Confraternity of Penitents July 2022 Newsletter
HUMOR: SYMPTOMS OF INNER PEACE
1. Frequent attacks of Smiling.
2. Frequent, overwhelming episodes of Appreciation.
3. Loss of interest in Judging other people.
4. Loss of ability to Worry.
5. Tendency to act based on Hope rather than on fear.
6. Ability to Enjoy each moment.
7. Ability to give and receive Love in spite of life’s problems.
8. Sharing whatever little you have with people who have less in life.
If symptoms persist, just THANK GOD.
There is no need to pay attention to gossip, much less get ill by giving in to those who perhaps have never known what truth is. -- Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
SPIRITUAL GUARDIAN’S REFLECTION: JESUS CALMS THE STORM
…(Jesus) got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (Matthew 8: 23-27)
At times we can feel overwhelmed by all of the negative news and events that are going on in the world and the Church around us. Where is this going> Where is all this going to end? Is Jesus asleep in the boat while the storm is raging around us?
We read what happened when Jesus awoke, He calmed the storm. The fears of those who were with him in the boat were calmed and that wonderful story is recorded in the Gospels to be of constant divine revelation for us today. I would like to suggest a few books for the renewal of your confidence in Jesus:
The Day Is Now Far Spent: Robert Cardinal Sarah
Things Worth Dying For; Thoughts on a Life Worth Living: Archbishop Charles J. Chaput
Calming the Storm; Navigating the Crises Facing the Catholic Church and Society: Fr. Gerald Murray
A Church in Crisis; Pathways forward: Dr. Ralph Martin
The recent overturning of the infamous 1973 decision of the United States Supreme Court; Roe v. Wade, is perhaps the most dramatic recent example that God is not asleep in the boat. How many rosaries have we prayed, how many pro-life marches in Washington, DC have we attended (bearing with that bitter cold on what always seems to be the coldest day of the year!). I suggest that the date of the Pro-life March be now moved from the date that Roe v. Wade was codified into federal law, to the day that it has now been overturned!
Dante's description of hell is a cold place. He envisions the devil as an enormous, winged creature frozen to his waist in a sea of ice. The more the devil flaps his bat-like wings trying to escape, the colder the ice gets, a symbolic reason to move the Pro-life March from January to June! Giving public witness to the Triumph of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom the month of June is dedicated is an even better reason! In June the world now “celebrates” the soul-destroying sin of pride. As Christians we need to reclaim the beautiful month of June “celebrating” the corresponding healing virtue of humility, which is so dramatically demonstrated in the Sacred Heart of Jesus poured out on The Cross.
There are a lot of wounded people in our country because of 50 years of an unjust decision of the United States Supreme Court. We have been through this before. The immoral practice of slavery was legal in our land even before the founding of our nation, when we were still a British colony from 1526 until the legal abolition of slavery in 1865 with the Emancipation Proclamation. That proclamation occurred only eight years after the infamous Dred Scott decision by the United States Supreme Court, but the legal approval of that immoral practice lasted for 339 years! We are still healing from the wounds of a civil war and that immoral practice. The immoral practice of abortion has been around long before Roe v.Wade, but we only lived with the unjust decision of the Supreme Court for 50 years.
If we are ever tempted to give in to those dark clouds of doubt and fear that the storms of our present age create, let us remember that the Roe v. Wade decision was overturned on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, just after the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, a feast which celebrates a child conceived in the womb of an elderly woman, considered impossible. The Feast of the Sacred Heart is followed the next day by the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. At Fatima Our Lady herself promised that after a time of trial and purification there would be a new beginning for the Church and a time of Peace for humanity, the triumph of The Immaculate Heart! –Fr. Joseph Tuscan, OFM Cap, CFP Spiritual Guardian
NO GREATER LOVE: THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
Pope Benedict discusses the Gospel of John separately in Jesus of Nazareth. The first question is that of who is the author of John’s Gospel. Since the time of Irenaeus of Lyon (d. ca. 202), Church tradition has unanimously regarded John, the son of Zebedee, as the beloved disciple and the author of the Gospel. This fits with the identification markers provided by the Gospel, which in any case point toward the hand of an Apostle and companion of Jesus from the time of the Baptism in the Jordan to the Last Supper, Cross, and Resurrection. Yet we still need to know who was Zebedee. We know that Zebedee was a fisherman. (Mt 4:21-22, Mk 1:19-20, Lk 5:9-11) Pope Benedict believes that Zebedee was a priest. Therefore, John was the son of a priest. How could a fisherman in Galilee also be a priest ministering in the Jerusalem Temple? The priests discharged their ministry on a rotating basis twice a year. The ministry itself lasted a week each time. After the completion of the ministry, the priest returned to his home, and it was not at all unusual for him also to exercise a profession to earn his livelihood. Furthermore, the Gospel makes clear that Zebedee was no simple fisherman, but employed several day laborers, which also explains why it was possible for his sons to leave him. "It is thus quite possible that Zebedee is a priest, but that at the same time he has his property in Galilee, while the fishing business on the lake helps him makes ends meet. He probably has a kind of pied-a-terre in or near the Jerusalem neighborhood where the Essenes lived" ("Johannes," p. 481). "The very meal during which this disciple rested on Jesus' breast took place in a room that in all probability was located in the Essene neighborhood of the city"--in the "pied-a-terre" of the priest Zebedee, who "lent the upper room to Jesus and the Twelve" (ibid., pp. 480, 481). Another observation Cazelles makes in his article is interesting in this connection: According to the Jewish custom, the host or, in his absence, as would have been the case here, "his firstborn son sat to the right of the guest, his head leaning on the latter's chest" (ibid., p. 480).
The fact that the priests of the Old Covenant served as a priest by offering sacrifice for only two weeks out of the year is very important to notice. The sacrifices were to be offered in one place only which was Mount Gerizim in Jerusalem, (Deut 11:29) which is where the Jerusalem Temple was built. The priests were to be descendants of Moses’s brother Aaron. Since by the time of Jesus, there were many people descended from Aaron, being a priest was a part-time job. This explains why Zebedee’s son John and his brother James would be familiar both with Galilee and the workings of the Jerusalem temple. Since John’s father was probably a priest, then John was eligible to be a priest. If John had not been a disciple of the Lord and one of the twelve apostles, he may have, like his father, Zebedee, become a priest. He would have ministered in the Jerusalem temple to 70 A.D. until the temple was destroyed by the Romans and the temple priesthood came to an end. Instead, John and the other Apostles were ordained by the Lord to the New Covenant priesthood at the Last Supper when the Lord said “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (Lk 22:19)
The part-time nature of the Old Covenant priesthood also relates to the issue of celibacy of New Covenant priests. In the book Pope Benedict wrote with Robert Cardinal Sarah, From the Depths of our Hearts, Pope Benedict discusses the issue of celibacy in the Church. Commenting on the early beginning of the regular and even daily celebration of the Eucharist in the early Church, he then affirms the continuity between the New and Old Covenant priesthoods with regard to celibacy. Very quickly---we do not know exactly when, but in any case very rapidly---the regular and even daily celebration of the Eucharist became essential for the Church. The "supersubstantial" bread is at the same time the "daily" bread of the Church. This had an important consequence, which is precisely what haunts the Church today.
In the common awareness of Israel, priests were strictly obliged to observe sexual abstinence during the times when they led worship and were therefore in contact with the divine mystery. The relation between sexual abstinence and divine worship was absolutely clear in the common awareness of Israel. By way of example, I wish to recall the episode about David, who, while fleeing Saul, asked the priest Ahimelech to give him some bread: "The priest answered David, 'I have no common bread at hand, but there is holy bread; if only the young men have kept themselves from women.' And David answered the priest, 'Of a truth women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition'" (1 Sam 21:4-5). Since the priests of the Old Testament had to dedicate themselves to worship only during set times, marriage and the priesthood were compatible.
But because of the regular and often even daily celebration of the Eucharist, the situation of the priests of the Church of Jesus Christ has changed radically. From now on, their entire life is in contact with the divine mystery. This requires on their part exclusivity with regard to God. Consequently, this excludes other ties that, like marriage, involve one's whole life. From the daily celebration of the Eucharist, which implies a permanent state of service to God, was born spontaneously the impossibility of a matrimonial bond. We can say that the sexual abstinence that was functional was transformed automatically into an ontological abstinence. Thus, its motivation and its significance were changed from within and profoundly.
John’s Gospel is very different from the Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. First of all, it contains no parables. Also, most of the events in the Gospel take place in and around Jerusalem with only a small part of it taking place in Galilee. In the Synoptic Gospels, the events take place in Galilee and only Holy Week takes place in Jerusalem. John’s Gospel assumes his readers are familiar with some or all of the other three Gospels. While all the Gospels endeavor to inspire faith in the Lord, John wanted to deepen his reader’s faith and understanding of Jesus Christ. For example, John does not relate the Institution of the Eucharist (Mt 26:26-29, Mk 14:22-25, Lk 22:14-23). However, in John’s Gospel, the Lord explains the meaning of the Eucharist. (Jn 6:22-70). This is especially clear when the Lord says “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.” (Jn 6:53-58) What the Lord says here makes no sense at all apart from the institution of the Eucharist as narrated in the Synoptic Gospels.
In the Synoptic Gospels the Divinity of Christ is strongly implied but not openly stated. For example, often Jesus is called by his disciples “Lord”. This is a name which the Jews used for God. However, John’s Gospel asserts the Divinity of Christ much more openly. For example, we read “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” (Jn 1:1) John is saying that the Word (Jesus Christ) was “with God” and “was God”. Jesus Christ is not “the Father” and yet he is also God. In Jn 14:15-31 and Jn 16:5-15, the Lord describes the coming of the Holy Spirit and the work of the Holy Spirit who is also Divine since He “proceeds from the Father”. (Jn 15:26) Although the word “Trinity” is not used in scripture, these and other verses explain that the Trinity is Three Divine Persons in One God.
One might wonder why the Divinity of Christ is veiled in the Synoptic Gospels and openly proclaimed John’s Gospel. According to tradition, St Peter was martyred around Rome in the mid 60’s AD. John’s Gospel refers to this martyrdom in Jn 21:19. John’s Gospel must have been written after this time since Nero’s persecution of Christians started in the mid 60’s AD. The Synoptic Gospels were probably written earlier then this before the first persecution of Christians by Rome. They did not want to be too plain about the Divinity of Christ since the Roman emperor was considered to be Divine. When John’s Gospel was written, there was no longer any reason to veil the Divinity of Christ. Those who say that the Divinity of Christ was a later embellishment of the human Jesus do not make sense. Christians were martyred and driven to the catacombs because of the doctrine of the Divinity of Christ. They were willing to die for the truth.
John wrote his Gospel, the last Gospel, for the sake of the truth. So many of the doctrines presented in the Synoptic Gospels are deepened and explained. While all the Gospels provide much food for contemplation, John’s Gospel can be described as a feast. Of course, it should be read and studied after the earlier Synoptic Gospels. Commentaries provided by Pope Benedict and many others are also helpful and even necessary. Because we need help to feast does not mean that we should not partake of God’s Banquet. –Jim Nugent, CFP
REFLECTIONS ON OUR RULE: THE SPIRIT OF POVERTY—HAPPY ARE YOU POOR
Consecrated religious take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Members of the Confraternity of Penitents live a religious rule of life but don’t take vows – we pledge to live the Rule of 1221 to the best of our ability.
The Rule of 1221, which was written for the followers of St. Francis of Assisi, is like a stool with four legs. Three of those legs are spelled out in some detail in the CFP Rule and Constitution – Prayer (a minimum of 90 minutes a day), Fasting, and Detachment from earthly things -- expressed through restrictions on clothing, accessories such as jewelry, and giving away unneeded goods. The fourth, mentioned in passing in Rule/Constitution 29c, is to pay up our debts and to begin tithing.
In many respects, the Rule/Constitution is a recipe book. You can find recipes that tell you how to make a vegan chocolate cake, but those recipes don’t come with a philosophical explanation of why a vegan chocolate cake might be better for your health. For that, you have to turn to one of a number of books that discuss a whole food, plant based lifestyle. So too with the CFP Rule/Constitutions. It tells you how to live the life, but not necessarily why to live the life or what to do about the fourth leg of the stool, the financial leg.
Fr. Thomas Dubay (1921-2010) filled that gap with a book, Happy Are You Poor: The Simple Life and Spiritual Freedom. He argues that all Christians are called to a sparing-sharing lifestyle. His was a voice crying in the wilderness, a wilderness filled with the prosperity gospel among Protestants and the confusion of post-Vatican II among Catholics.
In Happy Are You Poor Fr. Dubay argues that we are all called to a “sparing-sharing lifestyle.” Sparing, as in the sense of what many think of as minimalism or simplicity. His book is, I think, a perfect explanation of the penitential lifestyle philosophy, especially in light of Constitution Sec. 29c. So, for the next several months, I’m going to walk you through his book, although I urge you to get your own copy; no precis of mine will do it justice. Available from www.cfpholyangels.com - $2 off and free shipping! SKU NB028. When ordering by mail, please include the SKU number.
Fr. Dubay begins by acknowledging that to modern men and women, the idea that poverty is desirable seems to approach absurdity. Most people, when they think of poverty think of destitution, squalor, malnutrition, ragged clothing, dire housing, dirt, the absence of necessities for a decent human life. But a person committed to Christ is probably aware the Gospel repeatedly speaks of an ideal of poverty, that we must renounce all that we have to be a follower of Christ; that if we have two tunics, and another has none, we must give one of our tunics to her, etc.
“All this is stark. Admittedly. Indeed, for one who takes the Gospel seriously, it is frightening,” he says. And yet, “scripture scholars seem to be of one mind: that most New Testament texts that deal with poverty as an ideal are meant to be applied to all who follow Christ.”
“The greatest of all commandments, that we love God with our whole heart, whole soul and whole mind, is by definition a totality commandment, and is directed to all classes of people without exception.” To be sure, Fr. Dubay acknowledges, the layman’s living of frugality must differ in some ways from that of the religious and the cleric. But, he says, “evangelical poverty is radical, and it is radical for all.”
To be sure, this raises both philosophical and practical questions. While Fr. Dubay takes two pages to simply list the philosophical questions, over the next few months, I’m going to focus on the practical questions of most concern to most laypeople. How do husbands and wives live this radicality and yet provide for themselves and their children? How does this reconcile with the admonition that those who will not work should not eat?
One answer suggests itself right away to Fr. Dubay: Living in community. That’s what we do in families. Our family community may include not only husband and wife and their children but also grandparents. Within the family, there’s a sharing of resources – when children are young, the parents provide housing, food, clothing, everything for them. As the children get older, they may be expected to start to cover some of their own living expenses. The grandparents may be invited to come live with the family. If they do, it’s almost certain they will contribute to the household treasury. At some point, the children may step in to provide help to Mom and Dad in some form or other.
What about others? Fr. Dubay argues that gospel poverty requires us to adopt a sharing-sparing lifestyle. In terms of community, what might this mean? Fr. Dubay will explore this later, but in terms of community, there are three practical applications penitents can make in imitation of the early Christians.
First, let’s come together. To the extent possible, let’s live near each other. Let’s have each other over for dinner. Let’s do things together. Perhaps we get together each morning for Morning Prayer or evening for Evening Prayer. Let’s build a small penitential community within our larger parish or secular community.
Second, if we have room in our houses, let’s invite single penitents or others to live with us. Of course, they would be expected to do their share of chores and/or contribute financially to the household operation. Young singles often rent (or buy) houses or apartments; if there are several single penitents in an area, let’s encourage them to live together, to eat together, and to pray the Hours together. Penitents are welcome to apply for living at the CFP vocation houses – www.VocationDiscernmentHouse.com
Third, let’s support two community projects of the Confraternity. First, of course, is the Guadalupe House; we still need to raise $150,000 to rehabilitate this eight-bedroom house in Fort Wayne that is intended to support men in vocation discernment and other life choices. Since CFP’ers are not to incur debt, we won’t be taking out a mortgage or loan. With God’s grace, funds will be raised and work done when it can be paid for. See more about this project at 1000priests.org and GuadalupeVDH.com
Second, if we have a local chapter, let’s create a chapter alms fund, to be used to assist local penitents in time of need. If we’re not a member of a chapter, let’s make a small monthly donation to the national alms fund run by CFP headquarters in Fort Wayne. – Joel Whitaker, CFP
Next Month: Talk about confusion!
CONFRATERNITY PHOTO ALBUM: JULY 3 PICNIC AT CFP HEADQUARTERS
Since we CFP’ers don’t eat meat on Monday, we celebrated Sunday, July 2, as Independence Day. We enjoyed our meal of marinated, grilled flank steak plus all the sides.
Left to right: Jim Nugent, CFP, Elizabeth Lemire, CFP and house mother of Annunciation Women’s Discernment House, Erica Noll, house resident, Gabe Stein, fiancé of Erica Faunce, house resident (white blouse next to Gabe), Kay-Marie Nugent Bougher and husband Shannon Bougher, Sr. Sarah Masterson, CFP friend. Photo taken by Madeline Nugent, CFP
GUADLUPE MEN'S HOUSE UPDATE: CHAPEL OF 1000 PRIESTS
“I am the Bread of Life” original framed art work by artist Joseph Matose will be the focal point of the 1000 priests’ names being gathered for Guadalupe Men’s House Mary, Mother of Priests Chapel. The first six plaques, 5” square, of 15 lines each are shown, We are currently collecting priest sponsorships for Plaque 7. The plaques will be mounted around this original 4 foot acrylic painting.
Only $180 per sponsorship for a priest of your choice—living, deceased, or canonized. See www.1000priests.org or call us at 260-739-6882.
If you are willing to spend a few hours gathering sponsorships, please contact us. The priest sponsorships are our way of honoring holy priests while raising the $150,000 still needed to restore Guadalupe House so that men can live there and discern God’s direction in their lives. God will surely bless you! Please help.
EUCHARISTIC MIRACLES FROM THE VATICAN EXHIBIT AND BOOK
Did you know that the Confraternity of Penitents owns two Eucharistic Miracles of the World Exhibits? The posters in this exhibit were originally web pages designed by Blessed Carlo Acutis.
CFP Associates Paul and Susan Boudreau take the complete exhibit of 160 posters to churches in the Northeast USA. The Blessed Luchesio Chapter of the CFP was one of the first groups to purchase and display this exhibit.
A smaller exhibit of 48 posters was purchased by a benefactor and is being displayed in Indiana by members of Our Lady, Cause of Our Joy, CFP Chapter. This exhibit also displays about 60 quotes from Blessed Carlo Acutis. The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend held a massive Eucharistic procession and festival on June 19, the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. The CFP exhibit was part of this event.
The Confraternity of Penitents Holy Angels Gift Shop offers The Eucharistic Miracles of the World Book, containing all of the approved Eucharistic Miracles with photos, maps, explanations, and scientific investigations.
It also offers a biography of Blessed Carlo Acutis as well as documentary film in which the viewer can see and hear Carlo. An amazing evangelization tool for young and old!
In addition, the gift shop carries four different prayer cards of Blessed Carlo and several books and prayer cards on Eucharistic reverence and adoration including a prayer card in which Eucharistic Adoration can be offered as a gift for someone.
Use the search bar at www.cfpholyangels.com to access all of these products. God bless you for spreading the message of Christ's Body and Blood in the Eucharist!
FOLLOWING FRANCIS, FOLLOWING CHRIST: ACTING FOR LIFE
In their pictorial biography of Saint Francis of Assis (Chicago, IL: Henry Regnery Company, 1956, p. 57), Leonard von Matt and Walter Hauser mention an incident in the local lore of Todi, Italy. “One day at Todi, Francis met a woman going down to the Tiber, carrying a basket. He asked her what she was doing, and she replied that she was taking some washing down to the river. “No,” he said, “you are going to the river to drown the result of your own sin. Give me the child and I will look after it.” And he took the child. He then found in Todi a good woman who undertook to nurse it; and this was the beginning of the orphanage conducted by the Third Order in that town.”
On June 24, this year the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus but the traditional date of the Solemnity of Saint John the Baptist (moved to the 23rd this year), the US Supreme Court reversed the tragic Roe v. Wade 1973 abortion decision. In addition to thanking God for this step toward justice and protection for unborn human beings, penitents, and others who follow Christ’s teaching in all its splendor and its sacrifice, are bound to rejoice and praise God. But like Saint Francis in Todi, we must go on to helping women in pregnancy crisis. Francis was attuned to the woman’s attempt to conceal her sin by drowning her child. Note that he called a spade a spade here but went no further. He offered to care for her child. And so he did, through another woman whose day must have started off as ordinarily as Francis’s day had but who had her life changed when she said “yes” to nurturing another little life.
Now it’s time to get off the sidelines on the prolife issue. Help those you dialog with to frame the argument rightly. Primary question: “Do you agree that it is wrong to kill an innocent human being?” Most people agree to this. It is the meaning of the Fifth Commandment. “Thou shalt not kill.”
Without a doubt, the unborn baby is an innocent human being. If not, what is he or she?
Your listener may bring up all sorts of difficult cases. Suppose the child has severe physical or mental issues. These are discussed in depth in My Child, My Gift: A Positive Response to Serious Prenatal Diagnosis, available from the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop (1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN 46803), also available on Amazon.com The complete text is on line at www.mychildmygift.com
Then there are other scenarios. The pregnant, raped ten year old. The wife pregnant from an affair with a man of another race. The student. The older mom. The failed birth control. Having Your Baby When Others Say No! is an online book at www.avoidingabortion.com Be informed. Prayerful. Courageous. Supportive. Assist your local pregnancy center. Post links to these two online books on your social media. Spread the prolife message. Pregnant moms need you! –Madeline Pecora Nugent, CFP