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Stella Matutina » 2005 » September » 02, the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis blog
The Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis
Stella Matutina

September 2, 2005

Strength for me does come from we…

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 7:39 am

Strength for me does come from we,
fraternal communities on the way,
still Francis blessed my life at home,
in favor of distant play.

God likes crowds. The Lord moved among crowds. There are more stars in the heavens than anyone can count. More grains of sand on the seashore. More fish in the sea. No two snowflakes look alike. The hairs on our head are counted.

Heaven will be like that, and the work of heaven on earth is like that. While we are all different, it is also true we will each be judged, individually. However, salvation was offered collectively, to us all, by the great grace and sacrifice of the Lord. And it is in the spirit of communities dedicated to Christ that we find the strength to grow in the way of love and the Gospel that he gave us. The Church is community, here and in heaven. The family is our greatest community of favor and friendship in most of our lives. In these communities we love one another and serve God in building up what he wanted for us. A place to rest in the friendship, love, and service of others and be close to God.

Yet, St. Francis knew all too well that each of us must move in and through these communities on our own, and each of us is subject to the law of sin that is in our souls. He knew we would each stand face-to-face with Jesus Christ, and his glance would cut through muscle and muck, stories and sinew, and penetrate us to the bone and the truth of who we each are and what we each did with out life. He knew, as the Lord said, that unless we do penance we will perish, and so, having tasted the sweetness of the Lord and the life of penance he gave it to us laity to open a door for us to the Lord. That door we must each walk through alone, and usually at home, and it is this he blessed by giving us the Rule of 1221. A way to live that will bring us closer to God and help us live peaceful and holy lives in the world.

The alternative would be for him to have shoved us out in the world and told us to get involved in other great collective adventures and endeavors for the good of others. Not a bad idea; just not too practical. We must change first to change others. The first focus he wanted for us was on our selves. We do not and cannot be distant to our lives and live the Rule of 1221. It is a Rule of life that is fulfilled within the framework of our lives where we live, not in distant places and certainly not in distant projects. We need to lead penitential lives, of prayer, fasting, discipline and simplicity, where we each live. To be holy in our own lives. That is the way St. Francis gave us in his original Rules and the example of his life.