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Stella Matutina » 2005, the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis blog
The Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis
Stella Matutina

December 9, 2005

We have to change and now!

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 1:46 pm

The need is real there is no doubt,
we have to change and now,
as Francis chose so we choose,
look only forward from the plow.

As we look around us is there any doubt we need to convert, and now? The world is in turmoil. Sin and evil abounds. Millions of babies are killed in the womb each year through abortion. Worldwide – murder prevails everywhere like killing someone is one option to solve a problem. Wars upon wars. Impurity and sensuality everywhere. Commercialism, and the life of power and wealth, and neglect of the poor. The world is very dark and sinister right now, and Satan rages against the children of Adam to destroy, were it possible, all of them and their earth. Soon, we must hope, the Lord will intervene.

Until then, the Lord calls us all to change our lives to head off the evil of the world and its sinfulness. He says to us all, repent, or perish, when he says: “…I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” (Lk 13:5) He is not kidding around, and his patience is getting thin if one but listens to the messages of Our Lady throughout our world in her modern appearances. Our time is short and we have no idea what is coming or how terrible it could be. Neither did people in the times of Noah. So, the time to repent is now. The Lord and His Mother call us to repentance and helping others to find God. The lifestyle of the First Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis, now the Rule of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis, is a lifestyle of repentance for our own sins and the sins of the world. A real call to holiness that is neglected in our day.

Francis knew he had to do penance once he began on the way of his conversion. He fasted more than 200 days per year. He prayed constantly. He worked with the poor and lepers. By his own behavior, he modeled a powerful life of penance, repentance, for us all, even though he never called others to do as much as he did himself. It is most important that we start, not how much we get done. The Lord reads the motion of our hearts. We need only choose as St. Francis chose, and having so chosen, make it a reality in our lives. This is the ‘plow’ the Lord speaks of when he says: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” (LK 9:62) Making straight the way of the Lord and living for Christ. Fasting, praying, and doing good all around because we belong to Christ. Living both the Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy in our lives, and never stopping to do otherwise. Never as it were, looking back from the plow. That is how we must all live.

December 5, 2005

Lifestyle led, oft sanguine red…

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 10:30 am

Why can’t it be seen in the modern lights,
the walkways all paved and new,
lifestyles led oft sanquine red,
everything so very askew.

The simple fact is that the cities of today’s world are always being built as if the earth is paradise and we are going to stay alive on earth forever. Our beautiful, shining, cities, so well lighted, so beautiful, so new, do nothing to help us focus on eternity with God, or judgement, justice, or moderation. Despite their beauty, in our cities we see blood flowing in our streets, savagery, drugs, rampant sexuality, abuse, and all forms of disorder and evil. The underlying current of our modern societies is not peace, joy, and brotherhood. We need to reflect on this reality and realize, with St. Augustine, that our hearts will not rest until they rest in God.

The real question this raises for Christian people is how we need to act to do God’s will in this modern age. Do we blend into the world. Do we enjoy the opulence of the times? Do we buy into it, and promote worldliness? Or do we oppose it, live and promote the Gospel message and simplicity, and try to lead lives of penance which draws us out of this world and focuses us on the things of heaven that are to come. Of course, we must do the later, and the Rule of 1221 is the perfect way to walk through these modern times and not get caught up in them.

November 18, 2005

Wronged the true remnant…

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 12:21 pm

Wronged the true remnant every day,
others cry over their voices,
“You can’t love what Francis wrote,
and not the modern choices!”

Every effort to persuade Franciscan leaders to give permission to SFO members to live the life of the First Rule within the SFO failed. It did not matter who was spoken to; whether SFO member, brother, sister or friar. It was deemed a completely unacceptable modern approach to being a lay Franciscan. The standard answer given was that the First Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis, 1221, which was factually given to us by St. Francis himself, was abrogated, i.e. cancelled, not just tabled, by the new, modern, Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis, the Pauline Rule of 1978. Hence it no longer existed, so how could it be lived?

These confrontations were not pleasant; nor handled smoothly. The Franciscan leaders were completely blunt. Those behind the movement to return to living the First Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis were labeled as ‘trouble makers’, and ‘divisive’ before the entire SFO. They were told to accept and love the modern Rule, and that they would neither be supported in living the disciplines of the First Rule themselves, nor could they gather a group of people together under the Pauline Rule to do so. Hence, every effort to form the BSP within the SFO was thwarted by the SFO leaders.

So, perhaps that is why the Lord asked that a group be formed that lived according to the First Rule. He wanted it done.

October 28, 2005

Only obedience held the tide…

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 1:34 pm

Only obedience has held the tide,
and keeps his Orders free,
from high error as Rome said ‘yes’ ,
to what modem ministers flee.

The members of the Orders of St. Francis did not sin, or error seriously, by not following their original Rules, for one reason and one reason only. They got approval of their new, washed out, Rules of life from Rome, and therefore could abrogate their original Rules of life even if they were given by St. Francis. The sin, if there was one in any kind of literal sense, was in that they asked. Someone, some person, or some committee, had to ask the Pope to drop the original Rules or that would not have happened. There was a Judas in the system somewhere.

The fact is also that it would not have happened except that the spirit of this modern age is not to do penance and not to overburden yourself in any way spiritually. Hence the modern ministers truly did and do flee anything that might cause them pain or place undo demands on them, like the tenets of the Rule of 1221 of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance. It has been made very easy to forget what St. Francis himself gave us.

October 13, 2005

Poverty and fasting ravaged

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 9:20 am

Poverty and fasting ravaged,
from simplicity we are free,
most abstain from what Francis said,
ban humility.

It takes humility, real humility, to do the will of another, yet it is fundamental to spiritual growth. The best example of how this is true is to consider the Gospels of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. He came to us as Savior and Guide, and to do His Will we must do as he taught, not as we wish. He Himself said: “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.(JN 15:10) Isn’t that what living the Christian life is all about? Remaining in the love of Jesus? St. Francis knew this well, and when he was asked to create a lifestyle for lay people he did it in the Lord and he gave it to the people as his will for them. They followed it in joy then, yet today we have abandoned it. What is wrong with us?

We have freed ourselves from the simplicity of obedience, and about every other form of simplicity too. We are not simple in the way most of us lead our lives. We lead complicated and busy lives, and we seek more and better ways to keep our lives busy. Now busy is not bad if we were only concerned about being busy about obeying and serving the Lord. That is not what we do. We are busy about working at making our life here on earth our paradise, as best we all can, even if we fail at it miserably. But in doing that we free ourselves from the simplicity that the Lord had in mind for us in the Gospels. All we need to do is simply put Jesus and his message first, and work at it, to free ourselves from the “simplicity” of this world! Then we can become love, peace, joy and virtue in motion, in other words, Jesus, to those around us. True simplicity, and if we were to do this all else we need, including the Spirit of His Son, will be given us by our Provident Father.

So we abstain from what St. Francis said, in the rules he gave us, and to our detriment. We avoid poverty, especially of spirit. This is the poverty that instructs us to take the Gospels literally and apply them generously especially as relates to prayer and mortification. Especially as relates to the word of Our Lord when he said: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.(LK 9:23) If you want to come to know the Lord learn to live this Scripture daily. Deny yourself, as we do by living the Rule of 1221, which is at the core of the Stella Matutina movement and is the Rule of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis. Take up your cross, and that is offer the Lord your whole life and all of its demands, joys, and sacrifices in a spirit of total surrender, and follow Jesus in making God the center of your life and decisions. Live the Gospel of the Lord as literally as you can!

Blessed be the Lord!

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