'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

December 2010

BONAVENTURE AND HIS LESSONS ON ST. FRANCIS:

Chapter IIFrancis gives himself completely to God

and rebuilds three churches.

3. Shortly afterwards his father had to go away and his mother, who had never approved of her husband’s action, loosed Francis’ bonds and let him go free. She saw that there was no hope of breaking his inflexible determination. Francis gave thanks to God and went back where he had been before. When his father came home and failed to find him, he heaped abuse on his wife and then went after Francis in a storm of rage; if he could not bring him home, at least he could drive him from the country. But God gave Francis courage and he went out to meet his father on his own accord and told him plainly that he was not afraid of ill-treatment or imprisonment, adding that for Christ’s sake he would gladly endure any suffering. When his father realized that he could not make him turn back, he concentrated on trying to recover his money, and when he eventually found it on the windowsill, his greed was satisfied and he calmed down a little.

Now that he had recovered his money, he arranged to have Francis brought before the bishop of the diocese, where he should renounce all his claims and return everything he had. In his genuine love for poverty, Francis was more than ready to comply and he willingly appeared before the bishop. There he made no delay—without hesitation, without hearing or saying a word—he immediately took off his clothes and gave them back to his father. Then it was discovered that he wore a hair-shirt under his fine clothes next to his skin. He even took off his trousers in his fervor and enthusiasm and stood there naked before them all. Then he said to his father, “Until now I called you my father, but from now on I can say without reserve, 'Our Father who art in heaven.' He is all my wealth and I place all my confidence in him.” When the bishop heard this he was amazed at the passionate fervor. He jumped to his feet and took Francis into his embrace, covering him with the cloak he was wearing, like the good man that he was. Then he told his servants to bring some clothes for him and they gave him an old tunic which belonged to one of the bishop's farmhands. Francis took it gratefully and drew a cross on it with his own hand with a piece of chalk, making it a worthy garment for a man who was crucified and a beggar. And so the servant of the most high King was left stripped of all that belonged to him, that he might follow the Lord whom he loved, who hung naked on the cross. He was armed with the cross, the means of salvation which would enable him to escape from a shipwrecked world.

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

Father Robert Altier

VISITOR'S MESSAGE:

HOMILY BY FATHER ROBERT ALTIER

Christmas Day

God, in His humility, comes down to us in the form of a tiny, helpless baby. He comes to us just as one of us, totally dependent upon His mother, and yet with the joy that a baby brings.

In looking upon this little Baby in the manger, the shepherds were also able to discern something that did not seem to make any sense to them. The sign that was given to them was one that would be highly unusual: a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. Swaddling clothes were the clothes of the dead, the strips of cloth that would be wrapped around the body of the dead the way that Lazarus, when he was in the tomb, was all wrapped up. And this is the way Our Lady clothed her Son. Now one could try to explain that away and say, “Considering it would have been cold, it probably was the most reasonable way to wrap up a child to make sure that he stayed warm.” But when we look at it, we can understand it from a different perspective; that is, the very purpose of the birth of this Child was to die. He came into this world and is born for us so that He could die for us. And right from the very first moment of His appearance on earth, with the newness of life and the joy that a baby brings, there is at the same time this tinge of sorrow, there is this irony that is present right from the very beginning. There is new life and it points to death. Yet each one of us knows fully well that it is His death that brings about life.

The Church, in the readings over the last few days, talks about how our salvation is near at hand and how in the Birth of Christ we are saved. Yet at the same time, we all know it is not in His Birth that we are saved, but rather it is in His Death and Resurrection that we are saved. But there would be no Passion, Death, or Resurrection without His Birth. And so the beginning of our salvation has come in that God is willing to take on our human nature and He is willing to be born in time. The One who is outside of time, the One who created time is born in time. The One who created the Blessed Virgin Mary became created within her. The One who is uncreated from all eternity took on a created nature and was born for us. The One who has no beginning suddenly has a beginning in time. The One who is immortality Himself came into this world with a mortal human nature so that He could die. It makes no sense if we just try to look at it on the natural level. It is only with the eyes of faith that we can understand the mystery that is being unfolded before us this very day.

There is great cause for rejoicing as there is with the birth of any child: the miracle of a baby, the beauty of the absolute innocence of that little soul, the joy of the face that one beholds in a little child. Yet, with this Child, there is greater cause for rejoicing. Even though when a child is born, family and friends rejoice with the parents, the child is born to those parents. This Child, however, is different. He was certainly given for His mother, but He was given for each one of us. Each one of us then shares in the joy that is Our Lady’s. She alone, of course, had the privilege of being able to carry Him in her womb and to give birth to the Savior of the world, but each one of us, like Saint Joseph, is able to share in the joy. Saint Joseph, knowing that the Child was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, knew fully well that he was brought into the mystery of the Incarnation but he himself was not part of it. So it is with each of us. We can look at the crèche and there we see Mary and Joseph: Mary, whose fiat nine months earlier has now borne fruit and given birth to God; and there is Saint Joseph, the just man, adoring the Child on behalf of each one of us.

Mary, His mother, extends Him with great joy to the poor, humble shepherds who came to worship Him—and she does the same thing for each one of us. We come before Him with the same kind of humility as the shepherds and it is important for us to recognize that it was to the shepherds that God first revealed this mystery. Shepherds, in the ancient world, were the lowest of the low; they were the unskilled laborers; they were the ones who were at the bottom of the pile in the societal pecking order. And yet in God’s mercy, He sent His Son to be a shepherd, the Shepherd of our souls. He turns then to the lowly and to the humble, to the ones who would be the most apt to recognize the grandeur of the mystery that was taking place. They came at the message of an angel to be able to see this Baby who looked just like any other human baby, but they understood that this was the all-powerful God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, who has now become created in His mother.

And now the angel speaks to each one of us and calls each one of us to come and behold the glory of God that is shining on the face of a newborn Baby, to behold His glory, the glory of an only Son, and to be able to understand that in this Baby we have freedom for our souls. Indeed, the rod has been broken and the pole on their shoulder has been smashed if we are willing to accept Who this Child is and the very purpose of His birth. Saint Paul, in the second reading, tells us, “The grace of God has appeared to us.” We look upon the face of God in this little Child as we still await the coming in glory of our Savior in His second coming, but that does not in any way diminish the glory of the first coming. He is the grace of God, because grace is the life of God and in Him the fullness of grace resides. And so in this Child, every single grace that will be given to every human being throughout all of history is found. In this Child is contained all of the grace that will ever be given to the world. That is our salvation: the grace of God given in Jesus Christ, born in the most humble of circumstances, born for the purpose of dying, so that those who had chosen death would be able to have life. 

It is this irony of the mystery of the Incarnation and the Birth of Our Lord that we need to meditate upon. As I have mentioned before on Christmas, God in His infinite wisdom not only gives to us these rather ironic sorts of twists that take place in this mystery, but in His infinite wisdom He also gives to us a way to be able to open our hearts. Even the most closed and hardened heart has to open in the presence of a baby. A baby is vulnerable and harmless. A baby is nothing but love. And it does not matter how hardened a sinner we might become, when we look upon a child our hearts melt and they open, suddenly we become transformed in the presence of an infant. We start making funny noises that we would never, ever make in any other circumstance, and everybody thinks it is pretty wonderful rather than thinking we are strange making strange noises. We act in ways that we would never act and nobody even thinks twice about it because it is a baby. God has come to us in an irresistible form, in the form of a newborn infant, and we cannot help but to humble ourselves before His humility. We cannot help but to open our hearts in the presence of His vulnerability. We cannot help but to prostrate ourselves before His divine condescension.

God, in His all-powerful and infinite knowledge, has presented Himself in a way that is completely vulnerable and helpless so that we will not be able to resist the gift which is given. Open your hearts to Jesus, allow Him to enter in. Salvation, grace, redemption—these are things we can talk about but we cannot see, but they are now seen in human form. Beyond this, Jesus did not merely give Himself to us as a little baby to look at, but He continues to give Himself to us in the Eucharist. It is the same Person who was born in Bethlehem; it is the same Person who died on Calvary; and He comes to us now in the Blessed SacramentBody, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, the fullness of His Person—to give Himself to each one of us. And He asks that we will have, as we come forward to receive Him, the same attitude and disposition as the shepherds, the same humility and openness of heart that we have in the presence of a little baby, that we would come to Him now and open our hearts to receive Him with the greatest of love, with the greatest of humility, with the greatest vulnerability, so that our hearts, hardened by sin, will melt in the presence of this Infant, that they will open in the presence of this tiny Child and allow Him to enter in and transform our hearts so that He—Who is God from all eternity but took on our human nature and was born in time—will now take us—who are human by nature and born in time—and transform us to share in His divine nature and enter into eternity. That is the gift He is offering: to break the bondage of sin and give us freedom for our souls, to take our arrogance and smash it and give us hearts that are humble, open, and free of sin. The grace of God has appeared, the salvation of our great Savior, and He has appeared in an irresistible form. Open your hearts to receive the Child that our Blessed Mother holds out to each one of us. Open your heart to receive the grace and the salvation of God given to us in Jesus Christ.

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

Bruce Fahey begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting and Shelley, his wife, BSP Administrators

ADMINISTRATOR'S MESSAGE...THE VEIL

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.

"On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever.” (Isaiah 25:6-8)

Death be not proud! The Lord has overcome you, though you still nag us at every turn. How true it is. So long as we live this veil of death hangs over us and it dominates our thinking even if we love the Lord. We need to examine it long and mightily. We need to ponder its meaning in our lives and the lives of others.

A friend of ours, who was once an agnostic but who now believes, told us recently that he has reached the point he wants to die with his eyes open. He wants to see the Lord coming to him, and be ready to meet him when he dies so much so that he can see the Lord coming for him. What a change in this man from when he was agnostic. Now he has opened his heart to the reality of living forever with God because God has made himself very real to him by revealing himself to him in a special way in his life, at Eucharist no less.

Baldwin, bishop of Canterbury, said in a recent reading:

Death is strong, for it can rob us of the gift of life. Death is strong, for it can strip us of this robe of flesh. Death is strong, for no man can withstand it, soothe its sting, calm its violence, and bring its victory to naught.”

If that is all we had to ponder it would be enough to destroy life to us and those around us. The flavor of such negativism, because it is also reality, is enough to bring us down. So, we need to ponder it often remembering all that we have learned about our faith and the Lord’s message. He came to destroy death, and spoke of eternal life to a world that had not conceived of it. His message is what we need to hold in our hearts whenever death’s influence is strong.

Remembering that God is first and foremost love, Baldwin goes on to say:

Love too is strong, for it can restore us to a better life. Love too is strong, for it can take death’s spoils away and give them back to us. The time will come when death is reviled and taunted: 'O death, where is your sting? O death, where is your victory?' Love is as strong as death because it is itself a kind of death: destroying the old life, rooting out vice, and laying aside dead works.”

As we ponder the message of Christmas this year we need to put on love. To do our very best to see the importance of love in our hearts, lives, and families, and to lay aside all that is not of love. All that is not of God.

The Lord calls us to love. We need to reflect on his message when he said to his disciples, and we are his modern day disciples, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” (John 13:34)

So, let us throw the veil of death aside, and focus on love. Focus on God, and the good we can do our neighbor. When we come to the New Year let us make resolutions to be more loving, and set aside the things of death, especially the sin in our lives. Our Rule will help us to do that in a mighty way, and the Gospel, which for us is our "first rule” will call us to be more perfectly servants of God, and to love others with a mighty love. Love conquers all.

Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
Administrators, Minnesota

Paul Beery

NO GREATER LOVE: by PAUL BEERY BSP

A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but am sent ahead of Him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must increase, and I must decrease.” (John 3:27)

John the Baptist makes the human condition very clear: our joy comes from hearing the Bridegroom’s voice and responding to it in love. The Bridegroom is Jesus, the Bride is His Church. It is an unbelievable privilege to be a faithful member of that Church, and know that we belong to the Bridegroom.

Normally when a person seeks another for a suitable marriage partner, he looks for the best in a potential spouse, all the good qualities that would attract him. Jesus knows all our best qualities, but he also knew all the worst qualities of the human race before He chose to seek after this Bride for a divine love affair. One could say He had no choice since He is the Creator. And God certainly had second thoughts after He saw how wicked the human race could really be after voluntarily choosing to leave the Paradise into which it was placed. It happened not only once, but twice. Noah had another new start with a handful of “good” people, but somehow Genesis records the same wicked ending.

It didn’t take Jesus long to understand the human heart inside and out. From Mark 7:21:

For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from within and make a man unclean.”

We find ourselves in the same fix as Adam and Eve, Noah and his descendents. Each of us has the capability of being as wicked as any of them.

Why then does God pursue the wicked? Every one of us plays out in our lives the mystery of good and evil. Which will triumph? I think God takes great delight in seeing the results of the cataclysmic struggle in every soul to overcome its natural inclination to do evil. We see the Father watching and waiting for the Prodigal Son to return home. We hear the parable of the lost sheep, where Jesus left the ninety-nine to seek out the one that was lost.

That is the mystery of God’s love for us. Somehow the weak creature is able to attract the attention of the All Powerful Creator: “I was helpless, so He saved me,” says the Psalmist.

That mystery is played out in prayer, the dialogue between the Bridegroom and the bride, our soul. St. Augustine said that the purpose of prayer is to “exercise our desire to prepare our hearts to receive what God wishes to give us.” Desire is the key to the mystery. “The more God wishes to give us, the more He makes us desire.” (John of the Cross). Our desire to listen to and respond to the Bridegroom (prayer) is so important that Tertullian in the third century said “Prayer is the one thing that can conquer God.”

We are in the period of waiting, of advent. I never cease being amazed at this time of year that the Son of God has humbled Himself to join His creatures who have gotten rather off the track. The birth of Jesus is one of the two most important events in the history of the world, the other being His Resurrection from the dead. He didn’t come in Glory as would be fitting His status. He didn’t announce a Grand Opening Event. He came with incredible humility, born in a stable, to an audience of shepherds keeping their sheep.

The message is: “I am not going to bowl you over with overwhelming proof of My Divinity. You are going to have to figure it out on your own, and accept My Word on faith.” See how often Jesus looks for faith in His followers and potential followers. “When the Son of Man comes (again), do you think He will find faith on the earth?”

In the political realm is a great saying: “There are those who seek Utopia, and those who pay for it.” The liberal left seeks an earthly Utopia, because they do not believe in God or heaven, nor understand the nature of evil. Their evil passions are “good,” while their political opponentsChristian conservativesare “evil.” It is the latter, of course, who will pay for their liberal fantasy known as Utopia.

In the spiritual realm the saying is even more accurate. We humans seek Utopia, and Jesus paid for it. All I have to say is, we darn well better be grateful to Him! Those were my thoughts over Thanksgiving, a wonderful holiday that is uniquely American. Jesus shows us how to live and love and be happy now and for all eternity, yet He continues to be rejected on a massive scale then and now as though it were no big deal: God becoming man. There is a lesson here. Those of us who do accept and return His love have to say a great big Thank you Jesus!to make up in some small measure for those who don'tin reparation. And I guess that is the best part of Thanksgiving! It makes us aware of the great debt we owe to Jesus. 

In fact, that is the meaning of the sixth Word from the Cross. “All is completed,” which really means: "The debt is paid in full." I think nothing describes as well the reason Jesus appeared among us as that statement. He paid our debt in full, so we can overcome the evils that come from within through a massive infusion of His grace. It's a beautiful thing.

Our holy father Francis helps us prepare for His coming. Listen to how he takes full advantage of the opportunity for the bride to respond to the Bridegroom in the introduction in the First Life of Thomas of Celano, Chapter 30:

Francis’ highest intention, his chief desire, his uppermost purpose was to observe the holy Gospel in all things and through all things and, with perfect vigilance, with all zeal, with all the longing of his mind and all the fervor of his heart, to follow the teaching and the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. He would recall Christ’s words through persistent meditation and bring to mind His deeds through the most penetrating consideration. The humility of the Incarnation and the charity of the passion occupied his memory particularly, to the extent that he wanted to think of hardly anything else. What he did on the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ near the little town of Greccio in the third year before his glorious death should especially be noted and recalled with reverent memory.”

The chapter goes on to tell of how Francis set up the Nativity scene to bring home to simple people the incredible reality of God becoming man, so with Paul the Apostle we too can say:

We eagerly await the coming of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will give a new form to this lowly body of ours and remake it according to the pattern of His glorified body, by His power to subject everything to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20).

Paul Beery BSP
Morning Star Chapter
Minnesota

Janet Klasson

A MEDITATION: by JANET KLASSON BSP

From the First Reading of the Second Sunday of Advent

"The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together and a little child shall lead them." (Isaiah 11:6)

Advent is given to us as a season of joyful hope. The Christian world anticipates the birth of the Incarnate Word along with Mary, Joseph, and the entire heavenly court. as Christians, we are called to clothe ourselves in the attitude of joyful hope. It is expected. However, the reality may be somewhat different.

Certainly, the daily news gives us little reason to hope, and if our life circumstances have taken a turn for the worse recently, the joyful anticipation of Christmas may seem a distinct impossibility. How can we celebrate when our hearts are broken, our homes are torn to pieces, or our lives are shattered? If we feel bogged in the miry clay in the lowest crevice of the valley of tears, just putting one foot in front of the other requires a miracle. Joy? It can seem as faint and fleeting as the morning mist.

Yet Nehemiah tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength. This bears pondering, because it reminds us that the true nature of joy is not a feeling, but a grace. In every age it is true that if our joy is tied to earthly circumstances, we are in deep trouble. Our joy must have its source in the Lord and be independent of our earthly circumstances. It is vital that we remember and believe this as the world continues to spiral into catastrophe.

A few weeks ago we celebrated the memorial of Andrew Dung-Lac, priest and martyr. The Office of Readings contained this poignant illustration of joyful hope in dire circumstances:

"The prison here is a true image of everlasting hell: to cruel tortures of every kindshackles, iron chains, manaclesare added hatred, vengeance, calumnies, obscene speech, quarrels, evil acts, swearing, curses, as well as anguish and grief. But the God who once freed the three children from the fiery furnace is with me always; he has delivered me from these tribulations and made them sweet, for his mercy is for ever. In the midst of these torments, which usually terrify others, I am, by the grace of God, full of joy and gladness, because I am not aloneChrist is with me."

God has not left us orphans; he has not abandoned us and will never leave usmuch less in our time of direst need. Scripture is steeped in hope and full of promise. As we read passages like the one above about the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the kid, we can be confident that what the Lord has promised, he will deliver. As Our Lady of Fatima told the children, "In the end, my Immaculate Heart will Triumph."

The signs of our times are rife with meaning, and undoubtedly there will be much to endure in the days ahead. But the Lord does not send a deluge without a rainbow. Every crucifixion leads to a resurrection. Nine months of expectation culminates in the birth of the Incarnate Word.

St. Louis-Marie de Montfort's prayer to Mary includes the following passage. As penitents, we can absorb the hope and joy so beautifully expressed in the prayer and make it our own.

"(Blessed Mary), as for my part here below, I wish for no other than that which was Thine, to believe sincerely without spiritual pleasures, to suffer joyfully without human consolation, to die continually to myself without respite, and to work zealously and unselfishly for Thee until death, as the humblest of Thy servants. The only grace I beg Thee, for me, is that every moment of the day, and every moment of my life, I may say, 'Amen, so be it, to all that Thou art doing in Heaven. Amen, so be it, to all Thou didst do while on earth. Amen, so be it, to all Thou art doing in my soul,' so that Thou alone mayest fully glorify Jesus in me for time and eternity. Amen."

May this Advent lead you on the path of joy to the glorious promise of the birth of Emmanuel, God With Us. "And a little child shall lead them." Have a blessed Christmas, dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

Janet Klasson BSP - Divine Mercy Chapter - Canada



From www.pelianito.stblogs.com September 19, 2009

Micah 7:9 The wrath of the LORD I will endure because I have sinned against him, until he takes up my cause, and establishes my right. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see his justice.

My child, can you fault God for his wrath? Is not the punishment due for sin a just judgment? Yes, I have told you there is much to come, much to endure. This you have heard from prophets, popes, and saints, that the Body of Christ must follow him into his passion and death. Yet, my child, your hope does not end in death, but lives in the resurrection. The glory of the Lord cannot be overcome by death, but death is dissolved in it, darkness is swallowed by light. And this light is unimaginable to the human heart. Rejoice always, my child. I say it again—rejoice! For he comes to rule the world with justice and the peoples with fairness.”

Alleluia Lord! Maranatha—come Lord Jesus! Grant us strength and faith that will not fail. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.

Author: Janet Klasson



A THOUGHTFUL STORY: THE CHRISTMAS SPARROW

It was an exceptionally cold Christmas Eve night and a very severe snow storm was dumping snow on everything in sightit would be a record setting night. A man was sitting in his easy chair in front of a roaring fire in the fireplace. He had a newspaper in his hand and at times he would look out the large picture windows at the howling wind and drifting snow. He shook his head as he thought, What a terrible night for man or beast to be outside.

His wife came and asked him if he would like to go to midnight Mass. No, he said, with firm conviction. He had long since given up trying to believe. His faith had grown almost as cold as the weather outside his window. He could not fathom nor understand the Incarnation. How could a majestic God of power and might leave a glorious heaven and enter life as a defenseless baby...then become a child...and later a man? There was no logic in the Incarnation for it did not make sense and this put him in a dead stop in his walk of faith with the Lord.

He was saddened and a little angry about it. If only God could explain His wisdom in such a course of action. But God had not given him any answers and he was alone now, his wife having left for midnight Mass, as he stared out the window into a night that gave him no answers.

He looked back at the fireplace while pondering these questions and all of a sudden he heard thump, thump, thump on his window. Turning he saw a flock of sparrows flying into the windowthey couldn't see the glassonly to fall back and onto the snow covered ground where many were lying dazed and flopping about. Some regained their wings and tried to fly through the window again only to be knocked back down to the ground.

My goodness the man thought...they are lost and cold and have seen the warmth and fire of my living room and have tried to fly in to save themselves from the winter storm. He decided to help them and he ran and opened his garage door and then went out in his yard and tried to herd the sparrows into the light and warmth of his garage. But the sparrows became frightened of him and the more he waved and moved his arms the more they scattered in their panic and confusion of this man that they did not know or recognize.

In his frustration at failing and being unable to help them the man said, "If only I could be a sparrow for a moment I could then communicate and lead them into the light, warmth and safety of my garage!" At that very moment the Church bells in the distance at midnight Mass rang ad the man knew he'd been given his answer by God to the reason of the Incarnation as he sank down into the snow on his knees in tears as he realized Jesus has come as a baby...to become a child...and then a man to communicate with us and lead us into the light, warmth, and safety of heaven and to His Father.

Robert Hall BSP



MORNING STAR

NEWS ON THE ASSOCIATION



OUR MOVE:

We are officially relocated to northern Minnesota! Yeah! Our new address is: 65774 County Road 31, Northome, Minnesota, 56661. Our new phone number is: 218-897-5974, our operational email addresses are minncc@aol.com for Bruce, and jasp102577@aol.com for Shelley.

The BSP business will go on as usual. So, don’t hesitate to contact us on questions or problems in the BSP as you have in the past.

NEW CHAPTER IN PENNSYLVANIA

Since our last newsletter a new Chapter of the BSP has been born in Red Lion, Pennsylvania. The Chapter minister is Chuck Wiley, who only recently joined the BSP. He has undertaken to meet with his bishop on the BSP and has received his blessing to form the Chapter. He has identified a spiritual director and taken a name for the ChapterPadre Pio Chapter. Please keep Chuck and the Chapter in your prayers. There are others seeking to form Chapters also. If anyone wants information on how to form a Chapter please drop us a line and give us an email or postal address and we will get the information to them.

IMPORTANT THOUGHT:

Let us all keep all of our members and causes in prayer. We are in trying times to say the least, and the world is in dire need of our prayers and sacrifices. If there is anyway any of us can help to promote the faith, or encourage others to draw closer to God, particularly in our own families, as family always comes first, we should all do that. One thing we can all do is love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and voices. Speak favorably of God to all we meet regardless of their faith or circumstances, and hold dear in our hearts all that Jesus loved.

THE CHRISTMAS SEASON

This season is very special to all Christians but also certainly to us who seek to more perfectly follow the life that Christ called us to by living the Rule of life that St. Francis gave us. Since this is so, we now are in preparation for the celebration again of the birth of JesusChristmas. Part of these preparations, of course, is the fast of St. Martin, that we are in now. We lay waste to our desires and do penance to prepare for the greatest event in world history, the coming of the Son of God. Praise God that St. Francis called us to do this. In this we are unique through the Rule of 1221, the Rule of the BSP.

After Christmas we enter a period of great joy. To celebrate this joy the Rule is set aside during the Octave of Christmas, the eight days after Christmas, as relates to all fasting and abstinence. It is a time for wine, good spirits, fellowship, family, food, and of course, our prayers. So, in your planning keep this in mind.

From all of us in leadership in the BSP, to all of our members and their families, we wish you a holy and happy Christmas, and a most Blessed New Year. Make some new resolutions to become ever stronger in your faith and devotion, for the love of God and neighbor, and the salvation of your soul.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Bruce and Shelley

Administrators


For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."


(Luke 2:11, 12)

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!


Communication Center & Headquarters:

20939 Quadrant Avenue N - SCANDIA MN USA 55073
Phone: 651-433-2753

minncc@aol.com


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http://www.bspenance.org/newsletter/sign_out.php?ml_id=1&language=english