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Stella Matutina » 2005 » May » 31, the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis blog
The Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis
Stella Matutina

May 31, 2005

They kick even the goad…

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 8:42 pm

Councilors interpreting everywhere,
ever ready to lighten the load,
blocking his disciplines in favor of flight,
their kicks moving even the goad.

These days there are councilors of the Franciscan life everywhere. With the cancelation of the original Rules everyone became a spiritual director it seems. Unfortunately, it seems there is no common path to spirituality anymore, even of a Saint, as in the days of the original Rules. Any councilor anywhere can say what they please on how to live a holy life using their own interpretation, not the writings of the Saint, to guide them. How many are these people? There are as many as their are voices, and the voices all sound different except on one count. They all counsel that we need not live the original Rules as they are written.

Once when I spoke with a spiritual director of a Franciscan Third Order about living a life of fasting and abstinence he cautioned against it because it clearly would not be what St. Francis would advise. Rather than suggesting a deep life of prayer and fasting this gentleman of God stated that St. Francis would demand we live a healthy lifestyle, for instance, give up fast foods and exercise more. And since this person did spiritual direction one can only assume that is the advice he gave his directees.

These days there is rarely support to live a life of penance or prayer on any rigorous basis. One is more likely to hear the disciplines of fasting, mortification, abstinence, prayer and simplicity as stated in the original Rules diminished purely because they were written in a different time and for supposedly different people. Accordingly, if one asks for permission to live such an ascetical life according to the original Rule of a Saint they will find themselves blocked by the advice they are given. And if a person objects on any formal basis they will find that the directives they receive will become stern in favor of flight from the intentions of the original Rules: “if you wish to live that way you must leave the Order! St. Paul, when he was persecuting the Jewish Christians, heard the Lord say: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goad.”(Acts 26:14) Yet, in these days, councilors everywhere are kicking the goads, i.e. the tenets of the original Rules, out of the way, in favor of giving their own advice.