WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO PRAY THE ROSARY?
What does it mean to recite the rosary? The rosary is a meditative, biblical prayer, and when Our Lady asks for the rosary, she wants us to come closer to the mysteries of the life of Jesus and of her life too, so that we may come closer to the mysteries of the Redemption.
Prayer is life with Our Lord, not just words for Our Lord. So it is not enough to say two hundred Hail Mary's, but to dialogue with Our Lord. Our Lady recommends we pray the entire rosary each day and said, in a recent message to the world, "Dear Children, pray and fast wholeheartedly: do not let fasting and prayer become routine, a habit amongst you. Many have started to pray and fast because everyone is doing so. Pray with your heart."
Praying the rosary means looking for a real stimulus for our own life in each mystery. It does not mean just recitng Hail Mary's, but to deepen our prayer. We can begin with ten minutes each morning for one mystery. The first joyful mystery, for example: I am ready to do Your Will.
Our Lady said: "Thy Will be done; Behold the Handmaid of the Lord." When we contemplate the Annunciation we really must take time to do so; to contemplate means looking for the significance of the Will of Our Lord for me today. Where does Our Lord want me today? What does Our Lord expect from me today? Where can I do Our Lord's will today? If we do not take the time to pray in this way there is a danger that our prayer will become just lip prayer. When Our Lady asks us to contemplate all the mysteries that the Church gives us in the rosary every day, she wants the life of Christ to speak to us, to mean something to us.
The moment in which the Word or a mystery of the life of Jesus or the Madonna starts to speak to us, our conversion has begun—this signifies a change in our life and our behavior.
Our Lady wants Our Lord's Word to speak to us. I will give you an example: in every Christian family there is a Cross. Many times what do we do in front of the Cross? We do not forgive others, we quarrel, we blaspheme...the Cross is the Word of forgiveness, love, sacrifice, eternal life. When we look at the Cross new impulses should be born in us for our life with Our Lord and with others.
This is the experience of a man. He started to fast and pray with his wife and children, but his prayer was distracted, as was his first experience of fasting. As he continued to fast he felt that the Word would not leave him in peace anymore. All of a sudden he knew what he had to do. He had been quarrelling with his brother for many years. He suddenly felt free to go to him and make peace.
Our Lady says to us all: If someone asks why they must pray so much, I tell you: look around you a little and you will see many sins. Pray that My Son may forgive.
Our Lady has made us responsible for peace by asking us for continuous prayer and a more radical life with Our Lord. Who can bring us this peace? Only human beings, people with a new heart who are capable of forgiveness and making peace with each other. Peace is not possible without forgiveness and reconciliation. Who can forgive and make reconciliation? It is difficult to do and you know that many times it is easier to give money rather than forgive. Our Lady has said that prayer and fasting are the means by which we can start to search for Our Lord in a radical way.
(Father Slavko Barbaric— 6th October, 1984)
CHOOSE TO BE A SAINT
Homily by Fr. Robert Altier - BSP Visitor
Solemnity of Pentecost
Today we celebrate the great Solemnity of Pentecost, the day that the Lord had promised to His disciples. It is the day that He had spoken of when He said to them: "It will be better for you if I leave, because if I do not the Holy Spirit will not come upon you." He had told them numerous times that the Holy Spirit would descend upon them, that He would fill them, that He would lead them into all truth, that He would be with them always - and He is. The Holy Spirit, poured out upon the Apostles, has also been given to each person in Baptism. In His fullness, He is present because of Confirmation.
What happens in many lives is that we do not see the working of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we think it needs to be the way that it was 2,000 years ago. We need to hear strong, driving wind; we need to see flames depart and descend upon each person; we need to see extraordinary charismata at work: we should be speaking in tongues and doing all kinds of other things. That is not necessarily the case. As God is apt to do the first few times that He does something in order to demonstrate that it is real, He has to do something a little bit more extraordinary, or else people would not believe. But as time goes along, it just simply becomes more ordinary. For instance, look back to what happened the first time the people came to Mount Sinai. There were all kinds of phenomenon that they witnessed. There was the smoke; there was the lightening and the thunder, the trumpet blasts and God speaking, all of the earth shaking and all the other things that happened. By the time Elijah went to the same mountain, all of those things occurred, but God was not there. Rather, Elijah heard God in the tiniest little whisper on the same mountain. In other words, God first had to show himself to be powerful, to be the Almighty God, the God who was with His people, so that they would believe He was there. Once He had demonstrated all of that, it was no longer necessary to continue to do the extraordinary things; but rather, His presence among the people was ordinary. He was there in all of His power, in all of His majesty, but He did not need to demonstrate it.
The same thing happens for us. Initially, when the Holy Spirit was given to the Church, there were extraordinary things. Now for the last couple of thousand years, it has been a much more ordinary means. The Holy Spirit is there in each one of us who is in the state of grace. Part of the reason why we have not seen the working of the Holy Spirit the way we think that we should is simply because of sin. What has happened is that the Lord has allowed the Holy Spirit to be there directing each of our lives in a way that is extraordinary in itself. We spoke a couple of weeks ago about how the Lord has allowed each of us to be plunged into this world that is filled with sin. Yet it was the Holy Spirit who guided us through all of that. All you need to do is ask yourself: If you have been living out in the world your whole life in this society, how is it that you are here on a Sunday morning? This is not something that our society upholds in the least. If you were living a worldly life, you certainly would not be here this morning. You would either be in bed, or watching TV, or you would be out running around having fun, the way that the world suggests Sundays ought to be. Everything is about the weekend. The Holy Spirit who is with you when you go out into the world is the One who leads you back here.
He is not just at work on Sunday morning. The Holy Spirit is at work 24 hours a day within each one of us, helping us out there to be able to resist the ways of the world, lifting us up out of our sinfulness and bringing us to Confession when we do fall. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that allows the bread and wine, at Mass, to be changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that forgives sins in the confessional through the power of the priesthood. The priesthood is a charismatic gift; it is a gift of the Holy Spirit so that the Sacraments would be available to the people of God. The Holy Spirit is at work constantly. He is at work in each one of us. As we heard in the second reading today, St. Paul said, "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit." If you want to know if the Holy Spirit is present and working within you, all you need to do is ask if you can acknowledge if Jesus Christ is Lord. If that is possible, then you know that the Holy Spirit is there.
It is also possible that what has happened in many of our lives is that we have tried to push the Holy Spirit as far back into the corner as we can. He is still there; it is just that most of us really do not want Him to do a whole lot of work because if He did, we would not be like the people out in the world anymore. We would not be able to fit in. Just think how crazy people would think we were if we were really living according to the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who filled Jesus Christ; it is the Holy Spirit who was the Spouse of our Blessed Lady; it is the Holy Spirit who is the soul of the Church. When we look at the life of Christ, the life of Our Lady, and for 2000 years now, the life of the Church, it is a life which is contrary to that of the world. It is a life which stands apart. It is a life which is rejected and hated and despised by the world. We know fully well that if we are going to live according to the Holy Spirit, we will follow that same life. We will live the same life, and we too will be hated and rejected and despised by the people who are worldly. Now I challenge you, are you willing to do that?
We live in a time, as I have been telling you, where we have to make a decision. We need to make a choice which spirit we are going to follow; ultimately, there are only two. There is a Holy Spirit and an unholy spirit - lots of unholy spirits - but ultimately there is the one who leads them all and we have to make a choice. Which do we want to follow? In our day, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are going to see the greatest saints the world has ever known, with the exception of Our Lady and St. Joseph. We will see the greatest saints the world has ever known. Now you need to make a choice. Do you want to be one of them? Now by that I do not mean sitting back and saying, "Wow! Wouldn't it be neat to be doing all the things that the saints did?" We are going to do greater things than the saints did, but that is not what being a saint is all about - doing extraordinary things. Being a saint is about loving Jesus Christ is an extraordinary manner. It is giving our entire being, our entire self, our whole life over to Jesus Christ. It is allowing Jesus Christ to live in us and through us. It is to be so transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit that there will be no difference between our will and the will of Jesus Christ. Now let me challenge you again. Do you want to be a part of that? That means having to change. That means having to allow yourself to be formed, conformed, and transformed into Jesus Christ. Is that what you want for your life? Or do you want Jesus to be simply at an arm's distance? He is nice on a Sunday morning, but forgets it the rest of the week.
Jesus wants everything. Every part of who you are, Jesus Christ wants - not in a selfish way, but rather, out of perfect love. Jesus Christ commanded us - He did not give us a suggestion - He commanded us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. He has given to us the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. In other words, it is the work and the power of the Holy Spirit to perfect us. Do we want it? The Holy Spirit will be given to each one of us in accordance with the personality that God has given so that He will work in each one of us in the way that will give God the greatest glory and will be the most perfect for each one of us. Are we willing to allow Him to do that? In other words, not to tell the Holy Spirit how He ought to work in our lives; but rather, to allow Him to tell us the work of God that He has chosen for us.
"There are different gifts but the same Spirit," St. Paul told us in the second reading. The Holy Spirit is given to each one as God chooses, if we are willing to open our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to take over our lives, to lead us according to the way of Jesus Christ. We will see extraordinary things. Not just extraordinary things out there in some saint, extraordinary things right here, and in here, in each one of us. In your own life, you will see the working and the power of the Holy Spirit and that is a guarantee, if you are willing. The problem is, for most people it sounds like a neat romantic idea, like a fairy tale existence, and wouldn't that be fun? That is not what I am talking about here. I am talking about the power of the Holy Spirit conforming you to the will of Almighty God. Most people in this world do not want that to happen.
I ask you to enter into your heart today, and to pray and to really do some soul searching and ask yourself, "Do I want that? Am I willing to do the will of God in all things? Am I willing to profess my faith even if it means that I will have to die for that faith? Am I willing to do whatever God wants me to do? Am I willing to be thought to be a nut out in the world? Am I willing to be rejected because I am following Jesus Christ?" We are not asking for a fairy tale existence here. We are asking for saints. Jesus Christ is asking for saints. My question to you is - Through the power of the Holy Spirit, do you want to be a saint? And the follow-up question now is not - Do you want it? - but - Do you will it? Do you choose to be a saint?
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.
ADMINISTRATOR'S MESSAGE: MARY
May is the month of Mary. A time for us to re-examine our relationship with the Mother of God, and to honor her who brought the Son of God to mankind. How are we doing in our relationship to her, who was given to us from the cross with the words of Jesus: "Woman, behold thy son." JN 19:26. Do we treat her as our mother? Do we trust her as our mother?
Mother. The name we all love. The most beautiful vocation a woman can have. Without motherhood the human race would be extinct. When the creator said; 'Be fruitful and multiply" it could only happen through mothers. And this Mother, of all mothers, would be the most perfect of all for all time.
Perfect from before her birth, due to her Immaculate Conception. Perfect in her life due to her freedom from the bond of sin. Perfect in her love, her way of life, her relationship to God. Perfection and innocence from the earliest beginnings of her life. From her conception. Can we ever know the character of this woman. Can we conceive of it? What grace, what purity, what beauty, and what innocence would she need to have the Creator of all things deign her to be the Mother of His Son? We should all be in awe over her, but not afraid of her. First and foremost she is the Lord's Mother, but because of His Wishes for her she is our mother too, and the Lord's call to give her that assignment was due to the perfection of her character, and our undying need for a perfect, holy, and powerful mother.
"Never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided."
The times are very serious. We have no hope to withstand them without our mother's protection. Just as children we should all run to our mother when things are bad or problems come up. So we must now run to our mother to protect us from these times. To save us from the great evil that surrounds us. Without fear we must go to her. With the abandonment of children we must trust in her. She will not let us down, and she will soon
crush the serpent's head. Abortion is the scourge of the modern world. We kill our own! We are 'like the beasts that are destroyed' the psalms say. Only in recourse to our Mother can we hide. To our mother, in tears, we can bring these babies that their own hate.
Now even her statutes are crying around the world. Often in tears of blood. These times are serious; very serious. And, she has appeared to us as the 'great sign'.
"A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars."
Revelation 12: 1
We have to believe the times are late. The end of time for each of us is close it is said, but, then, it has been always close for each of us; we all die and face Judgment. Of what significance is a life of 100 years compared to eternity? It is a moment. The blink of an eye. Mary cries due to our sins. She cries because we don't love her Son and serve Him as we should. She cries over abortion and the blasphemies of this age. She cries because we, her children, blindly perish. Let's comfort her. Let's give her our prayers and our love. Let us be her true children. Let us trust in her help and protection.
Loving Mother of the Redeemer. Gate of heaven. Star of the sea. Pray for us.
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
The Administrators, Minnesota
From the Gospel reading on the Feast of Pentecost
by Janet Klasson BSP
When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. (John 15:26 )
Recently two people I know have told me that in a certain circumstance they were facing, the Holy Spirit revealed the truth to them, and that in knowing the truth they were able to boldly speak the truth in love and with great confidence. In both cases healing was begun, though not without some pain. My heart quickened at this news and I did not really know why.
Upon reflection, it occurs to me that I am drawn to truth precisely because it seems to be so rare in our age. I have had school children lie to me to gain a sticker. It made me sad. Then there are the Enron's and all the other gargantuan scandals of the age. When lies are exposed, especially those of a criminal nature, society is rightfully shocked and outraged.
But what happens when lies masquerade as truth? When good is called evil and evil good? When abortion and embryonic stem-cell research are called health care? What happens then when you speak that truth in love? In a word—martyrdom.
The Holy Father, John Paul II devoted an entire document to Truth. It was an act as profound as it was prophetic. We are in battle. We know that the victory is ours in Christ, but we must also accept that the battlefields will be sprinkled with the blood of martyrs. This should fill us, not with fear, but with great hope. In his Encyclical, The Splendor of Truth, Pope John Paul II tells the Church:
"Finally, martyrdom is an outstanding sign of the holiness of the Church.… This witness makes an extraordinarily valuable contribution to warding off, in civil society and within the ecclesial communities themselves, a headlong plunge into the most dangerous crisis which can afflict man: the confusion between good and evil, which makes it impossible to build up and to preserve the moral order of individuals and communities." (The Splendor of Truth, Section 93)
This is a prophetic statement that we are living out in our age. You may be thinking, like me, "I don't mind the martyrdom so much as the pain that may precede it!" In fact, relatively few are called to the martyrdom of St. Stephen or St. John the Baptist. But we are all called to spend our lives in witness, no matter the personal cost. The section continues:
"Although martyrdom represents the high point of the witness to moral truth, and one to which relatively few people are called, there is nonetheless a consistent witness which all Christians must daily be ready to make, even at the cost of suffering and grave sacrifice. Indeed, faced with the many difficulties which fidelity to the moral order can demand, even in the most ordinary circumstances, the Christian is called with the grace of God invoked in prayer, to a sometimes heroic commitment. In this he or she is sustained by the virtue of fortitude, whereby—as Gregory the Great teaches—one can actually "love the difficulties of this world for the sake of eternal rewards." (Ibid.)
This age has called many to martyrdom, and in the BSP, to the martyrdom of our desires. In living the life of penance we are dying to self for the sake of eternal rewards for ourselves and for those God has given us to pray for. We serve the Truth through prayer and penance. In closing our hearts to our clamoring self we open our hearts to the still small voice of the Spirit of Truth.
The Spirit of Truth is crying out for disciples in this age. Whatever the future holds for us, the Church, and the world, if we enter eternity having loved the Truth more than our own life, the transition will be glorious, and whatever may have preceded the transition will vanish like the mist.
Please join me in a novena to the Holy Spirit before Pentecost for the cause of Truth, that many more will be willing to serve the Truth—unconditionally.
"Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth."
Janet Klasson BSP - Divine Mercy Chapter - Canada
NO GREATER LOVE: by PAUL BEERY BSP - May 2009
"All power in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of
all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until
the end of the age." (Mt. 28, 18)
Last month I lamented that St. Francis did not write more about his interior life, such as we have from Mother Teresa. Upon further reflection I began to feel guilty, by perhaps short-changing our holy father Francis, who is no slouch when it comes to writing about the love of God and the beauty of His Creation. The following is an attempt to make amends.
I am very enamored of a section of an early Rule addressed to the Friars (on page 50 in the Omnibus of Sources, single volume, apparently the forerunner of the Rule of 1223). It is not to be confused with ours, the Rule of 1221 addressed to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance. But it so perfectly illustrates the mind of Francis that I am going to quote it in full, with no additional comments.
The scope of the following passage is breathtaking. We talk about the "New Evangelization" today. St. Francis had it down pat as he discusses salvation for all mankind. And he does it with utter humility, and respect for the plan of God, with which he is very familiar. I think it goes without saying that it gives a pretty good picture of the interior life of St. Francis, just from the divine wisdom he displays. Would that we understood as well as Francis the Mind of God!
Here then is his extended commentary on:
"Prayer, Praise, and Thanksgiving."
"Almighty, Most High and supreme God, Father, holy and just, Lord, King of heaven and earth, we give you thanks for yourself. Of your own holy will you created all things spiritual and physical, made us in your own image and likeness, and gave us a place in paradise, through your only Son, in the Holy Spirit. And it was through our own fault that we fell.
We give you thanks because, having created us through your Son, by that holy love with which you loved us, you decreed that He should be born, true God and true man, of the glorious and ever blessed Virgin Mary and redeem us from our captivity by the blood of His passion and death. We give you thanks because your Son is to come a second time in the glory of His majesty and cast the damned, who refused to do penance and acknowledge you, into everlasting fire; while to all those who acknowledged you, adored you, and served you by a life of penance, He will say: 'Come blessed of My Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.'
We are all poor sinners and unworthy even to mention your name, and so we beg our Lord Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, 'in whom you are well pleased,' and the Holy Spirit, to give you thanks for everything, as it pleases you and them; there is never anything lacking in Him to accomplish your will, and it is through Him that you have done so much for us.
And we beg His glorious mother, blessed Mary, ever Virgin, Saints Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and all the choirs of blessed spirits, Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones and Dominations, Principalities and Powers; we beg all the choirs of Angels and Archangels, St. John the Baptist, John the Evangelist, Saints Peter and Paul, all the holy Patriarchs, Prophets, Innocents, Apostles, Evangelists, Disciples, Martyrs , Confessors, Virgins, blessed Elias and Enoch and the other saints, living and dead or still to come, we beg them all most humbly, for love of you, to give thanks to you, the Most High, eternal God, living and true, with your Son, our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, for ever and ever. Amen.
We Friars Minor, servants and worthless as we are, humbly beg and implore everyone to persevere in the true faith and in a life of penance; there is no other way to be saved. We beseech the whole world to do this, all those who serve our Lord and God within the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, together with the whole hierarchy, priests, deacons, sub-deacons, acolytes, exorcists, lectors, porters, and all clerics and religious, male and female; we beg all children, big and small, the poor and the needy, kings and princes, laborers and farmers, servants and masters; we beg all virgins and all other women, married or unmarried; we beg all lay folk, men and women, infants and adolescents, young and old, the healthy and the sick, the little and the great, all peoples, tribes, families and languages, all nations and all men everywhere, present and to come; we Friars Minor beg them all to persevere in the true faith and in a life of penance.
With all our hearts and all our souls, all our minds and all our strength, all our power and all our understanding, with every faculty and every effort, with every affection and all our emotions, with every wish and desire, we should LOVE OUR LORD AND GOD who has given and gives us everything, body and soul, and all our life; it was He who created and redeemed us and in His mercy alone He will save us; wretched and pitiable as we are, ungrateful and evil, rotten through and through, He has provided us with every good and does not cease to provide for us.
We should wish for nothing else and have no other desire; we should find no pleasure or delight in anything except in our Creator, Redeemer and Savior; He alone is true God, who is perfect good, all good, every good, the true and supreme good, and He alone is good, loving and gentle, kind and understanding; He alone is holy, just, true, and right; He alone is kind, innocent, pure, and from Him, through Him, and in Him is all pardon, all grace, and all glory for the penitent, the just, and the blessed who rejoice in heaven.
Nothing, then, must keep us back, nothing separate us from Him, and nothing come between us and Him.
At all times and seasons, in every country and place, every day and all day, we must have a true and humble faith, and keep Him in our hearts, where we must love, honor, adore, serve, praise and bless, glorify and acclaim, magnify and thank, the Most High supreme and eternal God, Three and One, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Creator of all and Savior of those who believe in Him, who hope in Him, and who Love Him; without beginning and without end, He is unchangeable, invisible, indescribable and ineffable, incomprehensible, unfathomable, blessed and worthy of all praise, glorious, exalted, sublime, Most High, kind, lovable, delightful and utterly desirable beyond all else, for ever and ever.
In the name of God I entreat the friars to grasp the meaning of all that is written in this Rule for the salvation of our souls, and recall it to mind again and again.
I beg Almighty God, Three and One, to bless those who teach, learn, or have by them this Rule, keeping it fresh in their memory and putting it into practice, as they repeat and perform what is written in it for our salvation. Prostate at their feet, I beg them all to love, observe, and treasure this Rule. In virtue of obedience, I, Brother Francis, on behalf of Almighty God, and his holiness the Pope, absolutely forbid anything to be added to this Rule or subtracted from it; and I command the friars to follow this Rule and no other.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen."
Paul Beery BSP
Morning Star Chapter
MORNING STAR: NEWS ON THE ASSOCIATION
The retreat is taking shape. Father Tony will be the retreat master this year and the subject will be: "Franciscan spirituality and our call to be Instruments of Peace"
Right now we are booking reservations. The schedule for the retreat will be published a couple of weeks before the retreat. The announcement following is a parish bulletin announcement for those who would like to publicize the retreat. The cost of the retreat is $180 again this year as last year, which includes room, meals, and necessary stipends. It will be held at the beautiful Franciscan Retreats center in Minneapolis. Call or email us now to book a reservation. A down-payment of $25 will hold your place. The full cost of the retreat must be paid by July 1st as we must guarantee attendance then and pay for those we guarantee even if they do not show.
Robin Gorton BSP, from Oklahoma, will make her profession at the retreat this year, to Father Tony. Please keep her in prayer. She will be our 29th professed member.
INVITATION TO THE PUBLIC
2009 RETREAT OPPORTUNITY
THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE OF ST. FRANCIS (BSP)
"Franciscan spirituality and our call to be Instruments of Peace"
Father Anthony Cirignani OFM
We invite you to share our Retreat this year at the Franciscan Retreat Center in Prior lake, Minnesota.
The retreat will run from Friday evening, July 24th to Sunday noon, July 26th.
We will celebrate Mass on both Saturday and Sunday.
There will be ample opportunity for spiritual direction, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, reconciliation, and silence, during the retreat. The total fee for the retreat is $180, and this includes room, board, meals and stipends. Each retreatant will have their own room and spouses may request adjoining and connected rooms if they like.
If you are interested in attending the retreat please send a $25, non-refundable, down-payment to the BSP, c/o Bruce and Shelley Fahey, at 20939 Quadrant Ave. N, Scandia, MN 55073, PH: 651-433-2753, email:
firstname.lastname@example.org, to reserve a place. You can also notify us via email of your intent to attend the retreat at email@example.com.
If you would like to know about our Association please see our web site at: www.bspenance.org. This retreat is not a promotion for the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, but is a sincere opportunity to share your time with the Lord.
May God bless you and guide you in your journey home!
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
Archbishop Nienstedt desired to look at the Handbook before it was published. It is presently in the hands of the Censor Liborum, i.e. Censor of Books, for the Archdiocese. Once he edits it the Archbishop will review it for final publication. After that it will be available for publication. Sorry for the delay, but it is a good thing to have our Archbishop approve it before publishing. It includes the Rule, Statutes, prayers of the Rule and much more and so will be a helpful guide to us all.
INTRODUCING JOE SPERANZELLA SFO…
Joe is a new inquirer in the BSP. An article he wrote, and His intro, follow…
"They despised all worldly things so keenly that they hardly permitted themselves to receive even the necessaries of life; and they were separated from bodily comforts for so long a time that they did not shrink from anything difficult. Amid all these things they strove for peace and gentleness with all men and always conducted themselves modestly and peaceably, they avoided all scandals with the greatest zeal. They hardly spoke even when necessary; neither did anything scurrilous or idle proceed from their mouths, in order that nothing immodest or unbecoming might be found in their life and conversation."
(I Celano XV,41)
Oh that people hardly spoke even when necessary! I'd like to speak about the workplace. My workplace in particular. Those of us who are living and working in the world can learn much through the lives of the early Franciscan Friars. That we live in an increasingly immodest and un-peaceable world is verified easily in the workplace. Those who do not, or care not to practice temperate speech are all around us. Discord and scandal are the topic of the day around the water cooler. Who is doing what and how well seems to be everyone's business in the business setting.
I haven't been able to put my finger on where this comes from but I think our culture, with it's celebrity obsessions and economic problems breeds it. It is entertainment to "out" a celebrity. And it is job security to "out" a coworker. It is annoying to say the least. Those of us who deign to live peaceable have a difficult challenge not to shrink from. It is easy in our conversation to pick up attitudes against people for no reason
except hearsay. We must reject this or we become party to scandal ourselves. Let us live so as nothing unbecoming can be found in our life or conversation. This is best and brightest testimony of a Christ led life, because words are easy and deeds are not.
THE ADMONITIONS OF ST. FRANCIS
We begin them anew...
I. The Blessed Sacrament
Our Lord Jesus told his disciples, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me. If you had known me, you would also have known my Father. And henceforth you do know him, and you have seen him." Philip said to him, Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us. Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long a time with you, and you have not known me? Philip, he who sees me sees also the Father." (Jn 13:6-9).
Sacred Scripture tells us that the Father dwells in "light inaccessible" (1 Tim. 6:16) and that God is spirit (Jn 4:24), and St. John adds, "No one at any time has seen God" (Jn 1:18). Because God is a spirit he can be seen only in spirit; "It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing" (Jn 6:64). But God the son is equal to the Father and so he too can be seen only in the same way as the Father and the Holy Spirit. That is why all those were condemned who saw our Lord Jesus Christ in his humanity but did not see or believe in spirit in his divinity, that he was the true Son of God. In the same way now, all those are damned who see the sacrament of the Body of Christ which is consecrated on the altar in the form of bread and wine by the words of our Lord in the hands of the priest, and do not see or believe in spirit and in God that this is really the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Most High himself who has told us, "This is my Body and Blood of the new covenant" (Mk 14:22-24), and, "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting." (Jn 6:55)
And so it is really the Spirit of God who dwells in his faithful who receive the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord. Anyone who does not have this Spirit and presumes to receive him "eats and drinks judgment to himself" (1 Cor. 11: 29). And so we may ask in the words of Scripture, "Men of rank, how long will you be dull of heart? (Ps. 4:3) Why do you refuse to recognize the truth and "believe in the Son of God?" (Jn 9:35) Every day Jesus humbles himself as he did when he came from his "heavenly throne" (Wis. 18:15) into the Virgin's womb; every day he comes to us and lets us see him in dejection; every day he descends from the bosom of the Father into the hands of the priest at the altar. He shows himself to us in this sacred bread just as he once appeared to his apostles in real flesh. With their own eyes they saw only his flesh, but they believed that he was God, because they contemplated him with the eyes of the spirit. We, too, with our own eyes, see only bread and wine, but we must see further and firmly believe that this is his most holy Body and Blood, living and true. In this way our Lord remains continually with his followers, as he promised, "Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world." (Mt. 28:20).
"Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your lifespan?"
Ascensione, Padova, Italy, Cappella degli Scrovegni.
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.
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We remain, always, sincerely yours in the love of Jesus Christ!
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
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