'FOLLOW ME!'
Luke 9:23

Monthly Newsletter of

The BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE

Butterfly Symbol of the BSP of Saint Francis

of
          St. Francis

June 2010

BONAVENTURE AND HIS LESSONS ON ST. FRANCIS:

Chapter I – St. Francis life in the World

St Francis

1. There lived in the town of Assisi a man whose name was Francis and on his memory a blessing rests because God in his goodness and mercy met him on his way with the abundance of His grace and saved him from the dangers of this life, showering his heavenly favors upon him. As a young boy Francis lived among worldly people and he was brought up like them. Once he had got a slight knowledge of reading and writing, he was given a job in a lucrative trading business. Yet with the help of God's grace, even when he was with his gay companions, although always ready to enjoy himself, he never followed the lure of his passions. The people he lived with were hard-headed business-people and he himself was quite anxious to make money, but he put no trust in his store of riches.

Even as a young man Francis had an open-handed sympathy for the poor which God had inspired in his heart. This bore him company as he grew up and filled his heart with such generosity that he refused to turn a deaf ear to the Gospel and resolved to give alms to everyone who approached him, especially if it was for the love of God.

One time he was caught in a rush of business and, contrary to his custom, he sent a way a beggar who had begged an alms for the love of God without giving him anything. Then he realized what he had done and he ran after him immediately and gave him a generous alms. There and then he promised God that he would never again refuse anyone who asked for love of him, as long as he had anything to give. He kept this resolution with un-wearying fidelity until the day he died and he was rewarded with a wonderful increase of grace and love of God. Afterwards when he had put on the person of Christ Jesus to perfection, he used to say that even when he was in the world, he could scarcely ever hear anyone mention the love of God without being deeply affected.

His good life, his gentleness and patience, his almost superhuman readiness to oblige, together with his generosity which exceeded his means, and his pleasant manner were so many indications which marked him out as a young man. They seemed to be almost a foretaste of things to come, indicating that the abundance of God's blessings would be heaped upon him more plentifully than ever in the future. Indeed, one citizen of the town, a very simple man who appears to have been inspired by God, took off his cloak when he met Francis in Assisi one day and spread it under his feet, saying that he deserved the respect of everybody because he would do great things and be honored by the whole Church.

Bonaventure—Major Life of St. Francis - Part I - (1263)

Bruce Fahey and Shelley, his wife, BSP Administrators
ADMINISTRATOR'S MESSAGE...
SOME FURTHER THINGS

We found that we spend a lot of time thinking about the Resurrection of Our Lord. We have completed the Easter season and now must enter the rest of our year in our life in the Church. Now we too feel reborn, and in our rebirth we acquire a refreshed need to exult in the Lord. How do we do that? By living our faith more fully. In our lives; among our family and friends. True, we are just lay people; the least of the flock of God, but by far the most numerous. We need to be fruitful and apply the principles of our resurrection to the days of our lives. In that way we too help to build up the Church.

What we also realized is that most of us don't spend much time thinking about the Ascension. It only occurred to us today, on the feast of the Ascension this year, May 16, 2010, that we don't ponder its message or meditate on its circumstances too much. If we do that we will feel a great sense of astonishment. Imagine being there as he rises into the sky! Astonishment is the only way to imagine it. We would have each been astonished! That astonishment is what occurred to the disciples gathered at Bethany. Consider what happened there.

"Then he led them (out) as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God." (LK 24:50-53)
They did him homage, recognizing only God could do what he did, and went off praising Him in great joy!

Consider what it must have been like. No one expects a person to rise into the sky. To lift off the ground on their own. It was always a human dream to fly. For centuries we saw birds fly but only in modern times with modern technology and greater understanding of math and physics could we study the birds to find out how they flew. We mimicked them, we did not discover flight for flight existed since birds existed. We discovered how to fly, to mimic what God had already created. We made a plane and now we fly everywhere. But, nowhere will man discover how to take flight in his own person in the flesh, until we are reborn in the spirit. We cannot mimic that except spiritually! So, the disciple were astounded, and we are astounded, and in that was such a huge message. The message is that the soul will give flight to the body in the life to come, and will itself soar.

In heaven we will fly with the speed of thought. The Universe will be nothing compared to what we experience in heaven. But, this unspoken message of Our Lord didn't end there. Before our Lord left he gave us further instructions too. At this point in His history he was setting the stages for His Church to blossom. Those present were its first members. He wanted to give them His Spirit first and so as he rose he gave them the next instructions.
"…stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." (LK 24:49)
So, we celebrated the Ascension and then the great coming of the Holy Spirit early this month. Let us prepare for the final things by living the messages of the Resurrection and Ascension. Let us breathe in the Holy Spirit, and live in His Presence, for he keeps us all alive, all the time. For all who seek to be holy, are holy, and all who live the Rule of 1221, however they live it, are seeking to be holy. And all His holy ones will fly to Him one day! May we be in that number!

May the Lord bless and lead us all!

Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
Administrators, Minnesota

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

Father Robert Altier
VISITOR'S MESSAGE:

HOMILY BY FATHER ALTIER

As we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, this is something that, as Catholics, we have grown up with and take for granted; but we do not always recognize the necessity and the importance of the Trinity. We recognize that all three Persons of the Trinity are God, equal with one another. There is but one God, so all three are completely perfect. There is nothing in one that is lacking in another. All three are God.

Yet there is a necessity that there be three instead of one. What we see in the Old Testament is that God chose for Himself a people. Of all people on the face of the earth, He revealed to one people, the Jewish people, that He is one. Every other society had a multiplicity of false gods. The Jewish people themselves initially had all kinds of false gods. Over the years, they were able to work all of those things out to believe in one God. And so it was necessary that God had to show Himself to be one.

But even then there were indications that God was more than just one. It was a necessity that God be more than just one because one cannot be merely in love with one's self. That is what we would call narcissism, and we would say that is a sin - and it is. Even the psychologists would say that narcissism is a psychological problem. Are we going to suggest that God is just sitting up there being a narcissist, focused on Himself and nothing else? No, one cannot be in love with one's self. It cannot happen.

When we look in the Old Testament, we see that there are different names for God. One of the names that is very commonly used, even very early on in the Book of Genesis, is "Elohim". Elohim is plural; God's name is "El". So on any of the names that come out of Hebrew like "Daniel" or "Gabriel" or "Michael" - all those words that either begin or end with "el" like "Elizabeth"- that "el" is "God". That is what it means. But when you put that into a plural form it becomes "Elohim". That is the way God is known, as "Elohim". There is a plurality of Persons, not a plurality of gods. God is one. That is what the Jewish people understood: that He is one God. But He has demonstrated many times over, even in the Old Testament by promising that He would send His Son who is also God, that there are more than one.

We know that God's Holy Name is not to be pronounced. The Jewish people had such a profound respect for the Name of God that even now they do not pronounce it. The Church, recognizing that same thing, has also passed that along to us. If you look at the first reading today, you will find the word "LORD". God passed by Moses and pronounced His Name and it says, "LORD". Then he says, "The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God." The word LORD is not actually there. That is why the Church has put that in uppercase letters, because it is not the word for Lord; it is God's Holy Name that is there. Out of respect for the Holy Name of God, as the Jewish people would never pronounce His Holy Name lest it came out even with the slightest imperfection, the Church, continuing in that tradition, gives it to us in a translated form and just simply puts "LORD". But you will notice further down in the same reading that the name "Lord" comes up again. While the "L" is in uppercase, the "ord" are all in lowercase letters because it is a different word that is used there. When you are reading Scripture, always keep that in mind: Whenever you find the uppercase letters, the word that is there is not actually "Lord", but rather it is the Holy Name of God that is not to be pronounced.

Even with these different names - the Holy Name saying that God is one, "Elohim" telling us that God is a plurality of Persons even though He is but one God - why do we need to have a multiplicity? As I have mentioned already, by the very nature of love, by the way that God has made things, God, who is love, is the One who shows to us what love is about. For us, love cannot remain in one person. As I have mentioned, you cannot just simply be in love with yourself. It is narcissism. But neither can love remain merely with two. You can be in love with another person, but the nature of love is that it is a relationship. It is a reciprocal, benevolent relationship. It is two people looking out for the good of one another and giving themselves to one another.

We know, therefore, that by the nature of love, God has to be at least two Persons because love cannot reside merely in one. But love overflows any boundaries; all one needs to do is look at a family. A man and a woman who are in love with one another and are joined together so that the two become one in imitation of the Holy Trinity are going to be life giving. That love overflows the boundaries of the two and becomes life giving for children. Even in those couples where there are struggles with fertility, the love still overflows and becomes life giving in other ways because that love is going to overflow the individual. Therefore, there must be at least three. There need not be any more than three for the perfection of love, but there must be at least three by the very nature of love. And God, who is perfect, must therefore be at least three Persons to be able to love perfectly.

Therefore, we have the revelation of the Most Holy Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: perfect love, giving and receiving one another so perfectly that the Three are One without distinction, without separation, without division of any kind, the only distinction being the distinction between Persons. In no other way is there any distinction. There is one mind in God. There is one will in God. Even if you want to look at it that way, for God to make an act of the intellect and for God to make an act of the will are two separate acts. And so, the Father making an act of the intellect is the Son, and for the Father to make an act of the will to love is the Holy Spirit. So again, you see that we have three for the perfection of what a person truly is. A person is a living being with a mind and a free will. God is three Persons with a mind and a free will; so we see the Three who are One.

Now, the question we need to ask is what does this have to do with each one of us? It is a wonderful thing to know that God is one God who is three Persons, but what difference does that make for us? It makes all the difference in the world. First of all, because we can begin to understand the nature of love as I have already explained, but it also shows to us where the relationships with God are. All we need to do is look at Our Blessed Lady and we can see that. If you ever look at an icon - those beautiful pieces of art from the East - whenever you see Our Lady, normally she is going to be shown holding her Son and you will see upon her head, and upon the other shoulder where her Son is not held, a star. If she is not shown with her Son, you will see three stars: one on her head and one on each shoulder. The one on her head is because she is the daughter of the Father. The Son that she is holding demonstrates that she is the Mother of the Son. The third star on the other shoulder demonstrates that she is the spouse of the Holy Spirit. And so [it is] her relationship with the three Persons, a human person in relationship to the three Persons of God.

But the Holy Trinity also dwells within you because you are baptized - not merely into Jesus Christ, but you are baptized in a Trinitarian formula: In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Note what Jesus teaches us in that: there is one name. He does not say, "Baptize them in the names of…" but rather "...in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." One name for God. And so you have entered into Jesus Christ. But Jesus is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, therefore, you have entered into a union with the Most Holy Trinity in your baptism. God is our Father; that is how Jesus has taught us to call Him. Therefore, Jesus is also our Brother; we are one with Him. He is God and yet He is man; so He is our Brother in that sense. And the Holy Spirit has been given to us to unite us with one another and with God. For each one of us, there is something of a spousal relationship with the Lord who has united Himself with us in our souls and made us one with Him.

And so we see that we have something of that relationship to the three Persons similar to the way that Our Lady had it. For her, it is perfect. For us, we recognize it in a relative form. Nonetheless, [we need] to be able to see that it is there and to be able to enter into a relationship, then, with each of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity. To pray to one is ultimately to pray to all three. But each of us needs to be able to recognize the headship of the Father and the lordship of Jesus Christ and the union and love which is ours in the Holy Spirit and the working of the Holy Spirit in each of our lives. We cannot reject or deny any one of them. We cannot truly have a relationship with Jesus apart from the Father and the Holy Spirit. "No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit," Saint Paul said. So if we are going to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Master, if we are going to recognize that He is God and man, it is only through the Holy Spirit that that can be done. Saint John, in the Gospel, tells us that we have salvation because of Jesus and anyone who believes in Him and His Name has salvation.

Now to believe in His Name is not merely to say, "Intellectually, yes, I believe that Jesus is God; therefore, I'm going to Heaven." That is not what it means at all. It means to say, "Jesus Christ is Lord. Therefore, I believe in who He is, and He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Therefore, I believe that every word that comes from His mouth is true, and I will accept every single word that He teaches. He alone is the Way. Therefore, I am going to unite myself with Him because He is the only way to Heaven." He alone is the Life and only when we are in the state of grace do we have the life of Jesus Christ in us. So it is not merely sitting back, believing, and saying, "As long as I believe in Jesus I can go out and do anything that I want. I'm going to Heaven anyway." Not at all. It is to say, "If I profess my faith in Jesus Christ, I must change my life and I must live the life of Jesus Christ, who came, empowered with the Holy Spirit, to do the Will of His heavenly Father." That is precisely what God wants from each one of us: to live the life of Jesus Christ, which can only happen by the power of the Holy Spirit, and to seek in all things to know and to do the Will of our heavenly Father.

That is the glory that God has called each one of us to. That is what He wants for each one: salvation in Jesus Christ. But that salvation is going to be found only through union with the Lord, [by doing] His Will. And that Will is going to be done only through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Each one of us, then, can look to Our Blessed Lady as the exemplar for our lives to be able to see how she did it - the spouse of the Holy Spirit, perfectly united to Him, so perfectly that Jesus Christ could become incarnate in her and be made in her image and likeness as she is already made in His because she did the Will of God perfectly.

So too for us, the Holy Spirit has been poured forth into our hearts so that we can cry out "Abba! Father!", so that each one of us can be formed and molded into the image of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of Our Lady, so that each one of us can live the life of Jesus Christ. We can follow the example of Our Blessed Mother and we can follow the example of her Most Holy Son and we can live the Trinitarian life, a life of love, because we are created in the image and likeness of God, who is love. Love is not alone by ourselves, but rather, love goes out to others. Therefore, we are to love God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - and we are to love our neighbor. That is what God is calling each one of us to. It is only in this that we can truly say that we believe in Jesus Christ: when we are living the life of Christ, loving God, loving neighbor, and living the life of the Holy Trinity- a life of love in union with one another.

* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.

Janet Klasson
A meditation
From the Gospel of the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Janet Klasson BSP

"You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet."
(Luke 7:45)

What a beautiful image of one who is thirsty for God! This woman had no regard for the opinions of those who looked on her with contempt both for what she had been, and for what she was now doing. This forgiven sinner had tasted the sweetness of the Lord, the living water and she would let nothing come between her and her beloved. This rich Gospel story has so many levels and lessons, one of which is to teach us what it means to truly desire God.
This woman had lived with the mirage of love for a long time. But in Jesus she encountered love the person, and it transformed her. More than that it gave her a deep thirst for union with the Lord of love, the living water. This thirst is something which the saints cultivated and something we should all strive for.

Catherine of Siena speaks of this thirst:

"If you would make progress, then, you must be thirsty, because only those who are thirsty are called: 'Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.' Those who are not thirsty will never persevere in their journey. Either weariness or pleasure will make them stop."
So we can see how important it is to be thirsty. This very much affirms our call to a life of penance. Unless we allow ourselves to be hungry and thirsty, we will not make progress in the spiritual life. Think about someone who is lost in the desert. His thirst propels him on and he will drag himself as far as his body will take him to find water. In the same way, our every effort in our exile from the oasis must be focused on getting back to the oasis. If we get side-tracked by every the mirage, if we long for the flesh-pots of Egypt, we will never get back to the oasis. We must cultivate our thirst for the living water.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux speaks about the way that God increases our desire by alternately filling us with his presence and withdrawing from us, and our duty to be vigilant and attentive to the workings of the Spirit, whether we feel his presence or not:
"Unless we use the utmost vigilance in attending to these gift-laden visits of the Holy Spirit, we shall neither desire him when he seems absent nor respond to him when present. If he withdraws from us to stimulate us to a more eager search for him, how shall we seek for him if we do not perceive his absence? Or when he comes to animate us, how shall we give him the welcome due his majesty if his visit passes unnoticed? The man who is indifferent to his absence will be led astray by other influences; the man who is blind to his coming cannot offer thanks for the visit."
Again, we are being urged not to let ourselves be distracted by "other influences". This echoes St. Catherine's warnings about the distractions of "weariness and pleasure". The sinful woman in the Gospel passage above learned that it was infinitely better to be thirsty for living water than to drink your fill at the mirage.
As we wander in this desert, longing for the oasis that is our homeland, let us be encouraged in our life of penance and prayer. May it lead to a constant thirst for the Holy Spirit, and a greater attentiveness to his action in our lives.

Janet Klasson BSP - Divine Mercy Chapter - Canada

In her gratitude, the woman in this passage from Luke did not stop kissing the feet of Jesus. Some time ago, as I was praying for the conversion of a certain person, I felt the Lord wished me to offer a novena to the Holy Feet of Jesus for him. However, when I tried to find a novena to the Holy Feet of Jesus, I could not. When I told the Lord I was having trouble finding this novena, I felt him say to me, "Write one." I began by searching Scripture for references or implied references to the Holy Feet of Jesus. I was surprised by how many there were and felt inspired to write the novena which follows. Use it as the Lord leads you, dear brothers and sisters, but I feel it is especially meant for lost sinners.

Novena to the Holy Feet of Jesus

Day One – With Mary and Joseph we adore the Infant Feet of Jesus (Lk. 2: 8-19)
Beloved Jesus, your infant feet, cared for and adored by Mary and Joseph, were a visible sign of your innocence and purity. May we strive always to imitate your innocence and purity. As we adore your Holy Feet, may your merits win for us the requests we make to the Father in your name. (Make requests here.)
Holy Feet of Jesus we kiss you and adore you. (Pray the Our Father ten times.)

Day Two – The Holy Feet of Jesus bridge Heaven and Earth (Jn. 1: 14)
Beloved Jesus, your Holy Feet were the living bridge between Heaven and Earth. Each step you took sanctified and cleansed the world you came to save. May we be filled with unending gratitude for this amazing grace. We adore your Holy Feet as we make our requests with confidence in your saving love. (Make requests here.)
Holy Feet of Jesus we kiss you and adore you. (Pray the Our Father ten times.)

Day Three – The Holy Feet of Jesus carry the Good News to the poor (Mt. 11: 4-5)
Beloved Jesus, how your Holy Feet suffered as they trod the hot and dusty roads of the Holy Land to bring the Good News to the poor. May we imitate your untiring devotion in spreading the Gospel message. As we adore your Holy Feet, so battered for our sake, may you look with kindness upon our requests. (Make requests here.)
Holy Feet of Jesus we kiss you and adore you. (Pray the Our Father ten times.)

Day Four – Jairus falls at the Holy Feet of Jesus to make his request (Mk. 5: 22-43)
Beloved Jesus, you had mercy on Jairus who fell at your Holy Feet and made supplication to you for the life and health of his daughter. In your mercy you rewarded his faith and answered his prayer. May you look with mercy on us also as we fall at your Holy Feet to make our requests in faith and trust. (Make requests here.)
Holy Feet of Jesus we kiss you and adore you. (Pray the Our Father ten times.)

Day Five – Mary sits at the Holy Feet of Jesus listening to him (Lk. 10: 38-42)
Beloved Jesus, you told Martha that her sister Mary had chosen the "better part" in choosing to sit at your feet and listen to you. Like Mary, may we always choose the better part. As we sit at your Holy Feet to listen to you and worship you, may you look on our requests with love and compassion. (Make requests here.)
Holy Feet of Jesus we kiss you and adore you. (Pray the Our Father ten times.)

Day Six – A woman kisses the Holy Feet of Jesus (Lk. 7: 36-50)
Beloved Jesus, this woman bathed your Holy Feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. She covered your feet with kisses and anointed them with costly oil. May we also show you great love in gratitude for all we have been given and forgiven. With confidence and trust in your great love for us, we humbly make our requests to you today. (Make requests here.)
Holy Feet of Jesus we kiss you and adore you. (Pray the Our Father ten times.)

Day Seven – The Holy Feet of Jesus are nailed to the cross (Mk. 15: 25)
Beloved Jesus, you allowed your Holy Feet to be nailed to the cross out of love for us. You allowed your precious blood to spill to the earth from the wounds made by the nails. Give us the courage we need to stand at the foot of the cross–with our Blessed Mother and St. John–and kiss your Holy Feet. May the precious blood shed from your Holy Feet win for us the requests we humbly make today. (Make requests here.)
Holy Feet of Jesus we kiss you and adore you. (Pray the Our Father ten times.)

Day Eight – The disciples embrace the Holy Feet of the risen Lord (Mt. 28: 1-10)
Beloved Jesus, you met the disciples on the road after you had risen from the dead. In love and joy they embraced your Holy Feet and paid you homage. May we also worship you as Lord and Savior, embracing your Holy Feet. In your infinite mercy, please take our requests to the Father whose glory you share. (Make requests here.)
Holy Feet of Jesus we kiss you and adore you. (Pray the Our Father ten times.)

Day Nine – God puts all things under the Holy Feet of Jesus (1 Co. 15: 25)
Beloved Jesus, your reign will last until you have placed all your enemies under your Holy Feet. May our prayers and sacrifices hasten the day of your coming in glory. Risen Lord, merciful King, look with favor on our requests and grant them according to your holy will. (Make requests here.)
Holy Feet of Jesus we kiss you and adore you. (Pray the Our Father ten times.)

Author: Janet Klasson

Paul Beery
NO GREATER LOVE:
by PAUL BEERY BSP - June 2010

"I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by Me." (Acts 26, 16.)

Jesus spoke these words to Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, who spread the Word of God far and wide in the early days of the Church. Today this mission is taken up by Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our own spiritual Blessed Mother, who has long been actively communicating with many of her children. The following message from Mary on her passage to heaven was given to St. Bridget of Sweden:

"One day while I was admiring the Love of God in a spiritual ecstasy, my soul was filled with such joy that it could hardly contain itself. And during that contemplation my soul departed from my body. You cannot imagine what splendor my soul perceived then, and with what honor the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit welcomed it, and with what a multitude of angels it was carried upward. But those persons who were in my house with me when I gave up my spirit fully understood what divine mysteries I was then experiencing, because of the unusual light which they saw. Thereafter those friends of my Son who had been brought together by God buried my body in the valley of Josephat. My body lay entombed in the ground. Then it was taken up to heaven with infinite honor and rejoicing. That my Assumption was not known by many people was the will of God my Son, in order that faith in His Ascension might first of all be firmly established in the hearts of men."
There is so much that could be said here. What's the last time we admired the Love of God in a spiritual ecstasy? We just celebrated Trinity Sunday. Do we look forward to a day when we too may rejoice in the Presence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? "So that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and a place among those who are sanctified by Me." Jesus sanctifies, and He uses many instruments to achieve His work of Redemption in our souls. We are surrounded by a vast Communion of Saints and angels. If we but had the awareness of the great Spiritual Warfare going on in front of our noses, in which we should be actively engaged, we too will one day be honored in heaven.

There is a powerful ad on EWTN of a man running across an endless prairie, obviously in a hurry to get somewhere. A voice states how many people have died from this, from that, and then deaths from abortion (1.3 million per year in America alone). All of a sudden the man slides to a stop at the edge of a cliff with a question: where is mankind headed? Finally the words appear: "Save the human race." To me, that perfectly illustrates the intense battle going on for the immortal souls of every person on earth.

As a follower of the Rule of St. Francis, I look for inspiration to our holy father, for we follow the Gospel in the spirit of St. Francis. I look for inspiration to understand what Francis of Assisi would be teaching today. A little historical examination would inform us that the world he lived in was very different from ours today. When Communist China invaded Tibet in 1950, its alleged justification was to free the Tibetan people from an ancient and "oppressive" feudal way of life, and bring them into a modern and truly oppressive Socialist/Communist dictatorship. Truth be told, they were happy in their former way of life, and are now in danger of seeing their ancient cultural heritage slowly disappearing.

Francis lived in those ancient feudal times. Some even called them the Dark Ages, apparently fans of the so-called "Enlightenment," which brought about the glorification of mankind and the alleged "Death of God." I would much rather have lived in the "Dark Ages" when creatures still recognized the sovereignty of their Creator, and made Him the center of their lives! That was the good part of the feudal age.

The bad part was the senseless fighting between city/states which Francis was caught up in. Those local skirmishes were very different from the global conflict we experience today, not only in size, but in content. As part of his spiritual conversion, he turned his back on such internecine local conflict, one Christian against another. Where would he stand on today's global spiritual warfare? The warriors of Padua and Assisi and all the other local cities were for the most part followers of Jesus Christ. Today a God-less form of Secular Socialism is threatening to take over not just cities, but entire nations, and indeed the whole world. Christianity is being marginalized, its Leader despised, its followers persecuted, until it is no longer a major factor in the affairs of the world. Christians in virtually every nation are under major assault from the Father of Lies and his forces of evil. How do we respond?

Our Blessed Mother, in her various appearances, has been trying to warn us of these cataclysmic times. When a mother warns her children, they should take it seriously. Our spiritual Mother knows a thing or two about crushing the head of Satan. Janet Klasson, who also belongs to the BSP, has been instrumental in giving us some of Mary's messages in these very pages. I believe that Francis, being a loyal son of the Church, with a special devotion to Mary, would be leading the charge to prevent the Secularization of the People of God both from within and without. And it wouldn't be at the expense of admiring the Love of God in spiritual ecstasy.

I know what it's like to get all worked up. Donna knows too. What can one do in the midst of so much chaos and impending doom? Many don't hunger to know the truth, but wish to remain in a comfortable apathy. There is reason for seeking calm from the storm, for the worldly have engulfed us with one phony crisis after another in an attempt to foster an oppressive Government takeover of our lives in order to "save" us from totally irrelevant environmental or other catastrophes, while being completely blind to the only true crisis the world has ever faced: the triumph of evil over good in a life-and-death war against mankind which Satan has waged since being thrown out of heaven. Those efforts have intensified greatly in these latter days, as evidenced by the vision of Pope Leo XIII in 1884, who saw Satan unleashed for about the next hundred years. Even Ann Katherine Emmerich, who died in 1834, stated that the devil would be back with special fury "around the year 2000." We need to be awakened to respond to the real crisis in the world today: loss of faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Why get all worked up? Some people need motivation. In elections, political parties sometimes wildly exaggerate the importance of certain issues so their "base" will get all worked up and get out to vote. Secular Socialists are not harnessed to the burden of truth, creating a tremendous disadvantage for the righteous when the opposition can lie, steal and cheat with impunity. Still, the only way "Evil triumphs, (is) because the good do nothing." I am astounded at how apathetic many believers are, they who have so many graces at their disposal, so many heavenly patrons. And how full of energy are those who look for some kind of meaning in life by their endless pursuit of one inane fad after the other, here today and gone tomorrow. It's like passing on the world's greatest love affair for a bag of potato chips. Yeats had it right. "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity." I just hate that fact. We are the ones who should be filled with passionate intensity by admiring the Love of God!

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He has freed us from the power of Satan so that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, putting us squarely on the path of sanctification. Those of us who need motivation to stay on the Way have Mother Mary to help us understand the sacred mysteries, if we have the humility to ask her. "I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God."

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host—by the Divine Power of God - cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Paul Beery BSP
Morning Star Chapter
Minnesota

"For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be (in his day)."
(LK 17:24)


The
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 minncc@aol.com. Feel free to share this newsletter with your friends or neighbors. It is intended to be the primary monthly communication of the Association. And if you can find it in your heart and in your budget remember that donations to the BSP are used strictly to promote the lifestyle and are tax deductible.

We remain, always, sincerely yours in the love of Jesus Christ!

Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
Editors



Welcome to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance!

Website: www.bspenance.org
Email: minncc@aol.com

In the world, but not of it, for Christ!


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