that now, to live the life of the spirit now, so that we will be able to live that in its fullness in the world to come.
If we are at all concerned about the body, it needs to be in how much the body is going to share in the glory of God for all eternity, not how much the body is going to share in the pleasures of this world for a temporal bit. Jesus looked at Martha and said to her, "Your brother will rise." And Martha made the act of faith and said, "I know he will rise in the resurrection on the last day." But Jesus looked at her and said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life." Then He looked at Martha again and said, "Do you believe this?" Jesus, today, looks each one of us right in the eye and asks the same question, "Do you believe this?"
Your body, the one right here in the pew, is going to rise from the dead. Do you believe this? It is not only the just who are going to rise from the dead; the unjust will [rise] as well. The prophet Daniel tells us that some will rise and they will be an everlasting horror and a disgrace, and the just will rise and they will shine like stars in the kingdom of God. Your body will rise from the dead and it will be reunited with your soul. It is not a different body; it is this one that is right here. And it is the soul, which animates our body right now, which is going to live forever with this body that we have right now.
Now the question is - Is our body going to rise and be glorified or is our body going to rise and be horrified? The choice is ours, and the choice is made now in this world, not in the next. We can live for the flesh and be horrified for eternity or we can live for the spirit and be glorified for eternity. Which do we choose? The ways of the world are very enticing. It is hard for us to resist all of the temptations that are placed before us. The people in the media are very adept at trying to convince us that we need all kinds of things we do not need. They are very adept at putting ideas into our heads so that the desires of the flesh are going to rise up and rebel against our soul. We have a choice to make. We can spend our time focused on the body and the desires of the flesh, making sure that we are filling ourselves up with all the world has to offer and driving ourselves directly into the grave. Or we can spend our time filling up the spirit, making sure that the desires of the soul are taken care of, and then we can spend our lives moving beyond the grave, looking toward eternity, and living in this world for the next.
That is the choice each one of us has to make: the spirit or the flesh. Those who live in this life in the flesh have no part of Christ. But those who are animated by the Spirit of Christ live the life of Christ. God will open the graves and we will rise from them. So do not simply look at this life and the flesh and move yourself to death. But rather, look to the spirit, to the soul, and move toward life - the fullness of life in this world and eternal life in the next - by living now a spiritual life, by being animated by the Spirit of Christ and allowing the life of Christ to be lived in you and through you so that by living that way in this world you will rise to be glorified, to shine like a star in the kingdom of God, and to be with Jesus Christ forever.
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.
TIME, TALENT, AND TREASURE
Dear Friends in Christ and St. Francis,
We have decided to write on this subject of time, talent, and treasure, especially in this season of Lent, as we all have a responsibility to God to use his gifts to us to further the Kingdom and advance the cause of salvation in our world today. We hear of this often from the pulpit, but too often the focus is too much on treasure.
We are the people of God. We are to be love in our age, in our families, and in our relationships. Love is one of our greatest treasures, for where a man's heart is there is his treasure, and if our treasure is love then we have love in our hearts and it enables us to do all things for God and according to the messages of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who was God's greatest gift of love to all of humanity. St. Francis, once he had experienced his conversion, spent his entire life, virtually all of the time he had, sharing the Love of God with all he met.
He knew that time is short, and time is a treasure. We need to use the time we have to further the things of God too, in our own lives and the lives of those He puts in our way, as St. Francis did. To do this we need to make time first for God, and then God, who is beyond all time, will show us how to use our time.
We need time to pray. To pray we must make time to pray. How we do that is not always so easy to see, but unless we do that we won't pray. So the first time we need to give to our faith is to take time to pray. When we have done that we will see, and be called, to spend our time other ways for God. To share it with our parishes, neighbors, family, and friends, and to do good things in the time we have all around. If it isn't good then why are we doing it?
Talent is another matter. We all have talents. We develop them in how we use our time. If we use our time for prayer and good works then our talents will be good and useful to our own salvation and the salvation of others. We will have a talent for bringing up and discussing the things of God in a completely natural and holy way, and our talents here will encourage the spiritual growth and well being of others.
Even though we don't want to get lost in this world, we have all been called to be in the world by God's will just by reason of having been born into the world. This birth has called us to develop talents for our lifestyle which we have all needed to just survive, let alone thrive. Chief among the talents we need is taking time for others. It is rich, and valuable, and holy and good, and is a talent we should develop and value. We wed time and talent together when we do that. As the Lord said in the Gospel, if we have ten talents by natural bent we want to develop ten more to bring to God. If we have only one we want to build another one so that we are not like the person in the Gospel who took his one talent and buried it and brought nothing more to the table of judgment than what he was given to begin. We have work to do.
And from our talents we will develop treasure. Sure, in the world, for many of us, money is one of our treasures. It is useful only in how we use it. We heard once that money has no value except if it is spent, and spent on others at that, not ourselves. We all need to reflect that our talents are also our treasures, and these treasures can and should be spent on others, and to promote the Kingdom of God in our lives.
This Lent let us look for ways to use our time, talent, and treasures for God's greater honor and glory and our own salvation. If we don't know what that means we can find out by reading the Gospel.
Peace to you in all things, and have a great Lent!
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
From the First Reading, Fourth Sunday of Lent
by Janet Klasson BSP
"Likewise all the princes of Judah, the priests and the people added infidelity to infidelity, practicing all the abominations of the nations and polluting the LORD'S temple which he had consecrated in Jerusalem."(2 Chronicles 36:14)
As daily we see further evidence of infidelity among God's people, the need for penitents in the world becomes increasingly clear. It is no coincidence that God has chosen this time and place in history to call forth penitents. God needs soldiers willing to lay down their lives for his kingdom, and there can be no doubt, dear brothers and sisters, that we are in battle.
Penance has always been an integral part of the life of the church. It may have seemed to fall out of favor after Vatican II, however, this was a distortion of the spirit of Vatican II. In fact Pope Paul VI issued an Aposotolic Constitution on penance in 1966—right after the Council. The following excerpts from that document give us much to ponder in this season of fast and abstinence, and indeed in our entire penitential lifestyle.
"The Church has considered more attentively its role in the earthly city, a that is to say, its mission of showing man the right way to use earthly goods and to collaborate in the 'consecration of the world.'..." ( Pope Paul VI, Paenitemini, 1966)
Our BSP lifestyle with its emphasis on prayer and simplicity is a direct fulfillment of this role. Our silent witness is a "spirit of contradiction" in this crumbling world of excess.
"...But at the same time it has considered more attentively its task of prompting its sons to that salutary abstinence which will forearm them against the danger of allowing themselves to be delayed by the things of this world in their pilgrimage toward their home in heaven. ..." (Ibid.)
Our penance is a constant reminder to ourselves, in this age of great temptation, that we are not made for this world, but are citizens of heaven. Yet we are called to live this lifestyle not just for our own good, but for the good of the society in which we live. The following excerpt gives us a beautiful explanation as to why God has planted penitents in this place and time.
"In our time there are special reasons whereby, according to the demands of various localities, it is necessary to inculcate some special form of penitence in preference to others. Therefore, where economic well-being is greater, so much more will the witness of asceticism have to be given in order that the sons of the Church may not be involved in the spirit of the "world," and at the same time the witness of charity will have to be given to the brethren who suffer poverty and hunger beyond any barrier of nation or continent. On the other hand, in countries where the standard of living is lower, it will be more pleasing to God the Father and more useful to the members of the Body of Christ if Christians—while they seek in every way to promote better social justice—offer their suffering in prayer to the Lord in close union with the Cross of Christ."
With such wise and beautiful documents to guide us, let us humbly take up the arms of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, living our lives simply, walking gently on the earth in love and truth. So many are in need of prayer, and there is so much to pray for! If we give our Lenten penance, and indeed all we have and are, to the Blessed Mother, she will distribute these things where they can do the most good.
Blessed Mother, let us enter into your "Fiat!", that in taking up our cross and following Jesus, we may hasten the coming of the kingdom. Our Father who art in heaven...
Janet Klasson BSP - Divine Mercy Chapter - Canada
NO GREATER LOVE: by PAUL BEERY BSP - March 2009
A story of conversion out of Serbia (formerly Communist Yugoslavia) was first published in "Love One Another" Catholic Magazine in 2004. It is presented here for the glory of God, whose love forever turns hearts towards their Final End. God is still performing miracles of grace in the midst of a degrading Culture of Death, answering the prayers of so many Pro-Life disciples. As we follow our Blessed Mother and St. Francis in penitential Lenten observance, let us praise God for the Communion of Saints, whose intercession and influence today is so strikingly obvious. The following story should give us great hope:
Stojan Adasevic will never forget the day he was organizing the filing cabinet in the doctors' room. He was a medical student at the time. A number of gynecologists entered the room. Paying no attention to the student crouched over a pile of papers in the corner, they began swapping stories about their medical practice. One of them recalled a patient who had come to him for an abortion. The procedure failed because the doctor had been unable to align the cervix. As the gynecologists went on discussing the woman's history, Stojan, who had been listening in, suddenly stiffened. He realized that the woman under discussion — a former dentist at the nearby clinic — was his mother.
"She's dead now" - observed one of the doctors - "but I wonder what happened to the unwanted child?" Stojan couldn't resist. "I'm the child!" he said, getting up. Silence fell over the room. Seconds later the doctors were walking out.
Over the years Dr. Adasevic would have cause to recall that event many times. It was perfectly clear to him: he owed his life to the fact of a failed abortion. He would never make such a blunder himself. Many women were referred to him because of difficulty in aligning the cervix. This was never a problem for Stojan. He became the best abortionist in Belgrade. Before long he had surpassed his master in the profession, to whose incompetence he owed his life. "The secret lies in training the hand through frequent procedures" he would say: practice makes perfect. Faithful to this maxim, he would perform from twenty to thirty abortions a day. He estimates he performed anywhere between 48,000 and 62,000.
For years he remained convinced that abortion, as taught in the medical faculties and textbooks, was a surgical procedure not unlike that of removing an appendix. The only difference was in the organ removed: a piece of intestine in the one case, and embryonic tissue in the other. Doubts began to arise during the 1980s when ultrasound technology came to Yugoslavian hospitals. It was then that Adasevic first saw on the USG monitor what had until then been invisible to him — the inside of a woman's womb, a live child, sucking its thumb, moving its arms and legs. As often as not, fragments of that child would soon be lying on the table beside him. "I saw without seeing, he recalls today. Everything changed after I started having the dreams".
Actually, it was the same recurring dream. It haunted him every night, day after day, week after week, month after month. He dreamed he was walking in a sunlit meadow. Beautiful flowers grew all around. The air was thick with colored butterflies. It was warm and pleasant, yet, despite this, some anxious feeling oppressed him. Suddenly the meadow was filled with laughing and running children. They were playing ball. In age, they ranged from three or four to about twenty years. All were strikingly beautiful. One boy in particular, and two of the girls, seemed strangely familiar, but he could not recall where he had seen them. When he tried to speak to them, they ran off in terror, screaming. The entire scene was presided over by a man in a black habit who watched intently in silence.
Every night Adasevic would wake in terror and stay awake till morning. Herbal remedies and pills were useless. One night, he became distraught in his dream and began chasing the fleeing children. He caught one of them, but the child cried out in terror: "Help! Murderer! Save me from the murderer!" At that moment the man dressed in black, turned into an eagle, swept down, and pulled the child away. The doctor woke up, his heart thumping like a hammer in his ribs. The room was cold, yet he was hot, drenched in sweat. In the morning he decided to see a psychiatrist. Since there were no immediate openings, he booked an appointment. That night he decided he would ask the man in his dreams to identify himself. This he did. The stranger said: "Even if I told you, my name would mean nothing to you." When the doctor persisted, the man finally replied: "I am called Thomas Aquinas." Indeed, the name meant nothing to Adasevic. It was the first time he had heard it. The man in black continued: "Why don't you ask who the children are. Don't you recognize them?" When the doctor said he didn't, he replied: "Not true. You know them very well. These are the children you killed while performing abortions." "How is that possible?" countered Adasevic. "These are grown children. I have never killed born children." Thomas replied: "Do you not know that here, on this side of the eschaton, children continue to grow?" The Doctor refused to yield: "But I have never killed a twenty-year-old boy." "You killed him twenty years ago," replied the monk, "when he was three months old."
It was then that Adasevic recognized the faces of the twenty-year-old boy and the two girls. They resembled people he knew well, for whom he had performed abortions over the years. The boy looked like a close friend of Adasevic's. Stojan had performed the abortion on his wife twenty years ago. In the two girls the doctor recognized their mothers, one of whom happened to be Stojan's cousin. Upon awaking, he decided he would never perform another abortion in his life. But waiting for him upon his arrival at the hospital that morning was a cousin along with his girlfriend. They had booked an abortion with him. Four months pregnant, the woman was about to do away with her ninth consecutive child. Adasevic refused, but his cousin was so importunate that he gave in: OK, but this was the very last time. On the USG monitor he clearly saw the child with its thumb in its mouth… (Yet he proceeded with the abortion) Withdrawing the forceps, he produced a human heart! The organ was still beating. Weaker and weaker it beat, until it stopped altogether. It was then that he realized he had killed a human being. The world turned dark around him. He cannot recall how long this lasted. Suddenly he felt a tug on his arm. A nurse's terrified voice called out: "Doctor Adasevic! Doctor Adasevic!" The patient was bleeding. For the first time in years, the doctor began praying earnestly: "Lord! Save not me, but this woman." When Adasevic removed his gloves, he knew this was the last abortion he would ever perform.
When Stojan informed the head of the hospital of his decision, there was a considerable stir. Never before in a Belgrade hospital had a gynecologist refused to perform abortions. Pressure was brought to bear on him. They cut his salary in half. His daughter was fired from her job. His son "failed" his university entrance examinations. He was attacked in the press and on television. The Socialist State — they said — had provided him with an education so that he could perform abortions, and now he was carrying out sabotage against the State. Two years of persecution brought him to the brink of nervous exhaustion. He was on the point of asking the hospital administrator to reassign him to abortion duty, when Thomas Aquinas appeared to him in a dream. Patting him on his shoulder, Thomas said: "You are my good friend. Continue your struggle." Adasevic did not go to the administrator. He decided to fight on.
He got involved in the pro-life movement. He traveled throughout Serbia, lecturing and giving talks on abortion. Twice he succeeded in airing on Yugoslav state television Bernard Nathanson's The Silent Scream, a USG recording of an actual abortion. In the early 1990s, thanks largely to Adasevic's activism, the Yugoslav parliament passed a decree protecting the rights of the unborn. The decree went to President Slobodan Milosevic, who refused to sign it. Then the war broke out, and the decree fell into abeyance. As for the war, Adasevic wonders: "To what else can we attribute the slaughter that took place here in the Balkans if not our alienation from God and lack of respect for human life". And to make his point he describes what is common practice in Serbia: "Since our laws protect the life of the child only from the moment of its first breath, that is, from the instant it utters its first cry, abortions are legal in the seventh, eighth, and even ninth month of pregnancy."
Here Adasevic likes to cite Mother Teresa of Calcutta: "If a mother can kill her own child, what is there to prevent you and me from killing one another?" Today, most abortions are performed in private clinics, which do not release figures on aborted pregnancies. Adasevic estimates that for every twenty-five children conceived barely one live birth results. Twenty-four beings are destroyed. He observes, "What further complicates statistical analysis in this area is the use of abortifacients such as the IUD and the RU-486 pill, which are officially classified as contraceptives. The IUD is an abortifacient; for the coil acts as a sword, which severs the tiny human being from its source of food in the womb. It is a terrible death. A human being dies of starvation in a place that is filled with nourishment."
"This is a real war, waged by the born upon the unborn. In this war I have crossed the front several times: first as an unborn child condemned to die, then as an abortionist myself, and now as a pro-life apostle. I have also become interested in the life of Thomas Aquinas, about whom I knew nothing before. I have often wondered why he appeared in my dream, and not other saints, especially since he is a Catholic saint, and I am Orthodox. To explain this, I started studying Thomas' writings. Guess what I found? According to Aquinas, human life begins 40 days after fertilization in the case of men, and 80 days in the case of women. So what is a child in those preceding days? Nothing? I think what Thomas said gives him no peace in the eschaton. It should be stated that Thomas accepted this view from Aristotle, who was the great authority then. Thomas allowed himself to be influenced by his view, and committed an error.
It was a long time before I grasped the fact that a child in the mother's womb is a living person, that it is a living person not from the time it draws its first breath, as the communist professors taught us, but from the instant the human embryo is formed, from the moment the spermatozoon joins with the egg cell."
Paul Beery BSP
Morning Star Chapter
MORNING STAR: NEWS ON THE ASSOCIATION
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. You can order them via email too by sending a request to us at
INTRODUCING LOUISE TODARO
Louise Todaro is a new inquirer in the Association who lives in Parma, Ohio. She has been a professed
member of the TOF, that is the Third Order of St. Francis, for many years, but plans to go through formation and profess to the Rule of 1221 in the BSP to follow St. Francis more perfectly. From left to right: Shelley Fahey, Louise Todaro TOF, Bruce Fahey.
Louise Todaro, with Shelley and Bruce
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 are up and running. SKYPE is helping us to communicate better worldwide. If you purchase a SKYPE system for your computer be sure to give us your SKYPE address as SKYPE to SKYPE calls are free worldwide. We just need to be on the computer at the same time and web-cams work with SKYPE.
FR. TONY CIRIGNANI OFM
We will be meeting with Father Anthony Cirignani OFM in April and hope to have a complete report on his further involvement in the BSP for the May issue.
BSP RETREAT 2009
Father Anthony Cirignani OFM, will be the retreat master at this years BSP retreat. It will be held as always at the beautiful and peaceful Franciscan Retreat Center at Prior Lake Minnesota, which is just outside Minneapolis. The schedule for the retreat will be posted as we get closer to the date.
We are blessed this year to have a profession at the retreat as in years past. Robin Gorton, Oklahoma, who first inquired into the BSP in February 2005, is completing her formation and will be making her profession to live the Rule of 1221, the Rule of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis, at the retreat. The BSP has some limited ability to help people come to the retreat due to a generous donor. If you need assistance to make it please contact BSP headquarters at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-433-2753.
Please put the date on your calendar and plan to come!
COMPOSED BY ROBERT HALL BSP, NORTH CAROLINA, AND BLESSED BY HIS BISHOP.
The chaplet of St. Michael:
Say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and a Glory Be for the local bishop and holy father's intentions. Then say 10 times the chaplet of St. Michael, once for Our Lady of Angels and the other nine times for the nine Choirs of angels.
Thank you Robert!
An Angel says,
'Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.'
2. Go to bed on time.
3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
4. Say No to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.
5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
6. Simplify and unclutter your life.
7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.
9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.
10. Take one day at a time.
11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.
12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.
16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.
17. Get enough rest.
18. Eat right.
19. Get organized so everything has its place.
20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.
21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.
22. Every day, find time to be alone.
23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray.
24. Make friends with Godly people.
25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.
26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good 'Thank you Jesus.'
28. Laugh some more!
29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.
30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).
31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).
32. Sit on your ego..
33. Talk less; listen more.
34. Slow down.
35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.
36 Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before.
GOD HAS A WAY OF TURNING THINGS AROUND FOR YOU.
'If God is for us, who can be against us?'
(From a BSP member…)
THE ADMONITIONS OF ST. FRANCIS
XXVII. Virtue and Vice
Where there is Love and Wisdom, there is neither Fear nor Ignorance.
Where there is Patience and Humility, there is neither Anger nor Annoyance.
Where there is Poverty and Joy, there is neither Cupidity nor Avarice.
Where there is Peace and Contemplation, there is neither Care nor Restlessness.
Where there is the Fear of God to guard the dwelling, there no enemy can enter.
Where there is Mercy and Prudence, there is neither Excess nor Harshness.
"He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry."
By Duccio di Boninsegna "Le tentazioni di Cristo"
(1308-11), New York, Frick Collection.
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
email@example.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!