THE ADMONITIONS OF ST. FRANCIS:
V. No one should give way to pride but boast only in the cross of the Lord
Try to realize the dignity God has conferred on you. He created and formed your body in the image of his beloved Son, and your soul in his own likeness (cf. Gen 1: 26). And yet every creature under heaven serves and acknowledges and obeys its Creator in its own way better than you do. Even the devils were not solely responsible for crucifying him; it was you who crucified him with them, and you continue to crucify him by taking pleasure in your vices and sins.
What have we to be proud of? If you were so clever and learned to know everything and could speak every language so that the things of heaven were an open book to you, still you could not boast of that. Any of the devils, knew more about the things of heaven, and knows more about the things of earth, than any human being, even one who may have received from God a special revelation of the highest wisdom. If you were the most handsome and richest man in the world, and could work wonders and drive out devils, all that would be something extrinsic to you; it would not belong to you and you could not boast of it. But there is one thing of which we can all boast; we can boast of our humiliations (Cor. 12:15) and in taking up daily the holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
THE HEART OF JESUS CALLS FOR PENANCE - By Joy Pachowicz BSP
Gazing upon the Image of the Sacred Heart in the quiet hours of the morning, one can easily fall into a deeply spiritual meditation..That is what happened to me one morning..
I have a huge image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus...Found it in a dollar store here in Point Pleasant. It was the only one there..moreover, it is the only one I have seen since.. I know our Lord wished for me to have it.
Any way while preparing my soul for Holy Mass, I gazed up this Sacred Image..and found myself drawn to the beautiful Heart Jesus' hand pointed to..Around it was a glow of light..It was encircled with thorns and from the top of it..Fire gushed out ...
I immediately thought of St Margaret Mary and the mission she received..I thought of my own Parish: Sacred Heart and ..I thought of the BSP of St Francis...How we embrace for love our life of penance..
As I pondered before the Sacred Heart I realized it was love that moved Jesus to come with His Heart exposed as the Sacred Heart..It is love that causes flames to shoot from the top of His Sacred Heart..But it is lack of love, that caused the thorns to intertwine around His Holy Heart.
I remember, while in Portugal, hearing how our Lady showed the little children of Fatima
a vision of Hell..I remember also our Lady had told them.."Many souls go to Hell, because there are none to pray for them"
While having such an assortment of thoughts while gazing on the Sacred Heart, I began to wonder: Is this a single meditation or many together.
Before my thoughts ceased a vivid recollection came back to me..It was a memory of my last Confession in Portugal..I recall the Priest..Who spoke Portuguese kept me on my knees for one hour..I remember also that I didnt even get sore knees..
Why I recall it is because throughout the Priests exhortation one theme alone stood out..Reparation..The Good Priests explained to me..that many people come and think Fatima is about our Lady..He told me I should not think so..He wanted me to understand that the whole purpose of Fatima is Reparation...and that my life should be an echo of this..so much so that when I die and people go around my casket..I will sit up and say one more time: "Reparation"
Leaving Fatima was very hard..Yet I knew God never leads where He does not want you..Before the Sacred Heart I realized that as He points to His Heart and looks at us, He is asking us to participate somehow in this love that pours forth from His Heart..
As members of the BSP we can ponder over the meaning of the Sacred Heart this June and respond to His Invitation by living our life as Penitents for Love of His Sacred Heart...In reparation for the love He does not receive from so many..We can live our lives so that souls will not fall into the fiery pits of Hell..
Though devotion to the Sacred Heart was not yet in practice when Francis walked this earth, I am most certain that if it was our dear Holy Father would have embraced it with as much tenderness as he did his devotion to the Holy Eucharist..
The message of the Sacred Heart is Love..and our penance..if it is going to bear fruit in the lives of others..should also spring from hearts full of love and mercy...
Let us pray this month, of the Sacred Heart, that well known prayer of yesterday...Each and every time we do a penace required by our rule: Jesus Meek and Humble of Heart, Make my Heart Like unto Thine.
NO GREATER LOVE: by PAUL BEERY BSP
“Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” Donna and I recently had the pleasure of attending the funeral of a faithful servant of Jesus, Beatrice Heinz of Minneapolis. Bea was a long-time member of the Third Order of St. Francis who combined the active and contemplative aspects of her vocation in a unique way, a perfect blend of personal piety and charitable action. It was said of her that she never said a cross word to anyone in her life, yet everyone knew her unflinching devotion as a Pro-Life person of faith. She blossomed in an atmosphere of hostility, for her local church had become a haven for the avant-garde, whose liturgical dissent from Church teaching would have sent me packing.
Her funeral was a bittersweet homecoming. At the service, the choir director among others lauded her “in spite of our theological differences.” I thought, here everyone sees the manifest holiness of this person, but they refuse to do what she did. It’s like they said, “I want to be like Bea, but I won’t do what she did to become such a saintly person.” Hello? A lot of people want to be like St. Francis too, but don’t think they need to do what he did to become a great saint. "I want to be like Jesus," says the song. How do we do that? For the disciple, there is only one Way, one Master to follow for anyone who seeks the
Truth for Life.
People love platitudes. Bea put her words into action. As the last person to offer her tribute at the service, I said that as a Pro-Life advocate Bea had a great desire to attend the caucus in March earlier this year. She wanted to introduce an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman, and she asked me to go with her to make sure it was done. She knew what was important. I said Bea was such a great nfluence for all of us because she was faithful to Jesus. Thank God for people like Bea. Like Francis she was small in stature and a clear reflection of the image of our Creator. And to me it showed most of all through her fidelity in the midst of infidelity.
Thank God the shepherds He has entrusted with His flock are finally realizing the importance of fidelity, having seen the depths to which the unfaithful have fallen. I wish to highlight two heroes of the Gospel of Life. The first is Bishop Sheridan of the diocese of Colorado Springs, who has brought the issue of fidelity full circle by issuing “A Pastoral Letter to the Catholic Faithful on the Duties of Catholic Politicians and Voters” on May 1, 2004. Ever since Pope John Paul II issued his encyclical “The Gospel of Life” in 1994 in which he took Catholic politicians to task for the public scandal they gave by failing to live up to the tenets of their faith, the pressure on politicians who call themselves Catholic has increased. Many bishops have clearly stated that unrepentant Pro-Abortion politicians are not to present themselves for Holy Communion because they are not in union with the Church. They have done this because Life is not negotiable. No other issue can compare with the protection of innocent human life. Abortion by its very nature is an intrinsically evil act, the destruction of God's creative action. The Singular moral issue of our time is the protection not only of the pre-born, but the Sacrament of Marriage in the Plan of God that welcomes and nurtures that new life in the domestic church, the family. All other issues pale in comparison. Bishop Sheridan addresses the general duty of Catholic voters to apply the Pro-Life message of the Gospel in choosing morally qualified candidates for public office.
The second hero, his fellow bishop, gave an inspiring Gospel message on discipleship with specifically Franciscan overtones at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio on April 2, 2003. He is Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver; the highest ranking Franciscan in America. His talk was titled: “Francis as the model of authentic Church reform.” Was there a flood of publicity about his message in various Franciscan publications and the secular news media? No. Why? Why is the truth not heard by the average Catholic? The answer, unfortunately, is that the message of the Gospel is not being faithfully transmitted.
Fidelity to Jesus and true discipleship is not important to most of those who transmit the news (a spectacular exception being EWTN, Mother Angelica's wonderful television - and radio—network). Perhaps authentic Church reform should begin with the Church's bureaucracy. “He who hears you hears Me,” is more like “He who hears you hears you.” We are hearing mere opinions instead of the Word of God. The Good Shepherd told Peter to “Feed My sheep.” The successor of Peter and other good shepherds are still doing that, but their voice is not reaching the faithful. Don't listen to those who transmit their own opinions instead of the Word of God. Don't listen to shepherds not in union with Peter, or wolves in sheep's clothing.
Archbishop Chaput said that Francis “called his brothers to live the Gospel with simplicity and honesty. He saw that the Gospel wasn’t complicated, but it WAS demanding and difficult.” He says that at the time of Francis there were “theologians and Church lawyers who had written commentaries that were very good at either explaining away the hard parts of the Gospel, or diminishing our need to follow Christ’s demands. Francis wanted none of that. He was a radical in the truest sense. He wanted to experience discipleship at its root.” The more times change, the more they remain the same. Fr. Benedict Groeschel remarked that most people want the consolation of religion, but “Don’t tell me what to do!” Well, Jesus is very good at telling us EXACTLY WHAT TO DO! For those who are interested in hearing the truth from GOOD SHEPHERDS, the aforementioned documents are available on the internet, or I will send copies upon request. We MUST BECOME TRUE DISCIPLES OF JESUS.
“Do whatever He tells you,” said His Mother, who gave us the example to follow, she who “Heard the word of God and kept it.” If God wrote me a letter telling me what I needed to do to be happy in this life and for all eternity, then I’D DO IT, or die trying! If instead of listening to God who made the promise, we are led astray by the mere opinions of the confused, then who do we have to blame? If pure Love seeks our company, would we bring along a theologian to interpret the conversation? Where are our priorities? If One has clearly shown that there is indeed NO GREATER LOVE, then a good and faithful servant will not be satisfied with anything less.
Morning Star Chapter—BSP
HE WHO HEARS YOU, HEARS ME... by Donna Beery BSP
I learned an explanation of Jesus Christ's words, "He who hears you hears Me." Before microphones, when there was a large crowd, in order to get the message, people were appointed to repeat what was said. So the appointed person, in about every ten rows, would repeat what he heard. Therefore, when Jesus spoke to a very large crowd, many did not hear Him speak; yet all the people got the Lord's message.
The Blessed Virgin Mary and other saints have been appoined by God to give His people His messages. What does our Blessed Mother repeat over and over again in her appearences? She tells us to pray. Have you ever wondered, "Why does Mary ask that a chapel or church be built on the site of her apparitions?" For Catholics to pray in church is to be in God's presence before the Blessed Sacrament; to be in the Lord's presence is to be with Jesus in His body and blood, soul and divinity.
Before the Incarnation Mary was "full of grace" without the benefit of the Eucharist. When the angel said, "The Lord is with you," wasn't that the first moment that Jesus was present in His body, soul and divinity! In a very short time, Elizabeth recognized what Mary contained in her womb. Mary, for Elizabeth, was a tabernacle of the most high Lord--body and blood, soul and divinity. So our Blessed Mother is sent to tell us to pray, pray, pray here is this church. We hear the message of Jesus: pray, pray, pray here in this church before Me and with Me in this Blessed Sacrament which is my body and blood, my soul and divinity.
When we speak, we represent the Lord. "He who hears you, hears Me."
FRANCISCAN SAINTS: Blessed Marguerite Bays (1815-1879)
Marguerite Bays was a humble lay woman, whose life was hidden with Christ in God. She was a very simple
person with an ordinary life, in which each of us can recognize
himself. She walked humbly with God, accomplishing every act in
her daily life with love.
Marguerite was the second daughter of farmers living in La Pierraz, near Fribourg, Switzerland. She was given a very limited education.
She took a vow of virginity. but did never become a nun or a sister, and spent all her life in her own neighbourhood, working as a dressmaker, living in humility and silence. In her parish she was an exemplary committed lay person, especially dedicated to teaching catechism to children and young girls. She also visited the sick and the dying. She was a true friend of the poor, whom she called "God's favourites". She established in her parish the Societies
of the Propagation of the Faith and the Holy Childhood.
Marguerite Bays put the greatest trust in prayer, the focus of her life, to which she had been inclined since childhood. She had deep love for Our Lady, whom she venerated by frequently reciting the Rosary and visiting her shrines. She also had immense love for Jesus in the Eucharist, before which she spent long hours in adoration. From Eucharistic Adoration Marguerite drew inner strength.
She also worshipped Jesus in the Eucharist at daily mass in her Parish Church, and prayed in the quiet of her room while meditating on the Stations of the Cross.
God was her greatest love. She deplored human indifference to Him and insistently demanded: "What can we do to love God more?". Her constant concern to be centered on God made her profoundly humble. She felt she was the lowliest of creatures and a great sinner.
She developed intestinal cancer at the age of 35 and asked Our Lady to intercede with her Son to exchange her suffering for the kind of pain that would enable her to share more directly in the Passion of Our Lord. She was miraculously healed from cancer on December 8, 1854 at the moment when Pius IX pronounced the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Instead, she had to bear a "mysterious affliction" which immobilized her in ecstasy every Friday when, physically and spiritually, she relived the phases of Jesus' Passion from Gethsemane to Calvary.
In 1860 she became a member of the Franciscan Third Order. Ever since then, Marguerite identified increasingly with the suffering of Jesus on the Cross. She fled attention and always sought to hide the great marks of favour she had been granted: the stigmata. She received this precious gift 15 years before her death. Happy to be called to follow the Crucified and to imitate Saint Francis, she showed no sign of suffering and on the contrary "could be heard to utter words of adoration and submission to God's holy will". She died at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, 27 June 1879, absorbed in her love for the Crucified Lord.
How does Marguerite's life relate to us? Here's something to ponder. Suffering is a very important element of salvation; without it we cannot be saved. There are many types of suffering, not only in the flesh but also in the mind; in the soul; in the spirit; in everyday's life. So, through our daily lives, when God calls us to submit to His Will, do we freely submit ourselves to Him so He can share His Cross in our being?
Sufferings that we have each day are bound together with Our Lord's. The secret of perfection is in the acceptance of God's Will, freely; in accepting the trials and the sufferings that Our Lord sends to each soul each day. The more that we carry the cross the more we resemble Our Lord, in every way.
Marguerite Bays also encourages us to make our life a way of
love. She also reminds us of our mission in the world: to
proclaim the Gospel. And considering her life we discover the importance of prayer in lay life. It does
not distance one from the world. Far from it, it broadens one's
interior life, disposing one to forgiveness and fraternal life.
Pope John-Paul II beatified Marguerite Bays on the 29 October 1995. He said in his discourse: Marguerite achieved nothing extraordinary, and yet her life
was a long, silent walk on the way of holiness. In her life
shines the glory of the blessed who followed in Christ's
footsteps: "Those who humble themselves will be exalted".
Submitted by Anna Ferroni—Turin, Italy
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD[*]:
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