The Rule, Article 4

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.