BONAVENTURE AND HIS LESSONS ON ST. FRANCIS:
Chapter IX – Those who refused to honor the saint by not keeping his feast day
When St. Francis was on his way home from overseas, he was accompanied by Brother Leonard of Assisi. He was tired and worn out and he rode on an ass for part of the journey, while his companion walked. Brother Leonard, too, was very tired and yielding to human weakness, he began to complain to himself, "My family was better off than his and now I have to walk and lead his ass, while he gets a ride." When this thought came to his mind the saint suddenly jumped off the ass and exclaimed, "Brother, You were of higher birth and position in the world than I." Brother Leonard was dumbfounded and overcome with embarrassment; he realized that he had been caught and he fell at Francis' feet and tearfully confessed his fault, begging his forgiveness.
Another friar who was a good religious and very devoted to St. Francis had the idea that anyone who enjoyed the saint's intimate affection would enjoy God's favor and that the person to whom he refused his friendship would be rejected by God. He was obsessed with this idea and it disturbed him; he longed to be on close terms with the saint, but he never told his secret to anyone. Then one day Francis invited him to come to him with every sign of affection and told him, "Do not let these ideas disturb you, my son. You are most dear to me, among all my special friends, and I am only too glad to show you all the love and friendship I can." The friar was amazed and he became more attached to the saint than ever. As he grew in the love of Francis, he was showered with still greater gifts by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
When St. Francis was living in his cell on Mount La Verna, one of his companions wanted to have some short phrases of the Bible in the saint's own handwriting; he was being assailed by a violent temptation of the spirit and he was sure it would put an end to it, or at least make it easier to bear. He was all on edge and he was worn out with longing, but he was so shy that he was afraid to tell the saint what he wanted. However, Francis learned from the Holy Spirit what his companion was afraid to tell him and he asked him to bring a pen and paper. Then he wrote a number of phrases in praise of God with his own hand and added a blessing for the friar saying, "Take this piece of paper and keep it carefully as long as you live." The friar took the gift he wanted so badly and his temptations disappeared immediately. The page of writing was afterwards preserved and worked miracles, testifying to St. Francis' wonderful power.
Bonaventure—Major Life of St. Francis (1263)
THE LAST WORDS...
As our Lord died on the cross he said seven last things we should all consider:
"Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."
It is inconceivable that we might go through suffering like Jesus did and think only of forgiving our perpetrators! Yet, Jesus forgives those who killed Him, and has it recorded for all of history. He didn't say that just for those around His cross. He said it for us. He is still being crucified today by men, and as in His own time, He still cries out: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."
"Son, behold they mother; mother behold thy son."
He gives us His mother to be our mother. We all need to remember this and ponder it, and realizing it, to treat her like our mother. To respect her; to love her; and to call on her like our earthly mother. What mother won't defend her child if they call on her.
"This day thou shalt be with me in paradise."
The good thief was not concerned about himself even as he was dying besides Jesus on his own cross. He was concerned that Jesus was being killed in his great innocence. He defends him to the other thief whose only concern was for himself. Jesus in reply tells the good thief he will, that day, be in paradise with him. We need to be concerned about others more than about ourselves. In that way we too will gain paradise.
Jesus was not thirsty for water. He had been offered to drink and refused it. He was thirsty for souls. Like him we should thirst for our own salvation, and the salvation of others and always try to do what we can to promote our Lord's call to us all in the Gospel, as did St. Francis.
"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me."
Jesus feels despair, desperation, separated from His Father, with whom He was one. It was to be so that we, when we feel despair, or depression, or separation, like Jesus, will call out to God. God did not forsake Jesus in his last moments. He let His Son suffer this separation to give us hope when we feel in a hopeless situation. We can tell God when we feel forsaken by Him, knowing that like for Jesus He will be there for us. The agony of this separation was to lead to His Resurrection.
"It is accomplished."
Jesus opened the door to heaven for us. His death accomplished that. Just before He died He told us all that it had been accomplished. We need to look back at what he suffered and not let Him die in vain. We need to realize that our salvation, and that of all, has been accomplished, if we want it and seek it.
"Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."
This is significant in many ways. He did not commend his flesh to His Father. He commended His spirit even as his body was dying. He was not concerned about his flesh, which is a message to us. The spirit is greater than the flesh, and we do well to remember it and commend our spirits to God, in our lives, and in our death.
We hope everyone had a holy and happy Easter, and celebrated the Octave of Easter with no fasting or abstinence, in the fullness of the joy of this holy season. Praise God for His gift of eternal life. Let's take the messages of Our Lord's last words into the rest of our year.
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
EASTER HOMILY by Fr. Robert Altier
Saint Peter, in the second reading that we heard today, says to us, "Come to Him, a
living stone, rejected by men but precious in the eyes of God" and "God has made Him
the cornerstone." But the important thing is that beginning phrase: "Come to Him."
That is absolutely critical. He tells us Himself in the Gospel reading that no one can come
to the Father except through Him, and then He tells us that He and the Father are one. And so, it is our only way; indeed, He is our only hope.
We all know that very well, except that our fear keeps us away. The devil, in his shrewdness, is right there to tell us that we really do not want to give ourselves wholeheartedly to Jesus - it's enough just to give ourselves "sort of" to Him: "Just believe in Him, 'kind of'; that's good enough." No, it isn't. Listen to what Saint Peter tells you about yourself: You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a chosen people. That is you. Now the question is – do you want to be that? You are that whether you want to be or not, but it is a question of whether we are going to reject it or accept it. Saint Peter tells us that because we are in Christ, we therefore are also living stones to be built into a spiritual temple and into a holy priesthood. Each and every one of us is called to this holiness. We are called to union with Jesus Christ. We are called to love and serve our heavenly Father, and there is only one way that can be done, that is, in and through Jesus Christ.
Now, most of us are going to deal with the exact same problems when it comes to Our Lord. We know that He is the way, the truth, and the life. We know that He loves us. We know that He wants only the best for us, but we are afraid. We are afraid to give everything to the Lord because we are attached to too many things. We are afraid to give ourselves to the Lord because we like to be in control of our own lives. And even though we would not suggest this, if we are honest with ourselves, the truth of the matter is that we like to be in control of our own lives. We are afraid that if we turn control over to the Lord that He might actually ask us to do something we did not want to do, or He might ask us to do something that would hurt and we like things to be easy and comfortable.
We like to be able to say that we believe in Jesus, but we live a worldly life; that is the American way. If I may be so bold, I would suggest to you that if that is the way we are trying to live, we do not believe in Jesus Christ. Let me make that perfectly clear: If we want to say that we believe in Jesus and live a worldly life, we do not have faith in Jesus Christ. We can have a generic belief in Jesus, but we do not believe in the Jesus Christ who tells us that we have to follow Him, we do not believe in the Jesus Christ who speaks to us of our dignity, we do not believe in the Jesus Christ to whom Saint Peter tells us to come, because we refuse to come to Him and because we are afraid.
We need, then, to ask ourselves why we are afraid. When we look at what it is that He has done for us already: He has, first of all, become a man; secondly, He has died for our sins to prove His love for us; thirdly, He promises to us that where He is we also will be, and that He has gone before us to prepare a place for us and He will come back and take us to be with Him for eternity. So why are we afraid? We are afraid, perfectly honestly, that we might have to suffer a little bit. We are afraid that we would have to do things His way rather than Him doing it our way. We are afraid that He is God instead of us and that we cannot tell Him how to be God, but instead He is going to tell us how to be His followers. When it really comes down to it, we are afraid that we are not the shepherd, but that He is, and we would have to be sheep. We don't like that.
But when we look at the first reading, we hear the apostles telling us that it is not right for them "to neglect prayer and the Word of God in order to wait on tables". In other words, they had the duties of their state in life, and it was not right for them to neglect what their task was in order to do something else. The same is true for each one of us. It is wrong for us to want to be something other than what we are, which means none of us is the shepherd. We are the sheep. We need to quit trying to bump Jesus out of the way, telling Him that we will take over and if we need Him then we will call on Him, but in the meantime, we will take care of the shepherding task and we will lead ourselves in the way that we think is the best. We have proven to ourselves, thousand of times over - if you are anything like me, anyway - that trying to be the shepherd of your own soul does not work very well.
We have a shepherd, and as sheep it is our job to follow Him. That is part of the duty of our state in life. That is what is incumbent upon us because of our baptismal vows. We need to quit trying to take control of our own lives, and we need to give it to Him. But we are afraid. We are afraid that if we give Him control, He will actually take it, and that He might try to lead us in a path where we did not want to go. Well, I can stand here and give you an absolute guarantee that if you do give Him control, He will take it. Let there be no mistake about that. He wants to be in control, but He is God. When He is in control, it is very different from when we are in control, because He wants only what is the best. He will lead us in the way that is the most perfect, but we do not believe that. We like to think that the way we have charted out is the way that is the best and the most perfect, but we know it is not.
Saint Peter tells us that for those who do not believe, Jesus is a stumbling stone. The Greek word that is used there means He is a scandal. You can ask yourself, then, if you believe that Jesus is going to lead you in a way that is not the best, if you are afraid to give control over to Him, do you not then believe that He will be a stumbling stone for you? That He is going to lead you somehow in a way that is going to trip you up, that is not going to be the best? If that is the case, then we would have to say that Jesus Christ has become for each one of us a scandal, a stumbling stone.
But He ought not to be that. Instead, if we recognize Him as He truly is, then we realize that He is the cornerstone rejected by men but precious in the sight of God, and that we too are living stones. But we are living stones only in Him, built up into the spiritual edifice, into a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God the Father. That is who we are. But we can only do that if we are built upon the cornerstone. We ourselves are not the cornerstone. Saint Paul tells us that no one can lay a foundation other than the foundation that has been laid, and Jesus is the cornerstone of that foundation. So if we want to build our own edifice, if we want to make ourselves look impressive and put up our own little façade, then we are building someplace other than on Jesus Christ. We are making ourselves the cornerstone, and if that is the case, then we can say that we have become the stone accepted by men and precious in their sight, but rejected by God. We need to be acceptable stones in God's eyes, living stones, not dead pieces of rock that are sitting there, but stones that are filled with life because we are united with Jesus Christ who is the shepherd of our souls.
There is only one temple, there is only one priesthood, and there is only one chosen people. The question we need to ask is - do we want to be part of that? Saint Peter lays it out for us very clearly: You are a chosen race, a holy priesthood. You are the people of God, but the choice is yours. You can do it your way, or you can do it God's way. Jesus tells us that He is going to come back and He is going to take us to be with Him so that where He is we also will be. We will be able to enter into the eternal temple. We will be able to serve Him as priests forever, as children of our heavenly Father, if we allow ourselves to be built upon Him. But if we decide that we want to do it our own way, that we want to be the cornerstone, that we want to be the shepherd, that we want to tell God how it is to be done, then we reject His offer and we will be away from Him for eternity. We can be in control - and we can direct ourselves straight into perdition. Or we can give up the control. We can accept the true Shepherd of our souls. We can allow ourselves to be built upon the foundation that Jesus Himself has laid, and we will be built up into that holy priesthood, that chosen race, the people set apart, the people of God Himself whom He has called to serve Him and to worship Him and to be glorified with Him for all eternity.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.
BSP RETREAT 2010
The BSP retreat for 2010 is set to be held at the Prior Lake Retreat Center in Minneapolis as it has been for the past 10 years. Details on the retreat follow. The retreat is open to the public, and of course, to all BSP members. If you would like to attend please contact BSP headquarters and send $25 to reserve a spot. The total cost for all meals, stipends, and fees is $180.
Father Anthony (Tony) Cirignani O.F.M., one of the Visitors of the BSP, will be the retreat master this year. The subject he has chosen for us is "Instruments of Peace", from the Peace Prayer of St. Francis.
The retreat schedule follows.
Friday, July 30, 2010
4:00 PM – Regular Retreat Arrivals begin – BSP Greeting Committee at the door
5:30 PM - Dinner followed by introductions, instructions, and sharing – Bruce Fahey, Father Tony & someone from the Retreat center.
6:30 PM - Evening & Night Prayers from the Divine Office (C)
7:00 PM – Introduction to Franciscan Spirituality and movie on Fatima – Father Tony (MCR)
8:30 PM - Chaplet of Divine Mercy followed by Eucharistic Adoration (C)
9:30 PM – Benediction ( C )
10:00 PM - Retire
Saturday, July 31, 2010
7:00 AM – Rise
7:30 AM - Office of Readings & Morning Prayers from the Divine Office (C) OPTIONAL
8:30 AM – Breakfast
9:30 AM - First Talk - Father Tony (MCR)
10:00 AM to 4 PM – Confessions and spiritual direction with Father Tony
11:30 AM – The Three Little Hours of the Divine Office ( C ) OPTIONAL
12:30 PM – Lunch …Group Picture Outside unless raining…
2:30 PM - Second Talk – Father Tony (MCR)
4:00 PM – Mass and homily celebrated by Father Tony
5:30 PM – Dinner
6:30 PM - Third Talk – Father Tony (MCR)
8:00 PM – Evening & Night Prayer from the Divine Office – ( C ) OPTIONAL
8:30 PM - Chaplet of Divine Mercy followed by Eucharistic Adoration (C )
9:30 PM - Benediction – Father Tony
10:00 PM - Retire
Sunday August 1, 2010 – Final day
7:00 AM – Rise
7:30 AM - Office of Readings & Morning Prayers from the Divine Office (C) OPTIONAL
8:30 AM – Breakfast
9:30 AM – Final Talk – Father Tony (MCR)
11:00 AM – Sunday Mass and homily by Father Tony
12: 30 PM – Lunch and departures thereafter.
1:30 PM - BSP Meeting (MCR) – with Father Tony
FROM THE PELIANITO BLOG… www.pelianito.stblogs.com
by Janet Klasson BSP
April 23, 2010
Jonah 3:4 Jonah began his journey through the city, and had gone but a single day's walk announcing, "Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed."
"Beloved, do not fear when you see these things happening but rejoice, for the day of the Lord is near. You, my child, must put on sackcloth and sit in ashes* on behalf of those who will not repent. Only in this way will the duration and intensity of the days of tribulation be lessened. My child, believe in my mercy, hope in my mercy, trust in my mercy. Child look to the east—I am near."
Jesus, beloved, may our trust in your unfathomable mercy give us strength in the days to come. May all those now suffering for the sake of the name be given every grace to persevere. Jesus we trust in you. Amen.
*Not meant to be taken literally, but is symbolic of the prayer and penance that must be done on behalf of sinners.
April 25, 2010
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
"Little child, be littler still. Empty yourself of all attachments so that you may be filled with the Holy Spirit anew and be my witness. A day is coming when the Spirit will be made manifest and all those who have made room for him will be filled as on the day of Pentecost. Child, this will be a great day of evangelization and many, many souls will be converted. But be aware that the thief and the liar will not sit idly by while souls he counted as his own are snatched out of his grip. A great battle for souls is underway and will intensify. Do not let up on your prayers, but make way for the Holy Spirit, who has great need of little souls to do his work."
Come Holy Spirit. May the fire of your love fall upon the earth and turn the hearts of all back to you. Help me to let go of everything that prevents you from filling me completely. Here I am Lord. Use me as you wish to accomplish your designs upon the world. Amen.
Janet Klasson BSP - Divine Mercy Chapter - Canada
NO GREATER LOVE: by PAUL BEERY BSP - May 2010
"Anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me." (Matthew 10, 38)
"The father you spring from is the devil, and willingly you carry out his wishes. He was a
murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. Lying
speech is his native tongue, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8, 44)
Friends, there is something I wish to say, and I have seven pages of material to prove it. Yet, I begin again. I hope you will endure this topic once more, for I feel it is the most important subject causing great disunity in the Church. Last month I used the term "poisonous venom" infecting the American people via the acceptance of Secular Socialism leading to infidelity to Jesus Christ. Fr. Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute came to my defense. He gave a talk April 15 titled: "Does Social Justice Require Socialism?" Unfortunately a transcript of that talk is not yet available as of April 30, but I know what it contains. Please try to read it. The crux of the crisis in the Church is the blatant political/ideological misrepresentation of the meaning of Social Justice. The Religious Left has made this a central issue in their attack on the true teaching of the Church, and Christianity in general. They make a strong case not only that Social Justice does require Socialism, but that it does not require God! I would like to make as strong a case that the father of lies is involved in this process every step of the way, for the end result is that any political party that promotes Socialist Social Justice is also a party that cares not a whit about the Gospel of Life, or the advancement of the Kingdom of God. And that is proven every day, as its hapless Christian members are forced to sell out rather than defend the Pro-Life teachings of their faith.
An article that is available by Fr. Sirico is: "The Great Lie: Pope Benedict XVI On Socialism." He quotes the encyclical "Spe Salvi" (In Hope We are Saved), in which Pope Benedict addressed the question of whether salvation could occur without God! That's the teaching of Karl Marx, who imagined that something approximating the Kingdom of God on earth - Socialism - could be created by merely adjusting mankind's material conditions (re-distribution of wealth). But Marx never expressed how Socialism would work once the established order was done away with. Pope Benedict explains:
"His silence on this matter follows logically from his chosen approach. His error lay deeper. He forgot that man always remains man. He forgot man and he forgot man's freedom. He forgot that freedom always remains also freedom for evil. He thought that once the economy had been put right, everything would automatically be put right. His real error is materialism: man, in fact, is not merely the product of economic conditions, and it is not possible to redeem him purely from the outside by creating a favorable economic environment."
So the first problem with Socialism is economic. In Sirico's words: Socialism "exalts theft as an ethic, and overlooks the human right of freedom." Convince 51% of the population that it is right, just and fair to steal from the other 49%. This is Secular Socialism's definition of "Social Justice," one based on pure materialism. I see it every day, for my wife and I live in the inner city; a place of rampant crime, drug dealing, sexual degeneracy, broken families, broken and meaningless lives. The State can give out bread in exchange for votes, but it can never give the Bread of Life to heal the soul caught up in acts that degrade people's humanity. In fact, it does the exact opposite.
Having removed God from the picture, a huge vacuum needs to be filled, and it is - by another of the devil's big lies, the Culture of Death. The State is in the forefront of promoting and attempting to legalize every evil contained therein: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, and same-sex marriage, perhaps the worst of many pernicious aspects of homosexuality. Christians promote this lie.
How is that possible? The groundwork was laid by dissident Catholics/Christians for the acceptance of Secular Socialism. Pope Benedict XVI calls this movement: "Anarchic Utopianism." At a Wednesday audience in March, he said that "after the Second Vatican Council some were convinced that all would be made new, that another Church was being made, that the pre-conciliar Church was finished and we would have another, totally 'other' (Church)." A "new morality" replaced traditional moral values. Clear Church teachings were brought into question. The Magisterium was too "patriarchal." We all know the sad story of the enemy within. This betrayal of the Church was led by those who should have been its most loyal followers and greatest defenders.
Even today, 40 years later, the dissent continues, which Archbishop Burke calls "An absurdity of the most tragic kind." He refers to Religious Sisters who promoted a disastrous healthcare bill opposed by the American bishops' conference. "Who could imagine that consecrated religious would openly, and in defiance of the bishops as successors of the apostles, publicly endorse legislation containing provisions which violated the natural moral law in its most fundamental tenets – the safeguarding and promoting of innocent and defenseless life, and fail to safeguard the demands of the free exercise of conscience for health care workers?" Archbishop Burke also criticized the "public and obstinate betrayal of religious life by certain religious" towards Rome's ongoing apostolic visitation into U.S. religious orders. He said they should cease identifying themselves as Catholic. That's a very serious statement, but it befits the seriousness of the actions of those who betray Jesus Christ in imitation of their secular counterparts.
Secular Socialists first lie about their true intentions, their agenda, or they would never be elected. They are not about to say: "Folks, if you elect us, we will gradually remove faith in God from your lives and replace it with loyalty to the State. We will turn your children against you in our government-run schools. We will control every aspect of your life and make you completely dependent on us. We will live in luxury as the governing class, and you will happily support us, because we are smarter than you." No. Rather, "We're here to help you. We will take care of you from cradle to grave in a Secular Utopia."
Then they will lie about the intentions of those who oppose them, in most cases conservative Christians. The agenda of the Religious Right will somehow ruin the country and limit freedom - notwithstanding the fact that it was Christianity in America that brought the greatest freedom to any people in history. What may be made more difficult is access to unlimited abortion – equivalent to the Sacrament of Baptism for the Church of the World. Such discrimination is evil, says the Secular media. And those of us who promote even the natural moral law are branded as religious extremists, radicals, bigots, racists, homophobes, and my personal favorite: Nazis! Character assassination is the favorite tactic of the Secular left. It comes straight from hell.
Incidentally, it's a dead give-away for those who compare American conservatives to Nazis. That's a European term used for European "right-wing" extremists. There is no such movement in America, which is about as un-like Europe as it could be. But the left loves to use "projection" to label their enemies in terms which more appropriately fit themselves. As an conservative American, I am loyal to the vision of our Founding Fathers, our Judeo/Christian heritage, the concept of limited government, and maximum freedom to the people who are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, among them Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." A government that thinks it alone – not God - can bestow rights upon its subjects, is totalitarian in nature. Hitler and the Nazis were Big Government Secular Socialists, the exact opposite of American limited-government conservatives.
As a Franciscan, I bring all this up because it's very personal. I consider members of the BSP virtually as consecrated religious. I am deeply wounded by the betrayal of those who take vows to be faithful to Jesus, but who go to such extremes of dissent that, as Archbishop Burke says, they should no longer call themselves Catholic. So too those who promote the greatest moral evils known to mankind, use the poor for political purposes to obtain power while maintaining a dependent class, and have the audacity to call it "Social Justice." Just look at the results of this charade, folks. Be proud, father of lies.
My commitment to Jesus Christ and His Church is total and unconditional, as is my loyalty to the Church's Magisterium. One of the reasons I belong to the BSP is the absolute loyalty of its members to the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church. We do not use St. Francis as a symbol of dissent. Rather, he is a model of obedience and submission to the Vicar of Christ on earth. We do not use the poor for political purposes. We judge our politics by our faith, not twist and distort the Gospel to promote a Secular Socialist agenda. We do not fight flesh and blood, but Principalities and Powers.
Francis was no dupe for the devil. Those who belong to the household of the faith and who live by the grace of God should not be duped by the father of lies either. Rather, it is for us to make reparation to Jesus Christ for the offenses committed against Him. Come, Lord Jesus, please lead Your followers on the straight and narrow Way through Your Divine Mercy. Mother Mary, protect your little children.
Paul Beery BSP
Morning Star Chapter