ON ST. FRANCIS…
Creatures obey St. Francis
God's condescension towards him.
On another occasion St. Francis was on a missionary journey with a companion and, as they were traveling from Lombardy to the Marches of Treviso, they were overtaken by night. It was a dangerous journey in the dark because of the river and the marshes, and his companion implored him to ask God to help them in their necessity. Francis replied, with complete confidence, "God has power to banish the darkness and grant us the gift of his light, if it please him in his goodness." The words were scarcely out of his mouth when they were surrounded with such a brilliant light that, by God's power, they could see their way clearly; they could even see a large part of the country on the other side of the river, although it was dark everywhere else.
It was only right that a brilliant light from heaven should go before Francis in the darkness; this of itself would be enough to prove that those who follow in the footsteps of the light of life can never be engulfed in the darkness of death. Although they still had a long way to go, the light guided their steps miraculously with its brightness and gave them spiritual comfort, so that they arrived safely at the place where they were to stay, singing hymns of praise to God. What a wonderful, what an outstanding person St. Francis was! Fire lost its burn, and water its taste, at his command; a rock produced water in abundance and inanimate creatures waited upon him; savage animals became tame and brute beasts listened to him eagerly. God himself, the Lord of all, bowed to his wish in his goodness; he supplied him generously with food and guided his steps with his light. Francis was a man of indescribable holiness and so all creation was subject to him, and the Creator of all condescended to him.
The Stigmata of St. Francis
St. Francis was a faithful and devoted servant of Christ and two years before he died he observed a forty-day fast in honor of St. Michael the Archangel on a mountain called La Verna, where he lived in complete solitude. There he experienced an extraordinary infusion of divine contemplation; he was all on fire with heavenly desires and he realized that the gifts of divine grace were being poured out over him in greater abundance than ever.
The fervor of his seraphic longing raised him up to God and, in its compassionate tenderness, made him like Christ who chose to hang upon the Cross in the excess of his love. Then one morning about the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, as hew as praying on the mountainside, Francis saw a Seraph with six fiery wings coming down from the highest point in heaven.
The vision descended swiftly and came to rest in mid-air quite near him; then he saw that the Seraph was nailed to a cross although he had wings. His hands and feet were stretched out and nailed to the Cross, while the wings were arranged about him wonderfully; two of them were raised above his head and two were stretched out in flight, while the remaining two were joined to his body and covered it.
Bonaventure—Minor Life 1263
Homily by Fr. Robert Altier
Feast of All Saints
Reading I (Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14) Reading II (1 John 3:1-3)
Gospel (St. Matthew 5:1-12a)
Today the Church takes time to celebrate the feast of all the saints in Heaven. When we consider all the saints, of course, we normally think about the saints whose names are known to all of us, the great heroes of our Faith, the ones we can hold up as an example for everybody to be able to see what the Christian life is to be. Yet, we know at the same time, from the vision of Saint John, that he did not only see three or four thousand people - the canonized saints - but rather, he saw a multitude of people from every language, nation, race and people. It was a countless number. And so we understand, then, that there are many thousands of saints who are unknown to most people. They have lived their lives. They have "fought the fight", they have "run the race", as Saint Paul says. They have kept the Faith. And the merited crown that awaited them has now been awarded to them. Their names may not be known to us on earth, but they are known in the Book of Life in Heaven. These are the people, now, who glorify God for eternity. But these are the same ones who glorified God in their lives. Maybe they were not the ones who were outstanding, heroic persons; but rather, they were the ordinary saints, as opposed to the extraordinary ones - the ordinary saints, like you and me. They were the ones who were husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, the ones who were students, the ones who did their work in the way that God wanted them to.
We stop to ask ourselves: "How does one become a saint?" It begins, as we hear in the Book of Revelation, by being sealed with the seal of the living God. Each one of us has received that seal; each one of us has been baptized into Jesus Christ, and the seal of the living God has been placed upon us. From the day that you are baptized, and for the rest of eternity, there is a seal, a mark, upon your soul. It will be evident, both in Heaven and in hell, who was baptized. It will be very clear who has the seal of the living God.
But it is not enough just to say, "I am baptized, therefore, I am going to Heaven." It does not work that way. We know that we can lose grace. We know that we can fall away from God. We need, then, to ask ourselves: "What is next?" We need to strive for holiness. Saint John tells us in the second reading today that we are going to be like Christ. "What we will be," he says, "has not yet come to light, but we know that when it does we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is." We will be molded to Christ; we will be transformed into Christ. But that transformation begins now. If we are going to live a good Christian life, even just to truly call ourselves Christian people, it means that we need to have time set aside every single day for prayer, that we need to be developing that relationship with Jesus Christ, that we need to become more like Him in our day-to-day lives.
What would that look like? That looks just like the Beatitudes; that is the life of Christ encapsulated in nine little statements. That is what we need to be about: striving for that kind of holiness. But, on a practical level, to be a saint is very simple: it is to pray every day, it is to live a moral life, it is to stay very close to the Sacraments: to get to Mass, to get to Confession regularly. But in the day-to-day, minute-to-minute lives that we are all called to live, to be a saint is all encapsulated in one little term: obedience. It is just that simple: obedience to the duties of our state in life and to do those duties with the greatest amount of love that we can do them with. In doing that we will be saints.
To say that we are to be obedient to the duties of our state in life is to be obedient, first and foremost, to our baptismal vows, where we rejected Satan and we said "yes" to God. That encapsulates those points that I have already mentioned: to pray, to live a moral life, to frequent the Sacraments. For those who are married, it is to be faithful to your marriage vows - completely faithful to them -loving that other person (whom you sometimes do not feel like loving very much) and making sure that you are placing that person as the priority, pouring yourself out for your children, as well. And for the children, that means being obedient to your parents. It means being the best student that you can be, doing your work to the best of your ability - not complaining, not whining, not throwing your books on the floor and doing things like that, not putting them in your backpack and telling Mom that you already did your homework when you really did not. It means to do your chores. It means to clean your room and do all the things you are expected to do, and to do it in the best way that you can do it. So, again, that means willingly and even joyfully, not kicking and screaming, not complaining. And that does not only go for the kids, that goes for the adults as well. All the duties of our state in life, not to kick and moan and scream about them, but to accept them and to offer that up in union with Christ. It is to mold ourselves to be like Him.
So when we think about it, we have these extraordinary saints, the ones whose names we all know, and we could say that, in essence, they are like Our Lord in His public life. These are the ones who did great things. God worked miracles through them. He used them to bring conversions of many thousands of people, sometimes. He preached through them. He touched people's lives through them. But most people are not going to be that way. That was only three years of Our Lord's life. What happened for the first thirty? They were hidden.
And so if you think about it, a very small percentage of the Christian population is going to be extraordinary saints. The vast majority is going to be likened to the hidden life of Christ. They are going to be the unknown saints - but people who are in love with Jesus Christ, people who are striving in their day-to-day lives to live the Faith that they profess. That is what we are called to, each and every one of us. If God wants us to be extraordinary saints, then we need to be obedient to that and do His Will. But for most, He is calling us to live like that hidden life, to live a family life, to live a life of heroic love shown in little things. That is the way that Christ is asking each of us to become a saint: to do what we are supposed to do in the best way that we can. And in that we will be molded into Jesus Christ in this life so that we will be prepared to become like Him in the next, to see Him face-to-face and be transformed into Christ, to be one of those who have indeed survived the period of great trial and have washed our robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Homily by Fr. Robert Altier
Feast of All Souls
Reading I (Daniel 12:1-3) Reading II (Romans 6:3-9)
Gospel (St. John 6:37-40 )
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of All Souls. This is, in a sense, a continuation of the feast we celebrated yesterday because these are all holy souls; these are all individuals who are in the state of grace. They are part of the Communion of Saints. They are united with us in the bonds of grace. These are people who died in the state of grace, but they were not yet perfect. Thanks be to God, in His mercy He has given us a place where, if we are still imperfect when we die, we can be purified. The Book of Revelation tells us that nothing impure can enter into Heaven, so if we are not yet perfected we cannot enter Heaven.
Now we could take a poll and ask how many here think that they will be perfect at the moment of death, and we would probably not have many hands up. If that were the case, you realize that none of us would be able to go to Heaven. But God's Will is that we all would be able to get to Heaven.
We know that some, indeed, will reject Him completely. They will remain in the state of mortal sin; they will not be repentant. Those people will not be able to go to Heaven. Every single person who dies in the state of mortal sin condemns himself, and they cannot go to Heaven - ever. But every single person who dies in the state of grace will go to Heaven, every last one of them. It is just a question of how long it is going to take to be purified.
And so God has provided this place called "Purgatory", which you can see by its root that it comes from the same word as "purge". It is where all the sin and the effects of sin are being purged from the souls of these saints. As Saint Paul told us in the second reading, the person who has died has been absolved from sin. They cannot sin any longer. So, for those souls in Purgatory, they can only go one direction, that is, toward eternal life. There is no going backwards. These souls are doing absolutely everything in their power to get to Heaven as fast as they can. In other words, (even though they are outside of time) if you think about it in a 24 hour period - for 24 hours a day they are praying as hard and as fervently as they possibly can, with every ounce of their ability. They are doing everything that they possibly can.
But we can help them. We can pray for them. We can help them along the way to Heaven by taking on some penances, by praying for them, by offering up various things. We can offer our participation in Mass; we can offer up our Communion. All these things we can offer for the poor souls because they cannot do anything more than they are already doing. They are doing everything possible. But if we can help them, it will get them there that much sooner. It is an act of charity for us to be able to do this for them.
This is a group of people that we need to be very careful that we never forget because there are many, many souls in Purgatory who have absolutely no one praying for them. Remember that there are many Christian people who have this idea that at the very moment that you die you go directly to Heaven. Therefore, they do not pray for any of their people in Purgatory.
But we also have to remember that you cannot enter into Heaven until you accept the fullness of truth because Jesus Christ is the fullness of truth, and you cannot enter into Heaven until you accept Him. Now, these people who are of good will, who through no fault of their own did not know the fullness of truth in this life, God will be merciful to them. He is not going to allow them to be condemned to eternal condemnation for something that was not their own fault, or because they did not know any different. But they are going to have to be in Purgatory while they wrestle within themselves with some of the issues that they did not believe when they were in this life, through no fault of their own.
The problem is that those who do not believe in Purgatory in this world certainly will in the next. But, unfortunately, none of their friends believe in Purgatory; consequently, none of their friends are praying for them because they have this "nice" belief that everybody is already in Heaven just because they believed in Jesus. And so these souls are there with no one praying for them. Something else that we can do is to offer our prayers for them.
And how many Catholics are there today that do not pray for their beloved dead? It is just a forgotten thing. I should remind you that Purgatory is an infallible teaching of the Church. It is not an optional belief. It is not something that is a "neat" idea and maybe it is there. It is an infallible teaching; so it is something that must be accepted because the reality is there.
We need to pray for these souls. They are part of what Our Lord talked about in the Gospel reading: the Father sent Him, so He would not lose anything of what the Father has given Him. These souls were faithful to Christ and He will not lose them. They will be in Heaven for eternity; it is just simply a matter of time before they get there.
And also (if we need a selfish reason for doing some of these good things), we need to remember that if we pray for these holy souls, when they get to Heaven they will be praying for us. They can already pray for us, even if they are in Purgatory, because they are part of the Communion of Saints. But know that if we help them get to Heaven, they will help us get to Heaven. We can be guaranteed of that because, out of gratitude and out of charity for us, they are not going to forget who helped them along the way. If you want them to pray for your children, tell them you will pray for them. You can ask them, "Pray for my kids." Or you can ask them to pray for yourself, or for whomever, for conversions of individuals or whatever it may be. The prayers of the poor souls in Purgatory are very powerful. We must never forget them.
It is a great thing that the Church takes this one day out of the year especially to remember them. But, for all of us, it is not one day a year; it is not an annual thing. It is something that we must remember regularly, even daily: to pray for the poor souls in Purgatory and help them so that they will, as soon as possible, enter into the fullness of life prepared for them by Our Lord.
I mentioned earlier that Purgatory is an infallible teaching of the Church, but one might question where that comes from. It is something that comes up rather frequently when we are dealing with people who are not Catholic; [they ask], "Where does it say that in the Bible?" Of course, the word itself is never used, just as the word "Trinity" is never used in the Bible but it is believed by all Christians. But the concept of it certainly does come up very clearly in several locations.
In 2 Maccabees, it is made very clear. But for those who are not Catholic, they do not believe that that is part of the Bible. It is there that we see Judas Maccabeus taking up a collection so that sacrifices could be offered for those who had died in battle. On each of the people who had died, they found an amulet, a little medal to a false god. And so they took up that collection to atone for the sins of these men so that their guilt might be washed away and they would be able to share in the resurrection of the just.
But we can find it in other places, as well. For instance, in the Gospels Jesus tells us that there are some who will be handed over to the judge; and the judge will hand them over to the jailer; and the jailer will not release them until they have paid the last penny. In other words, until their temporal punishment due to sin is completely removed, they will have to be in Purgatory. Obviously, there is no getting out of hell; so the Lord is not talking about someone who was condemned and suddenly able to get out. But rather, it is a temporary place, a place of temporal punishment. Just as if we would commit a crime there would be a temporal punishment for that crime to repay whatever it is that we had done. We do that on the natural level. The same thing happens with our sins. We need to be purified of those things. It is not so much that the Lord is trying to punish us, but when we sin we hurt ourselves. And when we hurt ourselves, that needs to be healed; it needs to be purified. That is what Purgatory does.
Saint Paul, in his Letter to the Colossians, talks about how even after this life there will be a purification "as if in fire". And so we see it there. We see it in the First Letter of Saint Peter, as well. There are a number of places in Scripture - and in the New Testament in particular - where this concept of Purgatory is made very clear. It is not something that is foreign to the Bible. It is not something that the Church made up in the Middle Ages for whatever reason people want to suggest. But rather, it is what the Lord taught. It is what the apostles taught. It is what the Church has believed from the very beginning.
Remember, for instance, Saint Monica: Right before she died she looked at her son and said, "Remember me at the altar." Why would she be remembered at the altar? I don't suppose she thought that she was going straight to Heaven immediately; so it is to pray for her. The Church said Mass in the catacombs on the tombs of the saints, and they prayed for them. They also asked for the prayers of the saints; so they believed in the fullness of the Communion of Saints right from the very beginning.
That belief continues right down to our day and it will continue, I guess, until the end of the world because at the moment the world ends, Purgatory will end. And so, until then, Purgatory is going to be there and [also] that fullness of the Communion of Saints: those in Heaven, those in Purgatory, and all those in the state of grace on earth, all united in the bonds of grace; that one family of God who all share the same life of sanctifying grace and can pray for one another and help one another to be able to get to Heaven.
Note: Father Altier does not write his homilies in advance, but relies solely upon the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This text was transcribed from the audio recording with minimal editing.
MEETING WITH ARCHBISHOP NIENSTEDT
We had our meeting with Archbishop Nienstedt. Father Altier could not be present due to other commitments, so it was Shelley and I, and the Archbishop. It was a good meeting but all business as the bishop was scheduled back to back with meetings that day.
We explained the BSP history to him a bit and he had a few questions. He said the BSP is fine as a Private Association of the Faithful, and a good thing for those who join it. He suggested that we need to find leaders to secure the Association for the future. Chapters and committed members are the key here.
We hope to hear from him in the future in response to the meeting, and if we do we will post his reply here, and in the newsletter. All in all a good meeting.
Keep the Archbishop in your prayers.
Yours in Christ and St. Francis,
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
Administrators of the BSP
From the Gospel reading, Feast of Christ the King
by Janet Klasson BSP
Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?" And the king will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me."
The above Scripture passage speaks eloquently about our call to see to the physical needs of our brothers and sisters. But read in a another way we can apply this reading to the spiritual needs of the members of the family of God.
Blessed Mother Theresa often spoke of the spiritual poverty that afflicts First World nations. The suffering that has now begun as a result of sin and that is sure to intensify, will tempt many, many souls to despair. The world will be hungry, even starving, for hope. We know and believe in the promise of the Lord, that he will never forsake us, that he will be with us to the end of the age. We who have been given the grace of faith must not close the door on those who come begging for hope, but must freely give what we have been freely given by sharing our hope with those who are longing for it.
Jesus cried from the cross, "I thirst!" Our Lord's unquenchable thirst for souls is magnified in this age by the rampant lack of faith that allows souls to reject the very One who came to save them. When Christ comes again, will he find faith on earth? We can help quench our Lord's thirst by being signs of faith to those around us, by sharing faith when we are led to, but above all by fasting and praying for conversions as our Mother has enjoined us to so fervently and so frequently. She would not ask us to do so if it did no good. Then let us have complete confidence in her Motherly care and pray unceasingly for souls.
There are strangers among us, people who have never been told that they are children of a loving Father. How tragic! Today it is more important than ever that we scan the horizon for those who are "hanging around the fringes" waiting to be invited in. Our hope must be reflected in all we do so that we may attract those who may be strangers, that they might come home to the church where they belong. Once there, we can cover their nakedness with the white garment of baptism, so that they too will be welcome at the wedding feast of the Lamb.
It could be that the Lord is calling us to reach out to those who are spiritually sick or in spiritual prisons, to visit them with the healing balm of salvation and the light of truth that leads to freedom. We can reach out to such people in a literal sense, or if those attempts are rejected we can reach out with our prayers. In any case we should reach out with our prayers at all times for all those in need. St. Ambrose describes this communal aspect of prayer so beautifully:
"Above all, you must pray for the whole people: that is, for the whole body, for every part of your mother the Church, whose distinguishing feature is mutual love. If you ask for something for yourself then you will be praying for yourself only – and you must remember that more grace comes to one who prays for others than to any ordinary sinner. If each person prays for all people, then all people are effectively praying for each."
In conclusion, if you ask for something for yourself alone, you will be the only one asking for it; but if you ask for benefits for all, all in their turn will be asking for them for you. For you are in fact one of the "all." Thus it is a great reward, as each person's prayers acquire the weight of the prayers of everyone. There is nothing presumptuous about thinking like this: on the contrary, it is a sign of greater humility and more abundant fruitfulness."
There is much to ponder in this passage. It affirms that we are not called to a life of penance for our own sakes, although it will certainly do our souls tremendous good. The Lord has called penitents in this particular hour because the world desperately needs souls who will follow Jesus on the Way of the Cross, souls who will work tirelessly for the sake of the kingdom, that all may have life and have it abundantly.
May his kingdom come and his will be done.
Janet Klasson BSP - Canada
NO GREATER LOVE: by PAUL BEERY BSP - November 2008
"Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?" Jesus said to them, "Show Me the coin of the tribute. Whose image and inscription does it bear?" They said to Him Caesar's. "Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they marveled at Him. (Luke 20)
This episode tells us everything we need to know about politics and religion. How many things in our life belong to Caesar? The coin belongs to Caesar, and that's what he can claim, for his image is on it. But how many things belong to God? WHOSE IMAGE ARE WE MADE IN? WHAT DO WE NOT OWE TO GOD? Therefore, who can demand our loyalty: God or Caesar? In the Old Testament book of Judges, for example, God's Chosen People wanted a king to rule over them JUST LIKE THE PAGANS. God does not want a king to rule over us (or any kind of false messiah), for Jesus is the king and center of our hearts. Any person or entity that seeks to take His place or diminish our faith in Jesus is our mortal enemy. Welcome to spiritual warfare 101.
This is the latest in a series on the major issue of Pro-Life vs. "Social Justice." Folks, investigate what the latter term actually means. Everyone seems to give it their own pet meaning. I asked a bible scholar to define it. He couldn't. I asked Archbishop Burke's former Social Justice Director; he sent me to "Quadragesimo Anno," the 1931 encyclical of Pope Pius XI on the "Reconstruction of the Social Order," #51. However, throughout this encyclical and its companion "Divini Redemptoris" (On Atheistic Communism, 1937), the closest Pius XI comes to defining Social Justice is to equate it with the common good. He deals at great length with Social Justice and its transformation from a religious concept people of faith would recognize into something very different – through the political advancement of Socialism, which he ultimately condemned: "No one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true Socialist."
Seventy-seven years later Social Justice is a code word to the liberal left for the advancement of the same Socialism, though they are not honest enough to call it by its proper name. Why was it condemned? Archbishop Chaput wrote a book titled: "Render Unto Caesar" on this topic. In a subsequent talk Oct. 18 titled "Little Murders," he perfectly summed up what's wrong with it. "It's important for Catholics to be PEOPLE OF FAITH who pursue politics to ACHIEVE JUSTICE; NOT PEOPLE OF POLITICS who USE AND MISUSE FAITH to ACHIEVE POWER." The dishonest left will do ANYTHING, will lie, steal and cheat - as their moral relativism allows them - to attain POLITICAL POWER. Religious liberals love Socialism in all its forms because they believe it will aid the poor through the "forced re-distribution of wealth." But that's not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, its Marxism. Class warfare is not a Gospel principle. Neither is "forced," the injustice of robbing Peter to pay Paul, (using most of Peter's money to pay for a huge bureaucracy). But the clincher for Pope Pius XI was: Socialism addresses "ONLY MATERIAL WELL-BEING." God is not present in the Socialist equation. He wasn't then, and He isn't now. Man does not live on bread alone. "Any system in which social relationships are determined entirely by economic factors is contrary to the nature of the human person and his acts." (Catholic Catechism # 2423) Since Socialism serves only the economic needs of mankind, religious liberals have introduced an original leftist version of Christianity, one without traditional Christian morality. It has created a tremendous spiritual vacuum among its adherents, as well as those it "serves."
Come to the inner city and see the results of the "War on Poverty." According to the Heritage Foundation we now have the richest poor people in history. The average person on Welfare "LIVES BETTER THAN KINGS AND QUEENS DID 300 YEARS AGO!" So the "War on Poverty" was a smashing success! Yes and no. The poverty rate is constantly adjusted so that, as Jesus said, "The poor you will always have with you." The party of "Social Justice" needs the poor, USING THEM as a JUSTIFICATION FOR SOCIALISM. If the poor didn't need material aid, there would be no further need to redistribute wealth, hence no need for the party of Big Government, which has to drum up one crisis after the other as a justification for its existence. Yes, come to the inner city and experience the RESULTS of government largesse: drugs, crime, broken families, illegitimacy, hopelessness, lack of basic human dignity, incredible spiritual poverty. Yet hapless individuals, told they are victims of "oppression" by evil Christian conservatives, keep electing the same people who have lied to them and brought them to such a miserable state. That's how the plan works: create dependence and you have votes for a lifetime.
I continued the search for an accurate definition of Social Justice. The business dictionary had a good one: "The fair and proper administration of laws conforming to the natural law that all persons are to be treated equally and without prejudice." Wikipedia added that "Justice (should be) achieved in every aspect of society, not just the administration of laws." But there's no way this goal can be accomplished by replacing God with Caesar, the Master with money. If Caesar loves the poor, we don't have to. No. God loves the poor in a very different way, and commands US to love our neighbor. The government doesn't love anyone, but is only an instrument to be used for good or ill by those in charge. The current global financial crisis is a perfect example of how even good intentions of those who would impose government control over the private sector has caused havoc. Who doesn't want to see the poor progress? "Social Justice" demanded that even poor credit risks be given loans they might not be able to repay. So starting with the Community Re-Investment Act of 1977, the government began pressuring private lenders by threats of fines and lawsuits to conform to this ideal, and the rest is history.
If Social Justice is equated with the common good, there is nothing more important to the common good than the Right to LIFE of future generations, no greater injustice than the modern holocaust of 50 million preborn babies. But that's not the focus of the "Social Justice" party. America's pre-eminent canon lawyer, Archbishop Burke, now serving on the Church's "Supreme Court," said the following in an October interview carried by Zenit. "At this point, the Democratic Party risks transforming itself definitively into a 'party of death' due to its choices on bioethical issues, as Ramesh Ponnuru wrote in his book 'The Party of Death: the Democrats, the Media, the Courts and the Disregard for Human Life.' And I say this with a heavy heart, because we all know that the Democrats were the party that helped our Catholic immigrant parents and grandparents to better integrate into and prosper in American society. But it's not the same anymore. Nonetheless, there are among Democrats some pro-lifers, but they are, unfortunately, rare." Of course they are! Those who advocate for the Culture of Death are very hostile to advocates of the Gospel of Life! Who wants to endure persecution?
Socialism is death to the God-centered. Europe trashed its Christian heritage on the way to becoming a Secular Socialist entity. In America, the "Social Justice" party is doing the same thing: trashing America's Christian heritage and traditional moral values. Alleged Catholic politicians lead the way, giving terrible example by their defiance of Church teaching and open disobedience to the Magisterium. In the process they re-define good and evil, virtue, and what it means to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Perhaps they will get more votes that way.
Can people of faith in good conscience continue to support the party of death? They must accept the following proposition, which defies logic, reason and faith: support a party that avidly promotes the greatest moral evils of the day - abortion and homosexuality (same-sex marriage as the perversion of the moment) - for the overriding "good" of the "Social Justice" it allegedly advocates. What? That stands Catholic moral teaching on its head. The end does not justify the means: evil can never be done to bring about good. And the alleged "good" as we have seen is anything but good in the sight of God. Apart from these and other minor details, it's a brilliant proposition. But it's FALSE. And it's deadly. Check babies torn limb from limb. Yet nothing can compare with the spiritual carnage left in the path of a misguided quest for Social Justice. Archbishop Chaput said in his book: "When people have messianic expectations of the State, when they ask politics to deliver more than it can, the story ends badly." Help us, made in YOUR IMAGE, Lord, TO BE - and to elect - PEOPLE OF FAITH who pursue politics to ACHIEVE JUSTICE; not PEOPLE OF POLITICS who USE AND MISUSE FAITH to ACHIEVE POWER."
Paul Beery BSP
THE ADMONITIONS OF ST. FRANCIS
XXIII. True correction
Blessed that religious who takes blame, accusation, or punishment from another as patiently as if it were coming from himself. Blessed the religious who obeys quietly when he is corrected, confesses his fault humbly and makes atonement cheerfully. Blessed the religious who is in no hurry to make excuses, but accepts embarrassment and blame for some fault he did not commit.
MORNING STAR: NEWS ON THE ASSOCIATION
The Handbook is nearing completion under the tender care of Lisa Drago BSP. It should be done in a month or so. We will have more information on this next month. It has been approved by our Visitor.
THE FAST OF ST. MARTIN
November 11th is the feast of St. Martin. History records that St. Francis had a great love for him and ordered that the Advent fast begin on the day after his feast day.
From the Common of the Saints:
Let us celebrate a holy and happy Advent and prepare the way of the Lord in our lives. The Rule speaks to this special time of penance for us as follows:
'St. Martin of Tours was born in Pannonia of pagan parents around the year 316. He gave up military life and was baptized. Soon after, he founded a monastery at Liguge' in France where he led a monastic life under the direction of St. Hilary. He was ordained a priest and chosen bishop of Tours. He provided an example of the ideal good pastor, founding other monasteries, educating the clergy, and preaching the Gospel to the poor. St. Francis of course, gave up military life to convert his life to God, founded three Orders, and preached the Gospel to the poor, often using words but always using his example.'
RULE: ARTICLE 9
They are to fast daily, except on account of infirmity or any other need, throughout the fast of St. Martin from after said day until Christmas, and throughout the greater fast from Carnival Sunday until Easter.
Of course, today, November 1, when this newsletter is mailed electronically in the Association, is All Saints Day. This is significant in the BSP on two counts. First, it is a Solemnity and so all penitential practices are suspended. Second, it begins the times in the Association where we have two fast days a week: Wednesday and Friday, not just Fridays, as follows from the Rule:
RULE: ARTICLE 8
From the Pasch of the Resurrection to the feast of All Saints they are to fast on Fridays. From the feast of All Saints until Easter they are to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, but still observing the other fasts enjoined in general by the Church.
The statue of Moses, sculpted in 1542-1545,
by Michelangelo, on the tomb of Pope Julius II
in Rome, Basilica of St Maria Maggiore
BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE OF ST. FRANCIS
a.k.a. the BSP, is a non-profit Private Association of the Faithful, which is dedicated to renewing the ancient way of penance as contained in the First Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis of 1221 for lay people in our modern world. We have the blessing of the Catholic Church to do this through several of its bishops. If you are bound by another Rule of life in another profession of the way of St. Francis that does not permit you to enter other religious families you are nonetheless invited to become an Honorary member of our Association and add the elements of this beautiful way of life that Saint Francis of Assisi gave us to the lifestyle of your profession.
All members, and Franciscans, are welcome to submit articles for consideration for inclusion in this newsletter if they are directed towards the spiritual formation of members or are the outgrowth of the lifestyle of the Association. Just send them to the BSP at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to share this newsletter with your friends or neighbors. It is intended to be the primary monthly communication of the Association. And if you can find it in your heart and in your budget remember that donations to the BSP are used strictly to promote the lifestyle and are tax deductible.
We remain, always, sincerely yours in the love of Jesus Christ!
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
Welcome to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance!
As to purgatory, Our Lord said: "I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."