FROM THE WRITINGS ON ST. FRANCIS:
HOW HE CENSURED ONE OF HIS COMPANIONS FOR SHOWING A GLOOMY FACE.
Blessed Francis used to say,
'Although I know that the devils envy me the blessings that God has given me, I also know and see that they cannot harm me through myself, so they plan and try to hurt me either through myself or through my companions. But if they cannot hurt me either through myself or through my companions, they retire in great confusion. Indeed, whenever I am tempted or depressed, if I see my companions joyful, I immediately turn away from my temptation and oppression, and regain my own inward and outward joy.'
So the Father used to censure those who went about with gloomy faces, and once rebuked a friar who appeared with a gloomy face, saying,
'Why are you making an outward display of grief and sorrow for you sin? This sorrow is between God and yourself alone. So pray Him in His mercy to pardon you and restore to your soul the joy of His salvation, of which the guilt of your sins has deprived it. Always do your best to be cheerful when you are with me and the other brethren; it is not right for a servant of God to show a sad and gloomy face to his brother or to anyone else.'
It should not be imagined, however that our Father, who loved dignified and sensible behavior, wished this spiritual joy to be show in levity or empty chatter, for these things are not evidence of spiritual joy, but of emptiness and folly. He greatly disliked laughter and idle gossip in a servant of God; in fact, he preferred him not to laugh, and to avoid giving others any occasion for hilarity. In one of his Counsels he gave an even clearer definition of the nature of spiritual joy in a servant of God, saying,
'Blessed is the Religious who has no pleasure or joy except in the most holy sayings and works of the Lord, and by these inspires men to the love of God in joy and gladness. And woe to the Religious who takes delight in the idle and foolish talk, and by them provokes men to laughter.'
By a joyful face, therefore, he understood fervour, thoughtfulness, and the disposition and preparation of mind and body to a ready undertaking of every good work; for this fervour and readiness often have a greater influence on people than by the good deed itself. Indeed, however good an action may be, if it does not seem to have been done willingly and fervently, it tends to produce distaste rather than edification. So he did not wish to see a gloomy face, which often portrays a sluggish body and a melancholy mind. He always loved to see gravity of face and deportment both in himself and others, and did his best to encourage this by word and example. For experience had taught him that grave and restrained behavior provided a wall and strong shield against the darts of the devils; he knew that without the protections of this wall and shield the soul resembled an unarmed soldier among powerful and well-armed enemies, ever eager and intent on his death.
Source: Mirror of Perfection – 1318
MORNING STAR: News on the Association
The Universal Call to Deep Contemplative Intimacy
with the Holy Trinity
By Father Thomas Dubay S.M. – Retreat Master
Monsignor Aloysius Callaghan will celebrate Mass for us on Saturday.
(Archbishop Nienstedt directed us to him as he is not available to hold Mass for us that weekend.)
Fr. James Reidy will be with us for reconciliation and fellowship.
Friday July 25th to Sunday July 27th
Franciscan Retreat Center—Prior Lake, Minnesota
Put it on your calendar
and send an email to
email@example.com to reserve a place!
Divine Mercy Sunday
Homily by Fr. Robert Altier, Visitor of the BSP
Second Week of Easter
Reading (Acts 4:23-31) Gospel (St. John 3:1-8)
We look at the apostles gathered in the room after Peter and John are released from being interrogated by the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin. They come back and tell their brothers and sisters what had happened to them. And they all begin to pray, which is something that we need to recognize. How often we try to deal with things on the natural level. We need to learn to have God as our first thought and turn to Him in prayer.
Notice the way they pray. It probably sounds like the way many of us would begin, "O Lord, look at the threats they are putting against us." But then they turn it right around. They did not ask that the threats would stop; they did not ask anything for themselves; what they asked for was complete assurance as they continued to preach. They were not backing away from the threats; they were not backing away from the possibility that they would be apprehended again, scourged, and interrogated; they simply prayed for assurance that the Holy Spirit would be working within them and that they would be without fear as they continued to preach the Word of God.
That is something we all need to learn. It is not something that is beyond us. The Lord made it very clear to Nicodemus, in the Gospel reading today, that anyone who is begotten from above is like the Spirit. He says, "The Spirit blows where He wills. You know neither where It comes from or where It goes. So it is with all of those who are born again of the Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit has been given to each one of us. He fills our hearts. The problem is that sometimes we keep the Holy Spirit at too much of a distance. We don't let Him work in our lives very well because we are afraid. We need to put the fear aside and trust in God; that is where we need to put everything. We have been born again from above. We are born of the flesh from our parents; we are born of the spirit from God. While we share in earthly life and in a human nature, we share also in divine life and in divine nature; all of that has already been granted to us.
What we need to do now is go to prayer and pray to the Lord for trust, for confidence, for courage to do His work, whatever it is He is asking of us. We are not to be afraid because it is not us that is doing it, it is the Holy Spirit at work within us; all we are doing is cooperating, He is the one doing the work. So, we have nothing at all to be afraid of.
If we just follow God and trust Him, He will lead us in the way that is perfect according to His will; in the way that is truly going to be the best for us, not necessarily the easiest. Look at the apostles: They got dragged in, they were interrogated, and they were beaten. It doesn't mean that nothing bad, on the natural level, is going to happen to us. But it does mean that if we are willing to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, He will guide us exactly where He wants us to be; He will guide us to say exactly what He wants us to say and to do exactly what He wants us to do.
That is the assurance the Lord gives to us. All we need to do is trust. In order to do that, we must pray. Not to pray simply for ourselves, that whatever is happening will stop or go away. But rather to pray that we will have the trust, assurance, and confidence that we will do God's will; that we will cooperate with the Holy Spirit and do whatever the Lord wants as we strive to do His will in our lives.
Note: Father Altier does not prepare his homilies in advance, but relies solely upon the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.
ON OUR JOURNEY...
When Jesus had called the Twelve together…he sent them out to preach
The kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: "Take nothing for the
journey-no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic…"
We opened the bible randomly to get a subject for this month's message and this Scripture jumped out at us. It speaks to all of us in so many ways. We have just come off of Lent and are in the Easter season. We are about to journey into Ordinary Time again, and the rest of our life. The wonderful, peaceful, holy season of Eastertime is about to end, and so we can pay heed to what the Lord said to His Twelve as they were sent out to do His work, as are we, each and all of us, every day of our lives.
Take nothing for the journey. It is hard to imagine a journey we might take in this modern age where we would pack nothing for it. Yet, when it comes to serving the Lord and working in His vineyard that is exactly what we need. Nothing, but the spiritual strength given to us through God as we surrender ourselves to Him. He must and does give us all we need, when we need it and not before, and exactly what we need and nothing extra. For us this calls us to Trust Him.
So, what do we bring on our journey? Our Love for God. Our Faith in God. Our Trust in God. Surrendering all to God. Accepting all that God wills for us daily, including our joys, works, and sufferings as we travel on our life's journey.
Let us surrender our lives to the Holy Will of God, not our own will, and we will have All that we need for our journey.
No staff. Now a staff is a good thing in rugged country. The kind of country we all face in our daily lives. Tough moments; difficult people; hard situations; loneliness; depression; hard work; deep or muddy water. A staff helps us to keep balance in all of these situations, and to find solid bottom as we wade through our life. For us, the staff is Faith in Jesus; His mission which is ours too; and His Power, which is infinite and omnipresent; if we but believe in Him and Trust Him, for he is our staff.
No bag. Well, if we take nothing for the journey we don't need a bag now do we? The only bag we need is our Love of God and trusting in His love for us. It encompasses all we are and do, and in that love we have already put our love of neighbor. That is all the bag we need as we move through our life.
No bread. Like the flowers in the field God will provide for us. So, we need not take bread for this journey. The bread we need is the Eucharist. Only God can provide this Bread, and He does, across the whole earth to all who believe in Him and live as if they believe in Him and live His Commandments.
No money. This calls for surrender to God. God knows what we need when it comes to money. His plans for us are sufficient. We need to accept what He has provided and do our best work to earn it. He will provide the money we need when we need it if we but work. If we need it we also need to tell Him we need it and why. Then we go back Trusting Him to provide it.
No extra tunic. We need to wear our good deeds and kind words. We need to be transparent and fully clothed with them. So, we always have something to wear, and that is enough. How many clothes do we need? We can expand our wardrobe by doing more good everywhere we go.
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
Administrators of the BSP
From the Scriptures—From the First Reading on Trinity Sunday
by Janet Klasson BSP
Moses at once bowed down to the ground in worship. Then he said, "If I find favor with you, O Lord, do come along in our company. This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own."
Why does God call food addicts to regular fasting? A similar question came up on one of the forums recently. I am one of those food addicts. Food used to get me out of bed in the morning. If someone had told me even 5 years ago that I would be fasting for 40 days twice a year I would have laughed out loud (between cookies). I found two days a year excruciating. And they were almost 40 days apart! It is still the part of the Rule that I struggle with the most.
Another member discussed with me that she was having trouble accepting the clothing restrictions of the Rule. She is a lovely young woman and although she always dresses modestly, having to give up patterns and colors is a great sacrifice for her.
A while back a friend told me that she would find the regular prayer routine tedious. She prefers variety and spontaneity to structured prayer. Routines put her to sleep.
Does feeling this way about one aspect or another of the Rule (or all three!) mean we are not called to this lifestyle? Not necessarily. We should remember the "widow's mite" (Mark 12:41-44).
(Jesus) sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."
So what can we learn about the penitential lifestyle from the poor widow? Our Lord wants us to give, not of our excess, but of our substance. If we give what is easy to give, what merit is there in that? For a food addict to give up that second piece of pie may be of greater value than someone who gives up pie for 40 days, but has no special attachment to pie or to food for that matter. A woman who likes to dress well, but buys only her second choice instead of her first may be giving more than someone who shops in second-hand stores, but has no attachment to fashion in the first place. A penitent who sticks to the prayer routine through a sheer effort of the will, for love of the Lord if not out of love for the exercise may be giving more than someone who finds great consolation in the prayer of the Rule.
My point is that we should not judge ourselves or others by the little or the great things we are able to do for God in the practice of penance. Only God knows the true cost. Often we do not know ourselves, for God loves to hide the merit from us to protect us from pride. Our part is to persevere in the marathon, keep running the race to the end. Pray and do not give up. That is the path to holiness, and holiness is the entire point of the Rule.
And if you need one more reason to say Fiat to the life of penance, consider this. What are the idols of this age? What good things have people turned into gods? Money, sex, power, entertainment, food, materialism. What remedies has God sent for this idolatry? The religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience are the remedy against the idolatry of money, sex and power. And the Rule of 1221 counters the rest: time spent in prayer counters the worship of leisure, periods of fasting make reparation for the worship of food, and the life of penance and simplicity is a remedy for the materialism of our society. Our Rule is precisely what is needed for this age. And to think that our Lord planned it to be so almost 800 years ago.
So if you are called to this lifestyle, do not look at the difficulties or the failures you may encounter. Keep praying, persevere and give everything to Jesus - even your failures. The Lord can use it all. His mercy is unfathomable. His mercy is what gives us the courage to stand in the breach repeating with Moses: "If I find favor with you, O Lord, do come along in our company. This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own."
Why does God call us weak sinners to a life of penance? Because he is a good and merciful God who wants to give us everything that we need to fulfill his plan for us and for the whole world. Alleluia!
Janet Klasson BSP - Canada
NO GREATER LOVE: by PAUL BEERY BSP - May 2008
"The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them,
because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature, namely His eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.
" (Romans 1, 18-23)
Finishing last month's theme, it's time to look at how the Environmental Movement (EM) treats what Pope Benedict calls "the Supreme worth of creation." "By their fruits you will know them". Paul the Apostle tells us that they are without excuse who cannot perceive the Creator " in the things that have been made." Our primary obligation as Images of God is to "honor Him as God and give thanks to Him." Perhaps no one saw the Creator everywhere in Creation better than Francis of Assisi. His followers need to rescue his legacy from the errors of the Environmental Movement. To divorce God from His Creation is absurd. But God-less Environmentalists have accomplished the absurd. These followers of Darwinian Evolution have a different worldview, speak a different language. Their goal is global political power: the means, the introduction of a new religion at odds with Christianity, all UNDER THE GUISE OF CONCERN FOR HUMANITY.
Australia's Cardinal Pell has a few things to say about that in his article: "Global Warming and Pagan Emptiness," in the January issue of The Catholic World Report. "The mass media, politicians, many church figures, and the public generally seem to have embraced even the wilder claims about man-made climate change as if they constituted a new religion. These days, for any public figure to question the basis of what amounts to a green fundamentalist faith is tantamount to heresy." I just love being called a HERETIC by such "Fundamentalists!"
Why do so many embrace this new "green faith?" They have been denied knowledge of God because of "the ungodliness and wickedness of men WHO SUPPRESS THE TRUTH." Young people need to devote their lives to something meaningful. But as the Cardinal said, the only message they hear from the "media, politicians, many church figures, and the public generally" is that mankind is ruining the planet, the sky is falling, and only Big Government can save the world! All we have to do is give up our freedom and independence, and trust the government to be our savior. This scandalous indoctrination is going on in our schools. When serving as an election judge, I saw the following statement on the children's election ballot: "I'm concerned that Global Warming will have a bad effect on my life in the future." What young skulls full of mush can resist this massive assault on the truth, this new paganism that "exchanges the glory of the Immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles?"
Cardinal Pell responds: "My task as a Christian leader is to engage with reality, to contribute to debate on important issues, to open people's minds, and to point out when the emperor is wearing few or no clothes. I strive to argue rationally towards God the Creator, and reject substitutes, be they pantheist or atheist. Radical environmentalists are more than up to the task of moralizing their own agenda and imposing it on people through fear. They don't need church leaders to help them with this, although it is a very effective way of FURTHER MUTING CHRISTIAN WITNESS. Church leaders in particular SHOULD BE ALLERGIC TO NONSENSE." What nonsense? Turning something POSITIVE - Global Warming - into something NEGATIVE! The .7 degree rise in temperature the past hundred years has produced MANY BENEFICIAL RESULTS! Warmth expands the area available for cultivation, grows more food and a greater variety, requires less fuel, makes the earth more hospitable, the list goes on. It's COLD that kills.
More nonsense: pretending man is suddenly Master of the Earth, in control of its destiny! The very concept reeks of unmitigated arrogance and pride. The nonsense that mankind has caused Global Warming when heating and cooling cycles have been going on since the creation of the world! The nonsense of concocting a hypothesis that mankind is causing Global Warming by increasing CO2 emissions, which allegedly cause warming. THAT CANNOT BE PROVEN! Were it true, it would be hotter every year. And it's NOT. The global temperature has not risen since 1998, contrary to all the hype. Cardinal Pell caused a stir when he pointed out that in addition to the earth, other planets had also warmed (because of extraordinary solar activity). He asked how mankind could be responsible for that? Today climate scientists are getting alarmed, for the sun has become very "inactive." So fear-mongers are now using the term "Climate Change."
Let's highlight the greens alleged "concern for humanity." The entire world is now undergoing a food and energy crisis that is hitting the poor hardest. How did this happen? Through a leftist assault on God, freedom, reason and capitalism. The EM convinced millions that the earth is being polluted by oil and other "fossil fuels" to such a degree that they need to be replaced by something more "earth friendly." That's not possible, at least in the near future. Oil runs the engine of the free world. We can't live without it. But "Big Oil" has been demonized to such a degree that Environmentalist politicians forbid drilling for our own oil, even though there is plenty available.
That we are running out of oil is a lie. Known reserves in Alaska (can't drill in the Wilderness, for that is the Cathedral of the Environmental Church), off the coasts, and huge deposits of oil in shale and "tar pits" in the Western US (where there are also seams of coal 200 feet thick) and Canada could provide us with oil for the next hundred years! But we're not going to tap into this huge God-given supply of oil: instead we are BURNING FOOD FOR FUEL! So there are now both FOOD AND FUEL shortages! Folks, my logical mind says this policy lies somewhere between lunacy and insanity! A totally artificial, MAN-MADE CRISIS has thus been CREATED by Environmentalists, the only ones for whom it makes perfect sense. This ludicrous policy has been adopted by a major political party in America, and many Socialist Governments.
Is that an extreme statement? Proof comes in the form of three letters: DDT, God's chemical gift to mankind. DDT saved the lives of MILLIONS OF PEOPLE from WWII on by controlling many insects and diseases, virtually wiping out malaria. It increased the food supply because it was inexpensive and extremely effective. In fact, way too effective for the EM, which had it banned because some birds' eggs were allegedly getting thin shells. Really? Even if it was true, imagine choosing BIRDS over HUMANS! No. DDT was SAVING TOO MANY PEOPLE'S LIVES! As a result, millions of PEOPLE in the developing world are once again dying unnecessarily from malaria because life-saving DDT has been DELIBERATELY WITHHELD FROM THEM.
Who's responsible for this genocide? Even the "Skeptical Environmentalist," Bjorn Lomborg, is sickened by the actions of his brethren. Lomborg, unlike them, is pro-people. He said that instead of spending billions of dollars on costly treaties to reduce CO2 emissions, it's much more cost-effective to deal directly with specific threats of drought, flooding, malaria or hurricane damage, as part of a plan to promote development for poor people in the Third World. But he misses the point. The EM doesn't want to address these specific problems: it doesn't care about humanity, especially the poor. Remember Darwin, eugenics, Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood.
Cardinal Pell has the last word. "The Christian God is not an insurance broker. His Son Jesus Christ did not say anything on global warming, although He said much on the struggle between good and evil, meaning and fear, love and hate. Jesus calls us to address the challenges in our own hearts, families and communities before we moralize about distant worlds, where we are usually powerless." Amen.
Paul Beery BSP
THE ADMONITIONS OF ST. FRANCIS
XVII. The humble religious
Blessed the religious who takes no more pride in the good that God says and does through him, than in that which he says and does through someone else. It is wrong for anyone to be anxious to receive more from his neighbor than he himself is willing to give to God.
From: VICTORIA CLAIR BSP
For Francis, it was Jesus' suffering and death on the cross that was central to his understanding of the God/Man. And from this came his great awe and reverence for the Sacrament of the Eucharist. For Francis, once the words of consecration were uttered over the bread by a priest, the bread was no longer bread; it was really the Body of Christ. In the Eucharist, (God) "gives away his own life as a cup of wine and a piece of bread." "Jesus, at the moment of his death, gives away God's own life." Often, after having received the Sacrament, Francis would be caught up in ecstasy, for through the Eucharist, he had been united with the great Lover of his soul.
Francis was so concerned about how the Eucharist was celebrated that he would admonish priests who did not keep the sacred vessels and altar linins clean. He often carried a broom with him so that he could sweep the floors of the churches he visited. He begs his followers to have great reverence for the Sacrament of the Eucharist and for the priests who were empowered by Christ, through the Church, to bring this sacrament to us in their own blessed hands.
Francis saw the reflection of God in all of creation. Perhaps his reverence and awe of the magnitude and beauty of creation is what caused the birds and animals to respond to him as they did. They may have sensed that he saw their wonder and majesty as fellow creatures of the Creator. Francis saw God everywhere and in every thing, even the stones. And he did not consider himself to be above creation, but rather a servant of creation. For Francis, serving all of creation was serving God. Honoring creation was honoring the Creator. Creation was the reflection of the Creator.
And, finally, for Francis, his embracing of "Lady Poverty" was living a poor life as Jesus lived a poor life. He begged for food as he imagined Jesus begged for food. He embraced the leper as he knew Jesus embraced the sick of both body and soul. He sought to be humble as he knew of Jesus' humility in His life and death. For Francis, "everything in heaven and on earth has been reconciled with God through Christ."
Francis so strongly identified with Jesus that, two years before his death, he received the stigmata, the five wounds of Christ. He was the first saint to have experienced the stigmata. Francis became a living reminder of the price God paid in His love for us.
My understanding of Jesus reflects much of St. Francis' belief of who Jesus was and is. It wasn't until quite recently that I came to realize that, like St. Francis, the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross is central to my understanding of who Jesus is and how I relate to Him. And, just as the Eucharist was such a sacred Sacrament to St. Francis, it is for me as well. This, I think may be true because I discovered St. Francis when I was in the 6th grade. From 6th grade through high school, I would go to the Franciscan Monastery in Providence and search through their library. A book on St. Francis entitled: BIRD OF FIRE was the first of many I read about him through my teen years. He was my hero. I think it is safe to say that St. Francis was one of the leading potters of my malleable soul.
For me, Jesus is many things. My heart warms with love of Jesus in St.Augustine's prayer in which he refers to Jesus as his "Father, God, King, Shepherd, Master, Helper, Friend, Living Bread, Eternal Priest, Guide, the One True Light, Shining Wisdom, Lord," etc. But most importantly, Jesus is the One who brought my soul back from the abyss through His suffering and death on the cross. If all time is present, which I believe it is, Jesus is always being born, living and teaching, suffering and dieing. And so, each night, when I am going through my examination of conscience, I picture myself kneeling at the foot of the cross, seeing what my sins have done to Him, begging for His forgiveness, and promising to try to live more aware of His presence in my every moment. I also pray that I will always choose Him and His way rather than myself and my way.
St. Padre Pio, another Franciscan, was also drawn to the crucified Christ, so much so that, like St. Francis, he received the Stigmata. His teachings and example are important for me because he is more my contemporary. He was alive when I was a child! Too often, Christians point to saints like Francis and Clare and think that because they lived so long ago, it was easier for them to be saints. They think it is harder to live a Franciscan life today then it was in the days of St. Francis. Yet, here is Padre Pio, one of our own generation. He exemplified Jesus. Like Francis, he sought to live in the footsteps of his Lord. His life makes it impossible for those of us in the 21st Century to make any more excuses. To live a Christ centered life is possible, even today!
Jesus is, first and foremost, my Lord and Savior. I stand in awe of, and thanksgiving for, that generosity of God, so filled with unconditional love for His creation that He did condescend to become as one of us in the person of Jesus. God's love is so great that He lived as we live, and in His life, gave us an example of how human beings were created to live. He suffered every indignity with dignity. He accepted the cross as THE way to bridge the gap between Himself and us. And so, my first response to Jesus is one of utter gratitude and worship. I simply can't understand how Catholics, believing that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist, can continue to stand there during the Consecration. As a member of the Brother and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis, we are to follow the norm of the culture in which we find ourselves. And so, I don't do what I want to do during the Consecration, which is, at the very least, to kneel out of my sense of awe and reverence. How can we stand, and even sit, while our Lord and God is physically present in the mystery of the Eucharist? We would never choose to sit in the presence of the President of the U.S. unless he invited us to do so. Yet we have the audacity to sit in the presence of our Lord and Savior. It just baffles me. (Enough preaching!)
My relationship with Jesus is the most important relationship in my life. . . He is my life. I see no other reason for life on this planet but to "know, love and serve God….." (Baltimore Catechism). The God-Human Jesus brings God to me and me to God. Through Him I learn what it means to be a "child of God."
Victoria Clair BSP
(This is an excerpt from a paper Victoria did for her advanced Franciscan studies at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, which she is presently pursuing. Victoria has started a chapter of the BSP in South Korea and will soon move to the Phillippines. Please pray for her. We thank her for sharing her work with us!)
Catechism Lesson (sections 1762-1845).
The theological virtues are
(1) Faith -- belief in God and the teachings of the Church;
(2) Hope -- trust and desire for the happiness of eternal life;
(3) Charity -- love for God and neighbor and self.
The cardinal virtues are
(1) Prudence -- ability to discern our true good in every circumstance;
(2) Justice -- respect for the rights of God and neighbor;
(3) Fortitude -- strength and constancy in the pursuit of the good;
(4) Temperance -- moderation in the use of goods and the pursuit of pleasures.
Scripture Lesson (1 Timothy 6:8).
"If we have food and clothing, we have all we need."
I wholehearted agree with this statement but would also add water, and in most climates, shelter. Letting go of other material things brings us a deep sense of peace and joy.
St. Francis taught that "things" tend to be a great source of stress and anxiety because we are forced to spend a lot of energy on protecting and maintaining them. "Things" can easily distract us from our focus on God and the spiritual life.
For example, the saying "you can separate the men from the boys by the price of their toys" is very true, especially in American culture. Basically adults still play with "toys" -- things like houses, cars, boats, computers, big screen TVs, etc. These items bring only fleeting happiness. They cause people to crave more and more "things" rather than going to the true source of lasting peace and happiness: God.
SO TRUE. FLEETING IS THE WORD. THIS IN ITSELF IS A WONDERFUL MEDITATION FOR US ALL EVEN AS WE ALL NEED RECREATION. RECREATION CAN ONLY CAUSE FLEETING JOY TOO. I ALWAYS REMEMBER, NO WHERE IN THE GOSPEL DO I SEE THE LORD TAKING RECREATION. HIS RECREATION WAS TO GO OFF BY HIMSELF AND PRAY. SOMETHING FOR US ALL TO THINK ABOUT. I GUESS WE WILL KNOW WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS IN THE SPIRITUAL LIFE WHEN WE DO THAT. FIND OUR RECREATION IN OUR RE-CREATION IN GOD IN PRAYER LIKE JESUS DID.
(Formation advocate comments in CAPS)
Lisa Drago BSP
Mary of Tenderness
painting on parchment
Author: Andrea Mantegna, Italian painter
painted around 1450, now temporarily in Padua, till next September
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE OF ST. FRANCIS
a.k.a. the 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
firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
Welcome to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance!
"And we have this confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."