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

August 25, 2005

House, clothes, and pillows too

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 8:02 am

Houses, clothes, and pillows too,
beds and pleasures everywhere,
history shows where Francis goes,
these things he rarely shared.

St. Francis wanted nothing of the things of this world as he moved deeper into his conversion. Neither did he want those who followed him to relish such things. So, it is recorded often in the ancient writings that he avoided houses or the comforts of possessions throughout his life after his conversion. He also wore the poorest and meanest of clothes, and even these he took pieces out of to give beggars so that he himself was clothed like the poorest-of-the-poor. He avoided beds, and often slept in the fields with a rock for a pillow. But, consider life today.

Very few of those who say they follow St. Francis are willing to embrace his life of penance. He lived in constant simplicity and self denial when it came to the regular comforts of life. Everything today by his followers is kept in nice order, and regular meals follow regular sleep on comfortable beds with pillows. Somewhere, somehow, we have lost the life of penance that St. Francis himself lived and suggested to us by his example. This is a meditation worth making.

It is not that he required those who followed him to live as he lived. He never did that. His rules are more open than that. However, he set an example that can be used by any of us to augment the lifestyle he gave us and answer questions we might have about doing more than the Rule requires. If we are in doubt about how to live a statute of a Rule we need only consider how the Saint, himself, lived. Certainly the Rules he gave us were a minimum of what he thought best for us. He invites us all to do more, just by his example.

August 16, 2005

How tell I the people of my name?

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 6:46 am

What would Francis ask today,
“How tell I the people of my name?”,
so slight the difference to be seen,
from others not professed the same.

In profession people commit to live a lifestyle for the Love of God and good of their souls for the rest of their life. Profession is part of a commitment that people make to become members of religious groups, be they Orders, Institutions, or Associations. To become a member of a Third Order today, be it Franciscan, Carmelite, Dominican or whatever, you make a profession to live the Rule of that Third Order. And therein comes the point of this stanza.

How will that profession change your life? Will your profession bring about such a change in you that it will be noticeable to others? Will it bring about a change in your that causes you to live differently than you did before the profession. Or, after you are professed, nothing in your life for Christ will change. There will be no more prayer, nor mortification, nor good works, than before your profession. If that is the case, what is the merit of your profession? Perhaps just to allow you to say you are part of the group?

No one can profess to live the original Rules of St. Francis without dramatically changing the way they live. The Rule of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, which is the First Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis, requires those pledged to pray the complete Liturgy of the Hours, fast and abstain every week; and live committed lives of penance and simplicity on a day to day basis. It requires two 40 day fasts annually; one in preparation for Christmas and the other during Lent in preparation for Easter. If St. Francis came among us today would he claim us as his followers if we don’t pray and fast and live as he told us to?