Confraternity of Penitents Newsletter -- October 2018
SPIRITUAL ADVISOR’S ADVICE: LESSONS FROM BROTHER ALBERT: REAL POVERTY
Note: Father Jacob Meyer housed Brother Albert (not his real name) at the parish rectory. Father is sharing lessons that Brother Albert taught him. The first three lessons were in the July, August, and September newsletters. This is the last installment of this series on Brother Albert.)
I have six guys living in my rectory. We pray Morning Prayer together before Mass and Daytime Prayer together after Mass. Then we pray Compline and Vespers together in the evening.
Brother Albert follows us around everywhere, and he never says no. I invite him everywhere, and sometimes I feel bad because he so wants to take the least position. One of the guys who lives in the rectory wanted to go to the shooting range for his birthday, and I invited Brother to come along. When the priest, seminarians, and the Franciscan brother walk into the gun shop, the whole place stops. It just stops. So, I look at Brother Albert and I say, “So, Brother, you want to shoot?” And he just looks at me. At that point I realized that I just asked the Franciscan, who is not supposed to handle weapons, if he wanted to shoot. So, I didn’t even let him answer me. I just said, “Just kidding!” But to the extent that he can say yes, he will always say yes.
Poverty is a prerequisite to doing the things that Brother Albert does. If you get the distractions out of the way, then you can reach the goal of the Franciscan life which is to focus on others. Brother Albert is not skittish about it. If he needs to have a doctor’s appointment, he goes. If he needs to use the computer in my office, he does. He lives poverty, not for the sake of poverty, but so that the distractions will not be there so that he can truly be poor in spirit and live the Gospel.
We got 40 boxes of books from a friary that was closing, and without being asked, Brother Albert went down and organized them all. We didn’t see him for two days. He would always pop up for prayer, and then he would disappear again. I don’t know how he knows it is time for prayer because we have no bells in my house, but he’s always there.
Brother Albert has a sixth sense of knowing just when to ask me something. Never when I’m busy. I think he just sort of waits for the day to ask. He finds the one moment and recognizes that this is a perfect moment. Then he’ll come and say, “Father, I hate to interrupt you at the moment, but could you answer this one question for me?” It’s a yes or no question, and I can tell that he’s wanted to ask me that question the entire day, but he did not ask me until he felt that it was the exact right moment.
I would never do that. I would say something like, “I know you’re busy, but this is a yes or no question so please give me an answer.” That’s just me. That’s my natural tendency. And why is that? It’s because of my pridefulness because what I’m doing at this moment is more important and, in order to get on with my day, I have to ask this important thing.
Look at Brother Albert’s poverty! That’s poverty that is so much more than anything I can imagine. I notice it so much more because it helps me see my own vices. Maybe that’s what poverty is supposed to do-- to help us see our own vices. Very few people have that talent of helping us see where we need to improve without giving offense. I overheard one of the seminarians asking brother Albert, “How do you do it? Father Jacob’s always happy to answer your questions. He’s never happy to answer our questions.” Why? Because you always ask me right in the middle of Mass or something! Or I’m leading a person for into my office for the next appointment, and I get approached with, “Father can I ask you a question right now?” I’m like, “Do you see this person? They’re right here. Obviously, no, you can’t ask me a question right now.”
Maybe it’s not that Brother Albert is exceptionally holy. Maybe he just has common sense. I hope I become more like him. Brother Albert is forever what I will think when I think of Saint Francis. I hope it is the right Francis!
Brother Albert does the Riverwalk probably praying his Rosary. It takes him hours to do the Riverwalk. It takes us 20 minutes. This is because people stop and talk to Brother Albert. He is affectionately referred to as the monk. People love religious. They love seeing the habit. People said they haven’t seen anyone in a habit since they were kids. Brother Albert is a local attraction. They love him. It’s understandable because he says to them, “What can I pray for you?” Or, “Can I do this for you?”. It’s never about him. I don’t think he’s made a single request to me ever. I sit him down and say, “What do you need?” And he won’t tell me.
Obedience is the hardest issue. Poverty I can handle. Chasity--no big deal. But obedience! That’s the thing about poverty. Real poverty is not really about not having “stuff.” It’s about obedience. It’s all about what other people want, not about what I want. Real poverty is about what God wants. Now we have the challenge to go out and live this poverty of spirit, of what God wants, of what others want, in the world. It’s hard to do when we don’t wear a religious habit. However, people should, theoretically, know us by our selflessness. We can all give of ourselves to our parishes and communities.
The real poverty of the Franciscan rule is meant for the service of the glory of God, and the service of others and our own personal holiness. How are we doing that? How are we taking that lesser role, the least role? What’s the thing in the parish that no one wants to do? I’m going to do that. What’s the chore at home that no one wants to do? I’m going to do that. It’s the littlest things that show the greatest love. The greatest gift is the one that the person put the most thought into. You receive it and think, “Well! This person actually knows me.”
-- Father Jacob Meyer, Spiritual Advisor to the Confraternity of Penitents
HUMOR: ACTUAL SIGNS AT THE INDIAN HILLS COMMUNITY CENTER IN COLORADO
Our mountains aren’t just funny; they’re hill areas.
Turning Vegan would be a missed steak.
Well, to be Frank, I’d have to change my name.
Forget world peace. Visualize using your turn signal.
Ban pre-shredded cheese! Make America grate again!
My mood ring is missing, and I don’t know how I feel about that.
I scream. You scream. The police come. It’s awkward.
Despite the high cost of living, it remains popular.
I’m friend with 25 letters of the alphabet. I don’t know Y.
REFLECTION ON THE RULE
The Confraternity of Penitents is a nonprofit association. It has no mandatory dues, fees, or assessments. If money is needed, the Treasurer may solicit donations.
Unlike many other organizations in the Catholic Church, the Confraternity of Penitents does not collect dues or require any money to be part of the Confraternity of Penitents. One should not be required to pay in order to receive help in penance (conversion). However, the Confraternity does ask that penitents consider tithing a portion of their tithes to the Confraternity. Scripture advises us to tithe 10% of our income for charity. At least 5% of this should go to our parish with the other 5% being for charity.
Father Jacob Meyer, our Spiritual Advisor, suggested that members use a portion of their parish tithe designated to charity (a portion of the 5%) to support the Confraternity of Penitents.
For example, if you are an affiliate, inquirer, or postulant, your donation would be 0.25% of your yearly income. Based on a $20,000 yearly income, that would amount to $50 per year.
If you are a first-year novice, the tithe would be 0.50%. Based on a $20,000 per year income, that would be $100 per year.
If you are a second-year novice, the tithe would be 0.75%. Based on a $20,000 per year income, that would be $150 per year.
If you are a third-year novice or higher, then the tithe would be 1%. For those making $20,000 a year income, that would amount to $200 per year.
The Confraternity of Penitents thanks you for whatever you can donate! God bless you for it!
CONFRATERNITY PHOTO ALBUM
CFP MEMBER ON STILTS
Bob Shutt, CFP, became a clown on stilts at Portziuncola Day and Franciscan Festival on August 2, in Fort Wayne IN. How did he get so agile so high up? He used to install sheet rock! The children especially loved our brother on stilts!
wrote to live as a Diocesan hermit is the Rule of the Confraternity of Penitents strengthened with additional prayer, meditation, contemplation, Eucharistic adoration, and solitude. In other words, she is still living the CFP Rule even though technically she is a Hermit Ally rather than a lay member of the Confraternity of Penitents.
We are grateful to God for our dear sister in Christ, ask God to bless her abundantly, and thank her for her consistent daily prayers for the CFP and all its members, associates, affiliates, and friends.
FINAL PROFESSION AS A DIOCESAN HERMIT, CFP HERMIT ALLY SISTER ELIZABETH BRIDGET CLARE
CFP Hermit Ally Sr. Elizabeth Bridget Clare professed her final vows as a Diocesan hermit on April 24, 2018. She is shown here with her parish priest Fr. Andrew and with Bishop Joseph Bambera who accepted her vows for the Diocese of Scranton.
Sister Elizabeth Bridget Clare began her spiritual journey toward becoming a Diocesan hermit by entering formation in our original foundation, then continuing as a penitent when the Confraternity of Penitents refounded in 2003. She became the first CFP member to take a private vow to live the CFP Rule for life, a vow which she has, in effect, never rescinded as the Rule which she
NO GREATER LOVE: THE DIVINE WORD
When we contemplate Jesus Christ as He is presented to us in the Gospels, we are contemplating God. This is a great privilege which was not available to even the holy persons of the Old Testament. “Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear and did not hear it.” (Mt 13:17) How do we do this? Theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar, in his book Prayer, gives us some guidance on how to proceed. Starting from those words and deeds which reveal and accredit Christ as the Son of the Father, the contemplative will go on to understand the entire life of Jesus as the revelation and the Word of the eternal God. This even includes the everyday things in which the Lord seems to be no different from us, the many hidden years of which nothing is recorded. Contemplation, stimulated and authorized by faith, is privileged to enter all the rooms of this building, even the most interior ones which witness the Son's expression of loving obedience to his Father, and where his vision of the Father takes place. Contemplation will come nowhere near an understanding of everything, but in principle nothing is denied or closed to it. It can take up residence in the mysterious environs of the hypostatic union, where it will be able to observe all that is human opening out into the divine, and the divine entering into the human. Contemplation, therefore, will not divide Christ's words and deeds into those which he performs "as God" and those "as man"; instead, it will see all that he does, and says, and is, as the translation of the nature of God in human terms. Translation here does not mean identity: when Christ suffers on the cross, God does not "suffer". But Christ's suffering, his God-forsakenness, his death and descent into hell is the revelation of a divine mystery, the language which God has chosen in order to render himself and his love intelligible to us. This is not some generalized love, known to human reason from other sources, a love which just happens to come to the surface in this particular way (a love which could have expressed itself just as well in a thousand other ways): this love comes to me, whom it has chosen; it speaks to me with this specially devised and chosen word, which I am intended to perceive as the unique language of the only God in his unique favor toward me, the Church and mankind. This Word, this language, is Jesus Christ; not merely a selection of his words and deeds, but he himself, whole and entire. Since he is both this particular being and Being itself, he can apply to himself the great abstract nouns which refer to Being: "I am the truth ... the life ... the light." But equally he can describe himself as the transition, the turning point, the opening: "I am the way ... the door ... the resurrection." We see and hear God in the most direct way possible on earth when we see and hear Jesus Christ.
Von Balthasar teaches us that we need to be truly involved with our whole being while we are in contemplation. The contemplative may not hold aloof in any way whatsoever from what his spiritual eyes behold. The Word has become flesh: it is he who, here and now, is acting, teaching, challenging him to be a disciple. It is impossible to contemplate this Person in a detached manner: the true contemplative can only respond to his word. The "flesh" of the Word touches our flesh, and in him God becomes our neighbor. That is why, in prayer, we need to have all our senses awake, though of course we must not have anything "fleshly" (i.e., anything profane, closed off from God) on our minds. In thought and imagination we should put ourselves into the situation where our senses can apprehend the audible word of God; if we persevere in this concrete hearing it will yield the most concrete possible encounter with God. The universal validity, for all time, of this unique, concrete encounter, is more than adequately guaranteed by the fact that it is God who thus makes his appearance. Its validity does not rest on an abstraction - as if Peter or Magdalen were only "instances" from which one could deduce some perennial doctrine; it rests on the presence of the Eternally Concrete under the conditions of flesh, a presence-in-flesh which genuinely mediates the Eternal and makes it present. God does not need our intellectual brilliance or expertise to communicate to us what He wants us to know.
In our contemplation, there is always the danger of going off into wrong paths. This has happened many times in human history. Theologian Von Balthasar teaches us that we need the Church to avoid this danger. So we are justified in describing Christ as the central "sacrament", and we are reminded of the context of the Church. I can only put myself into the position of the disciples or the people who hear the Sermon on the Mount, I can only walk and listen with them because the Church, of which I am a part today, was already under way then. For the incarnation of the Word has brought about a reality which includes and sustains the individual, enabling him to perform the act of contemplation as worship, as obedience, and as understanding in faith. This arises, ultimately, from the very fact that the Absolute has appeared in the midst of human history, bound to humanity through conception, birth, life and death, linked to all generations-who are in turn profoundly affected a priori by this link, by God's having appeared among them. The Church, here understood as the embryonic community of the redeemed centered around Christ, is thus part of the object of contemplation. The Church is not God; unlike the Son, it is not to be worshipped. But the Son cannot be isolated from his brothers: that "opening" to heaven which he is, is like a gaping rent going right through humanity, and this rent is the Church. The fact that I, at this far-off spot in history, can be inserted into the reality of Christ by contemplation and discipleship, is something I owe to the reality of the Church. It is for me the place where God in Christ appears to men. But the Church's reality immediately reminds me that contemplation can only take place in discipleship. Even the reflective "distance" of the Old Testament wisdom literature is no longer permissible. Everything is funneled toward the narrow point where the Word becomes flesh, the narrow gate where nothing but simple obedience can pass-only to explode and expand at once and abruptly into something of the most universal validity. Henceforth, only "doers" of the word will "know" (J 8:31-2); the person who is not a doer clearly demonstrates that he does not know (Tit 1:16; 1 Jn 4:8). We are not the first one to contemplate the Lord. Probably, the first was Mary with many after her down to the present. We cannot detach ourselves from them. Just as she obeyed, so must we.
There may be times when we are required to share the results of our contemplation, but theologian Von Balthasar warns us against imagining that what we say comes from our own wisdom. Thus the Christian never takes the form of the "sage", that unmistakable kind of man met with in all systems of philosophy whose lofty enlightenment arouses our admiration (and in time gets on our nerves). It may be part of a Christian's mission to know and say many things about God and divine matters. But most of them, including the genuine contemplatives, the saints, are modest and reticent in their knowledge. When they are commissioned to say something to someone, it is as though the words simply come through them from afar, as if they themselves are not totally responsible for the significance and the effect of what they say. Therein lies the simplicity of discipleship: the "surplus" fruit of contemplation is removed right at the outset and put at the disposal of God and the communion of saints. The "sage" has a kind of panoramic view, a kind of spiritual equipoise in the midst of all his actual and possible insights; the like is never available to the Christian because his wisdom lies in God far more than in himself. Somehow or other his head is in heaven, where he lives hidden with Christ, whereas his earthly self, dying daily and rising to new life, treads the path of discipleship and is "salted with fire" (Mk 9:49).
Von Balthasar tells us why we are not the “sage” who speaks from our own insight. Finally, we can link the contemplative's "impoverishment" to the mystery of the hypostatic union itself, for he is a member of the mystical Body of Christ, contemplating his Head; he himself is not the Head, and his mode of being-a-member is dependent on the Head. His truth and wisdom reside not in him but in the Head, who thinks, sees, speaks and looks up to heaven on behalf of the whole Body. Just as the individual member -naturally a spiritual person- performs spiritual acts which of their essence spring primarily from the human head, so in the supernatural context of Christ and the Church these acts are rooted in Christ the Head. Christian faith is a participation in Christ's vision, Christian hope a nestling in his trust and assurance, Christian love the outpouring of his love…………But as to the member's act of contemplating the Head, its transcendence is not based ultimately simply on the Head-member relationship but on the uniqueness of the Head, which, in the hypostatic mystery, is transcendence. Christ's human nature has its being in the divine Person, i.e. (without interfering with its fully human integrity and autonomy), beyond itself; it is the transparent instrument of divine revelation and redemption.
–Jim Nugent, CFP
THE POWER OF THE ROSARY
Due to the usual January drop in sales and the fact that we made a lot of payments in the last week of December to settle some invoices from our suppliers, we had virtually no cash to live on. In fact, from 22nd of January, we had only 49 Cents in our bank accounts. To make the whole case more difficult, we had three overdue invoices of €1,143.23 we must settle. I was under pressure. On the night of 24th of January, the Holy Spirit ministered to my heart to watch and see what God wants to teach me from the present difficult situation.
In the early hours of Thursday, 25th January, I brought out my rosary and began to pray the joyful mysteries. I presented one request to God. There was a supply we made to an overseas company which they received on the 15th of January, 2018. The payment policy of this company is that they pay their suppliers 30 days from the day they receive the goods. The payment date for the supply we made should be on the 15th of February. That morning, the 25th of January was just the 10th day from the day they received the merchandize. When I began to pray the rosary, I asked the Blessed Virgin Mary to present my request to Jesus and ask him to touch the heart of the lady in charge of payments at the company that she would make the payment today, that is on that day the 25th of January, instead of 15th of February which is the actual pay date for our invoice.
I left home before midday to visit the chapel in the convent of Nuestra Señora del Encuentro con Dios in Calle Xucla in Barcelona to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and present my intention to him. In the chapel, I prayed five decades of the rosary for the same intention and I added a short prayer asking my guardian angel to go and talk with the guardian angel of the person that is in charge of payment in the company to touch her heart and make her to make payment to us today. I got up and left after the prayers.
The following day, on the 26th of January, as I checked my email box, I saw an email from the company. I opened the email and the content of the email read; “Dear Sir, we write to notify you that we have made payment of the invoice of the goods you supplied to us. Please, find attached the confirmation of the wire transfer.” I opened the attached file and looking at the date of payment, it has that they made the payment on the 25th of January, the same day I prayed the rosary and asked Jesus, Mary and my guardian angel to help. I checked my account and saw that the money was already in my account.
I called my wife and celebrated with her telling her what had happened. That same day, I made payment for the overdue invoices of €1,143.23. Please, friends join me to thank Our Lord Jesus, the Blessed Virgin, Nuestra Señora del Encuentro con Dios and my guardian angel for this magnificent miracle and instantaneous answer to my prayers. This event gave me serious joy and it strengthened my faith and increased my trust in the prayers of holy rosary. I believe this account will also help those that would read it the same way it has helped me. Please, thanks for reading this and may heaven assist us in our needs through Christ Our Lord Amen. – Kingsley Eze, CFP Postulant
(Note: The CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop at www.cfpholyangels.com offers some of the rosaries and other sacramentals sold by Kingsley and his family.)
JESUS FULFILLS THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES
The New Testament is concealed in the Old Testament. The Old Testament is revealed in the New.
When a Jewish scholar read the Christian book called the New Testament, he began to see fulfilments of prophecies which he had learned since a boy. He couldn’t understand why other Jews could not see the same, which pointed to a Messiah. >>> Was born in Bethlehem – Micah 5:2. Was born to a virgin – Isaiah 7:14. Was called out of Egypt –Hosea 11:1 Was rejected by His own – Isaiah 53:3 Is the stone the builders rejected, which then became the capstone – Psalm 118:22/23. Is the gentle King who entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey, -- Zechariah 9:9 Was betrayed by a friend. – Psalm 41:9. Was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. – Zechariah11:12/13. Was accused by false witnesses. – Psalm 35:11. Healed the blind deaf lame and dumb. – Isaiah 35:5/6. Bore our sicknesses. -- Isaiah 53:4 Was spat upon, smitten and scourged. – Isaiah 50:6. – 53:5. Was hated without a cause – Psalm 35:19. Was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities -- Isaiah 53:5 – Zechariah 12:10. – Psalm 22:16. Suffered for the sins of many Isaiah 53:10/12. Died among criminals – Isaiah 53:12 Was thirsty during His execution. -- Psalm 69:21. Had His garments divided among those who cast lots for them.—Psalm 22:18. Cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?. – Psalm 22:1. Was buried with the rich Isaiah 53:9. Was resurrected from the dead – Psalm 16:10/11 – 49:15
The rabbi claimed that Jesus Lord fulfilled many MORE than 300 Old Testament prophecies. He claimed that the odds of any one person filling even 10 of the prophecies would have been huge, but over 300, the odds would be astronomical. It is not only a lesson to Jews seeking their Messiah, but we Christians should remind ourselves we worship an astonishing proven Lord.
– David Curry, CFP Affiliate
FOLLOWING FRANCIS, FOLLOWING CHRIST: VISION OF THE CONFRATERNITY OF PENITENTS
St. Francis is recognized as a peacemaker. The prayer of St. Francis is well known. It begins, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” While St. Francis did not write this prayer, despite it being attributed to him, it does accurately reflect his attitude about peace.
As a young man, Francis grew up in a culture focused on power and war. Noble men held power over lower classes of society, and kings and emperors had power over them. As a young man, Francis aspired to being a knight, and he saw his share of battle where he was captured and imprisoned for over a year. During his imprisonment, Francis became disillusioned with his dream for power, fame, and money. Eventually he turned his back on those three human desires and instead embraced a life of minority, humility, and poverty.
However, Francis had to fight a powerful internal struggle to embrace the virtues that he knew he needed. At the climax of this struggle, Francis had to break with his family, particularly with his father, who wanted his only biological son to continue on the path of upward mobility to become a noble who had power, fame, and money. The histories hint at the conflict between Francis and his father prior to the final, irreparable break between them. This family tragedy, in which a father cannot accept the path his son wishes to take, coupled with Francis’s disillusionment about the glorious outcome of battle, caused Francis to rethink his values regarding authority. He came to the conclusion that he would be a man subject to all. He would extend peace to everyone, even to those who hated him.
Francis lived out peace by responding with joy and well wishes to those who mocked him and even threw rocks at him or beat him for his completely turned around lifestyle. Francis spent two years begging and rebuilding falling down churches in response to what he thought the Lord asked of him. At the same time, other young men in Assisi were attracted to Francis because he was so peaceful and joyful during these years of rejection by those who used to emulate and congratulate him. These men wanted what Francis had and were willing to get it no matter the cost. Thus, Francis attracted followers and eventually his Order began, even though Francis had not the least inclination to begin a religious Order. In time, St. Clare embraced Francis’s vision which matched her own, and women, too, began to live lives of humility, simplicity, poverty, prayer, and peace. Next came the laity who also wanted a Rule of life to help them to grow in the virtues they saw in Francis. Francis’s friend and delegate to the Pope gave the laity the Rule of 1221 which the Confraternity of Penitents members, through its modern constitutions, are living today.
When people view our rule, they are struck by the prayer, fasting, abstinence, and clothing provisions of the Rule. These were radical in Francis’s time and are even more radical today. However, the most radical thing in the Rule of 1221 was Article 26 which enjoined the penitents to be at peace with all. This was a natural conclusion to Article 16 of the Rule which said that penitents “are not to take up lethal weapons or bear them about against anybody.” This meant that penitents were no longer going to fight for their lords. By their noncompliance with the mandatory taking of arms to support allegiance to feudal lords, the penitents were instrumental in breaking the feudal system and bring greater peace to medieval Europe.
People today are not called upon to take up lethal weapons, other than in war, to defend those who have day to day power over them. But many people are engaged in power struggles, employing the lethal weapons of detraction, slander, calumny, and sometimes outright lies to maintain their own power base, reputation, or sustenance. Such things are completely forbidden to penitents who are living the Rule of 1221. The Rule was so adamant about peace that it calls for peace in many places. In addition to Articles 16 and 26 mentioned earlier. Article 15 states that the penitents “are to be reconciled with their neighbors and to restore what belongs to others.” Articles 17 and 18 asks the penitents to refrain from oaths except where the Pope requires it. This meant that they could not swear to support one person as opposed to another. Article 25 has the penitents making their last will and testament within three months of their profession so that family members will not be able legally to argue over the will when the penitent dies. Article 29 states that everyone entering the group (heretics are excluded by Article 32) has to reconcile with their neighbors and pay up their tithes before being admitted. To keep peace in the family where men were considered to be the head of the household, married women could not be received into the group of penitents except with the consent of their husbands (Article 33). Articles 35, 36, and 39 indicate that the members are to be reasonable and to change their behavior if it is not in conformity to the Rule. However, if they remained “incorrigible”, they were to be “ejected from the brotherhood” and “obligated under guilt as contumacious.” Therefore, while there are five articles that mention clothing, six articles that mention abstinence and fasting, and three articles that mention prayer, there are 11 articles that deal directly with being at peace with all. Obviously, being at peace is the core of the Rule of 1221.
This emphasis on peace is reflected in the Vision of the Confraternity of Penitents which reads as follows:
To give glory to God and surrender to His Will through the living of a medieval, penitential Rule of Life, the Rule of 1221. This Rule is lived as closely as possible to its original intent, and in one's own home, in peace with all others, and in obedience to the Roman Catholic Church, its Pope, and its Magisterium.
Therefore, while the trappings of the Rule of 1221-- the fasting, abstinence, prayer, simplicity of life and dress -- may get the most external attention, the real core of the Rule -- being at peace with all -- is the hub to which all of the other provisions of the Rule are attached. When we want to see how well we are living the Rule, we can look at the externals of fasting, abstinence, prayer, simplicity, and dress, but then we should look more closely at how we are keeping the peace with all. We may be fasting, but are we praying for our enemies? We may be praying, but are we civil to our enemies? We may be abstaining from meat but are we spreading gossip? How do we respond when someone starts to slander someone else? Do we believe every negative thing we hear? Do we pray for those whose words are destroying the lives of others? What are we doing to maintain and to encourage peace?
-- Madeline Pecora Nugent, CFP
MONTHLY LETTER TO ALL PENITENTS: HOW TO MAKE PEACE
As reflected in Article 26 of our Rule, being at peace with all is the core of the life of a penitent. How does one do that? Here are some suggestions given by a counselor:
Give up what you think you know about each other.
Give up your right to be right.
Say I'm sorry.
Listen to what comes next and don't be thinking about responding to the first thing that is said.
It is better to give no answer than a quick answer.
Someone else’s personality may complement yours. Work together to get a fuller world view.
Love and respect each other.
What does CFP mean to me? What am I willing to die to, day to day to support that?
Note how each of these supports the CFP Vision to be at peace with all. Consider how each supports the Golden Rule “Do unto other what you would have them do unto you.” When each person in the CFP internalizes and follows these guidelines, our community will strengthen and our witness inspire. CFP members in formation study the book Franciscan Virtues through the Year. Through a four-year study of this book, members will, hopefully, incorporate these virtues into their lives and truly become followers of Jesus as Francis aspired to be.
–Madeline Pecora Nugent, CFP
CFP HOLY ANGELS GIFT SHOP CHAPLET OF REPARATION FOR PRIESTS
Chaplet of Reparation for Priests. Beautiful image of Christ as priest. Text of chaplet on the rear. Now more than ever it's time to pray for our priests and make reparation for their sins. Buy 4 cards and get the 5th free. Any quantity. This card is offered exclusively by the Confraternity of Penitents Holy Angels Gift Shop.
CHAPLET OF REPARATION FOR PRIESTS
(To be prayed on the rosary)
Incline (+) unto my aid, O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be ,world without end.
(On each of the Our Father beads)
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Thy Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb without blemish or spot, in reparation for my sins and for the sins of all Thy priests.
(On each of the Hail Mary beads ):
By Thy Precious Blood, O Jesus, purify and sanctify thy priests.
(In place of the Glory be to the Father):
O Father, from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named, have mercy on all Thy priests, and wash them in the Blood of the Lamb.
-Adapted from In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart, Ignatius Press
Offered exclusively from the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop, 1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN 46803 USA. Cards are 50c each. Buy 4 cards and get the fifth card free. Also available on line from www.cfpholyangels.com If ordering by mail, please include a donation for postage. May God bless you as you spread this devotion which supports our priests and the Confraternity of Penitents as well.