The Rule, Article 4

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

St. Clare of Assisi writes...

Indeed, it is now clear that the soul of a faithful person, the most worthy of all creatures because of the grace of God, is greater than heaven itself, since the heavens and the rest of creation cannot contain their Creator; only a faithful soul is His dwelling place and throne, and this only through the charity that the wicked lack. The Truth says: Whoever loves me will be loved by My Father and I too shall love him, and We shall come to him and make Our dwelling place with him. (Jn 14:21,23).

St. Clare of Assisi

The Third Letter to Agnes of Prague

Monday, March 29, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter Two –The Way of Life - 8

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

As Jesus was the true worshipper of the Father, so let prayer and contemplation be the soul of all they are and do.

Let them participate in the sacramental life of the Church, above all the Eucharist. Let them join in liturgical prayer in one of the forms proposed by the Church, reliving the mysteries of the life of Christ.


Friday, March 26, 2010


St. Francis of Assisi
Consider, O human being, in what great excellence the Lord God has placed you, for He created and formed you to the image of his beloved Son according to the body and to His likeness according to the Spirit. (1 Gn 1:26)

And all creatures under heaven serve, know, and obey their Creator, each according to its own nature, better than you. And even demons did not crucify Him, but you, together with them, have crucified Him and are still crucifying Him by delighting in vices and sins.

In what, then can you boast? Even if you were so skillful and wise that you possessed all knowledge (1 Cor13:2), knew how to interpret every kind of language (1 Cor 12:28), and to scrutinize heavenly matters with skill: you could not boast in these things. For, even though someone may have received from the Lord a special knowledge of the highest wisdom, one demon knew about heavenly matters and now knows more about those of earth than all human beings.

In the same way, even if you were more handsome and richer than everyone else, and even if you worked miracles so that you put demons to flight: all these things are contrary to you; nothing belongs to you; you can boast in non of these things.

But we can boast in our weaknesses and in carrying each day the holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Cor 12:5; Lk 14:27)

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

Thursday, March 25, 2010

St. Francis writes...

Our friends, therefore, are all those who unjustly inflict upon us distress and anguish, shame and injury, sorrow and punishment, martyrdom and death. We must love them greatly for we shall possess eternal life because of what they bring us.

St. Francis of Assisi
The Earlier Rule
XXII An Admonition to the Brothers

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Didacus-Joseph Lopez Caamano, baptized Joseph Francis, was born in Spain in the year 1743 and made profession in the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in the year 1759. After his ordination he exercised the ministry of preaching throughout Spain with great success and was called “a second Paul.” Always imbued with a great love for the cross, he combined apostolic activity with contemplation in the marvelous way. His death occurred in the year 1801.

From the letters of Blessed Didacus Joseph to his spiritual Father, Francis Xavier Gonzales
(El director perfecto el dirigido santo [Seville 1901] 126, 210, 280, 287f)

My only concern is to do what God wants of me

My spiritual father, will I be fortunate enough to effect here on earth the triumph of the holy Cross and of him who is humbly crucified? Will the day ever dawn when this monster of iniquity will love his God and bring all the world to love God?

The sins of men always weight heavily upon me, undoubtedly because I do not consider the gravity of my own sins. One day in choir with the community as I was meditating on this I was eager to be relieved of this burden. Suddenly the great seriousness of my obligation of expiation was vividly and effectively impressed upon me as I recalled what my Lord Jesus Christ, though sinless, took upon himself and endued for the sins of others. I am in the habit of recoiling from this obligation whenever temporal disasters befall my fellowmen.

How forcefully the words you frequently use in your letters strike my heart, that I am called to be “A Capuchin, a missionary and a saint!” I cannot read these words without being moved by a delightful and wonderful force deep in my heart.

From: Proper Officds of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

St. Clare of Assisi writes...

If you suffer with Him, you will reign with Him (2 Tim 2:12).
Weeping with Him, you will rejoice with Him;
dying on the cross of tribulation with Him,

you will possess heavenly mansions with Him
among the splendor of saints and in the Book of Life (Phil 4:3; Rev3:5)

your name will be called glorious among the peoples.

St. Clare of Assisi
The Second Letter to Agnes of Prague

Monday, March 22, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter Two –The Way of Life - 7

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

United by their vocation as “brothers and sisters of penance,” and motivated by the dynamic power of the gospel, let them conform their thoughts and deeds to those of Christ by means of that radical interior change which the gospel itself calls “conversion.” Human frailty makes it necessary that this conversion by carried out daily.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

St. Francis writes...

And the Lord gave me such faith in churches that I would pray with simplicity in this way and say: "We adore You, Lord Jesus Christ, in all Your churches throughout the whole world and we bless You because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world."

St. Francis of Assisi,
The Testament 124-125

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Admonitionss XI – Let No One Be Corrupted By The Evil of Another

St. Francis of Assisi

Nothing should displease a servant of God except sin. And no matter how another person may sin, if a servant of God becomes disturbed and angry because of this and not because of charity, he is storing up guilt for himself. (Rom2:5) That servant of God who does not become angry or disturbed at anyone lives correctly without anything of his own.  Blessed is the one for whom nothing remains except for him to return to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. (Mt 22:21)
 Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

Monday, March 15, 2010

THE RULE -Chapter Two –The Way of Life - 6

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

They have been made living members of the Church by being buried and raised with Christ in baptism; they have been united more intimately with the Church by profession. Therefore, they should go forth as witnesses and instruments of her mission among all people, proclaiming Christ by their life and words.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Admonitions II – THE EVIL OF SELF-WILL

St. Francis of Assisi

The Lord said to Adam: Eat of every tree; you may not eat, however, of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (GN 2:16,17)

He was able to eat of every tree of paradise, because he did not sin as long as he did not go against obedience. For that person eats of the tree of the knowledge of good who makes his will his own and, in this way, exalts himself over the good things the Lord says and does in him. And so, through the suggestion of the devil and the transgression of the command, it became the apple of the knowledge of evil. Therefore it is fitting that he suffer the punishment. 
Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

Monday, March 8, 2010

THE RULE - Chapter Two –The Way of Life - 5

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

Secular Franciscans, therefore, should seek to encounter the living and active person of Christ in their brothers and sisters, in Sacred Scripture, in the church, and in liturgical activity. The faith of Saint Francis, who often said “I see nothing bodily of the Most High Son of God in this world except His most holy body and blood,” should be the inspiration and pattern of their Eucharistic life.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


by Bonaventure

Christ on the cross bows his head
Waiting for you
That he may kiss you;
His arms are outstretched.
That he may embrace you,
His hands are open,
That he may enrich you;
His body spread out,
That he may give himself totally;
His feet are nailed.
That he may stay there;
His side is open for you,
That he may let you enter there.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Agnes, daughter of Premislaus, king of Bohemia, was born in Prague about the year 1205. She declined an imperial marriage and in 1236 entered the monastery of the Poor Clares that she had founded and which she directed for many years. She enjoyed a close friendship with Saint Clare who wrote several letters to her dealing with Franciscan spirituality. Agnes died between the years 1280-1283.

From the common of virgins, 1441.

From a letter of Saint Clare to Blessed Agnes of Prague
(I. Omaechevarria [Madrid 1970] 324-327)

Poor virgin, embrace the poor Christ

I thank the giver of grace from whom we believe every good and perfect gift comes that he has adorned you with such virtues and made you resplendent with such perfection. You have become a diligent imitator of the perfect Father. May you attain such perfection that his eyes may see no imperfection in you. This is the perfection by which the king will unite you to himself in the heavenly bridal chamber. There he is seated in glory on his star studded throne.

You consider kingly honors of small value and the offers of royal marriage ill-suited to you as a follower of most holy poverty. In the spirit of great humility and ardent love, you follow in the footsteps of him whose bride you are found worthy to be. Since I know that you are held in honor because of your virtues, I refrain from wordiness. I do not wish to burden you with superfluous words though to you noting may seem superfluous from which you may derive a measure of consolation.

One thing however is necessary. I make it the topic of my admonition. I exhort you for the love of him to whom you have offered yourself as a pleasing gift that you be ever mindful of your resolution. Like another Rachel, always cling to your determinations. Hold fast when you have. Keep on doing what you are doing. Do not depart from your course. With swift peace, light tread and unswerving fidelity proceed safely with joy and gladness along the way that leads to salvation. Let no dust gather on your feet. Put no confidence in anything, nor consent to anything that could draw you away from your goal. Let nothing be a stumbling block to keep you from fulfilling your vows to the Most High in that perfection to which the Spirit of God called you.

If anyone tells you anything to the contrary, or suggests anything that would impede you, or seem contrary to God’s calling, even though you must respect him, do not follow his advice. As a poor virgin, embrace the poor Christ. Look at him who became contemplate for your sake and follow him. Be despised in this would for his sake.

Noble queen, fix your gaze upon him, meditate on him, contemplate him in your eagerness to imitate your spouse, the comeliest of men who became the vilest of men for your salvation, despised, buffeted, scourged and dying on the hard cross. If you suffer with him, you shall reign with him; if you mourn with him, you shall rejoice with him. If you die on the cross and him in tribulations, you will have an abode in heaven in the splendor of the saints. Your name in the book of life will be glorious among men.

In recompense for this you will forever share in the glory of heaven in exchange for the fleeting things of earth, and in eternal possessions in exchange for those that perish. And you will live forever.

From: Proper Offices of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours

Monday, March 1, 2010


If you look for an inheritance in the world, you will not be a joint heir with Christ.

What are you doing in the world, my brother, you who are greater than the world? Do you fear poverty? Christ calls the poor blessed. Are you deterred by exertion? No athlete wins a crown without sweat. Are you concerned about food? True faith has no fear of hunger. Are you afraid to lay your body emaciated by fasting on the bare ground? The Lord lies there with you. Does an unkempt disheveled head of hair terrify you? Christ is your head. Does the boundless waste of the desert fill you with fear? Then in your mind walk in paradise for as often as you raise your thoughts to heaven you will not be in the desert. O blessed desert, blossoming with the flowers of Christ! O blessed solitude where are quarried the stones out of which the city of the great King in the Apocalypse is built! O blessed desert enjoying intimate association with God! Add to this also the well known words of the Apostle: I consider the sufferings of the present to be as noting compared with the glory to come to be revealed in us.

Why, then, are you a fainthearted Christian? The Son of man had not whereon to lay his head, yet you set great value on large porticos and spacious dwellings. If you look forward to an inheritance in the world you will not be a joint heir with Christ. The desert loves the poorly clad. The body accustomed to tunics does not tolerate the weight of the breastplate. The head swathed in linen refused to wear the helmet. The rough hilt of the sword chafes the hand grown soft in idleness.

We are earth and ashes, anxious at every moment about our salvation, and soon to be returned to dust. Let us, then, forthwith abandon the fleeting world with all speed. If perchance our stomach is in pain on account of our mortification – a thing that rarely happens – and if we are burning with fever, let us look upon our infirmity as the gateway to eternal life.

Proper Offices of Franciscan Saints and blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours
The so-called Rule for Monks, excerpts from the works of Saint Jerome the Priest (PL 30, 339D-341A)

THE RULE - Chapter Two –The Way of Life - 4

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

The rule and life of the Secular Franciscans is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people.

Christ, the gift of the Father’s love, is the way to him, the truth into which the Holy Spirit leads us, and the life which he has come to give abundantly.

Secular Franciscans should devote themselves especially to careful reading of the gospel, going from gospel to life and life to the gospel.