RETURN TO BONAVENTURE AND HIS LESSONS ON ST. FRANCIS:
The son of a nobleman who was blind from birth received sight through the intercession of St. Francis. As a result, he was called Illuminatus. Afterwards when he came of age, he joined the Order, refusing to be ungrateful for the benefit he had received. He made such progress in the life of grace and virtue that he seemed to be a true child of the light. Eventually he brought a life of holiness to a holy end, by the merits of St. Francis.
At Zancato near Anagni a knight called Gerard had gone completely blind. Two Friars Minor who were coming from abroad happened to come to his house for hospitality and they were warmly welcomed by the whole household, out of reverence for St. Francis. They were well looked after and they continued the journey to a neighboring friary, after thanking God and their host. Then one night St. Francis appeared to one of them in a dream and told him, "Get up and go back with your companion to your benefactorís house. It wa Christ and myself that he welcomed in you and I want to repay him for his kindness. He was struck with blindness as a result of his sins which he has never tried to expiate in confession." Then he disappeared. The friar got up immediately in obedience to his comma and together with his companion he came to the house, where they told their benefactor all that had happened. He was amazed and told them that what they said was true. He was moved to tears and went to confession willingly; he promised to make amends and once he had put his soul in order, he immediately recovered his sight. The story of the miracle was told everywhere and it moved great numbers of people to venerate St. Francis and confess their sins humbly and practice hospitality.
A man who had been falsely charged with stealing was condemned by Ottaviani, the magistrate of Assisi, to lose his eyes; the sentence was carried out by Knight Otto and the public officials. His eyes were forced out and the nerves cut with a knife. Then the poor man was brought to the altar of St. Francis where he implored the saintís pity. He claimed that he was innocent and by the intercession of the saint he received new eyes within three days. They were smaller, but his sight was just as good as it had been. The Knight Otto bore witness to this extraordinary miracle under oath before James, the Lord abbot of San Clemente, who was investigating it on authority of Bishop James of Tivoli. Another witness was Brother William of Rome who was commanded to tell the truth under pain of excommunication by the minister general of the Order of Friars Minor, Brother Jerome. He bore testimony under oath before a number of provincial ministers and other important members of the Order, saying that when he was still a layman, he saw the person in question and that he then had both eyes. Afterwards he witnessed his torture, when his eyes were put out, and asserted that he personally examined the eyes as they lay on the ground and turned them over with a stick. Afterwards, he saw the man after he had recovered his eyes by Godís power and could see clearly.
ADMINISTRATOR'S MESSAGE: Ö LEADERSHIP
We are all called to be leaders, in our lives and in our spirituality, so as to build the Kingdom of God around us, and it so badly needs to be built. As we mentioned last month, we all have gifts. We need to use these gifts for the greater glory of God and the good of humanity.
That said, what does leadership mean to us? As Christians? As BSP members? As family and friends to others?
Our first call to leadership is to live our Faith to the full. To rejoice in God, and His promises to us, and His call to be with him forever in heaven. It is an incredible call. It is an incomprehensible mystery. How a creature made of dust can become forever an angel of God! Yet, we have been called, and the Master of all creation, Jesus Christ, became man so we can relate perfectly to our call to be like God in this world. To share the values of God, and to share the work of God, as leaders in where He has put us. In our lives in the world.
To do this we must make a conscious decision to take the words of Christ, the living Word of God, and make them who we are. We must decide to live the Gospel generously; actively; with commitment. To do this we must know the Gospels quite literally, and make them our food and drink. Make them the focus of our lives, and know them well. If we do this we can then always draw on them to decide how to handle any particular situations or people we might face.
As BSP members we need to remember our Rule is the way of life that the Lord gave us through St. Francis. It was NOT St. Francis alone, for he was never alone but always with the Lord whom he knew intimately. We need, in the words of our first Visitor, the very holy and reliable, Father Valerius Messerich O.F.M., now with God, to "become the Rule". We need to live it so literally that we use the Rule as our guideline to our life. We need to make its tenets our definition of what our life should look like. Not that we will do that immediately, or easily. But, we need to do it. It is a holy way of life.
Having done that we can make a decision to take the Rule to others. Not to tell others how great we are for living it. Not to tell them how we live it at all. We need to make others aware of their need to know God, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world and their need to take the Gospels seriously.
There is much work in the Association that can be done to help us realize this goal, especially for those professed. For if we donít profess to live this Rule ourselves, and take this commitment seriously ourselves, how can we ever promote it to others? We canít. In the Association the first way we can become leaders is to live the Rule seriously, and with joy, for it is itself a call to holiness. Then we can make a decision, wherever we live, to open the Rule to others by looking for others to join us in our journey. When we do that we can form a local Chapter, and believe us, that Chapter will become a great joy to us for it will be the community of the BSP coming alive in our midst; in our lives; in our place. This should be a first goal for all who are professed.
To do this proceed first with great prayer for this cause. If you donít pray for it donít expect it to happen. Having prayed for it look for ways to make it happen. Expect to encounter others who will join you in living it. Unite with them in making this holy way of life come alive where you are.
Having accomplished that look to ways you can lead in the Association. We need formation advocates; people who are themselves professed who want to help others through formation. To do this we at BSP headquarters can provide names of people in any particular area who might also join a local chapter, assuming there are some. If there are none, thanks to modern technology, we can assign new inquirers going into formation to formation advocates regardless of their location, and this help will broaden our ability as an Association to reach out to the masses.
We also need a Web master to replace Anna, who has cancer and one day, perhaps not in the too far distant future, will no longer be able to be our Web master. We are working to become skilled in doing all that needs to be done on the Web page, but we also do everything else that needs to be done right now. So, if you have skills to help us with this work, and are professed, we have work for you to do. It is not overwhelming, but it is constant. A ministry within the ministry of the BSP.
From these leadership efforts we can develop a natural ability to relate to family and friends in peace, and joy, and God. That leadership is beautiful, and necessary, to us as Christians, for in the name of Jesus we need to love everyone and family must come first.
So, look for ways to improve your leadership. In the Church, in living your Faith, in the BSP if you feel so called, and with family and friends. Leadership doesnít just happen. It takes effort and for those with the gift of leadership the desire to lead, and openness to it, proceeds before it will ever happen.
Please pray about this, and everyone in this Association should strive to become a leader in their personal spiritual lives as a first commitment. From that all else will come.
God bless you and keep you and guide you into His Will.
Sincerely yours in Jesus Christ,
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
Homily by Fr. Robert Altier - BSP Visitor
We hear about a vineyard in the Gospel, and it is the vineyard of the Lord. And about this
vineyard, we are told that God planted the choicest vine, that He put up a wall and a tower.
He took care of everything. He spaded the vineyard; He planted the best; He watered it; He
took care of it the way it should be taken care of. And when He looked for the grapes, it
produced wild grapes. In the Gospel reading in the parable of Our Lord, when God sent His
servants, the prophets, and then sent His own Son to the tenants who were to be taking care of the vineyard, they responded by not giving the produce they had produced. They wanted it only for themselves. They killed all the prophets, and finally they threw the Son out of the vineyard and killed Him as well.
Now what does this have to do with us? We are the New Israel. We are told in the first reading that the vineyard of the Lord is the House of Israel, and we are the New Israel. If the prophet Isaiah were alive today he would say the vineyard of the Lord is the Roman Catholic Church. God planted the choicest vines, He built a tower- the bishops, He put up a wall - the priests, and He put the best vines that He could find, the holy people that He had chosen for Himself. They were to be protected; they were to be watched over; they were to be provided with everything necessary to provide only the best of fruit for God. But those in the watchtower have not been watching. They did not protect the vineyard from the wild boar and the animals that tried to destroy it and from the marauders who would steal. Those who were supposed to be the protective wall have not been protecting the vineyard; they have allowed everything and anything to come in and to destroy and to plunder.
These are also the tenants, but not just the priests and the bishops; in this case, those who are the vines are also the vinedressers. That is, each one of us here, each and every Catholic person, is supposed to not only be the vine but the one who tends the vine. Each one of us is supposed to produce great fruit for the Lord, and we are supposed to give Him His share of the fruit at its proper time. His share of the fruit is all of it. In turn, He will give to us everything we need. We tend to look at it the other way, that is, we want what we want first, and if there is something left over we will give it to the Lord. Instead, we are to be doing everything for the Lord, knowing that if we are giving everything to Him out of love, that in return, out of love, He will give to us everything we need.
But when the Lord looks to His vineyard, and He looks for the produce and He looks for the best grapes because He put in the best vines, what is He finding? He is finding watchmen who have fallen asleep, or indeed, watchmen who have willfully invited in those who are going to destroy. He has found a broken wall rather than a strong wall that is going to keep out all the elements that are going to invade and destroy His vineyard. And He has found that His vines have not been producing good fruit.
And so we are told, that if this is going to happen, God is going to take away His vineyard and He is going to give it to someone else. That is what we see happening. If we look at what is going on in the world today, on one level we have to say that those who are bearing the fruit for God in many ways are not the Catholics. In many ways, Catholics have become the wimpiest Christians of all. We are afraid to stand up for the truth. We are afraid to speak out. We are afraid to tell people about Jesus Christ; we are embarrassed about the Lord. We refuse to stand up and be counted because it is a whole lot easier just to be silent, even when we do not agree with what everybody else is doing. We do not want to make any waves or, worse yet, we want to be just like everyone else. Therefore, we deny Jesus Christ in order to have what we want. On the other hand, we can look at some of the evangelical Christians who are zealous for the Lord, who are out telling people about Jesus Christ, who are doing good work in the vineyard. One could look and wonder if the Lord has in fact handed over His vineyard to someone else who would produce good fruit because the vines and the tenants have not.
This does not mean we ought to despair, because Saint Paul, in the second reading, told us that we are not to be anxious about anything. This is still the Lord's vineyard and you are still His choice vine - and you are still to bear good fruit for the Lord. Now the wonderful thing about God is that even if the whole vineyard is producing wild grapes, He is still going to look at each individual vine to look at its fruit and to see if it is still bearing good fruit. He will rejoice in that one vine, and He will receive all of the good produce. He will care for that one vine and He will rejoice in it exultantly, and He will continue to take care of it. In fact, if we just think about it, if you have a whole vineyard that is filled with good vines producing good fruit, the fruit that one vine produces really does not stand out very much, but if you have a vineyard which is producing a lot of bad fruit and you have one vine which is producing good fruit, it stands out very clearly in the eyes of the owner of the vineyard. And so, it is an opportunity that we have today, more than any other time in the history of the Church, to be able to be counted, to be able to produce good fruit for the Lord which is going to bring great joy to all of the hosts of Heaven, because we recognize that those in the watchtower are not producing good fruit, those who make up the wall are not keeping the world and all the destructive forces out, most of the vines are not producing good fruit for the Lord, but we can. The grace is all there. God picked the choicest vines and He did everything necessary, and the opportunity is there for us to produce good fruit for the Lord. We need to do exactly what Saint Paul told us in the second reading today: We need to keep our focus on that which is good, beautiful, just, true, excellent, perfect, and so on - all the various attributes he spoke about - because that is the way we are going to produce.
There is ultimately only One who has all of those attributes, and that is Our Lord Himself. So if we keep our focus on the Lord, we will bear good fruit. And if we are willing to stand up and be counted, not to be just like the other vines in the vineyard, but to stand up and say, "I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. The Lord Himself is the center of my life and He is what is most important to me. I will not be embarrassed of Him. I will not shy away when it comes to the truth. I will not become like everyone else just to fit in and be liked, but I am going to stand up for Jesus Christ in the face of all of the elements that are gravitating against Him."
Now we must do this in humility. And that is very critical because if we look at it and say, "Now, I as a vine can stand out and the vineyard Owner is going to notice me!" that is the wrong reason. You will be noticed but it must be in humility, because if it is in pride, all of the nice foliage we have and the vine that looks so healthy is going, once again, to produce bad fruit because it will be selfish. We need to be producing fruit for the Lord and it needs to be for Him, not for ourselves. That is the challenge for each of us: to make sure that what we are doing is doing the right thing for the right reason.
The wonderful thing we have is the guarantee from the Lord that He would not abandon us, that He would not leave us orphans, that He would remain with us all days until the end of the world, that He would give us the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth, and that the jaws of hell will not prevail against His Church. And so even though in the Gospel reading and in the first reading it would seem that He is going to remove everything and give His vineyard over to others, the reality is that He will not because He has made a promise that He will not. Nonetheless, He is still going to require that we will be vigilant on His arrival, that we are going to produce good fruit. It is not enough to be able to sit back and say, "We are part of the Lord's vineyard, therefore, eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die! We have nothing to worry about. It's all taken care of; our salvation is guaranteed because the Lord has chosen us." The Lord has chosen us to go out and bear fruit and He is going to require that of us. If He finds us sitting back lounging when He arrives, and having borne no fruit, or very little fruit, or wild fruit, it will not be a good day for us.
We need to be busy about the work of the Lord. We have the opportunity to become great saints. That is the kind of fruit He is looking for; that is the kind of vine He is seeking: people who desire to be saints, people who desire to work in His vineyard, to be tenants who are going to tend the vines and who are going to produce fruit for the Lord. That is what He has chosen each one of us to do. The question simply is, are we willing to do it? Are we willing to actually stand up and be counted for the Lord? Are we willing to do whatever it is that the Lord wants us to do no matter how difficult, how ridiculous, or how insane it might sound to us at the time? What the Lord asks is always the best and we are not to argue with Him; we are not to try to tell Him how He is to run His vineyard. But rather, we are to look around and try to help the other vines as much as we can, to tend them, to prune them, to help them. And we are to be bearing good fruit ourselves.
The Lord is the vineyard Owner; He will take care of His vineyard. He will deal with those in the watchtower; He will deal with those who are supposed to provide the protection; but He will also deal with his vines. In the meantime, He is asking that we would also tend the vine and make sure that the vine is going to produce good fruit. So in the midst of all the chaos that is going on in the vineyard of the Lord, He is asking that at least some would be willing to bear him good fruit, to provide His produce at the proper time. That is His invitation to each one here: to say "yes" to the Lord, to do whatever it is that we can do to further His kingdom, and to provide Him with the best fruit we can. That is what He is asking. He has planted us in the vineyard at the time that He knows we will be able to do the best work. The temptations are all going to be there to abandon what we know we are supposed to do, and the temptations are abundant. But the grace is also there in abundance, and the mercy of God is there in abundance. He is giving to us absolutely everything that is necessary to be productive and to bear for Him the best fruit that has been produced in 2,000 years. You have been chosen by God, not only as a choice vine, but as a chosen tenant to tend the vine and to produce good fruit and to give that to Our Lord at the proper time.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.
From the Second Reading - 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Janet Klasson BSP
"Let us therefor approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy
and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)
If we were to take a survey of the readers of the BSP Newsletter, how many of us would say we
were praying for the conversion of friends or family members? I do not think it is an exaggeration
to say probably 100% of us are. For many of us it is the most fervent prayer in our minds and hearts.
But how many of us are worried that the Lord will not hear our prayers? Or will somehow be prevented from answering them and our loved ones will be forever lost? Do we feel despair over their eternal souls? Or do we approach the throne of grace with boldness, confidence, trust, and gratitude?
Read what St Augustine says about the story of the paralytic in his sermon "On Pastors":
Lovers of the world, however, who are kept from good works by some evil desire, lie sick and listless, and it is this sickness that deprives them of any strength to accomplish good works.
The paralytic was like that. When his bearers could not bring him in to the Lord, they opened the roof and lowered him down to the feet of Christ. Perhaps you wish to do this in spirit: to open the roof and to lower a paralytic soul down to the Lord. All its limbs are lifeless, it is empty of every good work, burdened with its sins, and weak from the illness brought on by its evil desires. Since all its limbs are helpless, and the paralysis is interior, you cannot come to the physician. But perhaps the physician is himself concealed within; for the true understanding of Scripture is hidden. Reveal therefore what is hidden, and thus you will open the roof and lower the paralytic to the feet of Christ.
Think how difficult it must have been for that man's friends to carry him onto the roof, disassemble it, and lower him down without causing him further harm! What faith! What boldness! What persistence!
Although St. Augustine's discourse is directed to pastors, it also applies to the ordinary priestly ministry of the baptized. Our Lord wants to save souls. He longs for it. Salvation is the business that heaven conducts with earth. Through our prayers and sacrifices, we become agents of heaven's business on earth. As agents of heaven on earth, God's faithful have an obligation to carry the paralytic into the presence of Jesus. We carry them in prayer and fasting, taking great care to cause them no further harm, believing and trusting that our Lord will honor our efforts. After all, we are working for heaven.
Having gone to such lengths, will our prayers be denied or our efforts ignored by so loving a Savior? On the contrary! St. Faustina tells us there is no one beyond the reach of Divine Mercy. Let that give us great hope as we approach the throne of mercy with boldness on behalf of poor souls.
Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us!
From the Pelianito Journal blog:
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" He said to them, "Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?" Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.
"Beloved, you know, donít you, that I have the power to save?"
Yes, Lord, I believe with all my heart.
"Then child, when you pray for souls, pray with confidence to the God whom even the wind and the waves obey. Let none perish on account of your lack of faith. Swallow back or spit out any vile excuse or objection, any judgment you may be tempted to make in regard to souls. There is no one beyond the reach of my mercy. Pray for all, especially those whose sins are most repugnant to you. They are the ones most in danger of perishing, the ones most in need of my mercy. Pray with faith, dear child, knowing that I hear you and want to save all from eternal death. Be an instrument of my Divine Mercy and the final victory will be much sweeter."
Lord, here I am, send me. Make me a willing instrument of your mercy. By the intercession of the Blessed Mother and the Gloriana*, increase the effectiveness of my prayers for the salvation of souls and for your glory. Amen.
(*Gloriana: The angels and saints in perfect communion with the Blessed Trinity; the perfect unity of heaven.)
Janet Klasson BSP - Divine Mercy Chapter - Canada
NO GREATER LOVE: by PAUL BEERY BSP - October 2009
"Simeon said to Mary His mother; ĎThis child is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign of contradiction Ė and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword Ė so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." (Luke, 2, 33)
October is the month of Mary, and the month of the holy rosary. There is a great history that goes with the feast of the Holy Rosary on Oct. 7, dating to the year 1571 and the Battle of Lepanto. G.K. Chesterton is but one author who writes at length about this great victory at sea (which helped save Western Christian Civilization), attributed to the intercession of our Blessed Mother. Many holy souls fervently prayed the rosary before and during the battle because the Holy League, led by Don Juan of Austria, was greatly outnumbered in both manpower and ships.
Our Blessed Mother, through her favorite prayer, has not only played an important part in history, but in the lives of countless millions of disciples of her Son Jesus. One of them is recently canonized Padre Pio. I was watching a homily on his feast-day on EWTN. Padre Pio appeared to the priest giving the homily at a time in his life when he was looking for inspiration. The padre was on his knees praying the rosary in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The priest has followed Padre Pioís example, to his great benefit.
I was amazed to learn that Padre Pio was the first priest (apart perhaps from the Apostle Paul) to ever have the stigmata. Twelve hundred years after the time of Christ, our holy father St. Francis, a deacon, was the first to have the wounds of Jesus imprinted on his body. It took another seven hundred years before one of his followers, Padre Pio, became the first priest to be so honored. Born in 1887, he offered his life to Jesus at the age of five. He became a Capuchin Franciscan, and was ordained a priest. He had the stigmata for FIFTY YEARS! Itís difficult to imagine how much this man suffered, not only from the stigmata which he endured until his death in 1968, but from the misunderstanding it caused among his confreres and higher authorities. And then there were the physical attacks from the devil. What an incredible life! He could also read hearts like our Blessed Mother. We have a book of "Testimonies" giving many examples of that fact. He was a spiritual father to thousands. And he is just the latest Saint to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis, who continues to have a tremendous impact on the world today.
On an unrelated subject, I have found a bee in my bonnet, and need to remove it. It involves what I believe is a tremendous over-reaction concerning a vital part of our faith.
There are contests around the country in which the participants try to tell the biggest and best story. Itís all in good fun, and everyone knows these are made-up stories. Real life follows this pattern. It seems we have one Whopper trying to top the other. And the people telling these whoppers are SERIOUS. Itís not as though they deliberately set out to tell a fanciful story, which may look like a complete lie Ė or are stunningly inaccurate - to others. Thatís a general statement; here are examples.
A Muslim girl converted to Christianity, and may be forcibly returned by a court to her family where she fears her father will kill her for dishonoring Islam. An official at a major Muslim organization (CAIR) said: "There are no honor killings in Islam."
An Administration that rabidly promotes the Culture of Death at every opportunity promises it will not promote the Culture of Death in its Health Care "Reform" bill. This after claiming its Health Care "Reform" bill is actually about health care, or health insurance, or whatever - not the most important part of a massive Government takeover of Americaís private enterprise system.
Many other examples come to mind, including the great Global Warming Hoax. But the most insulting whopper of all to me is: we better not take Holy Communion on the tongue or we will die of swine flu! Folks, I donít know if I will be able to describe just how insulting to my intelligence Ė and my spiritual sensitivity - this whopper is on so many levels. This manic reaction has proven beyond a doubt that we live in a world governed by a liberal worldview. Facts donít matter in this perverted world. The fact is: approximately THIRTY-SIX THOUSAND people in the United States DIE OF THE FLU EVERY YEAR! The flu is as common as the common cold, and people die of the flu no matter what year it is or what particular flu bug is the latest to come along. But massive hysteria can be caused every year by those who love to scare people to death Ė and for what reason? Do flu shots even work? Are they worth the money and effort? Is there consensus on these questions? Hardly.
All the while this yearly folly goes on, no one pays attention to the real killer of both body and soul: the rebellion of mankind against God. The followers of Jesus Christ may have to live in a perverted world, BUT WE DONíT HAVE TO REACT IN THE SAME WAY. We march to a different drummer; we have dramatically different values. We donít follow the crowd, but are supposed to LEAD IT!
Those who live in a perverted world love to waste time on worthless causes. I confess to being one of them, following worthless, even sinful pursuits. But I will never try to justify any of those worthless pursuits by saying itís good or really worthwhile. It would be like trying to justify sin.
I know there have been three worldwide flu pandemics in the past hundred years, in which millions of people have died. What are the odds of that happening this year, or next year? And so what if it did happen? Are we afraid of dying? Do we want to postpone joining the Lord in heaven? Heavens NO!
If the worldly wish to justify their folly by making mountains out of molehills, or when they canít see the forest for the trees, thatís their right. But we donít have to follow their example. We donít have to get hysterical over molehills, especially flu molehills. Most of all, we donít have to allow their foolishness to interfere with the most important action in our lives; interfere with our relationship with Jesus Christ. But THATíS EXACTLY WHATíS HAPPENING!
John Paul II had a motto: "Be not afraid." I think he got that idea from a Higher Authority. But now everywhere there are guidelines and standards and commandments coming out in every diocese telling Catholics what they are to be afraid of! Afraid of greeting others, afraid of shaking hands, afraid of how to receive Communion Ė afraid of touching God! Why? Oh, you might catch the flu. Really? Wow, thatís something new, isnít it? Thatís really something to be afraid of, let me tell you. Utter folly is coming between ourselves and God. And we donít have anything to say about it in some cases.
What are we to think now when we go up to receive the Body of Christ? In addition to all the other distractions, we are told to be afraid of how to do this. Those of us who firmly believe that Communion in the hand has been a disaster are now told, in some places at least, that we MUST receive Holy Communion IN THE HAND. This IN DIRECT VIOLATION of the Churchís promise to always allow communicants the option of receiving Jesus on the tongue.
IF this were an issue of the BLACK PLAGUE about to kill us all, I might have some sympathy for these guidelines. But ITíS JUST THE FLU! Just another flu that comes around every year, year after year. Watch the breathless headlines, the comparative handful of people who die of swine flu, knowing thirty-six thousand die of the flu, the common horse, bird or dog flu every year. Donít blame the swine, they are innocent. At the end of this flu season, see how many people die of the swine flu compared to other years, and then realize we have experienced much ado about nothing. Every year the same. Some new villain, some new flu, some new scare tactic in a perverted world guaranteed to distract people from THE ONE THING NECESSARY. Why do we keep falling for the same old trick? Arenít we smart enough to see the incredible waste of our precious time this is, time that could be devoted to the pursuit of God?
It seems that liberals have great perseverance in the attainment of their goals, one of which is to deny the divinity of Jesus Christ. They have been trying for forty years to get Catholics off their knees, end pious practices like the rosary and benediction, get us to take a piece of bread into our own hands. Now lo and behold, they can FORCE people of piety to take Jesus into their own hands because of the flu! What a coincidence! Now everyone going up for Holy Communion has been programmed to think about the swine flu instead. Lord, have mercy on us distracted sinners. We pray for YOUR DIVINE MERCY! Mother Mary, change our hearts so they conform to that of your Son Jesus!
Paul Beery BSP - Morning Star Chapter - Minnesota
God is Love . . . and Life by Lisa Drago BSP
During my daily meditations on Holy Scripture (lectio divina), I have been focusing on "God is Love." I highly recommend reading 1 Cor 13 followed by 1 John 4:7-21. Those are two of my favorite Scripture passages, but I had never considered them together. It is fascinating to see how we get new insights when we look at Holy Scripture in different ways. We allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts in fresh ways. After my meditation yesterday, I wrote the following:
God is Love
Love is Life
Love and Life are eternal
Life endures as long as Love endures
Why do we get up in the morning?
Because we are loved and we desire to love in return;
Without Love, we die -
slowly or quickly, always painfully
We can choose death
But God remains eternal Life
Eternity is lived NOW - and -
Love waits for us eagerly
God is Life
Lisa M. Drago, BSP
DATES TO REMEMBER:
October 4óFeast of St. Francis
óCan be treated as a Solemnity by us but is a Sunday this year.
November 1óAll Saints Day
- Is itself a Solemnity...no fasting or abstinence...but, it is a Sunday this year.
Begins the Wednesday Fast until Easter
RULE: ARTICLE 8
8. From the Pasch of the Resurrection to the feast of All Saints they are to fast on Fridays. From the feast of All Saints until Easter they are to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, but still observing the other fasts enjoined in general by the Church.
November 2, All Souls Day
RULE: ARTICLE 24
24. In addition, every year, for the welfare of the brothers and sisters living and dead, each priest is to say three Masses, each member knowing the Psalter is to recite it, and the rest shall say one hundred Our Fathers with the Requiem aeternam at the end of each.
November 11óFeast of St. Martin of Tours
- November 12 begins our Advent fast
RULE: ARTICLE 9 (Also 14, which is cited as b below.)
9. They are to fast daily, except on account of infirmity or any other need, throughout the fast of St. Martin from after said day until Christmas, and throughout the greater fast from Carnival Sunday until Easter.
b. All are to go to daily Mass in Advent and Lent whenever they can.
- Give thanks and praise to God for all His gifts.
Father Anthony Cirignani O.F.M., is one of our Visitors. He is now the pastor of St. Phillip the Apostle Catholic Church in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He contacted us recently and in a letter told us:
"In all of the parishes I have served in over the years I have tried to rescue historical and precious artifacts that have been used in the Mass. My latest rescue has been a 75 year old silver and gold Gothic chalice and paten. This is not your ordinary chalice and paten as it is a historic artifact worth thousands of dollars, but to me the use of these items in Holy Mass to hold the body and blood of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, far out weighs its material value. So, in discuss with metal artifact specialists I have decided to have it restored to its pristine beauty and want to begin to use it at Mass for special occasions.
He has given us the opportunity to contact our members and solicit donations. If you are interested in donating to this cause please send your donations to us at: Chalice, c/o Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP, 20939 Quadrant Ave. N., Scandia, MN., 55073, and we will accumulate them, and a list of donors, and send them to Father Anthony on behalf of our members. Later you will receive a picture of these artifacts, restored, from Father Anthony. Thank you, and God bless you, whatever you decide.
The cost to me personally is $600. I am inviting you to help me pay for the restoration of these priceless artifacts. Any donation would be appreciated. The donation is tax exempt, and I will send the donor a picture of I will send the donor a picture of the restored chalice and paten. I understand these are stressful times financially, but remember the Lord will bless you doubly for your generosity. And, I will also remember all those who donated and your intentions when I begin to use these beautiful artifacts for the Christmas and New Year celebrations, and thereafter on the first Fridayís and first Saturdayís of the year throughout 2009 and 2010."
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverenceÖ
Icon painted in Constantinople by a Hellenic iconographer at some time during the 11th and 12th centuries. Moved to Vladimir, Russia, in 1161, then moved to Moscow in 1395, where it has remained until now. It is housed in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.
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!