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Stella Matutina » 2006 » September, the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis blog
The Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis
Stella Matutina

September 23, 2006

Thanks to You…dear God…

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 11:20 am

O Glorious God, All Praise to Thee,
our race upheld by Your She,
thanks to you for creating her
so Light her image in history.

How wonderful and thoughtful of God to restore to humanity through woman what was lost in the garden due to the sin of Eve, our first mother. In and through Mary we have access anew to God as we did in the garden of Eden only more perfectly, for now the Son of God does not merely walk among us but dwells within us for the “...Kingdom of God is at hand.??(Mk 1:15) So all mankind owes God endless praise for His coming to us through the great Virgin Mother, the woman of His Will, Mary, who upholds our race. She is the woman “clothed in the sun?? of the book of Revelation; who has come to us in our age. Modern man, it seems quite dramatically, has drawn the attention of our mother due to our persistent belief that we can do quite well without God. Modern man has become essentially Godless.
And, for that reason alone probably, her presence among men has not been so known in other ages as it is in ours, including even when she walked the earth. One need only consider the modern appearances of Our Lady and her messages to realize how she upholds “our race??, her children, whom she is always calling, beckoning, to greater holiness, to a more perfect and holy relationship with God. In these modern appearances, especially both at Fatima and since Fatima, she is crying out to humanity to return to God. His “SHE?? in an age of defilement and error among men and women wherein roles are not merely reversed, for that is not the worst sin, but neither recognized nor respected. She is the clear recognition and representation of woman’s most sacred role on earth: wife and mother, and of course, Saint. In these things she is a light to the world, and no one “lights a lamp to put it under a basket. No, a light is put on a lampstand so as to give light to the whole house?? (Matt 5:15), that is, the community of the believers. Such is true of Mary.
She is wife. Pure, unblemished, hard working, loving, gentle, and kind. Dedicated to creating a home for her husband, St. Joseph, and her child, Jesus. Nothing in Scripture covers these points directly, but what emerges in the Scriptures is the man, Jesus. Jesus! Unprecedented in message and holiness Jesus walks among his peers both respected and fearless, an obvious product of a good Jewish home wherein his father and his father’s wife are likewise respected and faithful to their Jewish heritage. Unprecedented also because he is the Son of God, and, most conspicuously, the son of Mary.
Her involvement’s with earthly affairs are not allowed in Scripture to overshadow the life and message of her son, the Christ. Scripture is conspicuous through its silence that she must have been a wonderful wife. And she trusted her husband in so many ways, such as going to Egypt, which was tantamount to banishment, at his command, to avoid Herod’s wrath. How many other simple and beautiful ways she was wife to St. Joseph one can only guess, and at that, sanctified in mutual vows of perpetual chastity according to tradition. So Jesus was to be their only child: a product of the union of Mary and the Holy Spirit for she herself said “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”(Lk. 1:34)
She is mother, that beautiful name beyond all other names. Certainly she was the Mother of God who gave human life to the Son at Bethlehem. Through the divine nature itself she is the Mother of God forever, for God is forever. In the light of eternity she will always be the Mother of God. And her Son has given her as mother to all humanity in recognition of the title, role and holy recognition for every mother.
It is recorded in the Gospel of John that Jesus gave her as mother to all of us when He said to John, who was standing at the foot of the cross with her, “There is your mother.?? ( Jn. 19:27) So, as decreed by the eternal God, she will always be our mother too. Mother… the cooker, the baker, the clothier, the lover of children, the ear always listening, the heart always responding, a sacrifice always waiting to be made for love of others, an intermediary with father, an advocate always…mother. Everyone needs a mother.
And she was a mystic, a soul in union with God to whom God revealed, in His own way and time, His plans and secrets. We will never know all that God did in the heart of this holy Virgin whom He chose from all of human history as His very own Woman, to procure for the race what Eve lost. She was consecrated to God at an early age by St. Ann and St. Joachim, her parents. She was given to the temple as a temple virgin. She saw and spoke with an angel when “In the sixth month, (of the pregnancy of her cousin, Elizabeth) the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph of the house of David.??(Lk 1:26)
She was very young to speak to an angel, but she was very holy and knew the discipline of the temple. Through all of her life we all have been told that “Mary treasured all these things, and reflected on them in her heart?? (Lk. 2:19) So she was always in a position through her heart to know her Son and to instruct us like she did His apostles to “Do whatever He tells you.?? (Jn. 2:5) , for she knows as only a mother can when we “have no wine?? (Jn. 2:5), that is, need her Son’s assistance especially when we are out in the world.

September 12, 2006

This poem…

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 10:38 am

At the time of St. Francis Our Lady was revered by the Faithful in the Church, but much of what brings our attention to her today was not present. There was no long history of Marian appearances in the world; no prophesies that came or would come true; no Marian groups per se in the Churches. Love of her was the love of simple, faithful devotion. The rosary and scapular had not yet been given mankind by our merciful God. The kind of love we as lay people can and should naturally have for Our Lady, our Mother, our greatest spiritual treasure and friend, the one and only Mother of God, that is the kind of love St. Francis had for her. And, there can be no doubt that St. Francis loved Our Lady. Ancient texts on St. Francis indicate his great love for her. It is established that he commended his Orders to her care and motherly intentions. The little house in which he and his first brothers always gathered and called “home?? (or would have if they had one for they lived like the Lord) was St. Mary’s of the Angels, also know as the Porziuncula, or Little Portion.
In one incident regarding St. Mary’s of the Angels, in chapter VII of the Major life of St. Francis written by St. Bonaventure, it is recorded that “...the community of St. Mary of Protiuncula was so much in need that they had nothing to offer the friars who came there visiting. Francis’ vicar approached him and told him how badly off they were and asked him to allow them to keep some of the property which those entering the Order brought with them; then the friars could fall back on this when the need arose. Francis, who was not without his own share of divine guidance, replied, ‘My dear brother, God forbid that we should sin against the Rule for anyone. I should prefer to see you strip Our Lady’s altar bare rather than have you commit the slightest sin against our vow of poverty or the observance of the Gospel. The Blessed Virgin will be better pleased to see her altar laid bare and the Gospel counsel observed perfectly, rather than to have the altar properly decorated and her Son’s counsel violated, which we have promised to observe.??
Even here, in admonishing a brother on a vow to the Lord, St. Francis referenced the answer through his love of Mary, and of the virtue most loved by the Lord and His mother, poverty.
St. Bonaventure further recorded in Chapter IX of the same work, that “He (St. Francis) embraced the Mother of our Lord Jesus with indescribable love because, as he said, it was she who made the Lord of majesty our brother, and through her we found mercy. After Christ, he put all his trust in her and took her as his patroness for himself and his friars. In her honor he fasted every year from the feast of Saints Peter and Paul until the Assumption…??. So we should each, and all, take her as our advocate and dedicate our lives to the Lord through her. It can be no other way if we are to follow St. Francis.
And as lay people there are so many lessons for us in Mary. She is the “Star of the Sea?? of life. She is the “Gate of Heaven??. The poem, Mary, is a meditation. A reflection on her.

September 6, 2006


Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 11:16 am


O Glorious God, All Praise to Thee,
our race upheld by Your She,
thanks to you for creating her
so Light her image in history.

O Loving King, a great Queen you made her
as your Lady would have to be,
Yet herself thinking only of Love
which bound her always to Thee.

O Most High God whose Son is Our Lord
sprung by Your Will sweetly from her womb,
Immaculate Conception, virgin birth, pure Mary
without darkness before birth, and still no tomb.

O Shining Light to our world,
Son resplendent in the Morning Star,
named after her was Francis in a later day
his way still shining from afar.

O Gate of Heaven, Star of the sea,
hold us close to your breast
for the world clutches at us with dark, cruel claws;
in you, His She, may we find His rest.

Brother Not sfo
November 19993

September 3, 2006

Praise to you Most High God!

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 11:02 am

Praise to you Most High God,
all creation You have made,
Your Providence cares for us,
teach us again how Francis played.

Brother Not, sfo
November 1993

Brother Not is a shadow name for an SFO member who tried to originate a return to accepting and loving the First Rule of the Third Order within the modern Secular Franciscan Order. This individual, herein Brother Not, told his spiritual director once that he was ‘not’ a brother in St. Francis as far as he could tell due to the fierce criticism he was receiving for encouraging people to know and love their original Rule, the Rule of 1221, Memoriale Propositi. Hence the name “Brother Not” came with the blessing of his SD.

Promoting the original Rule was done peacefully, without force of any kind, in the course of normal dialogues and leadership activities within and for the Secular Franciscan Order in Minnesota in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, by Brother Not. Unfortunately, it was meet with fierce resistance from the leaders of the SFO in those days and this resistance was the seedbed for forming the Stella Matutina Movement within the SFO. Ultimately this movement left the SFO, under the advisement of informed Franciscan friar guides, and lead to the creation of the Private Association of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance (BSP) in Minnesota. This Private Association was renamed in 2003 as the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis (BSP) which has a web page at www.bspenance.org . It is incorporated in the State of Minnesota, but reaches out to the world for the greater honor and glory of God, promoting the life of penance everywhere.

The entire movement and Association is dedicated to discovering anew the lifestyle that St. Francis himself gave us lay people, and promoting this lifestyle in our modern world. We need not fear that this is the way to lead a holy life. That is what the laity sought from St. Francis before he gave them the Rule of 1221 to live. We need only live it trusting in God’s Providence and praising His name.

May the Lord bless us and keep us and guide us all to holiness after the way and in the example of St. Francis of Assisi!

More of the poetry of the Stella Matutina movement will follow this first BLOG soon, with explanation.

Blessed be the Lord!

Bruce Fahey BSP
BLOG author and writer