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Stella Matutina » 2005 » June, the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis blog
The Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis
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June 24, 2005

Glosses were added to passages fixed…

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 10:14 am

Unlike the glorious words of Your Son,
glosses were added to passages fixed,
when he wrote at Rieti the meat of our Rules,
what now we accept Francis would nix.

In all of the history of Christianity the Gospels have stood unchanged. Sure, there are various interpretations and translations. But, the fundamental message remains unchanged. The glorious story of the life of the Son of God and salvation of mankind cannot be changed. And there is an implied message that what the Church approves as its means and message to promote this same Gospel should not be changed either. It just makes sense. That is not what has happened to the message of St. Francis though, the one Saint who lived the life of the Lord about as literally as any human being could. His Rules were changed in our modern times.

At Rieti, it is established in the history of the Franciscan Orders, that the Lord admonished Brother Elias and the other brothers that the Rules of Francis were His, not Francis’, and they should be lived ‘without a gloss; without a gloss’. Now a gloss is an explanation of something written that is put in the margin or between the lines of an existing text to explain it, usually clarifying or changing what is written. The Lord instructed that no glosses were to be added to the Rules he gave St. Francis for us. If you don’t want to live the Rules as written, then leave the Order! Pretty strong words! Today they have been ignored, and the lay Order of St. Francis particularly rewrote their own Rule of life in 1978 and it does not even resemble the Rule St. Francis himself gave us. The Rule of the Stella Matutina movement; the Rule of the BSP, is the verbatim Rule of 1221 that St. Francis gave us, and that means it comes to us with the Lord’s approval.

This is not a condemnation of the modern Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis or any other modern Rule of any other Third Order, most of which were approved by the current Pope when they were drafted. It is an invitation to live the original Rule as having come to us from the Lord. The Second Vatican Council invited all Orders to return to the charisms of their founders.

June 18, 2005

Words bent wild from his say…

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 12:49 pm

Guidance from those who know him not,
words bent wild from his say,
empty shown of what he had known,
fully modern to fit our day .

It is amazing how many people write of St. Francis today, and so definitively! Like they know him, when they do not. None of us can really know him as people knew him in his own day. We can only know him by studying what he gave us. And that is most apparent in the ancient and original writings about him. Read anew what we have been given, for what you write will be influenced by the culture around you and that culture is of the world and St. Francis was not of the world.

So, influenced by the age modern authors write. Some even fictionalize the lives of Saints! The storytellers of St. Francis and his Saints in this age stand the real potential to draw us far from what he gave us because they mostly want to make money, or gain fame. There is no need for more writing. Silence then to all modern authors! The words and original Rules of St. Francis, like the Rule behind the Stella Matutina movement, now the Rule of the BSP, the Rule of 1221, Memoriale Propositi, were simple and easy to understand. They need little explanation and much prayer to live. Like the Gospel.

But, look at the modern Rules of the Orders today. How much have they changed from what the founders gave us? Why! Tell us why they had to change? To fit the age? Why would we want to fit this age, so bent from the ways of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? And were other ages different? Why wasn’t the Gospel changed to fit those earlier ages? Why do we read, day after day, the same words and instructions given us by the Lord in His Gospel yet we say the words of His Saints must be changed to fit our age? We all need to wake up! We have become modern, and there is nothing holy about being modern except for what has always been holy. Prayer, fasting, simplicity and leading a sacramental life in union with God, and that is best found in His Church on earth, the Catholic Faith, which is the church that Jesus created Himself when He was with us. His Church. It was in this Church these things grew and formed and before others claiming the title of Christian even existed. It is in this Church they still exist, though largely lost to modern thought due primarily to the value put on leading lives of comfort and ease.

Show us modern Rules that call us to do more prayer or fasting or lead more virtuous lives than their original sources? There are none. Show us people today that bear the wounds of Christ like St. Francis did and we can listen to them, and you could safely bet a dollar on a dime that they would not tell us to pray less, fast less, or immerse ourselves in the treasures of this world. Yet the modernists will tell us that! Saints, wherever they can be found, will always point us to Christ in disciplined and holy ways. In the Catholic Church they will always promote the Eucharistic presence of Christ on the altar, a strong sacramental life of prayer, and the disciplines of self denial, simplicity, and self abnegation. We do not need to become modern. We need to follow Christ, and the best example of how to do that is St. Francis of Assisi, who himself bore the wounds of Christ, and observed six ‘Lents’ of 40 days each every year.

June 8, 2005

Ravaged lie his holy ladies…

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 8:59 am

Rules now by him not written,
govern what we are to do,
ravaged lie his holy ladies,
avoided sirens to his high virtue.

How can this be? How can Franciscans today change what St. Francis wrote. This is the greatest of mysteries. How can this make sense? Who dared do that after hundreds of years and so many Saints canonized from living his example and teaching? Someone, answer this question. Why! A good answer is not conceivable. Satan has won! Fasting and prayer and simple lives have not become outdated. In fact, they are more needed today then ever! And worse then that, these new rules are to govern what we are to do! We are told we must follow the new Rules, vague and weak as they often are.

If you try to live the original Rules that St. Francis gave us you will be criticized, fear not! Didn’t the Lord say “I promise you persecution besides!?? (Mk 10: 29-30)) Well, it is true for those who try to follow St. Francis today. The persecution is to come from living the Gospel, not avoiding it. Almost no one will criticize you if you don’t live the Gospel! You will be criticized if you speak well of the original Rules that St. Francis gave us. The Gospel being lived. You will be told: “We don’t do that anymore!?? You will most likely be condemned! You may even be ostracized from the Orders of St. Francis, if you are in one of his Orders, for promoting what he, himself, wrote. Fear not. Persist. For his Rules are not obsolete. Yes, they are avoided, and woe to those who say they are Franciscan but avoid or condemn what he gave us.

His ladies, his fair and holy ladies as he referred to them. The virtues. How many virtues St. Francis possessed. How well he walked with them. Lady Poverty, Lady Simplicity, and Lady Humility to name three. And while walking with these three he embraced Lady Chastity, always. How ravaged they are today. Who is even concerned about living poverty like St. Francis lived it. Very few. Who lives simplicity that way today? Certainly not many. We are all caught up in the consumerism and possessions, the freedoms and power of these times. And humility and chastity are ignored by so many of us, not to mention charity.

It has been said that more money was made in the world in the last 10 years than in the entire history of mankind! And despite all of the money, what has happened to charity. The ‘poor we will always have with us’ the Lord said (Jn. 12:8), and so it is! But should it be. The means to eliminate poverty we do have if we but share as we ought. We who say we follow St. Francis need to examine how we live the virtues he lived, which are so evident in the original Rules of life he gave us. We need to see how we strive more to avoid them, than embrace them, even though they are the keys to holiness. Even Franciscans often say that St. Francis is more to be admired than followed! Come Lord Jesus, guide us! We have so far to go yet.