The Rule, Article 4

Friday, December 31, 2010

The Last Day of the Year

Okay, I have one last question that's been on my mind for quite awhile. I'm reluctant to bring it up in Confession as I, well I think it sounds ridiculous. But it's on my mind. And if it's on my mind, it's....,,well....on my mind.

Here goes. Don't laugh. The problem is........"I enjoy reading Protestant materials some of the time". Remember, you said you wouldn't laugh. I'm not exactly sure why I do it . My working hypothesis is that I just want to.

Tomorrow starts a new year. Lord, let me decide to live it with commitment and compassion. Let me stop this whole small minded stuff whining about what was done to me. Let me replace it wit h what has been done for you.

Friday, December 24, 2010


I do have a Christmas story for you. It's not "The" Christmas story, but it'll have to do.

Cranky Guy had a gift certificate to use. He got it the other day at Church. It was to a bookstore. As you might not know, this kind of thing pleases Cranky tremendously. He came home with all kinds of ideas about what he was going to buy. Then he began to sort through the online catalog. At first, he identified $157 worth. But this raced way past the gift certificate.

He began to ratchet back. With his trusty calculator, he trimmed it to #47.50. But then Cranky began to think. Did he really want the books? Should he think more? Would he use the books again? Should he buy books his lady friend would read also?

What books would God want him to buy? Poor Cranky got more and more confused. So he turned off his computer and made some coffee.

He doesn't have to finish this off immediately. It's important but not urgent.

Maybe tomorrow we can find out what he did.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Knowing God or Knowing About God

Do I know God, or do I know about God? It’s easy to reduce God to an intellectual construct to be described, developed, and defended. He’s suddenly a great deal like a listing of the Northern Generals during the Civil War. Their strengths and weaknesses can be calculated, weighed, evaluated, compared and shared. But you and I are hard-pressed to claim actually knowing them. For they have all been dead for over one hundred years.

It’s the same way with God. I can come to know about him and what he did without having a genuine relationship with Him. That can be deadly. Do I get into Heaven when I only know about Him?

Oh, I do hope I know him better than I know you.
Or you know me.

I depend so much on grace. It's like He gave me pre-approved credit card. But those things do run out. Does grace run out? Does mercy? Is the answer different when I presume on His Grace and Mercy? Please, does it stop when I die? Do I take a draft with me to cover expected and unexpected departure expenses between my death and the Beatific vision?

If Purgatory is what it says in the Catechism, looks like most people are going to spend some time there. And it looks pretty inviting from my perspective. That is, unless there are more Catholics immaculately conceived than I thought there were.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Explaining Cranky Guy.

It's tough to do. He was someone I met decades ago in school. We kept bumping into each other. He wanted me to "loosen up" and go with the flow. I wanted him to get converted.

I was fresh out of ideas for blogging. Cranky wasn't. Cranky always has ideas. Some of them are even acceptable if they can be filtered. On his own devices, he sometimes rolls over the edge. But I've always been able to reel him in. At least so far.

I saw his listing of a favored theologian. Slick.

I have some names for you, too.
----Christ, The Life of the Soul by Columba Marmion
----Lift Up Your Heart by Fulton Sheen
----Anything by Rainero Cantalamessa. The spelling is wrong, but the guy is good. Sr. Loretta keeps a fresh supply of his work in her toy store.

Be understanding of Cranky. You'd like him if you got to know him. Unless there is a ground swell of sentiment against it, I'll invite him back some time.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

If Francis Were Alive

Filling in for the vacationing Tommy Augustine:

If Francis were alive, he would read this blog first thing every morning. Then he'd probably check out what was happening on the Kansas Catholic blog and the Catholic Key blog.

Francis was a very wise man.

Full of Care and Compassion,

Cranky Guy

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Things To Help You Be A Better Person by Cranky Guy

Another guest editorial.

I am happy to have a chance to address you again. Tommy asked me if I wanted to address you again. The boy is shy and looks to me to help him overcome his myriad of limitations.

First, I love this Blog, Bonnie's stuff is really informative. She needs to be congratulated for all h er efforts. Of course, entering it no doubt makes her even holier than she is already. I've learned a lot from her..

Did you read the last TAU? It has a wonderful poem by one of your members:John Robert McCray.

I have a new favorite book--THEOLOGY AND SANITY by Frank Sheed.. WoW! He's clear. I like clear.

Feel free to respond.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


The Son of Justice and Mercy shown brightly Sunday morning, October 10, as the Secular Franciscans of the Holy Eucharist gathered at the Franciscan Prayer Center for their first triennial election. Father Felix Petrovsky, OFM Cap, our Regional Spiritual Assistant had driven from Colorado Springs, CO to preside at and confirm the election, assisted by Alice Crews, sfo, our Regional Secretary who chaired the election.  

Council commissioned by the professed members to animate the fraternity:

Minister:            Claudia Kauzlarich
Vice Minister:   Stanley Sikorski
Secretary:         Elizabeth Dietrich
Treasurer:         Alice Goergen
Formation:        Cheryl O’Neil
Councilor:         Mary Belanger
Councilor:         Clarissa Grill
Councilor:         Carol Sikorski
Councilor:         Trini Velasquez
Councilor:         Donna Weathers

Friday, September 24, 2010


Blessed is the servant who has been found as humble among his subjects as he was among his masters.

Blessed is the servant who always remains under the rod of correction. 

Faithful and prudent is the servant who does not delay in punishing himself for all his offenses, inwardly through contrition and outwardly through confession and penance for what he did. (Mt24:45)

Saint Francis of Assisi

Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents, New City Press

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Guest Column by Cranky Guy

If Francis lived in 2010 in Missouri, what would he be like? Would he be different than he was all those years ago in Italy? Would he wear a suit? jeans? The same habit? Would he look and act a whole lot like Fr. Felix?

Would he catch late night television when he had time? Think about how he responded to Islam. How should I respond?

Would he say "Grace" at a Tea Party Rally?

Would he say "Grace" at a Rally?

Would he vote?

Would it be easier to get Francis to fit our culture, or would it be easier to get our culture to fit Francis?

Where would he/should we compromise to get along with family, neighbors,friends, church members, etc.?

If I really take Francis seriously, will I have to more and more be a hermit, forced by my choices into more and more of an eremetical life?

To be a Franciscan, a Catholic, a Christian I may have to be counter-cultural. What is that going to be like when most of us have spent a lifetime trying to fit in with people around us?

Having a life goal of being holy rather than a goal of being nice and accepted could force me to change everything. Relativism and Consumerism are what our worlds more and more mean--when we have the money to finance it.

Aren't we all like the prodigal son? We're ready to go home to the Father==just as soon as the money runs out. Until then, let the good times roll! Now for the $64,000.00 questions---Am I hitting close to home for you? Or is this only a problem for me?

If I really focus on Jesus and what He did, everything else becomes more or less just biding time until I die. But I'm so stupid that I spend large percentages of my life on stuff that makes no difference to me, anyone else, or God.

I'm giving tepid a bad name.

Hugs and Kisses

Cranky Guy
Guest Coulumnist

Friday, September 17, 2010


Blessed is the servant who has faith in the clergy who live uprightly according to the rite of the Roman Church. 

Woe to those who look down upon them; for even though they be sinners, no one should judge them because the Lord alone reserves judgment on them to Himself. For just as their ministry is greater in its concerns for the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which they receive and they alone administer to others, so those who sin against them commit more of a sin than (if they had sinned) against all other persons in this world.

Saint Francis of Assisi

Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents, New City Press

Friday, September 10, 2010


Blessed is the servant who does not consider himself any better when he is praised and exalted by people than when he is considered worthless, simple and looked down upon, for what a person is before God, that he is and no more.

Woe to that religious who has been placed in a high position by others and (who) does not want to come down by his own will.

Blessed is that servant who is not placed in a high position by his own will and always desires to be under the feet of others. (Mt 24:46)

Saint Francis of Assisi

Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents, New City Press

Friday, September 3, 2010


Blesses is the person who support his neighbor in his weakness as he would want to be supported were he in a similar situation. (Gal 6:2; Mt 7:12)

Blessed is the servant who returns every good to the Lord God because whoever holds onto something for himself hides the money of his Lord God within himself, and what he thinks he has will be taken away from him. (Mt 25:18; lk 8:18).

Saint Francis of Assisi
Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents, New City Press

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Your Words To Me Are Life and Health

Your words to me are light and truth;
From day to day they show
Their wisdom, passing earthly lore,
As in their truth I grow.

Your words to me are full of joy,
Of beauty, peace, and grace;
From them I learn your blessed will,
Through them I see your face.

Your words are perfected in one,
Yourself, the living Word;
Within my heart your image print
In clearest lines, O lord.

George Currie Martin 1865-1937

Friday, August 27, 2010

Admonitions XXI - The Frivolous and the Talkataive Religious

Blessed is the servant who, when he speaks, does not disclose everything about himself under the guise of a reward and is not quick to speak, but who is wisely cautious about what he says and how he responds. (Pv 29:20)

Woe to that religious who does not hold in his heart the good things the Lord reveals to him and does not reveal them by his behavior, but, under the guise of a reward, wishes instead to reveal them with his words. He receives his reward and his listeners carry away little fruit. (Lk2:19, 51; MT 6:2,16)

Saint Francis of Assisi

Source: Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents published by New City Press

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Election of New Council

Our fraternity was canonically established on October 4, 2009, and the current council will soon complete their one year terms as required by the SFO constitution. 

At the October 2010 regular monthly fraternity gathering, we will elect a new council that will serve a three year term.  We are a large fraternity and our members have many talents.  We pray for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as we proceed with the nominations for this new council.

Following is an election prayer our spiritual assistant, Sister Josephine Boyles, OSF, obtained from Cricket Aull, sfo.  Cricket was the dynamic retreat leader for the Juan de Padillia regional retreat held in Wichita, Kansas in June.

We ask our members to pray this prayer often as we prepare for the upcoming elections.


Oh my dear GOD, we pray for the guidance of your Most Holy Spirit as we review in our minds the personal attributes required by the various Council positions.

Illumine for us our own strengths, and those of our fellow members, that YOU may inspire us to recognize who it is YOU desire to serve YOUR fraternity.

Dear Francis, we also ask for your guidance as we seek a new Council. Lead us to those who will help us to grow in your virtues — humble, polite, peacemakers and ardent lovers of our Crucified Lord. Help each of us to discover "what is ours to do." Not our will Lord, but Thy will by one.  Amen

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


August 25
St. Louis IX, King, Patron of the Third Order

Louis was born April 25, 1214. He became king of France at the age of twelve years old when his father died in 1226. He was crowned king within the month at Reims cathedral. Because of Louis's youth, his mother ruled France as regent during his minority. His mother was determined that he be educated not only for the earthly kingdom, but for the kingdom of heaven. Several Franciscan friars were among his instructions and as a young king he joined the Third Order of Saint Francis.

He married at age the age of twenty and had eleven children to whom he gave excellent training. He was particularly noted for his spirit of penance and prayer and his love for the poor. In ruling his kingdom, he showed concern not only for the peace of his people but also for their spiritual welfare. He avoided all luxury at court so more help could be given to the poor. His wardrobe was simple as it fittingly could be and he wore the insignia of the Third Order under his outer garments. On special occasions he publicly wore the habit of the Tertiaries.

He went on two crusades, in his mid-30s in 1248 (Seventh Crusade) and then again in his mid-50s in 1270 (Eighth Crusade). He died near Carthage in the year 1270. Pope Boniface VIII proclaimed the canonization of Louis in 1297. He is the only French monarch to be declared a saint.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Blessed is the servant who endures discipline, accusation, and reprimand from another as patiently as he would from himself.

Blessed is the servant who, after being reprimanded, agrees courteously, submits respectfully, admits humbly, and makes amends willingly.

Blessed is the servant who is not quick to excuse himself, and endures with humility, shame, and reprimand for a sin, when he did not commit the fault.

Saint Francis of Assisi

Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents, New City Press

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Crows

Avery Cardinal Dulles spent his life teaching in colllege. He live a long time. Or did it just seem to be along time.

Martin V. went from laity to Pope in one swoop.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I am not a saint

What do I need to do that I'm not doing to be a saint? That is what I need to do, isn't it? If I'm not trying to become a saint, exactly what am I doing? Practicing for Hell?

St. Roch Montpellier, Confessor, Third Order

August 17
St. Roch Montpellier, Confessor, Third Order

Roch, the only son of a wealthy nobleman in France who was governor of the town of Montpellier. His parents raised him in a devote manner, and upon the death of both parents when he was twenty years old, he sold all the personal property and distributed the proceeds among the poor. He transferred the ownership of the real estate this uncle. Once this was accomplished, he joined the Third Order of St. Francis and put on a pilgrim’s garb.

He intended to travel to Rome, but when he arrived in Northern Italy around 1315, he found an epidemic was ravaging the area. He did not fear for his life, but following the example of Christ and admonition of St. Francis, he offered his life in the service of his brethren in Christ. Serving day and night, he worked in the hospital of St. John filled with the plague stricken and visited individual home seeking the sick. God rewarded his heroic charity by causing many he tended to be cured at the mere Sign of the Cross Roch made over them. When the plague was over, Roch continued his journey to Rome.

In Rome he found and epidemic there too. Roch again devoted him self to the care of the sick and again many were miraculously cured by him. Eventually Roch became sick, and in the very hospital he had served the sick, he was looked upon as an intruder. So as not to be a burden, Roch left, dragging himself to the neighborhood woods. Finding an old hut he thanked God for the safety of the lodging. God also provided his nourishment by sending him bread by way of a neighborhood dog. When he recovered, he was divinely inspired to return to his home town.

War was raging in the area of his home town and he was thought to be a spy. He was led before his uncle, who did not recognize him in his emancipated state, and cast into prison. Roch said no word in his defense following Christ’s example and accepted in silence what heaven had ordained for him. Forgotten, he languished in prison for five years. Feeling the end near, he requested a priest come and administer the last sacraments. Upon entering, the priest found the prison to be supernaturally lighted and poor Roch surrounded with a special radiance. As death claimed Roch, a tablet appeared on the wall and an angelic hand wrote in golden letters the name of Roch and the prediction that all who invoked his intercession would be cured of the plague.

Informed of these events, Roch’s uncle and grandmother went to the prison and identified the dead man by the birthmark of the red cross on his breast. Roch was given a grand funeral and a church was built in his honor in which his body was entombed. His veneration was approved by several popes. Pope Urban VII canonized him.

Prayer of the Church:

O God, who granted to St. Roch the promise, which an angel recorded on a table, not to permit anyone who sought his intercession to be afflicted with a contagious disease, grant, we beseech Thee, that we, who celebrate his memory, may be preserved from every contagion of soul and body. Through Christ our Lord Amen.

Source: The Franciscan Book of Saints, Marion A. Habig, OFM, Franciscan Herald Press

Monday, August 16, 2010

Good Company - Doctors, Cardinals and Bishops of the Catholic

Following are Secular Franciscans that were Doctors, Cardinals and Bishops of the Catholic Church. May these men be an inspiration to us as we strive to live our Secular Franciscan profession.

Doctors of the Church:

St. Francis deSales


Charles Cardinal Borromeo
Henry Edward Cardinal Manning
Herbert Cardinal Vaughn
John Cardinal Fisher

Bishops: (Note that all Cardinals were formerly Bishops)
St. Francis deSales

St. Clare of Montefalco, Virgin, Third Order

August 16
St. Clare of Montefalco, Virgin, Third Order

Clare Damiani born about 1268 in Montefalco in Umbria north of Assisi was placed in the convent of St. Illuminata, where her sister Jane was superior. From the beginning she followed the rule of the Third Order of St. Francis.

Clare, who distinguished herself by her spirit of prayer and penance, was chosen superior in 1298. She was not only an exemplary superior, but she exerted influence on the outside world. She confronted heretics, converted sinners, reconciled families at odds, made peace between neighboring warring towns, drove out devils, foretold future events, healed the sick, raised the dead. During the latter part of her life, she also received the gifts of ecstasy and supernatural knowledge.

Our Lord, carrying His Cross, appeared to her and said: “I have been searching for a long time, daughter to find a firm and solid place on which to plant My Cross, and I have not found one more suitable than your heart. You must receive it and allow it to take root.” There is good evidence that when her heart was opened after her death, the Cross and other instruments of the Passion were found within, formed solidly in some fibrous tissue. For this reason she is also called St. Clare of the Cross.

Clare died August 17, 1308. Her incorrupt is in the church next to the Santa Croce convent. It also claimed that the miracle of liquefaction and ebullition of her blood has taken place.

Source: The Franciscan Book of Saints, Marion A. Habig, OFM, Franciscan Herald Press

Sunday, August 15, 2010

cranky blog misplaced

I can't figure out how to go to Cranky blog directly. (see below) This is frustrating. Now i must ward off profound attacks of petulance.

I will work this out. Probably.

Did you know?

Did you know that the parents of St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose feast day we celebrated on August 14, were Secular Franciscans?

Please help me find all the "really good" Catholic Websites

Please list all t he great websites. Ideally, make them Franciscan. Acceptably make them Catholic. At least make them Christian.

I will compile them some time soon and put them before you. I'll google to get them..Butr I need a name.

Why do Iwant them? Simple. I want to look at more stuff on web. If you share your favorite spots, we can all benefit. I'll list two or three to get us started:

1. Insight Scoop
3. That's St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology Scott Hahn
4. The Catholic Thing
5. Kansas Catholic
6. Cranky ( blog)

Tommy Augustine has returned to the building

I should likely repent. You see, I am guilty of not fulfilling a promise to help out on this blog. I promised, I pledged, I agreed. Then I got lost.

I hate it when people do that. Then, I did that. I was irresponsible. I was consistently unavailable. Got busy. Got distracted. Now Bonnie Venture has been very understanding. Franciscans are like that.

But I am shooting for more than forgiveness and/or understanding. I seek reconciliation. So, do me a favor. Keep track of whether I have been blogging or not. If I haven't posted, suggest I come in out of the cold.

I need to get some things said while that option still exists.

Some day when the mind-meld between Sodom on the Bay and everything East of the Beltway is firmly established, Franciscans--maybe all Catholics--maybe all Christians will be consigned to some Gulag somewhere.

Before that day comes, I must speak.

Monday, August 2, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter 3 - Life in Fraternity - 26

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter 3 - Life In Fraternity

26.  As a concrete sign of communion and coresponsibility, the councils on various levels, in keeping with the constitutions, shall ask for suitable and well prepared religious for spiritual assistance. They should make this request to the superiors of the four religious Franciscan families, to whom the Secular Fraternity has been united for centuries.

To promote fidelity to the charism as well as observance of the rule and to receive greater support in the life of the fraternity, the minister or president, with the consent of the council, should take care to ask for a regular pastoral visit by the competent religious superiors as well as for a fraternal visit from those of the higher fraternities, according to the norm of the constitutions.

“May whoever observes all this be filled in heaven with the blessing of the most high Father, and on earth with that of his beloved Son, together with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.”   Blessing of Saint Francis from the Testament.

Monday, July 26, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter 3 - Life in Fraternity - 25

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter 3 - Life in Fraternity

25.  Regarding expenses necessary for the life of the fraternity and the needs of worship, of the apostolate, and of charity, all the brothers and sister should offer a contribution according to their means. Local fraternities should contribute toward the expenses of the higher fraternity councils.

“May whoever observes all this be filled in heaven with the blessing of the most high Father, and on earth with that of his beloved Son, together with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.”   Blessing of Saint Francis from the Testament.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Following is a list well known Secular Franciscan brothers who also became Bishop of Rome and served our Lord as His leader of the worldwide Catholic Church.

Innocent III - 1198-1216
Honorius III - 1216-1227
Gregory IX - 1227-1241
Bl. Gregory X - 1271-1276
Nicholas III - 1277-1280
Celestine V - 1294 -
Martin V - 1417-1431
Sixtus IV - 1471-1484
Alexander VI - 1492-1503
Leo X - 1518-1521
Sixtus V - 1585-1590
Innocent XII - 1691-1700
Clement XII - 1730-1740
Pious IX - 1846-1878
Leo XIII - 1878-1903
St. Pius X 1903-1914
Benedict XV - 1914-1922
Pius XI - 1922-1939
Pius XII - 1823-1829
John XXIII - 1958-1963

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

SAINT LAWRENCE of BRINDISI, Doctor of the Church, Confessor, First Order

St. Lawrence of Brindisi was born at Brindisi in southern Italy on July 22, 1559. Exactly 60 years later on July 22, 1619 he died. Among the Capuchin sons of St. Francis, he holds a position of preeminence as a preacher and writer. He was only 6 years old when he preached in the cathedral of his native town with such force and point that many were deeply affected and entered into a more Christian life. He preached in seven different languages - Italian, French, Spanish, German, Greek, Hebrew and Latin. He wrote 15 large volumes, mostly sermons. One is a masterful exposition of Catholic doctrine about Mary.

Monday, July 19, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter 3 - Life in Fraternity - 24

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter 3 - Life in Fraternity

24.  To foster communion among members, the council should organize regular and frequent meetings of the community as well as meeting with other Franciscan groups, especially with youth groups. It should adopt appropriate means for growth in Franciscan and ecclesial life and encourage everyone to a life of fraternity. This communion continues with deceased brothers and sisters through prayer for them.

“May whoever observes all this be filled in heaven with the blessing of the most high Father, and on earth with that of his beloved Son, together with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.”   Blessing of Saint Francis from the Testament.

Monday, July 12, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter 3 - Life in Fraternity - 23

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter 3 - Life in Fraternity

23.   Requests for admission to the Secular Franciscan Order must be presented to the local fraternity, whose council decides upon the acceptance of new brothers and sisters.

Admission into the Order is gradually attained through a time of initiation, a period of formation of at least one year, and profession of the rule. The entire community is engaged in this process of growth by its own manner of living. The age for profession and the distinctive Franciscan sign are regulated by the statues.

Profession by its nature is a permanent commitment.

Members who find themselves in particular difficulties should discuss their problems with the council in fraternal dialogue.

Withdrawal or permanent dismissal from the Order, if necessary, is an act of the fraternity council according to the norm of the constitutions.

“May whoever observes all this be filled in heaven with the blessing of the most high Father, and on earth with that of his beloved Son, together with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.”   Blessing of Saint Francis from the Testament.

Monday, July 5, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter 3 - Life in Fraternity - 22

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter three - Life In Fraternity

22.  The local fraternity is to be established canonically. It becomes the basic unity of the whole Order and a visible sign of the Church, the community of love. This should be the privilege place for developing a sense of Church and the Franciscan vocation and for enlivening the apostolic life of its members.

“May whoever observes all this be filled in heaven with the blessing of the most high Father, and on earth with that of his beloved Son, together with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.”  Blessing of Saint Francis from the Testament.

Monday, June 28, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter 3 - Life in Fraternity - 21

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter 3 - Life in Fraternity

21. On various levels, each fraternity is animated and guided by a council and minister (or president) who are elected by the professed according to the constitutions.

Their service, which lasts for a definite period, is marked by a ready and willing spirit and is a duty of responsibility to each member and to the community. 

Within themselves the fraternities are structured in different ways according to the norm of the constitutions, according to the various needs of their members and their regions, and under the guidance of their respective council.

“May whoever observes all this be filled in heaven with the blessing of the most high Father, and on earth with that of his beloved Son, together with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.” Blessing of Saint Francis from the Testament.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Blessed is that servant who no more exalts himself over the good the Lord says or does through him than over what He says or does through another.  (Mt 24:46)

A person sins who wished to receive more from his neighbor than what he wished to give of himself to the Lord God.

Saint Francis of Assisi
Admonition XVII The Humble Servant of God

Source:  Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents published by New City Press

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Letter to the Rulers of the Peoples

St. Francis of Assisi

Brother Francis, your little and looked-down upon servant in the Lord God, wishes health and peace to all mayors and consuls, magistrates and governors throughout the world and to all others to whom these words may come.

Reflect and see that the day of death is approaching. With all possible respect, therefore, I beg you not to forget the Lord because of the world’s cares and preoccupations and not to turn away from His commandments, for all those who leave Him in oblivion and turn away from His commandments are cursed and will be left in oblivion by Him. (Gn 47:29; Ps 119:21; Ex 33:13)

When the day of death does come, everything they think they have shall be taken from them. The wiser and more powerful they may have been in this world, the greater will be the punishment they will endure in hell. (Mt 13:12; Mk 4:25; Lk 8:18; Wis 6:7)

Therefore I strongly advise you, my Lords, to put aside all care and preoccupation and receive the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ with fervor in holy remembrance of Him. May you foster such honor to the Lord among the people entrusted to you that every evening an announcement may be made by a messenger or some other sign that praise and thanksgiving may be given by all people to the all powerful Lord God. If you do not do this, know that, on the day of judgment, you must render an account before the Lord Your God, Jesus Christ. (Mt 12:36)

Let those who keep this writing with them and observe it know that they will be blessed by the Lord God.

Source: Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents, published by New City Press

Monday, June 21, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter 3 - Life in Fraternity -20

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter 3 - Life In Fraternity 

20.  The Secular Franciscan Order is divided into fraternities of various levels – local, regional, national, and international. Each one has its own moral personality in the Church. These various fraternities are coordinated and united according to the norm of this rule and of the constitutions.

“May whoever observes all this be filled in heaven with the blessing of the most high Father, and on earth with that of his beloved Son, together with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.”  Blessing of Saint Francis from the Testament.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Blessed are the clean in heart, for they will see God. (Mt 5:8)

The truly clean of heart are those who look down upon earthly things, seek those of heaven, and, with a clean heart and spirit, never cease adoring and seeing the Lord God living and true.

Saint Francis of Assisi
Admonitions XVI Cleanness of Heart

Source:  Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents published by New City Press

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blessed Angela of Foligno, sfo on Poverty

Blessed Angela of Foligno, sfo writes:

He raised us up and redeemed us through his poverty.

The first man fell because of poverty; the second man, the God-man, Jesus Christ, lifted us up through poverty. The inferior poverty is a lack of knowledge; through this lack of knowledge Adam came to his fall and all who fall thereafter do so because of this lack of knowledge. It was therefore necessary that the children of God should be raised up and recover from the fall through an opposite kind of poverty.

We have an example of this poverty in the God-man Jesus Christ. He raised us up and redeemed us through his poverty. It was certainly poverty beyond the power of words to describe when he hid his infinite poverty and majesty. He allowed himself to be blasphemed, despised, upbraided, captured, led away, scourged and crucified. He endured all this as a helpless man. This kind of poverty is exemplar of our life. We must learn from this poverty that is not necessary for us to hide a power we do not have; nay, rather we must clearly set the extent of our lack of power, our weakness.

We have yet another example of this poverty, the example of the glorious Virgin, the most holy Mother of God. She gave us a lesson when in her response to the stupendous mystery she openly declared that she was a member of our distressed race designating herself by a lowly name in saying: I am the servant of the Lord. This was indeed a very lowly name. This kind of poverty is most pleasing to God.

What a perfect example we have from our glorious Father Francis! He had an exceptional insight of this poverty and was so brim full of it that he instituted and showed us a unique way of life. I can look to no other saint who can show more specifically the way to the Book of Life, the example of the life of the God-man Jesus Christ. Neither do I see anyone who so uniquely embodied it in himself. So exceptionally did he reproduce it in himself that he never lost sight of it. It was visible even in his body. Because he steeped himself so fully in it he was filled with the highest wisdom which he imparted and keeps on imparting to the whole world.

Autobiografia e scritti della B. Angela da Foligno, M. Raloci Pulignai (Citta di Castello 1932) numbers 161-162 pgg. 266-268.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Breath of God

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what thou dost love,
And do what thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Till I am wholly thine,
Till all this earthly part of me
Glows with thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with thee the perfect life
Of thine eternity.

Edwin Hatch, 1878

Monday, June 14, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter 2 The Way of Life - 19

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter 2 - The Way of Life


Mindful that they are bearers of peace which must be built up unceasingly, they should seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through dialogue, trusting in the presence of the divine seed in everyone and in the transforming power of love and pardon. 

Messengers of perfect joy in every circumstance, they should strive to bring joy and hope to others.

Since they are immersed in the resurrection of Christ, which gives true meaning to Sister Death, let them serenely tend toward the ultimate encounter with the Father.

“May whoever observes all this be filled in heaven with the blessing of the most high Father, and on earth with that of his beloved Son, together with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.”
Blessing of Saint Francis from the Testament.

Monday, June 7, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter 2 The Way of Life - 18

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter 2 - The Way of Life


Moreover they should respect all creatures, animate and inanimate, which “bear the imprint of the Most High,” and they strive to move from the temptation of exploiting creation to the Franciscan concept of universal kinship.

“May whoever observes all this be filled in heaven with the blessing of the most high Father, and on earth with that of his beloved Son, together with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter."

Blessing of Saint Francis from the Testament.

Monday, May 31, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter 2 The Way of Life - 17

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order Chapter 2 - The Way of Life


In their family they should cultivate the Franciscan spirit of peace, fidelity and respect for life, striving to make of it a sign of a world already renewed in Christ.

By living the grace of matrimony, husbands and wives in particular should bear witness in the world to the love of Christ for His Church. They should joyfully accompany their children on their journey by providing a simple and open Christian education and being attentive to the vocation of each child.

“May whoever observes all this be filled in heaven with the blessing of the most high Father, and on earth with that of his beloved Son, together with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.”
Blessing of Saint Francis from the Testament.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Francis on Prayer

The following may be the only instance in which we find an example of how Francis responded to his brothers’ request to teach them how to pray.

O Our Father most holy:Our Creator, Redeemer, Consoler, and Savior:

Who are in heaven:In the angels and the saints,
enlightening them to know, for You, Lord, are light;
inflaming them to love, for You, Lord, are love;
dwelling in them and filling them with happiness,
for You, Lord, are Supreme God, the Eternal Good,
from Whom all good comes
without Whom there is no good.

Holy be Your Name:
May knowledge of You become clearer in us
that we may know
the breadth of Your blessing,
the length of Your promises,
the height of Your majesty,
the depth of Your judgments

Your kingdom come:That you may rule in us through Your grace
and enable us to come to Your kingdom
where there is clearer vision of You,
perfect love of You,
blessed companionship with You,
eternal enjoyment of You.

Your will be done on earth as in heaven:
That we may love You
with our whole heart by always thinking of You,
with our whole soul by always desiring You,
with our whole mind by always directing all of our intentions to You,
and by seeking Your glory in everything,
with all our whole strength by exerting
all our energies and affections of body and soul
in the service of Your love and of nothing else;
and we may love our neighbor as ourselves
by drawing them all to Your love with our whole strength,
by rejoicing in the good of others as in our own,
by suffering with others at their misfortunes,
and by forgiving offense to no one.

Give us this day:
in remembrance, understanding and reverence
of that love which [our Lord Jesus Christ] had for us
and of those things that He said and did and suffered for us.

Our daily Bread:Your own beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Forgive us our trespasses:
through Your ineffable mercy
through the power of the passion of Your beloved Son
and through the merits and intercession
of the ever blessed Virgin and all Your elect.

As we forgive those who trespass against us:
And what we do not completely forgive,
make us Lord, forgive completely
that we may truly love our enemies because of You
and we may fervently intercede for them before You,
returning no one evil for evil
and we may strive to help everyone in You.

And lead us not into temptation:
hidden or obvious,
sudden or persistent.

But deliver us from evil:past
and to come

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Source: Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

Friday, May 28, 2010


Blessed is that religious who has no pleasure and delight except in the most holy words and deeds of the Lord and, with these, leads people to the love of God with gladness and joy. (Ps 51:10)

Woe to that religious who delights in idle and empty words and leads people to laughter with them.

St. Francis of Assisi

Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Train Your Soul - Saint Bonaventure

 Train your soul with unflagging zeal for prayer.

To make progress in the spiritual life it is especially important for a bride of Christ to train her soul in the flagging zeal for prayer. If a religious lacks devotion and is lukewarm, and prays only infrequently, she is miserable and unprofitable. As a matter of fact, in God’s sight her soul is dead through her body is still alive.

The power of persevering prayer is such that it is efficacious under all circumstances We can derive profit from it at all times: in winter and summer, in fair weather and foul, day and night, on holy days and work days, in sickness and in health, while standing, sitting or walking, when in choir and out of choir. In fact, through an hour’s prayer one can gain more than the world is worth. By single devout prayer, a man can gain the kingdom of heaven.

Now, there are three requisites for perfect prayer. First, when at prayer close your senses and concentrate with all your being, body and soul, and calmly dwell with sorrow and contrition on all your weaknesses past, present and future.

The second requisite in prayer for a bride of God is thanksgiving. Thank the creator in all humility for blessings already conferred and those still to be granted by him. Nothing renders man so worthy of God’s gifts as to thank him always for those that have been received.

The third requisite from perfect prayer is for the mind to think of nothing else except that for which prayer is being offered. In speaking with God it is very improper to speak one thing with the lips and another with the heart so that only half one’s heart is directed to heaven while the other half remains on earth.

Make no mistake, be not mislead, nor lose the rich fruit of prayer. Do not forfeit its sweetness, nor cheat yourself of the delight you should derive from prayer. Prayer is the cup for drinking the grace of the Holy Spirit from the abundant fountain of delight, the Blessed Trinity. Be recollected during prayer, enter the chamber of your heart with your beloved and tarry there alone with him. Forget everything outside and with all your heart, all your mind, all your longing, all your devotion rise above yourself. You must not grow weary of praying but soar aloft in ardent prayer till you enter the wonderful dwelling place, the house of God.

Saint Bonaventure on the Life of Perfection

Monday, May 24, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter 2 The Way of Life - 16

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter 2 - The Way of Life


Let them esteem work both as a gift and as a sharing in the creation, redemption, and service of the human community.

May whoever observes all this be filled in heaven with the blessing of the most high Father, and on earth with that of his beloved Son, together with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.”
Blessing of Saint Francis from the Testament.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Where there is charity and wisdom,
    there is neither fear nor ignorance.

Where there is patience and humility,
  there is neither anger nor disturbance.

Where there is poverty with joy,
   there is neither greed nor avarice.

Where there is rest and meditation,
   there is neither anxiety nor restlessness.

Where there is fear of the Lord to guard an entrance, (Lk 11:21)  
there the enemy cannot have a place to enter.

Where there is a heart full of mercy and discernment
   there is neither excess nor hardness of heart.

St. Francis of Assisi

Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Seek God Above All Things

From the writings of Saint Paschal Baylon

Since God desired greatly to give us what is good, therefore, in all your petitions believe firmly that God will grant what you ask for. But do not ask for anything unless God has moved you to ask. He is more disposed to hear your petitions than you are to make them. He is always waiting for you to ask. Therefore, let it be God’s will rather than your own need that urges you to ask since He wishes to grant your request. You should always offer your prayers through the merits of the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. Train your soul by persistent and vigorous acts to seek entirely what God wishes, removing from your will every blessing and advantage that can accrue to you from such a prayer.

Indeed, meditate well on this: Seek God above all things. It is right for you to seek God before and above everything else, because the majesty of God wishes you to receive what you ask for. This will also make you more ready to serve God and will enable you to love Him more perfectly.

Let all your prayers be motivated by this intention and when you pray, do so out of love and because of love, in season and out of season. Detach your heart from things of this world and consider that there is nothing else in this world except you and God alone. Never, not even for a brief moment, turn your heart from God. Let your thinking be simple and lowly; always, without wearying, focus your attention on what is above you, and let the love of God be like oil poured over everything.

To thank God is nothing else than an internal act of the soul whereby the recipient of a heavenly blessing recognizes the infinite God as master of the universe and source of every blessing. He rejoices at God’s infinite glory because of being judged worthy of such a gift. He is consequently more ready to love and serve God the give of all good things.

Whenever you receive some gift from the Lord, offer yourself to Him entirely with joy and gladness. Humble and despise yourself; renounce your own will so that you can devote yourself body and soul to His service. Make frequent, even countless, acts of thanksgiving, rejoicing in God’s power and goodness. He grants you favors and blessing for which you now render Him thanks. Would you make your thanksgiving pleasing to God, then first humble yourself, deny and belittle yourself in His sight.

Acknowledge your need and wretchedness so that you may realize that all you have comes from God’s generosity. Rejoice and exult that you have been enriched with graces and blessings. Place little value on the good or advantage to yourself in order to serve God more faithfully.

Saint Paschal Baylon feast day is May 17.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Saint Catherine of Bologna: On the Seven Spiritual Weapons

Put on the armor of God to withstand the snares of the devil.

Jesus Christ gave up his life that we might live. Therefore, whoever wishes to carry the cross for his sake must take up the proper weapons for the contest, especially those mentioned here. First, diligence; second distrust of self; third, confidence in God; fourth, remembrance of the Passion; fifth, mindfulness of his own death; sixth, remembrance of God’s glory; seventh, the injunctions of Sacred Scripture following the example of Jesus Christ in the desert.

Everyone endowed with goodwill, that is, with love for God, truly wishing to serve God must first of all purify himself through sincere and complete confession of sin with the firm determination never to sin grievously in the future, even to prefer to it a thousand deaths, if this were possible. Whoever is enslaved by mortal sin is not a member of Christ but rather of the devil. He is moreover deprived of the benefits of Holy Mother Church and incapable of doing anything meritorious for eternal life.

The determination to avoid mortal sin then is necessary for serving God faithfully. Bear in mind, however, that if you have been guilty of mortal sin you must never despair of God’s goodness or give up doing good to the best of your ability so that you can be freed from sin. Strengthened by this hope, always do good in whatever station of life you may be. In addition, to this the faithful servant of Christ must be ready to follow the way of the cross, since all who serve God must fight against God’s enemies and you can expect various kinds of wounds from them. Consequently, you must have the best weapons with which to fight the enemy.

Saint Catherine of Bologna: On the Seven Spiritual Weapons

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

ST. FELIX OF CANTALICE, Religious, First Order - May 18

• Born 1515, Cantalice
• Died May 18, 1587, Rome, Italy
• Beatified October 1, 1625 by Pope Urban VIII
• Canonized May 22, 1712by Clement XI
• Buried under the altar of the Immaculate Conception Church,
Rome; miracles reported at his tomb

At about 10 years of age Felix was hired out to do the grueling work of a farmhand. From earliest years he exhibited signs of holiness spending leisure time in prayer. He had no learning and could not read. The lives of Desert Fathers were read to him leaving him with the desire to live as a hermit. Felix had a dream in which an angel directed him to join the Capuchins. The Capuchins brothers hesitated at accepting him, but he eventually received the habit in 1543. He professed vows on May 18, 1545. Despite his desire for seclusion, his ministry placed him in direct, daily contact with a multitude of people. It was said that his begging sack was as bottomless as his heart. His response to every benefactor was Deo gratias, which is why he is known as "Brother Deo Gratias". He was also known for never refusing a request for help. People brought their cares immediately to Felix. He would kneel at their side, saying "Our Father" and a "Hail Mary", confident that providence would take care of the rest. He had a fondness for mothers and babies. He would teach the young to say "Jesus, Jesus" or "Deo gratias". Felix gained a reputation as a healer, because he often blessed the sick with a crucifix and they would be healed. People asked him to sing because he had a talent for spontaneously creating and singing spiritual hymns. His devotion to the Blessed Mother was noted in these songs. For his personal devotion and meditation, Felix memorized prayers, liturgical & biblical texts, and spent long hours before the Blessed Sacrament. He is represented in art holding the Infant Jesus in his arms because of a vision he once had when the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and placed the Divine Child in his arms.

Monday, May 17, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter 2 The Way of Life - 15

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter 2 - The Way of Life


Let them individually and collectively be in the forefront in promoting justice by the testimony of their human lives, and their courageous initiatives. Especially in the field of public life, they should make definite choices in harmony with their faith.

May whoever observes all this be filled in heaven with the blessing of the most high Father, and on earth with that of his beloved Son, together with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.”
Blessing of Saint Francis from the Testament.

PASCHAL BAYLON, Religious, First Order - May 17

Paschal was born in Spain in the year 1540. In his youth he was employed as a shepherd and cherished special devotion to the Holy Eucharist. He was already distinguished for virtue when he joined the Order of Friars Minor in 1564 and was assigned to the menial tasks. God endowed him with special gifts and not only did he aid others by the advice but he also wrote some treatises in which he incorporated the fruits of his own religious experience. He died in 1592.

From the common of holy men; religious, 1470
Proper Offices of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

JOHN PAUL II - An appeal for courage and fortitude

The following is taken from the Address of His Holiness John Paul II During the Public Consistory, 30 June 1979.  While he was addressing the new Cardinals, the message is timeless and could have been written for each of us as Secular Franciscans.  Our beloved Francis is a true example of the courage, fortitude and humility of which His holiness John Paul II speaks. 

The word of God ....contains in itself an appeal for courage and fortitude. In a significant way Christ invites us to courage and fortitude. We have heard him say repeatedly: "Do not be afraid"; "do not fear these who kill the body but cannot kill the soul" (Mt 10:28); "have no fear of men" (cf. Mt 10:26). And at the same time, side by side with these decisive appeals for courage and fortitude, there is the exhortation: "Have fear"; "rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Mt 10:28). These two appeals, seemingly opposed, are reciprocally so closely connected that one results from the other, one conditions the other. We are called to fortitude and at the same time to fear. We are called to fortitude before men and, at the same time, to fear before God himself; and this fear must be the fear of love, filial fear. And only when this fear penetrates into our hearts can we be truly strong with the fortitude of the Apostles, martyrs, and confessors......

Christ asks us above all to have this fortitude to confess before men, his truth and his cause, without counting whether these people will be favourable or not to this cause, whether they will open their ears and hearts to this truth, or whether they will close them so as not to be able to hear. We cannot be discouraged before any programme in which the ears and the intellect are closed. We must make our confession and proclamation in deepest obedience to the Spirit of Truth. He himself will find the ways to reach the depths of consciences and of hearts. We must rather make our confession and render witness with such strength and ability that responsibility does not fall on us for the fact that our generation has denied Christ before men. We must also be "wary as serpents, innocent as doves" (Mt 10:16).

And finally we must be humble, with that humility of interior truth that permits man to live with magnanimity. Because "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). This magnanimity, evolving from humility, evolving from cooperation with the grace of God, is a particular sign of our service in the Church.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Admonitions XXV - THE SAME POINT

Blessed is the servant who loves and respects his brother as much when he is far away from him as when he is with him, and who would not say anything behind his back that he would not say with charity in his presence.

St. Francis of Assisi
Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Francis' Praise of the Blessed Mother - Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

A Salutation of the Virtues

Hail, Queen Wisdom!
May the Lord protect You,
with Your Sister, holy pure Simplicity!
Lady holy Poverty,
may the Lord protect You,
with Your Sister, holy Humility!
Lady holy Charity,
may the Lord protect You,
with Your Sister, holy Obedience.
Most holy Virtues,
may the Lord protect all of You
from Whom You come and proceed.
There is surely no one in the whole world
who can possess any one of You
without dying first.
Whoever possesses one
and does not offend the others
possesses all.
Whoever offends one
does not possess any
and offends all.
And each one confounds vice and sin.
Holy Wisdom confounds
Satan and all his cunning.
Pure holy Simplicity confounds
all the wisdom of this world
and the wisdom of the body.
Holy Poverty confoundsthe desire for riches,
and the cares of this world.
Holy Humility confounds
all people who are in the world
and all that is in the world.
Holy Charity confounds
every diabolical and carnal temptation
and every carnal fear.
Holy Obedience confounds
every corporal and carnal wish,
binds its mortified body
to obedience of the Spirit
and obedience to one's brother,
so that it is
subject and submissive
to everyone in the world,
not only to people
but to every beast and wild animal as well
that they may do whatever they want with it
insofar as it has been given to them
from above by the Lord.
Source: Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

IGNATIUS OF LACONI, Religious, First Order - May 11

Ignatius Peis-Sanna (baptized Vincent) was born in the year 1701 in Laconi in Sardinia. He joined the Capuchin Friars in the year 1721. For almost forty years he was in charge of begging alms in Cagliari, highly esteemed for his humility and charity, and adorned with many gifts from God. He died in the year 1781.

saFrom the common of Holy men: religious, 1470.
Proper Offices of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours.

Monday, May 10, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter Two - The Way of Life - 14

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter Two –The Way of Life

Secular Franciscans, together with all people of good will, are called to build a more fraternal and evangelical world so that the kingdom of God may be brought about more effectively. Mindful that anyone "who follows Christ, the perfect man, becomes more of a man himself," let them exercise their responsibilities competently in the Christian spirit of service.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


The birth of Catharine was foretold to her devout father by the Blessed Virgin with the announcement that the child would be a brilliant light throughout the world. Catharine was born on the Feast of the Assumption in the year 1413. She was taken to the court of the Marquis of Este to be educated in foreign languages, painting and the culture of a young woman of high rank. The court with all its splendor could not hold Catharine. When she was seventeen, she joined a pious company of young women in Ferrara who led a religious life but had not yet adopted a definite rule. Four years later a royal princess founded a convent for this society according to the rule of Saint Clare. Catharine spent twenty four years in the convent, during which she trained many sisters in the way of sanctity. She was sickly from the time she was twenty-two and never complained. She would say to herself, “O bundle of corruption, that will soon turn into dust, shy should you complain? It appears as if you had not yet learnt to be a true servant of Christ.” She died March 9, 1463. Her incorrupt body can still be seen in Bologna.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Blessed Waldo, Confessor, Third Order - May 8

Waldo, called also Vivaldo or Ubaldo, was a disciple of the saintly Tertiary priest Bartolo. They were both from San Gimignano, in northern Italy. When Bartolo was attacked with leprosy, Waldo offered his services and for twenty years until the death of Bartolo, Waldo rendered him every possible kindness. In return, Waldo received instruction toward progress in Christian perfection from they holy priest, and at his advice joined the Third Order of Saint Francis.

After the death of his spiritual father, Waldo withdrew from the world and lived as a hermit in a large forest several miles from Monteone. He found a hollow chestnut tree and turned it into a cell for himself ,where with barely enough room to kneel, he spent the remainder of his life. In May 1320, the bells of Monteone began to ring of their own accord. The bells continued to ring, although no human hand set them in motion. Soon a hunter came out of the forest and told of finding an old recluse dead on his knees in a chestnut tree. As the hunter finished his tale, the bells ceased ringing. The cell in the tree was converted to a chapel in honor of Our Lady.

Friday, May 7, 2010


There are many people who, when they sin or are injured, frequently blame the enemy or their neighbor. (Gn 3:12-13) But it is not so, because each one has the enemy in his power, that is his body through which he sins.

Blessed is the servant, (Mt 24:46) then, who always holds captive the enemy delivered into his power and wisely safeguards himself from him, because, as long as he does this, no other enemy visible or invisible will be able to harm him.

St. Francis of Assisi
Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

Monday, May 3, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter Two - The Way of Life - 13

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter Two –The Way of Life

As the Father sees in every person the features of his Son, the firstborn of many brothers and sisters, so the Secular Franciscans with a gentle and courteous spirit accept all people as a gift of the Lord and an image of Christ.

A sense of community will make them joyful and ready to place themselves on an equal basis with all people, especially with the lowly for whom they shall strive to create conditions of life worthy of people redeemed by Christ.

Friday, April 30, 2010


Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:3)

There are many who, while insisting on prayers and obligations, inflict many abstinences and punishments upon their bodies. But they are immediately offended and disturbed about a single word which seems to be harmful to their bodies or about something which might e taken away from them. These people are not poor in spirit, for someone who is truly poor in spirit hates himself and loves those who strike him on the cheek.

St. Francis of Assisi
Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Luchesius, born near Poggi-Bonzi in Etruria, was at first a merchant.  Enlightened by the grace of God he distributed his possessions to the poor and was according to tradition the first to receive the habit of the Third Order of Saint Francis.  He was renowned for love of neighbor, poverty, humility and austerity of life.  He died about the year 1260 in the eightieth year of his life.

From the common of the holy men, 1452

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Being Catholic

I love being Catholic.
Becoming Catholic was a great deal about Bishop Sheen and Father John Powell. But it was equally about "bells and smells". And Sacraments. It was Holy Water and Precious Blood. Sacred Scripture and two thousand years of capital T Tradition.

My conversion to the Roman Church was not because I was exasperated by the theological insufficiency of what Protestants taught. In fact, I was a happy Protestant. And the theology was quite sufficient to answer any questions that one might raise. We forget that every church, and every denomination has smart people to support their positions at the expense of the smart people of other churches and denominations. So what I did was to move from good to better -- not bad to good.

Initially, most of the Catholic distinctives seemed to be interesting alternatives to explain philosophical quandaries faced by any thinking person. For example: Mankind has a problem with sin. They would like to get out of the problem. Getting out of that problem merits heaven. Failure to get out of the problem yields hell. Purgatory and Limbo were simply interesting Catholic notions to provide the place to go when one failed the criteria for heaven and hell. Purgatory was a stop most made on the way to Heaven. And Limbo? Well, limbo was a more or less logical construct developed by some theologians to handle the problem of children who died before being baptized. Conveniently, it wasn't exactly church teaching, but one could believe in it if one wanted to.

Since I wasn't Catholic, such issues were intellectually intriguing but not applicable to my own worldview. Remember, I was a happy Protestant.

Many conservative Catholics suggest reading the church fathers. More specifically, certain church fathers who support the idea that the early church and the Catholic Church are essentially one and the same institution.

Most Church fathers were pretty unconvincing to me. They were unconvincing because I already agreed. I was, as they say, convinced. And besides that , most of the translations I found were difficult to read. With the exception of Augustine, I found them pretty dry. Obviously bright men, I just couldn't connect them to my happy Protestant world. And some, Origen for example, occasionally seemed strange enough that I lost interest.

About this time I had a friend who became Catholic. He said he joined because it was okay to drink alcohol as a Catholic. As a Baptist drinking had been wrong. I remember asking him if this might be a new evangelization thrust for capturing the twenty-something? He was not amused.

Others proposed the attractiveness of Catholic culture. I suppose this is all about bingo, raffles, and special attention to particular feast days. Well, Catholic culture is great sociology, but it has never been the attraction for joining Holy Mother Church.

The attraction is simply Jesus. A conscious focus on Jesus at Calvary and what he accomplished there and taking care of my sin problem. Catholicism. appeared to be what Jesus had in mind when he and St. Peter talked about church and rocks. That was and is now focusing on Jesus as he appears in the Gospel and trying to grow in my understanding of him. It's spending my time trying to do what the Bible says. For me, conversion was not something done after tallying up whether Catholics or Protestants provided the most convincing arguments in some debate going on in my head.

The philosopher, Peter Kreeft, writes some place that to sacrifice people to principle becomes legalism. And to sacrifice principle to people is relativism. Pope Benedict has written often and eloquently about relativism. 

Legalism doesn't seem as much a problem, unless one becomes scrupulous. Likely because in an effort of misguided compassion we have come to tolerate almost anything as acceptable. Political correctness has found favor as the only principle by which to make decisions. Morality has largely become making choices based on how I feel rather than on absolute propositions about what is right and what is wrong. So, although legalism in its most virulent forms (the aforementioned scrupulosity, for example) is to be avoided, it's also good to have something to believe in, some moral compass other than talk radio and talk television.

In my way of thinking, Roman Catholicism achieves a balance between these two ditches. It steers clear of these extremes of relativism and legalism when it's working well.

Its emphasis on grace, mercy, and forgiveness is magnetic to me. Offering grace and mercy and forgiveness to other people could change our world We might even become a Christian culture.

Finally, I'll are country's glorification of personal feelings has come to the church. And feelings may be winning in practice if not in principle. This is a problem. To be more direct: What is the difference between the behaviors of weekly Mass attenders and those whom we label secularists?

Catholic teaching does not hold feelings as unimportant. They just are not the moral compass. They follow on the heels of choices made on the basis of principles. In particular, principles carved from Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium.

At the same time, the church, the body of Christ is made of persons. Flawed persons to be sure, but nonetheless, creations of God. Baptized creatures. Confirmed creatures. And if they were baptized and confirmed then they should be participating in the body of Christ.

I am a person. As I get to know Jesus (a person) I find my place in him. I follow him and his church into glory.

That makes more sense than any cow pile covered in snow. I've seen one of those up close. That's not me, and that's not you as Christians, Catholics, or Franciscans.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Feast - April 24

Fidelis was born in the town of Sigmaringen in Germany in the year 1578. He joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin and lived an austere life in vigils and prayers. He was indefatigable in preaching the word of God, and at the commsand of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith the preached sound doctrine in Raetia. In the year 1622 he was attached by heretics at Sewis in Switzerland and died as a martyr.

From the common of one martyr, in the Easter Season, 1414, or of pastors, 1426.

THE RULE - Chapter Two - The Way of Life - 12

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter Two –The Way of Life

Witnessing to the good yet to come and obligated to acquire purity of heart because of the vocation they have embraced, they should set themselves free to love God and their brothers and sisters.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Feast Day - April 23

Giles, one of the first disciples of St. Francis, was a man of simplicity and meekness. Urged on by his spirit of devotion he made pilgrimages to various shrines. He earned his own livelihood, however, by helping farmers in their work. Without neglecting to work for the salvation of souls he lived as a hermit. Devoting himself to ascetical practices and contemplation, he spent the last year of his life at Perugia. He died in the year 1262.

From the common of holy men: religious 1470
([Quaracchi 1905] 62-64)

From the Sayings of blessed Giles of Assisi

It is a great thing to preserve devoutly and conscientiously till death in religious life.

Speaking about himself Brother Giles used to say: “I would prefer living in religious life with a small measure of grace to living in the world with abundant grace because there are more dangers and fewer means of assistance in the world than in religious life. A sinful man, however, fears what is good for him more than what is harmful for him because he is more afraid to do penance and enter religious life than to be burdened with sin and remain in the world.”

A man in the world asked Brother Giles’ advice whether it would be better for him to enter religious life. Holy Brother Giles answered: “If a very poor man knew that a valuable treasurer was buried in some public field would he ask another’s advice whether he should go quickly to the treasure? How much more should men hurry to dig up heavenly treasure?

Brother Giles was wont to say: “Many enter religious life and yet do not live as religious should. These men are like a simpleton who put on Roland’s armor without knowing how to do battle in it. I do not consider it a great thing to enter a king’s court, nor do I consider it a great thing to accept a gift from a king, but I do consider it a great thing to know how to conduct oneself at the king’s court. Religious life is the court of the Great King. To enter it and to receive some gifts from God is not great thing, but I do consider it a great thing to live in it and to preserve in it devoutly and conscientiously till death. I would, however, prefer to life in the world devoutly and conscientiously, and to yearn to enter religious life, rather than to live in religious life and be weary of it.”

He likewise used to say: “It seems to me that the religious life of the Friars Minor was given to the world for the great benefit of mankind. Woe to us if we are not the kind of men we ought to be. The religious life of the Friars Minor seems to me to be the poorest and the richest in the world. But this seems to me to be our greatest failing: we are willing to live in religious life with standards that are too low. He is rich who imitates a rich man; he is wise who imitates a wise man; he is distinguished who imitates a distinguished person; he is noble who imitates a noble person, namely, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Admonitions XV - PEACE

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Mt. 5:9

These people are truly peacemakers who, regardless of what they suffer in this world, preserve peace of spirit and body out of love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

St. Francis of Assisi
 Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

CONRAD OF PARZHAM, Religious, First Order

Conrad Birndofer, previous named John, was born in Bavaria in the year 1818. After living devoutly as a young man he made religious profession in the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in the year 1842. For forty-three years he reserved as porter of the friary at Alotting distinguishing himself for a very great charity, zeal and patience. He died in 1894 with a reputation for great holiness.

From the common of holy men: religious, 1470

From the letters of Saint Conrad of Parzham

I am always united with God whom I dearly love

It was God’s will that I should leave everything that was near and dear to me. I thank him for having called me to religious life where I have found such peace and joy as I could never have found in the world. My plan of life is chiefly this: to love and suffer, always mediating upon, adoring and admiring God’s unspeakable love for his lowliest creatures.

Nothing is really a hindrance to me because I am always united with our dear Lord. In fact, the more I have to do the more I feel that I am united with God. I then speak to god in a familiar way, like a son to his father. I speak in prayers and aspirations. I make known to him with childlike confidence everything that weighs on my soul.

And if at times I have sinned I humbly beg for pardon asking only to show myself a good and obedient son of a most loving father and to love him with greater love. To practice the virtues of meekness and humility I need only to look at Jesus crucified and I learn how I must act in various circumstances. So in this way I learn humility, meekness, patience, how I must carry the cross, and it become light. I gratefully accept both joy and tribulation from our heavenly Father for he knows best what is good for us.

Thus I always rejoice in the Lord having only this complain that I do not love enough . If only I had the love of one of the Seraphim! I would like to compel all creation to help me love God above all things. Love never fails.
From: Proper Offices of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours

Monday, April 19, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter two - The Way of Life - 11

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter Two –The Way of Life

Trusting the Father, Christ chose for Himself and His mother a poor and humble life, even though He valued created things attentively and lovingly. Let the Secular Franciscans seek a proper spirit of detachment from temporal goods by simplifying their own material needs. Let them be mindful that according to the gospel they are stewards of the goods received for the benefit of God's children.

Thus, in the spirit of the Beatitudes, and as pilgrims and strangers on their way to the home of the Father, they should strive to purify their hearts from every tendency and yearning for possession and power.

Friday, April 16, 2010


   The apostle says: No one can say: Jesus is Lord, except in the Holy Spirit; (1 Cor 12:3) and: There is not one who does good, not even one. (Rom 3:12)

   Therefore, whoever envies his brother the good that the Lord says or does in him incurs a sin of blasphemy because he envies the Most High Himself Who says and does every good thing. (Mt 20:15)

St. Francis of Assisi

Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

Monday, April 12, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter Two –The Way of Life - 10

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter Two –The Way of Life

United themselves to the redemptive obedience of Jesus, who placed his will into the Father’s hands, let them faithfully fulfill the duties proper to their various circumstances of life. Let them also follow the poor and crucified Christ, witness to him even in difficulties and persecutions.

Friday, April 9, 2010


St. Francis of Assisi

The apostle says: The letter kills, but the spirit gives life. (2 Cor 3)

Those people are put to death by the letter who only wish to know the words alone, that they might be esteemed wiser than others and be able to acquire great riches to give to their relatives and friends.

And those religious are put to death by the letter who are not willing to follow the spirit of the divine letter but, instead, wish only to know the words and to interpret them for others.

And those people are brought to life by the spirit of the divine letter who do not attribute every letter they know, or wish to know, to the body but, by word and example, return them to the most high Lord God to Whom every good belongs.

Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

Monday, April 5, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter Two –The Way of Life - 9

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Chapter Two –The Way of Life

The Virgin Mary, humble servant of the Lord, was open to His every word and call. She was embraced by Francis with indescribable love and declared the protectress and advocate of his family. The Secular Franciscans should express their ardent love for her by imitating her complete self-giving and by praying earnestly and confidently.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Benedict was born in San Fratello near Messina, Italy in 1526. His parents were negro slaves who had been transported from Africa to Italy where they converted to Christianity. At the age of eighteen Benedict was given his freedom. He was popularly called the holy black by the poor and the sick who benefited by his charities and benevolent services. He was chosen the leader of a group of independent hermits on the death of the founder. When Pius IV disbanded this and the similar groups, Benedict was received into the Order of the Friars Minor. Though illiterate he soon became the guardian of the Franciscan Friary of Saint Mary in Palermo. Because of his extraordinary gifts of prayer and counsel people of every class sought his guidance. He died in Palerno in 1589 and is venerated as the patron of the Blacks in North America.

From the common of holy men: religious, 1470

True Brotherhood
The life of every saint presents a challenge and offers to others encouragement to holiness. The time, place and circumstances of life are peculiar to each saint, and they vary with each one. It is the use of divine grace and conformity to the divine will which consecrate the circumstances and sanctify the person using them. Use of grace and conformity to God's will constitute the challenge and the power of example that give courage to all Christians to apply the same means to achieve the same basic goal, each in his own way, in his own time, and to his own situation.
The challenge which Saint Benedict the Black presents to us is his total response to the Lord's command at the Last Supper; I give you a new commandment: Love one another. Such as my love has been for you, so should your love be for one another. The integration of Benedict the Black into a community of Franciscan confreres racially and ethnically different from himself, their mutual acceptance and love for one another, the choice which the Friars made to have Benedict, through illiterate, become the superior and the guardian of their religious community - these present a timely challenge. They are the source of great encouragement toward holiness through love of neighbor for the love of God. And this challenge and encouragement are further enhanced by the power of Benedict's example not only to love his neighbor as himself but to love as Christ loved, as he said to his apostles: Your love for one another must be such as my love has been for you. In this love we find the true brotherhood for all mankind.
From: Proper Offices of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours