The Rule, Article 4

Sunday, February 7, 2010

COLETTE, Virgin, Second Order

Colette was born in France in the year 1381. After the death of her parents she distributed all her possessions to the poor, joined the Third Order of Saint Francis and lived for some time as a recluse. Following admission to the Pore Clares, and with permission of the Pope, she brought many monasteries of the Second and First Orders back to the primitive observance of the Franciscan way of life, especially by inculcating poverty and prayer. She died on March 6, 1447

From the common of virgins, 1441

From the spiritual testament of Saint Colette
(E.S.M. Perrin, La belle vie de sainte Colette de Corbie [Paris 1920] 274-277)

Humble obedience is precious in the sight of God

Beloved daughters, understand your vocation well; understand your great dignity and the perfection expected of you. Ignorance is very injurious, knowledge is very useful. Understand, then the way of life you took upon yourself through your vocation under God’s inspiration. Our loving Savior says, No one can come to me unless the Father draws him through inspiration. Blessed is the entry into the fertile field of evangelical perfection; it is nothing less than the renunciation of the world, the flesh, one’s own will. This is what one blessed Jesus born of the virgin says, Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self and take up his cross, without leaving off doing penance for sins committed, so as not to offend God, and also to keep in his grace more easily.

Keep in mind, then beloved daughters, that through no merit of your own have you been called to perfect obedience; therefore obey always and in all things which do not offend God. Jesus became obedient unto death. It is not enough to obey for a time or only in some things; you must obey in everything that is not contrary to God, your souls and the holy Rule. Let us not prefer our own judgments to those of our superiors, for true wisdom is subject to Jesus and his loving virgin Mother.

The truly obedient person simply does what he does for the sake of Gd. He takes account of nothing but genuine obedience and renders obedience reverently as if the directive came from Jesus himself. In this way the command becomes easier from the human viewpoint, and humble obedience is more precious in the sight of God since evil flows from disobedience. One prayer from an obedient person is worth more than a hundred thousand from a disobedient one. If you will obey God he will obey you.

After self-denial our Lord wants us to carry our cross, that is, our vow of holy poverty. The cross is heavy when we want to have something more than the one who carried his cross on his shoulders and deigned to die on it Beloved daughters, following the example of Jesus Christ, of our glorious father Saint Francis and our mother Saint Clare, love this glorious virtue. Be content in your privations so that you may more easily reach the kingdom to which you have been called through the poverty you have promised to boserve. Beloved daughters, live then like truly poor people and remain such till death as our loving Savior did for us on the cross. Since there are few in the world who love this kind of poverty, we have a greater opportunity of loving it second to Lady Holy Obedience which I commend to you most highly.

We must faithfully keep what we have promised. If thorough human weakness we fail, we must always without delay rise again by means of holy penance, and give our attention to leading a good life and to dying a holy death. May the Father of all mercy, the Son by his holy passion, and the Holy Spirit, source of peace, sweetness and love, fill us with their consolation. Amen.

Proper offices of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours