Confraternity of Penitents Monthly Newsletter

December 2018

Reminder: Fast of St. Martin for penitents extends until Christmas. See our Rule and Constitutions for stipulations on how to observe this fast, obligatory (unless otherwise excused) for penitents at Novice 3 level and above.

Glory to God
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; And on those living in the land of gloom, a light has shone. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:1.5

Note: This prayer is available on a Christmas Prayer Card from the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop.

SPIRITUAL ADVISOR’S ADVICE: WHO IS GOD?

What are the blessings we receive from our faith? People ask me what I get out of being a priest. We priests quip about this. Often times we talk about the “eternal benefit package.” You know how the discussion goes: “We don’t get paid much but we have great eternal benefits.” That’s all true, but people have no clue how awesome our lives are right now. Our lives are so amazingly blessed. I can’t even fathom heaven because of how glorious my life is in the moment. How many blessings we already receive in the world! Yes, they sometimes come with persecutions, and some people point that out. Persecution is part of life! Life isn’t always about skipping amid the roses. One reasons that my life is a joy is because I have a Poor Clare nun praying for me every single day. Thank God! Without her, I’m sure I would be less joyful.

Remember the rich young man in the gospel? He went away sad because he had many possessions and Jesus told him that, to be perfect, he had to give them to the poor and come and follow Christ. We should never be like the rich young man who went away sad. We don’t have time to be sad! We have work to do! We will always have some possessions that we need, but we can do with the least. We can recycle. We can keep whatever personal things we need. But let’s consider what we think we need and what we actually need.

Why did the rich young man ask Jesus what to do to be perfect? Was he looking for others to praise him for his sacrifice? What is the one thing we don’t want to give up? Why did he go away sad? There is work to be done! Maybe he went away sad because he had so many possessions. It would take work to give them all away! Sometimes we get so daunted by the work that is before us when Jesus says, “Be perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect.” So many of us just give up because we are so far from perfection. Rather than seeing our moral improvement as the beginning of an exciting adventure, we get discouraged. Consider this. If you start your trip to Florida as a road trip and you start looking at where you need to go, you can get discouraged. You go to your garage. You take out a map. You have six states to drive through. It’s going to take forever, and, when we get there, we are going to be hurting all over! If that was my thought process, I would never go on this wretched trip. But look at the goal instead of focusing on the down parts of the journey. You get going and when you get to Georgia, you are excited. Georgia is the longest state ever! But when we get there, we know we are getting close to Florida.

We all have these moments of discouragement in our spiritual journey. And we have to be able to find a way to say, “No. I won’t get discouraged because Jesus loves us.” He loves us, so why is it so hard to enter the kingdom of heaven? It’s hard, not because of the work, but because we give up so easily. I think that some people think that the Christian life is difficult. Satan uses that. The Christian life is not difficult in its demands. It’s difficult because it takes time. It would take time for the rich young man to rid himself of his possessions. It would take time for him to even get to the point of wanting to rid himself of his possessions. Everyone has different reasons for following or not following Jesus, but it takes time to do it. And many times it’s easier not to make any changes and just go along as usual. It takes less time to stick with the routine rather than create a new one.

So what should we focus on? Here is number one. The Lord never tells us something so that we would be sad. The rich young man went away sad because he had many possessions. But Jesus didn’t tell him to give them up to make him sad. I think the Lord was brokenhearted because the rich young man turned away from him. He turned away from joy. Don’t let what God tells you make you sad. Instead, go to him and recognize that he is the one who is going to get you through this, so we have no reason to be sad. Here’s an example. When I see students struggling in a particular subject, and test time is coming up, I get sad when they give up without trying. It really makes me sad. I think, “You are so close. Just put in two more weeks of work. Just two more weeks. And you will have it. You will , be able to do better than this. You will see progress.”

People ask, “Who is God?” We are beginning at the wrong end of the question. The point is that you are a child. You are looking up to God the way a child looks up to an adult. And you are thinking of God the way a child thinks of an adult. Do children understand about bills and banking and how much work it is to take care of the house and cook the meals and wash the clothes and keep things tidy? Do they think about what dad and mom do when they go to work every day? Or are they focused on their daycare and assume that mom and dad are taking naps, having snacks, and doing fun little coloring and counting exercises? We all talk about God, and different religions have different views of God. But who really knows who God is? “God is a moral guide.” “God is this being far far away in a galaxy like a Star Trek God or a Star Wars God.” “God is the judge.” “God is like the great clock maker who set things in motion in the universe and then went off to do something else.” All these ideas about God. When we get caught up in these things, we forget how much God loves us. God is not so far far away that he doesn’t care about us or love us. Think how profound God’s love is. “God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten Son.” Think about that for a while. Think about how God is Father and how a good father protects us and provides for us and lets us know when we’ve done something wrong. And think about how, when we are hurt or when we need a little encouragement, we go to our mother and she, in her wisdom, tells us everything is going to be all right. Because it is. Which of these traits are not applicable to God? Think about that.

“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” Isn’t that what we are celebrating at this season? Have a blessed Advent and a holy Christmas. – Fr. Jacob Meyer, CFP Spiritual Advisor

NO GREATER LOVE: CONTEMPLATING THE TRINITY

What is God “really” like? When scientists study nature, they can find out a great deal, but they cannot know everything because they are studying what they did not make. Likewise, we cannot “study” God the way scientists study and experiment with nature since God is at a higher level of being.

 

Of course, He is not just at a higher level of being, but as far as we know the highest level of being. What we do know about God comes not from study and experiment, but from Divine Revelation. That God is a Trinity is an important aspect of God which we could not know apart from Divine Revelation. However, just receiving and believing in the Trinity is not enough. We must contemplate the Trinity so that it becomes a part of us. The Trinity must dwell in us, indeed, live in us. The “doorway” into the Trinity is Christ. We cannot speak of the Trinity apart from Christ.

 

Theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar, in his book Prayer, introduces us to the contemplation of the Trinity. WE CONTEMPLATE CHRIST, his world, his truth, in order to encounter God and "see" him. We do this with the eyes of faith, but they are genuine, objective eyes; they are the eyes of our mind and senses, but they have been enlightened interiorly by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. We have already spoken of this illumination. Now we are concerned with the object of our contemplation: God. Everything else, creation, humanity, salvation history, is considered within the context of God in order that we may find him there. But this finding is to be a spiritual and personal encounter in which, by faith, we become aware of that "life" which God gives to the believer objectively in the form of grace, i.e., in the form of a participation in the divine nature, with its triune exchange of life and love. The latter implies the former: God's inner life is not merely objective, in the order of being; it is essentially spiritual and personal. Consequently, a merely objective participation in God, without a revelation through the word to acquaint the creature with the grace he has received and show him how to enter more deeply into it, would be a contradiction.

 

Jesus Christ, One Person in the Trinity, became Man. Because of this, we also are participants in the Trinity through Jesus Christ. Von Balthasar explains this in further detail. The Lord has always included us, disobedient as we are, within his loving obedience to the Father, that divine mystery between them which bears the name of the one Spirit common to them both. Hence: we would never come to a knowledge of the triune life in Jesus Christ, not even on the basis of the "objective" elevation we have received in the "state of grace" (assuming that such a "state" could exist in pure objectivity), unless we had also been participants, from all eternity, in the subjective relationship of the incarnate Son with his heavenly Father in the Holy Spirit. If grace is also given by all three Persons in unity, it follows that grace gives us a participation in their threefold nature. In faith-and not in open sight-we are drawn into this threefold nature as a result of our meeting and fellowship with the Son on earth. From a strictly theological point of view, therefore, our "seeing, hearing and touching" of Jesus Christ, the "Word of life", mediates to us a knowledge (veiled, no doubt, but absolutely true and objective) of the triune life of God. Grace is our mode of sharing in this life; it therefore endows us with the appropriate subjective faculty so that, with the certainty of faith, we can see the trinitarian side of the phenomenon of Christ as the object of our contemplation. It is an essential, indeed it is the cardinal activity of Christian prayer to unfold this implicit faith-knowledge, faith's "seeing, hearing and touching", in an ever-new seeking and finding. It does this precisely at the point where the incarnate Son, in complete openness, faces the Father in the Holy Spirit. Only in this way can the purpose of God's becoming man be fulfilled. That purpose is that God's inner nature and life should be opened up to us, should become familiar to us, and that we should experience with our very being, and hence also with our minds and senses, what it means to say that God is love.

 

Von Balthasar explains that this bringing of the Life of God, the Trinity, into us by means of One Man is a great stumbling block to many. Before we go on, a few words are apropos. Christian Liberalism (and this applies to non-Christian and Jewish thought as well) will never cease finding fault with the New Testament's narrowing down of the contemplation of God. Here we see heaven standing open in Jesus Christ, we see the Father indicating Christ's exclusiveness in a way that, hitherto, would have been inconceivable: he is the one to whom we must listen; it is in him that the great diversity ("in many and various ways", Heb 1:1) of the former revelations of God, both inside and outside Israel, in history and nature (cf. the Psalms and the Wisdom literature and their enthusiastic contemplation of nature) have been summed up. "In these last days" all these revelations have been narrowed down and channeled toward the only Son "whom he appointed the heir of all things". Those who cannot or will not believe in the divinity of the man Jesus are bound to find this an impoverishment, a disappointment. 

 

According to Von Balthasar, Christians must continually make clear to the world the connection between the One-Man Jesus Christ and the possibility of God living in all men. Christianity owes it to the world to make a clear connection between its testimony to the sole Redeemer, in whose name it takes "every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Cor 10:5), and the witness of the Holy Spirit, which causes the entire world to awake to a religious freedom and universality which, left to itself, it could never attain nor imagine. This was the manner of Christ's own preaching, and this was the way the apostles sought to win others for Christ, especially after the resurrection and Pentecost. Unless, in Christ, the world has been given the trinitarian "Word of life" to hear, to see and to touch; unless the preaching, the life and all the institutions of the Catholic Church present divine life, opened up and rendered accessible to men, the world could justly regret the fact that man's religious contemplation has been taken over by dogma; indeed it would be right to regard it as the greatest catastrophe in mankind's religious history. So we see that the Christian has an absolute duty to cultivate trinitarian contemplation; he must come to see that what Jesus shows us of himself, what he bids us imitate, is the inner life of God, appearing in Person and overtaking us.

 

Von Balthasar explains the choice we have to make between different ways of viewing the world. Whether Jewish or Gentile in origin, Liberalism is always surrounded by an aura of magnanimity when contrasted with what is specifically Christian (and especially what is authentically Jewish). Its religious ideas and schemes conceive the world as a whole; man's relation to God can be established no matter what point he sets out from, since all such points are equal in regard to essence and each includes all the others. This is the Liberal catholicity of truth. Christian truth, by contrast, exhibits a tremendous paradox: God chose a single nation to be his own, and out of this nation he finally selected a single man to be his only-begotten Son; and yet the very purpose of this was to bring salvation to all nations and to all men. The only way to represent God's concrete uniqueness, under earthly conditions, is through the uniqueness of the Mediator, the concrete man Jesus Christ (I Tim 2:5). But such a Messiah would have been the worst of all false prophets if he had simply introduced a new "teaching" about God and a new "institution", unless, in giving "himself as a ransom for all", he had manifested the will of his Father who "desires all men to be saved" (see 1 Tim 2:4-6), and, through this revelation, in his life and death, he had proclaimed the very being of God to be triune Love.

 

The proof of this lies in the fact that, after so many centuries of official Christianity in the world, the stupendous Christian discovery, namely, the universality of God's sovereign resolve to save the world, which Paul announces as a hitherto closely guarded secret (Eph 3:2 f; Rom 16:25), is just as unheard-of a novelty (literally "not heard'") today. Isolated from the figure of Jesus Christ, it immediately becomes unbelievable; seen in the context of his historical uniqueness, the message produces the same wonderful results now as it did then. Only when truth is seen to have a trinitarian form does the assertion that God is love- burning, consuming, judging and redeeming love - become evident for the world as a whole. And truth can only be seen to be trinitarian when One of the Trinity becomes man and, in human form, interprets eternal Love to us. It is sad that even now some Christian missionaries are afraid to put forth the truth that the Trinity can live in all persons through Jesus Christ. – Jim Nugent, CFP

HUMOR
 

Technically, Moses was the first person with a tablet downloading data from the cloud.

As a kid, I used to watch the Wizard of Oz, and wonder how someone like the scarecrow could talk if they didn’t have a brain. Then I got Facebook.

I hate it when you can’t operate the iPad and the resident tech expert is asleep. Because he’s five. And it’s past his bedtime.

The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple.

I’m not sure if I actually have free time on my hands or if I’m forgetting to do something.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could put ourselves in the dryer for 10 minutes, come out wrinkle free, back to our original shape, three sizes smaller, and smelling April fresh!

Warning: drinking alcoholic beverages before pregnancy can cause pregnancy.

We’ll be friends until we are old and senile-- and then we’ll be new friends!

ADVENT IS WHEN WE PREPARE TO RECEIVE THE GIFT THE WORLD CAN NOT GIVE.
CONFRATERNITY OF PENITENTS PHOTO ALBUM: ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS

Advent Wreath, style sold in the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop, in the living room at the CFP Administrative headquarters. Happy Advent!

Thanks to the donation of volunteer administrative assistant Sharon Kacprowicz, the CFP Administrative headquarters has, for the first time, an outdoor Nativity display in the front of the administrative house. God bless you, Sharon, for helping us to visually  proclaim the real message of Christmas. A joyful and holy Christmas to all!

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)
REFLECTION ON THE RULE

 

RULE:

 

1. The men belonging to this brotherhood shall dress in humble, undyed cloth, the price of which is not to exceed six Ravenna soldi[2] an ell[3], unless for evident and necessary cause a temporary dispensation be given. And breadth and thinness of the cloth are to be considered in said price.

 

CONSTITUTIONS:

 

In keeping with section 1 of the Rule: 

1a. Those belonging to this Confraternity shall dress in humble and inexpensive cloth. Subdued, solid colors, as opposed to patterns and designs, should be chosen. Colors shall be neutral shades (black, white, cream, ivory, beige, tan, camel, brown, gray, charcoal, etc.) in conformity with the colors worn by the first penitents and blue in honor of the Blessed Mother who is the patron of the Confraternity of Penitents. The penitent should strive to have only the least expensive and minimum amount of clothing needed for comfort, employment, and utility. 

1b. The penitent should mix and match styles and colors so as appear indistinguishable from other seculars and to avoid the appearance of a wearing a habit. Thus penitents will do penance privately and inconspicuously.  

1c. For evident and necessary cause, a temporary dispensation on clothing colors and quality may be given. 

REFLECTION

Have you ever noticed how the clothing part of the rule separates the “brothers and sisters”? The first two sections section on Daily Life address the brothers, the third section addresses the sisters, and the fourth and fifth sections address both. The Constitutions, on the other hand, address both sexes in all of the Constitutions as does the remainder of the original Rule. Why the separation by the sexes in the first three Sections of the original Rule?

The separation has to do with the clothing styles of the original penitents. Men and women dressed differently and so were treated differently. It is interesting that in section 3 of the original Rule, which addresses the sisters, the sisters are given a dispensation on the cost of their clothing “according to the estate of the woman and the custom of the place.” The man, however, get no such dispensation. It makes us wonder if man were not as fashion conscious as women, even back in 1221.

Since we live our Rule by the Constitutions, which update the Rule so that it can be lived today, it is important to understand the Constitutions and the reasons for them. The call of the Confraternity of Penitents was to “live the Rule of 1221 as closely as possible to its original intent.” Therefore, the clothing colors in the original Rule are followed all the time because the original penitents had exceptions for clothing colors only on special occasions, not additionally on Sundays, Feasts or Solemnities. The only change made in the Constitutions was the addition of the solid blue color, in honor of the Blessed Mother. In their clothing, penitents should mix and match their colors and styles so that they do not confuse people by wearing what appears to be a religious habit. We should always dress like the laity we are, even if some religious dress in the same manner as we do. Their opting for plain colored secular dress means they have adopted a dress similar to ours. We are glad they like it! So do we!

POETRY: GERARD’S THURIBLE

Ah, my dear!
Your blue-bleak embers smolder still.
Shall I poke them into flame like shining gold-vermilion dragonflies?
There now, they are ready for a handful of powdered rose and 
Spikenard incense.
Unfading fragrance fills the air of the chamber, lighting your smile
Behind the lattice of your ink-stained fingers. 
Your poetry and your priesthood some time ago
Contended one with the other. You burned the innocents on the
Pyre of Ignatius.
You lashed shoulders and soul like a spiritual Swinburne hoping to 
Appease the Terrible Christ of night.
In the great, biblical days of measure for measure,

Robert affirms devotedly … “love of Christ will win man's love at last.”

--Br. Raymond J. Colombaro, O. de. M., CFP Affiliate

CATHOLIC PRISON MINISTRY/ALEXANDER CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

In July of 2016, Deacon James Witulski asked me to serve in Jail Ministry at Charlotte Jail Central. I had been praying for weeks that God would direct me as to what ministry he wanted me to serve Him in. At first, I was hesitant, but I really that God was directing me on where He wanted me to go. I approached Jail Ministry with an open heart and mind and I am so grateful I did for, in my very first encounter with the inmates at Charlotte Jail Central, it was clear to me that this is where God wanted me. I loved sharing my faith with the inmates while at the same time being conscious that most of the inmates I was ministering to were not Catholics but Evangelical Christians and I needed to be respectful of their beliefs and faith.

In October of 2017, Deacon James sent out an email as a further invitation to serve Jesus in performing Catholic Ministry at Alexander Correctional Facility. The inmate population of Alexander Correctional is predominantly Evangelical Christian. The Catholic inmates had been without Catholic ministry for over a year. There was a small group of Catholic inmates who kept on pressing Chaplain Redding that they were baptized Catholics and that they wanted to be able to attend a Catholic ministry. I was advised that I would be able to perform Catholic Ministry on the first and third Monday of each month. In January 2018, Charlie Simoneaux, who is also a member of the Jail Ministry team, joined me in Catholic ministry at AXCI.

My first interaction with the Catholic inmates was special in that it was clear that they hungered to be able to attend a Catholic Ministry where they could learn more about their Catholic faith and to be spiritually fed. At each session, we watched the Symbolon DVD series with Dr. Edward Sri. Each episode is rich with Catholic doctrine and catechesis. Fr. Jim Collins of St. Joseph in Newton NC goes to the facility the fourth Monday of each month to celebrate Mass and to hear Confession. Charlie was able to get permission to pick up the Eucharist from Holy Trinity Church in Taylorsville prior to our ministry sessions. The Catholic inmates who are properly disposed are able to receive the Eucharist at our sessions.

Three of the inmates that we minister to are not baptized Catholics. Members of their family were Catholic but they themselves were not. These inmates have expressed a desire to become Catholic. With the use of the Symbolon DVD, series we are informing / teaching these inmates on the doctrines of the Catholic Church. Once we have covered the appropriate material with these men, it is our plan that they will be baptized and confirmed by Fr. Jim Collins in the Fall of this year.

One of the inmates had been praying the Divine Office with the Shorter Christian Prayer and was having some difficulty. Charlie and I gave him a one volume Christian Prayer which he loves. The other inmates expressed an interest in the Divine Office. I reached out to the Confraternity of Penitents to ask if the CFP had used breviaries that could be donated or purchased. Without hesitation, the CFP mailed seven used breviaries to the facility. At our last session we were able to hand out the breviaries and were able to go over with the inmates how the Divine Office is properly prayed during a Liturgical Season. The inmates were very grateful to the CFP for the donation of the breviaries. Thank you! -- William J. Murphy, Novice 2

Christ Child by Joseph Brickey. Used with permission.

FOLLOWING FRANCIS, FOLLOWING CHRIST: DOWNWARD MOBILITY

St. Francis is remembered for originating a live Nativity scene at Greccio. Historians realize that Francis was not actually the first person to incorporate a live Nativity scene in a Christmas celebration, but he was the one who made it popular. Francis’ goal in creating a living tableau of the birth of Christ was not to start a beautiful and pious Christmas tradition; his goal was to show people how God became downwardly mobile to assist us. And we, who are called by Christ to follow Him, should therefore, by extension, become downwardly mobile also.

Francis was a son of a wealthy merchant in Assisi. His father lavishly outfitted him to become a knight. Francis was known as a spendthrift and a dandy, always wearing the best clothing, eating the best food, and hosting the best parties. When he experienced his conversion, he gave everything away to become downwardly mobile, in imitation of God who, coming as Jesus and being born in a stable, cast away all the riches of heaven to embrace the poverty of earth.

Francis realized that being downwardly mobile did not have to do only with physical possessions but also with our spiritual life. He pondered on Jesus’ sacrificial death, preceded by rejection, insults, and torture. This was God who was being treated this way. This was God who created his tormentors. This was God who gave them life and sustenance. God’s glory, to Francis, was not in the splendor of heaven, but rather in bearing with love the rejection He received on earth.

Francis could not praise enough the love of God for sinful humanity, particularly for himself whom he knew was a sinner. He who deserved the wrath of God was given the love of God. Francis saw his entire life, after his conversion, as bringing that love to others who may not deserve it by human standards, but who are the beloved children of God and who deserve that love simply because God created them.

As we observe Advent and prepare for Christmas, let us contemplate the great mystery of the Incarnation. What does this tell us as penitents? What is God asking of us as penitents? God called Francis to follow Christ, and He has called us to do the same. How downwardly mobile are we willing to go to follow our Lord and Savior? The Holy Family was humble and poor, but rich in spiritual treasure. Their faith, as evident by Mary’s fiat and Joseph’s acquiescence in marrying her, was strong enough to take them not only to a stable in Bethlehem but also to all the world.

May the love of Christ and the awesomeness of God be born anew in our hearts this Christmas.  –Madeline Pecora Nugent, CFP

MONTHLY LETTER TO ALL PENITENTS: CHRISTMAS THOUGHTS FROM SAINT ANTHONY (taken from Seek First His Kingdom, pages 166-171, c. 1988)

 

The thoughts below are some of St. Anthony of Padua’s thoughts on the conception and birth of Jesus.

“The angel said to her:’ Behold you will conceive and will bring forth a son’” (Luke 1: 31). St. Bernard, commenting on this passage, says: “A double miracle is marvelously joined: the Son of God and the Virgin Mother. It does not behoove for a God to be a son, nor for a virgin to be a mother.”

 

Christ was conceived in Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, and crucified in a more prominent place, Jerusalem. Christ was conceived in humility, born in charity (Bethlehem means “house of bread,”) and crucified by being lifted on high.

 

“And you shall call him Jesus” (Luke 1:31) “And Mary said to the angel: How can this be done, because I know not man?” (Luke 1:34). It is clear that Mary believed what would happen; she asked only how this would come about. She inquires how this can happen since she had already vowed in her soul never to know a man, unless, of course, God wanted otherwise.

 

“And the angel answering said to her, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you’” (Luke 1:35). Previously the angel had told Mary that she was “full of grace;” now he adds that “the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you.” Nothing can be added to a glass that is already filled to the brim without overflowing. In the same way does the abundance of grace in the Blessed Virgin Mary overflow to us. The Holy Spirit, coming upon her, purified her soul of any stain of sin and made her worthy to bear the Son of God, forming in her womb the body of her Redeemer from her own flesh.

 

“And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord” (Luke 1:38). Mary praises herself, not because of her merit, but, mindful of her state and of her divine election, she confesses that she is merely a servant of the Lord, whose mother she is chosen to become. She consents with great devotion to the divine plan that the promise of the angel may be fulfilled.

 

“Be it done unto me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Immediately Christ was conceived in the Virgin, a full human being in soul and body. May he be blessed for ever and ever. Amen.

 

The fullness of time finally arrived-- the day of salvation, the year of divine mercy! The time between Adam’s transgression and Christ’s coming was truly a period of deep emptiness. The devil had ruined everything, reducing the world to a bed of pain because of continuous yielding to evil. But today the time for her to be delivered has finally come.

 

To you, O Blessed Virgin, arises our song of praise and glory, because in the riches of your house we are filled with every good thing. Before we had nothing, now we have everything; before we were sick, now we are healed; before we were cursed, now we are blessed. Through you, paradise has entered our world.

 

Behold in this child is found abundance of all good, our paradise. Run, then, all you who are hungry and all you moneylenders, who prefer money to God, hurry to buy without money, without giving anything in exchange, the grain of wheat which today the Virgin offers you.

 

She gave birth to a son-- not just any son, but the very Son of God. O blessed Mary, you have your Son in common with God the Father.

 

Who therefore can stand against us? We should not fear. Victory is assured to our side because God is on our side. We thank you, O glorious Virgin, because through you God is with us.

CHRISTMAS GIFT SUGGESTIONS FROM THE CFP HOLY ANGELS GIFT SHOP

1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN 46803 USA. 260-739-6882.  www.cfpholyangels.com

1 How about enclosing a $0.25 prayer card in each of your Christmas cards? A variety of $0.25 prayer cards are available from the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop. Buy 10 cards and get the 11th free. People may discard your Christmas card, but they will likely retain the prayer card. Sending an inexpensive prayer card with your Christmas card is a good way to evangelize and to remind people to follow the Gospel all year long.

2. Send a special, handcrafted Christmas card to your friends and relatives. The CFP Holy Angels Gift shop has several different styles including one of St. Francis at the Christmas creche, drawn by a religious sister, and another featuring the Tau cross and the word Peace, also designed by a religious sister. Both designs are $4.95 for ten cards plus envelopes.

3. Do your family and friends need to have their scapulars replaced? The CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop has several different scapular designs, including wooden scapulars as well as traditional wool ones.

4. How about an original piece of artwork? The CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop has several different original paintings and prints for sale. Many of these are one-of-a-kind. All are reasonably priced.

5. Miraculous Metal pendants are popular for men and women. In addition, the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop offers various saint medals and crucifixes on chains for tasteful gift giving.

6. Give someone the gift of Eucharistic Adoration. One of the $0.25 prayer cards is a gift card on which you promise a certain number of hours in Eucharistic Adoration for the receiver of your gift.

7. Place a small Holy Family group on a coffee table, windowsill, or bureau.

8. Obtain a vintage angel ornament for your Christmas tree. These are one-of-a-kind, obtained from a massive private collection of angels. You are sure to find something here for your tree.

9. If you pray the Liturgy of the Hours, the CFP has the 2019 guides available.

10. St. Joseph’s edition children’s books our great, inexpensive stocking stuffers for kids.

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Confraternity of Penitents

1702 Lumbard Street

 Fort Wayne IN USA 46803 

260-739-6882

copenitents@yahoo.com 

 

May God bless you and give you joy!