BONAVENTURE AND HIS LESSONS ON ST. FRANCIS:
Chapter VIII – Those who were cured of various diseases
There was a woman called Prassede in Rome who was well know for her religious fervor; she had lived for almost forty years in a tiny cell for love of her Eternal Bridegroom and she received a special favor from St. Francis. One day she went up on the roof of her cell to get something she needed. There she was struck by dizziness and fell off, breaking her leg and one foot, and dislocating her shoulder. Then St. Francis appeared to her, clad in robes of glory, and spoke to her gently. "Get up," he said. "Get up, and do not be afraid." He took her by the hand and raised her up; then he disappeared. She looked this way and that about the cell, convinced that she was seeing a vision. Her screams brought help and when a light was struck, she realized that she had been completely healed by St. Francis and she related everything as it had happened.
Chapter IX – Those who refused to honor the saint by not keeping his feast day
In the town of Le Simon near Poitiers a priest called Reginald who had great devotion to St. Francis told his parishioners that the saint's feast day should be celebrated solemnly. However, one of the parishioners knew nothing about the saint's power and he paid no attention to the order. He went to cut some wood on his land and as he prepared to start he heard a voice saying three times, "This is a holy day. It is wrong to work." But he was stubborn and neither the priest's authority nor the miraculous voice could stop him. Then God worked another miracle of his power, in honor of his saint and to punish the offender. The man was holding a fork in one hand and when he raised the axe with his other hand to start working, both his hands became firmly stuck to the implements by God's power, so that he could not loose his fingers to let them go. He was dumbfounded and did not know what to do. He raced off to the church and crowds of people came from all sides to see the miracle. A number of priests had gathered there to celebrate the feast and one of them advised him to make an act of sorrow before the altar. He committed himself with all humility to St. Francis, and as he had heard the voice three times he made three vows, one that he would keep St. Francis feast day, the second that he would visit the Church on that day, and the third that he would make a pilgrimage to the saint's tomb. When he had taken the first vow, one of his fingers became free, and after the second another was freed. When he made the third vow, a third finger was released, and after it his whole hand. There was a huge crowd there and eventually his other hand was freed, as they prayed to the saint for mercy. So, he was restored to complete freedom and he put aside his implements, while they all praised God and the miraculous power of his saint which had stricken him and cured him so wonderfully. The implements still hand there in front of the altar of St. Francis in memory of the incident.
Bonaventure—Major Life of St. Francis (1263)
ADMINISTRATOR'S MESSAGE: … RESOLVED!
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The last several years when we hit New Year's we always discussed resolutions. The need to make some resolutions and decisions regarding the new year to get the entire year more centered in Christ. This year let's discuss a primary resolution we should all have: RESOLVED: we need to pray more!
St. Paul, in Thessalonians 5: 17, says "pray without ceasing". It is a wonderful idea and great goal but what comes to us is 'how do we do that?" How do we actually pray without ceasing? It is easier said than done as we ponder it.
Well, that is certainly how we have felt so often as we have considered it. Oh, we did various things at various times to pray more. We said more rosaries. We said ejaculations. We focused on prayer. But, did we get it?
Then we ran into the answer, and it is an easy answer for the spiritually mature, in the Office of Readings for Friday of the third week of Advent, in a writing by St. Augustine, who was a very intelligent person, very philosophical, and a doctor of the Church. What St. Augustine said on that day was:
"For the desire of your heart is itself your prayer. And if the desire is constant, so is your prayer."
The desire of our hearts is the way we pray all day every day, even when we are sleeping. If we desire to pray and to lead holy lives we will do it. It will happen, and we will be praying without ceasing.
St. Augustine – Friday – Third week of Advent
Of course, this does not eliminate the need to pray the Rule for those of us who are professed. Or to pray with out families as a practice to build prayer into other people's lives. It does relieve us of worrying if we are praying enough, and it will bring us to a deeper consciousness of our relationship with God. If we can pray by having simple desire to pray and serve God what else can it affect?
Well, it affects everything about our relationship with God is the only answer. It models who we are, and how we see ourselves before God. It affects our opinion of the Church and the power of the Church as one inherent desire of the Church is to see the salvation of all men. So, the desire of the Church is also the prayer of the Church and it goes on unceasingly. The Church is always after souls, and so should we be in union with the Church and in our prayers. With the Church we should be fishers of men.
We do that by living our Rule for the good of the Church and the world. The additional affect of it is that it also saves our souls. So, we fast, and abstain, and pray, and lead simple lives in the sight of God, and usually not of men, all for good and holy things. To become holy ourselves, and drag the world along with us to heaven. A wonderful job.
So, let's rejoice as the Christmas season ends, and enter anew the life of our Rule for this good and holy purpose. To pray always and help save all the world, for Jesus.
Happy New Year to all!
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
THE LIFESTYLE OF THE
BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE
OF ST. FRANCIS
IN A SNAPSHOT.
DAILY LIFE: Live and dress simply and modestly. Choose simple garments of subdued solid colors or blue as defined by the Rule. Avoid flashy personal décor, unseemly movies, excessive TV, and needless communications. Convert your life to God. Wear a cross or crucifix visibly. Take the Blessed Virgin as mother and guide, and heed her messages to our world.
ABSTINENCE: Abstain from meat, except in soups or gravies, on everyday except Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays, Solemnities, and other necessary or family occasions. Pray an Our Father before and after all meals, or your regular meal prayer. Abstain from any other thing to give glory to God as you wish. Keep this all invisible: between you and God.
FASTING: Fast on Wednesdays and Fridays from All Saints day to Easter, and on Fridays from Easter until All Saints day. (Solemnities and Octaves excluded) Fast daily, except Sundays and Solemnities, during Lent and for 40 days before Christmas. Fasting by Church regulations is eating two small meals that do not equal one regular meal and one regular meal daily with no snacking in between. Strict fasting may be done with the permission of one's spiritual director. The perfect strict fast is on bread and water, according to Our Lady. Keep this all invisible: between you and God. On non-fasting days, three complete meals are permitted.
PRAYER: Pray the complete Divine Office every day. Or choose a different prayer option which can be one of the following: saying all four mysteries of the rosary, spending an hour in mental prayer, or contemplation, daily; praying 12 Our Fathers, Hail Mary's and Glory Be's for Matins and seven for the other hours; or creating a serious personal prayer option with one's spiritual director. Pray for the dead: 50 psalms, or Our Fathers with the Requiem Aeternam after each Our Father, for a recently deceased friend; pray the entire Psalter or 100 Our Fathers with the Requiem Aeternam after each Our Father for all deceased once yearly. Pray each morning Psalms 51, 54,119:1-32, and the Creed; in the evening Psalm 51 and the Creed. Each day strive to do some spiritual reading. Make prayer the center of your life.
SACRAMENTS/OTHER MATTERS: Attend daily Mass if possible. Sunday and Holy Day Mass definitely. Go to confession at least monthly. Make peace with everyone, avoid idle talk, gossip, oaths, and street language of any kind. Pay tithes. Live the Gospel.
COMMUNITY LIFE: Meet with others of like mind, especially other Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis, but also any other Third Order members or committed religious, each month. Celebrate the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours together. Review a portion of the Rule and share your journey to heaven. Celebrate your family!
APOSTOLATES: Practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy in your own home, among your own relatives, and in the world around you. Do other good things as you feel inspired. Work for the Church.
OTHER: Obtain permission of your spouse before entering the Association. Be willing to obtain a spiritual director and consult with him or her at least monthly. Once you profess to live the Rule, follow it for life unless entering a religious life.
In the world, but not of it, for Christ.
20939 Quadrant Ave. N.
Scandia, Minnesota 55073
Homily by Fr. Robert Altier
On Mary, the Mother of God
Every year in May, our country takes a day out to remember our mothers because mothers are the most incredible of all people on the face of the earth. Today we take out a day to celebrate God's mother because, of all mothers, she is the most incredible. When we consider what motherhood is all about and the way that it is lived - to think that life begins in the womb of a woman, she nourishes that life, she cares for it, she brings it forth; then she educates the person that she has brought forth, raises the person, cares for the person, loves the person, and all the different things that a mother does - each one of us recognizes (if we have had a good mother) the value and importance [of these things], and we all have a respect and an awe for motherhood.
But now we consider the woman that God chose to be His mother. God Himself took on our human nature and He began His human life in the womb of His mother. In His humanity he was nourished by His mother and He was educated by His mother. As He sat upon the lap of His mother, she taught Him how to pray, she taught Him how to speak, she taught Him all the natural human things that a mother does, even though he was God.
It is a mystery beyond all mysteries. Motherhood is the greatest natural miracle that we have, and we celebrate it every day. How many beautiful little babies are conceived and born every day. Yet this that we celebrate today is not a natural miracle; it is truly a supernatural one because today we celebrate the Divine Motherhood of Mary, the day that Mary is the Mother of God.
We hear how the shepherds were told about this Child who was born. When they came and saw the Child and His mother and Saint Joseph, they marveled. Now we all marvel at the birth of a baby, but this was something truly extraordinary. What they saw was what on the outside would appear to be just a normal human family: a young couple and their first child. That would not necessarily make any shepherds marvel, other than the fact that a baby has been born. But they saw something which was entirely different when they came to the little cave in Bethlehem: They found a baby who was God; they found a mother who was without sin – they found a perfect mother; and they found a husband and a stepfather who loved this woman and Child completely and as perfectly as could be.
We reflect upon the heart of this beautiful mother for a moment. We are told in Saint Luke's Gospel what Our Lady saw and that the shepherds were marveling and telling what the angels had told them, and, after the shepherds left, Our Lady held all these things in her heart and she reflected upon them. It has been said that the closest thing to the love of God, in this world, is the heart of a mother. Imagine the heart of this mother. The beautiful heart of a mother holds all the things of her children within her heart. A mother, even with many children, carries all of their worries and anxieties and concerns, all of their joys and all of their sorrows. She carries her children with her everywhere she goes. And even when her children are far apart from her, she is still right there in her heart with her children. Imagine the heart of the woman who carries all the concerns of God because her child is God.
But not only that, because each one of us has been incorporated into her Son, this incredible woman carries each and every one of our concerns, our anxieties, our fears, our problems, our difficulties, our joys and sorrows - all the things of our life. She is with us as any mother would be, and more, because she is completely with us, never separated from us. All these things of our lives she carries with her and reflects upon them in her heart.
Now if we ponder that for a moment, we certainly give Our Lady plenty of reason to reflect and to wonder and to ponder what it is that we are up to and why we are not doing what her Son wants us to do. But what we want to be able to do is give her wonderful things to ponder, to be able to live according to the way that her Son has laid out for us, to be able to allow her to reflect upon the working of God in our lives and to be able to see the grace of God at work within each one of us. Not to be able to see her children rejecting the grace of God and going off our own way; but rather, giving her the opportunity to see her children accepting God's mercy and love, accepting His grace and conforming themselves accordingly. That is what we want to be able to offer to our mother: to be able to fill her heart with joy as she looks at each one of us, as she sees in each one of us the image of her Son.
We reflect today upon this beautiful Immaculate Heart that, at the foot of the Cross, not only carried the pain and the sadness and the tragedy of her Son dying on the Cross, but carried at the same time the joy and the relief and the freedom of every single one of us who would accept what her Son was doing for us and would be set free from our sins to be able to live the divine life in this world. It is the most incredible thing that one will ever be able to ponder: the heart of this beautiful woman. Even for every woman that is here and [who is] able to understand the way that a woman's heart works, no woman will even be able to understand the heart of this woman because it is perfect, it is without sin, and it is able to carry perfectly every one of us.
As we heard the prayer for God's blessing in that first reading, that He would be gracious and bless us and let His countenance shine upon us, He has indeed done that through His mother. His face has been seen by the shepherds, by the wise men, and by all the people who lived 2,000 years ago. But He has gone even beyond that, and he has allowed the heart of His mother to shine upon us, to carry us, to bless us, to be gracious to us. God's generosity will never be outdone. He has prepared for Himself the most perfect place for the beginning of His life. And now, as He is born into this world and we celebrate the gift of Divine Motherhood, we celebrate also the gift of spiritual motherhood because that place which was set aside for the beginning of His life (not meaning the womb of Our Lady this time, but meaning the heart of Our Lady) continues to be the perfect place for the beginning of the Christian life, for the nurturing and the growth of the Christian life, and for the education in the Christian life of every one of us. We go to our mother and there we learn, there we are nourished, there we are loved and cherished and brought up and educated in the ways of her Son. This is the beautiful thing that we celebrate today.
It is exactly what Saint Paul told us in that second reading: that her Son, "born of a woman, was born under the law to deliver from the law those who were subject to it." That is us. "We are no longer children," Saint Paul says, "of the slave woman, but of the free woman." In her freedom, each one of us is set free because she is the mother who is free from sin. She is the mother who gave birth to God so that each one of us, reborn in Baptism, reborn in her Immaculate Heart, would be incorporated into God to share the divine nature, to share the divine life, to be raised up to that divine level of acting and of being so that, as the preface says of God, He would see and love in us what He sees and loves in His Son, and that the exact same thing would be said of Our Lady: that as she carries each one of us in her Immaculate Heart, she would see and love in us what she sees and loves in her Son, and through her intercession each one of us would continue to live the divine life which God has given to us until the day we can go forward from this life and enter into the fullness of God's blessing and behold the graciousness and the blessing of God, to look upon His face, with Our Blessed Lady, for all eternity.
In the meantime, ask Our Lady to give you her heart. Ask her to allow you to rest in her Immaculate Heart, to love her Son in you and through you, and to be able to learn from her how to love her Son perfectly. Allow her to love you in that beautiful maternal way, in the perfect maternal way. She will teach you and keep you on track so that you will be able to do the Will of her Son as she did in a most perfect way that is pleasing to God and will bring us into the fullness of God's blessing for all eternity.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.
FROM THE GOSPEL READING – SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD
by Janet Klasson BSP
"When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage."
Did you catch it? This December we were given yet another sign of the mixed-up times in which we live. As Christians prepared to celebrate the incarnation of the Infant King, the secular press was fixated on the Tiger Woods scandal. Given a choice whether to report on the risen Savior or a fallen idol, well, the secular press chose the fallen idol, hands down. I happened upon the following on a golfing blog titled (ironically) "Devil Ball":
"We wanted Tiger to be the best. We needed him to be the best. We needed someone we could all look up to, someone who represented all that we could possibly achieve. And as it turns out, he wasn't the best. He wasn't even better than most of us. And so we're profoundly disappointed -- in Tiger, yes, but more in ourselves for believing in what he and his handlers were selling."
I have a great deal of sympathy for Tiger Woods. Did he desire to be re-made into an idol, or was he just a guy who played golf really well, who was fashioned into a god by the agents of a godless society? He, like so many before him, was bound to disappoint those who had placed all their hopes in him. Fallen humanity can only fall. The only one who can remain on a pedestal is the One True God—and his pedestal is the cross.
What a contrast to the story of the Magi! The false idol was rich and famous; the true Savior was poor and unknown. The false idol had spin doctors to "sell" a false image to the public; the true Savior had angels to announce his birth to poor shepherds, and a star to guide the Magi to the humble child. The false idol's image has been shattered like so many before him; the Son of God lives forever, and he is Truth.
In truth, we are all called to imitate the Magi in counting as nothing all that does not lead us to Jesus. We need to be firm in our purpose, trusting in the star that guides us, even when the path seems unclear, or filled with obstacles, even though we may have to travel in darkness most of the way. We are called to keep firmly in mind that there is nothing more important than the goal we are seeking—Christ.
The Holy Father reinforced this in a beautiful, simple message in his Christmas Eve 2009 homily. Here is an excerpt:
"God is important, by far the most important thing in our lives. The shepherds teach us this priority. From them we should learn not to be crushed by all the pressing matters in our daily lives. From them we should learn the inner freedom to put other tasks in second place, however important they may be, so as to make our way towards God, to allow him into our lives and into our time. Time given to God and, in his name, to our neighbor is never time lost. It is the time when we are most truly alive, when we live our humanity to the full. . . .
It cannot be a coincidence that the Tiger Woods story converged this year with the Christmas story. I get the feeling these days that Jesus is at it again—overturning tables. Take heed. The Lord is smashing idols as never before. Everything we are placing above him is sent crashing down. Let us examine our lives and jettison all that does not give glory to God, before he takes it up on himself to do it for us! Let us follow that star with unwavering faith and hope in the one God who saves. In the words of the angel at Fatima: "Penance! Penance! Penance!"
"We live our lives by philosophies, amid worldly affairs and occupations that totally absorb us and are a great distance from the manger. In all kinds of ways, God has to prod us and reach out to us again and again, so that we can manage to escape from the muddle of our thoughts and activities and discover the way that leads to him."
May 2010 bring us all closer to our goal, perfect union with Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
Excerpt from the Pelianito Journal blog (www.pelianito.stblogs.com) October 24, 2009:
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.
"Beloved, do not make me wait for our time together. Do you know how it hurts me when all manner of things takes precedence over time spent with me? I do not say to neglect your duties, but your prayer time should be at the top of your list, not the bottom. 'Seek FIRST the kingdom of God.' My child, you want me to look after your needs, yet you delay in looking after mine. Be faithful, my child, keep foremost in your mind the needs and desires of your Beloved, who left the glory of heaven to die for mere creatures. Child, I am near—be near to me. If you do these things, you will receive special graces in the time to come."
My Lord Jesus have mercy on me, a sinner! Give me grace and strength, all I need to place your needs and desires above all. In your mercy, do not look on my sinfulness, but see the love our Mother has for poor sinners. Jesus I trust in you. Amen.
Janet Klasson BSP - Divine Mercy Chapter - Canada
NO GREATER LOVE: by PAUL BEERY BSP - January 2010
"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests." (Luke 2,13)
Peace, Love, Joy: the reward of living in union with God. His peace is what the faithful seek, the goal of their lives. "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (Jn. 14, 27) Unfortunately the faithful are unable to live in peace, surrounded as they are by those who are completely unconcerned about God, and their eternal destiny. Many have a very different goal in life, which has nothing to do with worshipping their Creator. We have to live with them, rub shoulders with them, receive their darts and arrows. Yet we must pray for them. We try to witness to them. And so we pray for peace. Is it possible that our prayers for peace in the world will ever succeed? In spite of our best efforts, sometimes we can't even get along with our neighbor or a family member. Then we remember what Jesus said:
"Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever disowns Me before men, I will disown him before My Father in heaven. Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man's enemies will be the members of his own household." Mt. 10, 35.
A man's enemies will be members of his own household. Wow. Welcome to Spiritual Warfare 101. Eve tempted Adam. Adam blamed Eve. Those closest to us have the most influence over us. They can present us with the most difficult temptations to resist. What if our spouse or another family member demanded loyalty that is due to God alone? Jesus demands our complete loyalty, and that's not an unreasonable demand. We are merely His creatures, and should be completely at His disposal. If one chooses not to follow God, then one cannot expect to avoid the consequences of that choice. I was about five years old when I instinctively knew these ultimate facts of life. I expect, at least hope, that everyone else has been similarly blessed. It wouldn't fit the Justice of God to not make each individual clearly understand the stakes. I love the ditty: "Life is a test. If it were not a test, you would have been told where to go and what to do." Well, all of us have clearly been told where to go and what to do!
So when we pray for peace, we are praying that every person will accept the obligation laid upon him by his Creator. How many tests do we take in the course of our seemingly never-ending school days/years? Ever had the question: "What obligations do you as a mere creature - have toward your Creator?" The young man in the Gospel put it a little differently: "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus gave him the answer and he went away sad, for he didn't want to listen, didn't want to change his behavior.
We are told that the surest way to heaven is to do the will of God. But what if Jesus told us exactly what God's will was for us, just like He told that rich young man, and we didn't want to do it either? We don't know the fate of the rich young man, but his name is legion, because there are vast multitudes who find themselves in his shoes. How many times do we do the same thing? Some Saints are able to always say "Yes!" Several who took that vow to always say "yes" to Jesus that spring to mind are Mother Teresa, and Mother Angelica. They were able to do wonderful things for God and the world as a result.
I am aware in my own life of avoiding Plan A, and bargaining for Plan B, or C or F… a result of the human condition. If we find our joy in remaining faithful to Jesus in spite of our weakness, we find our peace in knowing that God's favor rests upon us in spite of our bargaining. Our DESIRE TO PLEASE HIM remains, our desire to make Him the center of our lives remains, even if we feel we have not given Him our best, or attained the highest mansion possible. A supreme act of the will has been made to glorify God.
The Little Flower explained various degrees of happiness in heaven by using the analogy of different size glasses with different capacities. The greatest joy I have ever known has been the communication of the message that God my Creator is pleased with my life. For those of us who spend each waking moment trying to know, love and serve God faithfully: what could possibly make us happier on this earth? I don't care what love capacity I have attained. Just the mere knowledge that my life is pleasing to God is enough. For even though I am acutely aware of having frequently chosen less than the best, not to mention making the worst choices imaginable at times, I am aware that I seek to do the best I can under the circumstances. And if that is good enough for me, it helps to empathize with family, friends and neighbors who could be classified as "enemies." Maybe they too are doing the best they can. It's so easy to accept our own sins and weaknesses, for we have good excuses. But to extend that mercy and graciousness to others? Now that's asking too much. Surely they don't have as good excuses as I have for bad behavior. But we are told to love our enemies. It helps if we can at least empathize with them.
St. Francis gives us an example of how to empathize even with members of a local gang terrorizing the neighborhood. The following is from Chapter 26 of the "Little Flowers of St. Francis."
"In that area there were three famous robbers who committed many crimes thereabouts. One day these robbers came to the Place of the friars and asked Brother Angelo, the guardian, to give them something to eat. The guardian scolded them severely: 'You robbers and cruel murderers – not only are you not ashamed of stealing from others the fruit of their labor, but in your audacity you even dare to eat up the offerings which have been given to the servants of God! You do not deserve that the earth should bear you up, for you respect no man and you scorn God who created you!'"
They didn't like that reception too well and went away "highly indignant." When Francis returned, the guardian told him how he had driven the robbers away. Francis scolded the guardian severely, saying: "You acted in a cruel way, because sinners are led back to God by holy meekness rather than by cruel scolding. For our Master Jesus Christ, whose Gospel we have promised to observe, says that the doctor is not needed by those who are well, but by the sick. And, 'I have come to call not the just but sinners to repentance.' And therefore He often ate with them."
Francis told the guardian he had "acted against charity, and the example of Jesus Christ." So he ordered him to take provisions to the robbers, and when he had found them, to "'kneel down before them and humbly accuse yourself of your sin of cruelty. And then ask them in my name not to do those evil things any more, but to fear God, and not offend their neighbors. And if they do so, I promise them I will supply them with provisions for their needs and I will provide them with food and drink all the time.' While the guardian went to carry out the order, the Saint began to pray and begged the Lord to soften the hearts of those robbers and convert them to repentance."
This act of humility on the part of the guardian overwhelmed the robbers. They said to one another: "What terrible tortures are waiting in hell for us who are such miserable and unhappy men! For we go around not merely robbing and beating our neighbors, but killing them! And yet we feel no fear of God or remorse of conscience over those horrible crimes. But here is this holy friar who just came to us because of a few words he said to us quite rightly on account of our wickedness, and he very humbly accused himself of his fault before us. And besides, he brought us a very generous promise of the holy Father and charitably gave us food and wine. Those friars really are saints of God, and they deserve Paradise. We do not know if we will be able to obtain mercy from God for our crimes and misdeeds."
"Let's go to St. Francis, and if he gives us hope that we can obtain mercy from God for our sins, let's do whatever he commands us, so that we may free our souls from the punishment of hell." So they went. "Francis made them welcome with kindness and holy affection, and he consoled them by telling them many inspiring true stories. He also taught them how the infinite greatness of divine mercy surpasses all our sins, even if they are boundless, and how Christ came into this world to redeem sinners. As a result, the three robbers renounced the world and the devil and his works. Francis received them into the Order, and they remained faithful to him in mind and deed." And they produced wonderful fruits of repentance. God is good. He knows our inmost being, and He is both Just AND Merciful!
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests."
Paul Beery BSP - Morning Star Chapter - Minnesota
DATES TO REMEMBER:
JANUARY 1 - SOLEMNITY OF MARY THE MOTHER OF GOD AND LAST DAY OF THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS.
JANUARY 2 – THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS IS OVER AND WE RETURN TO LIVING OUR RULE IN ITS FULLNESS.
JANUARY 25 - CONVERSION OF PAUL.
"But Saul, still breathing threats of slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, that if he found any men or women belonging to this Way he might bring them in bonds to Jerusalem. And as he went on his journey it came to pass that he drew near to Damascus, when suddenly a light from heaven shone round about him, and falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why doest thou persecute me?" And he said, "Who are thou, Lord?" and he said: "I am Jesus, whom thou art persecuting. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad." And Paul, trembling and amazed, said, "Lord, what wilt thou have me do?" And the Lord said to him, "Arise, and go into the city, and it will be told thee what thou must do." (Acts 9)
JANUARY 27 - ST. ANGELA MERICI OF THE THIRD ORDER OF ST. FRANCIS WHO LIVED BY THE RULE OF 1221
Saint Angela was born in 1470 in Desenzano in the territory of Lombardy. She took the habit of the Third Order of Saint Francis and called together girls whom she instructed in the charitable works. In 1535, under the patronage of Saint Ursula, she founded at Brescia a congregation of women who instructed poor girls in the Christian life. Saint Angela died in 1540.