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Stella Matutina » Earth journey is…, the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis blog
The Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis
Stella Matutina

March 14, 2005

Earth journey is…

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 2:39 pm

Prayer, ministry, fasting, sacraments amidst joy,
give it peaceful power, and speed to lift,
Earth journey’s bounds to destroy,
moving life through the ancient rift.

The Lord has never had an interest in keeping His servants busy in the world with the things of the world for “No servant can be the slave of two masters; he will hate one and love the other; he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Lk 16:13).

And the Lord told St. Francis once, when he asked how he could be his servant, “Know that you are my servant when you speak, think, and do holy things” Celano: Second Life – Chapter CXVIII, 159. So we need to know and seek out holy things and do them for the Love of God, knowing then that Jesus will call us not just his servants, but also his friends (Jn 15:14-16).

What are these holy things? The corporal and spiritual works of mercy framed in a sacramental, Eucharistic life of penance, prayer, and commitment to Jesus through His Mother and St. Francis.

We should all know from Scripture, if not from our own experience, and also from the Word that the Lord has told us, that “You need patience to do God’s will and receive what he has promised.” (Heb. 10:36) So we should be patient, diligent, and confident for the Lord himself has said “I know my sheep” (Jn. 10:14), “and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father is greater than all… and there is no snatching out of his hand.” (Jn. 10: 27-29) So the Lord will not lose us if we try to live a holy life for Love of Him. He will come to us and give us Himself within and in Him we may then rest.

And time here moves so fast. Scripture tells us that “In the Lord’s eyes, one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years are as a day.” The Lord does not delay in keeping his promise, though some consider it ‘delay’. Rather, he shows you generous patience, since he wants none to perish but all to come to repentance. (2 Pet. 3:8,9). Though for us life can look long and we delay even if He does not, in giving ourselves completely to Him in our lives even though we all know that pleasure is fleeting and bad times follow good. Why do we delay? “God has saved us and has called us to a holy life, not because of any merit of ours but according to his own design” (2 Tim 1:9)

We need to be mindful then that we are all destined to live forever but we have a say in where we are to live, i.e. heaven or hell. We all have to”Make ready the way of the Lord, clear him a straight path.” ( Mark 1:3) so he can bring us to himself knowing that “When he does, he will repay each man according to his conduct.” (Matt. 16:27) And as St. Peter said “You are not to spend what remains of your earthly life on human desires, but on the will of God.” (1 Pet. 4:2) So let us begin by committing ourselves to live a holy life through our personal commitments to live the life The First Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis of 1221 Jesus gave us through St. Francis, for the Love of God, for till now we have done nothing, and then, having so committed ourselves, we know that “Whoever puts his hand to the plow but keeps looking back is unfit for the reign of God.” (Lk. 9:62) and so we should keep striving to live it ever more perfectly knowing a great reward awaits us, the Lord Himself, forever ours.

We cannot plow a straight path to God if we keep looking back.

With the Gospel in hand souls only need prayer, penance, and not merely conversion, but mortification of the senses and spirit, united in faith to Christ, to advance in holiness. From these things Christian action in our families, the Church, and the world will flow. Such “Christian action” is not contained in writing anywhere, not even the writing of the Gospel, because the Gospel too is just words unless we act on it. Christian Action is us acting out the impulses of our Faith in our daily lives in the world while recognizing that “faith that does nothing in practice. It is thoroughly lifeless.” (James 2:17)
Holiness rests in seeking out the Will of God, and this is the Will of God, “have faith in the One whom he sent” (Jn. 6:29), and recognize that if you have faith you have work to do in the world and in your families, and can be confident in prayer, for “You will receive all that you pray for” (Matt. 21:22).


  1. I would like to express how much I have enjoyed the commentary on this poem. The poem itself is a masterpiece and the commentary expands this feeling. The privilege of penance and loving our Savior in all aspects of our living and being is the path we seek in following the Rule of 1221. Our Lord has called us to shoulder a light burden, His yoke so well described. He wants us to experience and radiate this joy, for His glory and honor. I look forward to the next commentary.

    In His peace and joy…leslie, BSP

    Comment by Leslie — March 14, 2005 @ 7:18 pm

  2. This is a BEAUTIFUL meditation/article! It calls us to prayer and penance, as the foundation of a life of holiness. It deepens my committment to live the Rule of 1221, as a path to personal sanctity. Thank you for writing it!

    Comment by Winnie — March 18, 2005 @ 12:17 am

  3. Beautiful, strong, inspiring and complete! It not only suggests the Will of God; but, in its simplicity demands it! Oh, holy Love…holy obedience…St. Francis is thy name. We have only to dwell in him and we see the face of Jesus. Amen…Fiat!

    Comment by Adela Maria — April 5, 2005 @ 10:40 am

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