ALL ABOUT THINGS… Carla Barth—Novice 3—Lesson 8
WE SHOULD ALL: “ inventory our belongings and sell or give away those things that we do not use or need. This shows that our treasure is to be in Heaven where we hope and pray to be one day. If you keep an object long enough and do not use it, it will wear down or will not run properly. We as humans can become pack-rats and of course, when you have a lot of stuff, you of course run out of room to store things. Then you will need a bigger home to store more, so it is a ruthless cycle that you can avoid if you live a simple life-style, to have only enough to get by with enough clothing to protect you from the elements, the bare furniture that supplies for you and your family needs. No fancy modes of transportation when you have a good vehicle. Even when you budget your expenses for food, etc. you can find ways to save money for savings/for illness and also to place a bigger alms into the church collection basket, the soup kitchen fund and a missionary cause that you favor.”
THANK YOU CARLA!
FRANCISCAN SAINTS: St. Peter of Betancurt
Peter of Betancurt is the first Saint of Tenerife (Canary Islands) and Guatemala. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II on July 30, 2002, during his visit to Guatemala.
Peter was born in Vilaflor, Dioceses of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, in 1626. His family was poor. At age 24 he left his family and went to America to be a lay missionary. He spent a year in Cuba, then he went to Honduras, and finally to Guatemala. Here he began to attend a Jesuit school to become a priest, but he was not gifted for the study, and left.
In 1665 he decided to consecrate self to God in the (Secular) Franciscan Third Order. He pledged, and thereafter dedicated all his life to living a Franciscan spirituality. He was a man of prayer, profoundly devoted to contemplate the mysteries of Christ’s life. Through contemplating the sufferings of Christ, begun in Bethlehem and continued unto the Cross, and prolonged in the Eucharist, Peter developed an attitude of reparation for sin, a deep love for penance, a willingness to suffer with the suffering Christ.
In Guatemala, Peter was surrounded by poor indigenes with many needs. In 1658 he bough a little house and established an Oratory dedicated to Our Lady, a hospice for the homeless, a hospital, and a school for the children. Anthony Rodriguez, a Secular Franciscan tertiary, joined Peter in 1661. This was the first seed of a new religious order, which is now called the Brothers and Sisters of Bethlehem.
Peter died on April 25, 1667, being only 41 years old. One month after his death the Church approved the Constitutions of the Brothers of Bethlehem, the first religious Order founded in America.
John Paul II described Peter this way in his homily for the canonization:
“Already in the land of his birth, as in every phase of his life, Brother Pedro was a deeply prayerful man, especially here where, at the hermitage of Calvary, he diligently sought God’s will at every moment. Brother Pedro modelled his spirituality in this way, particularly in contemplation of the mysteries of Bethlehem and of the Cross. If, in the birth and childhood of Jesus, he immersed himself deeply in the fundamental event of the Incarnation of the Word — which led him to discover spontaneously, as it were, the face of God in man — then, in meditating on the Cross, he found the strength to practise mercy heroically with the lowliest and the most deprived. Pedro de Betancurt was distinguished precisely by the humble spirit and austere life with which he practised mercy. He was truly a brother to all who lived in misfortune and gave himself with tenderness and immense love to their salvation.”
Anna Ferroni—Turin, Italy
FROM THE WEB: The Pelianito Journals: http://www3.telus.net/pelianito/
Enter into His Love: "Be at peace my child. You worry about so many things but only one is needed. Concentrate your prayers and energy on me alone. I will handle everything else. When you worry it is as if you doubt my goodness or my power.
" Father, good and powerful perfect Father, forgive me! "
Child rest in me and be at peace. This life has trials aplenty, but rest secure knowing that you are in the palm of my hand. Again I say, child be at peace. This often involves an act of the will. Submit your will to mine. Let not the cares of the day tempt you to despair. Walk each step with me in the present. Be present to me and with me. To dwell too much on future problems robs you of your present joy. Live child, live with me now, here, today! Live with me in joy one moment at a time for all eternity!" Amen!
Enter into the Word: Psalm 98: (Rejoice) 9 before the LORD who comes, who comes to govern the earth, to govern the world with justice and the peoples with fairness. Come Lord Jesus! "My little child fear not. My coming has been foretold from of old. It has been pre-ordained since before the world was formed. All these things you see happening are but shadows which will pass.
The prince of the world is on a rampage, sowing seeds of hate, destruction and anarchy. But do not fear. His time is limited. The King of Glory comes! The people rejoices! Do not live in fear, but in true joy, the joy worthy of a beloved child of God." My Father I love you, I trust you. I surrender myself joyfully to your loving perfect will for me and mine.
Jesus I trust in you! Have mercy on us all. Sustain us as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Explore the Word:
Matthew 24:30; 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4; Revelation 12:12; Psalm 24:7-10
THE FOUNDATION OF OUR RULE
When the Rule and the Statutes are read, one can easily see how much time is to be devoted to prayer. In addition to praying Psalms 51, 54, and 119:1-32, we also are to pray Morning, Evening and Night Prayer from the Divine Office. And in addition to that, we are to choose one of five options to complete our prayer schedule. This can be as lengthy as praying the whole Office, praying twenty decades of the Rosary, praying Our Father's and Glory Be's or praying the Psalms, spending our time in mental prayer, or as simple as lifting our minds and hearts to God. We also have the option of using the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Office of the Passion. We have many options for prayer, and the Statutes strive to make it easy for us to pray. Prayer should foster growth in our life, and should enhance our daily duties. It is to be a source of strength for us.
Prayer is heart to heart communication with God, our Creator. It is united in Love with the Holy Spirit. We are not alone in prayer, for Jesus, Mary, and all the Saints pray with us. When we pray the Divine Office, we pray with the whole of God's people, the Church. We praise and adore God, give Him thanks, ask for forgiveness of our sins, and recommend our loved ones to Him. We can feel free to ask Him for anything, and of course, thank Him for the many blessings He has given us so far. We should never give up prayer, even in periods of dryness, for if we persevere, we are sure to be rewarded. Oftentimes prayer can seem tedious, but it is never without merit of some sort. Many of the Saints went through a "dark night" as St. John of the Cross described, but they continued in prayer with strength, and great were the graces they were given!
We must remember that Mass has been called "the greatest prayer". We should not only attend Mass weekly, but even daily if possible. Even daily Mass once or twice a week is better than naught. In the Mass we are united again with the whole of God's people, and we receive the greatest graces when we are present at Mass. We must also not forget that the Lord Himself taught us how to pray. The Lords Prayer should be the blueprint for many of our prayers. We should also remember that short, spontaneous prayers are also very appropriate. "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!" has been a favorite prayer of mine as of late.
Prayer is both speaking and listening, so our prayer time should include periods of silence. Sometimes silence is hard to achieve at first, but starting with short periods and lengthening them is the key to achieving silence. We will probably face many distractions in prayer, but as I have said before, perseverance is the key. Let us keep on keeping on!
The foundation of our Rule is prayer. We are to pray much, that we may love much. Let us continue on as we have been doing, and do more if we are able. Let us examine our lives to see where we can add more prayer. For prayer is not an activity that has no reward. Every bit of time we devote to prayer merits grace, and we can be sure that God answers all prayer. If you feel you are not praying enough, take a look at your daily activities, and see where you can fit more prayer in. Don't forget to pray for your priests and bishops, and of course, the BSP. Post your prayer requests in the Prayer Forums on the website, and add your own spontaneous prayers as well. Be assured that the BSP prays with you, and for you!
May God answer in His glorious way, all our prayers! I remain your humble servant,
IN OUR HISTORY: A reply to an Inquirer...
The address which you have written to is the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis. Our web site is located at www.bspenance.org. May I take a moment to explain as simply as I can an answer to your question.
Our Association began building it's foundation in the late 1980s within the Secular Franciscan Order. We have been through many stages of growth to reach the status that we are now. The Stella Matutina Movement, the Franciscan Brothers and Sisters of Penance (FBSP), the Brothers and Sisters of Penance (BSP) and since September of this year we are the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis (BSP of St. Francis.)
The motion of the Holy Spirit has been a driving force for all that we have accomplished in building this Association.
A brief history of our beginnings have been posted on our web site.
- We have been blessed with the spiritual guidance of Fr. Valerius Messerich O. F. M. throughout all that we have done. Although he retired as the Visitor of our Association last spring, he continues to be our personal spiritual guide.
- We have the blessing and support of Archbishop Harry J. Flynn, Diocese of St. Paul/ Minneapolis of Minnesota, (he personally accepted the first pledges to the Rule of 1221 within this Diocese.)
- Archbishop Roger Schweitz, Diocese of Anchorage, Alaska, and many other priests and religious too numerous to cite at this time continue to dedicate time and support for the good of our Association.
- Sister Dominica Brennan, Vicar of Religious of the Archdiocese of St. Paul/ Minneapolis, has been directed by Archbishop Flynn to be our counsel from a canonical perspective.
- Fr. Corey Belden, a Diocesan priest, is our current Visitor.
In 1999, we discovered another group who were also promoting the Rule of 1221 during our search to build a web site for what was at that time the Franciscan Brothers and Sisters of Penance known as the FBSP. This discovery led to combining the two groups into one and through negotiations we dropped Franciscan from our name and became the Brothers and Sisters of Penance (BSP). In August of this year, the leader of the group we had merged with along with some others privately created a new Association with the resources created during this merger and then resigned from the BSP. They are the Confraternity of Penitents.
Since their departure, our Council of Directors has voted to add "of St. Francis" to honor and enhance our focus on our original founder, St. Francis of Assisi. We are now the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis, commonly known as the BSP.
As to who is the "real" BSP, the official one? In their departing letter to our membership, the members who resigned stated that they are no longer the BSP, they are the Confraternity of Penitents. There is a difference between the two Associations now. While both will retain the same Rule and basics, the BSP will have a deeper focus on the writings and teachings of St. Francis and of saints who have lived the Rule of 1221 to gain their sanctity. The CFP, I believe, will have a broader focus on many different saints.
I suggest that you pray and discern which direction that God is calling you to live this rule before you make a final decision. We would be most happy to welcome you into the BSP of St. Francis if our focus is the way that God speaks to you in your heart.
May God bless you in your decision,
Shelley Fahey BSP
A Pastor went to his church office on Monday morning and discovered a dead mule in the church yard. He telephoned the police. Since there did not appear to be any foul play, the police referred the Pastor to the Health Department.
They explained, "Since there was no health threat you'll need to call the Sanitation Department."
When the pastor called the Sanitation Department, the Manager of the Sanitation Department said, "I can't pick up that dead mule without authorization from the mayor."
The Pastor was not at all too eager to call the mayor, who possessed a very bad temper and was always extremely unpleasant and hard to deal with, but, eventually, the Pastor called the mayor anyway.
The mayor did not disappoint the Pastor. The mayor immediately began to rant and rave. After his continued rant at the pastor, the mayor finally said, "Why did you call me any way? Isn't your job to bury the dead?"
The pastor paused for a brief prayer, and asked the Lord to direct his response. The lord led the pastor to the words he was seeking, "Yes, Mayor, it IS my job to bury the dead, BUT I always like to
notify the next of kin first!"
A holy and happy Christmas to all in the Lord!
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
The first Presepe
Benozzo Gozzoli, Italian painter
St. Francis establishing the Manger at Greccio
Montefalco, Italy, Church of St. Francis
ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER…
All members are welcome to submit articles for consideration for inclusion in the newsletter if they are directed towards the formation of members or are the outgrowth of the lifestyle.
Just send them to: Bruce and Shelley Fahey at email:
or mail to BSP at
20939 Quadrant Ave. N., Scandia MN 55073.
Feel free to share this newsletter with your friends or neighbors. It is intended to be the primary monthly communication in the Association.
The BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE OF ST. FRANCIS is a Private Association of the Faithful, which is dedicated to renewing the ancient way of penance for lay people in our modern world, based on the First Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis of 1221. We have the approval of the Catholic Church to do this through several of its bishops.
Also, the mission of the BSP fulfills what Our Lady is asking of us all today: personal conversion.
Visit our Web site at: www.bspenance.org
Welcome to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis!