Novice One Lessons

FIRST YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON ONE

 

STARTING OUT

 

Welcome to First Year Novice Formation for the Confraternity of Penitents! If you have arrived at this point, you have successfully completed the postulancy of the CFP. Since you wish to continue your formation, this is a good sign that God may be calling you to this way of life. Your spouse, if you are married, should have agreed to your following this Rule.

 

                This will be a year of major changes for you.

 

                First, if you do not yet have a spiritual director, please continue to seek one out. You should have obtained a spiritual director by the sixth month of your first year novice formation.

 

                Secondly, you will increase your prayer time to about ninety minutes daily, unless your spiritual director grants you a special dispensation. This may seem impossible now but it is not. You will be able to do this by daily surrendering your life to God and allowing Him to lead you into the embracing of this way of life.

 

The attitude toward all of these activities is summed up in the great penitential Psalm, Psalm 51, which, for penitents, both begins and ends the day. "Have mercy on me, O Lord, in Your kindness. In Your compassion, blot out my offense." As penitents, we recognize that God is kind and forgiving, and that we, as sinners, are in need of that forgiveness. We realize that we deserve God's justice, yet we are bold and trusting enough to claim His mercy.

 

The penitential way of life humbly recognizes both the holiness and majesty of God and the sinfulness of our own lives, not with fear of God's just anger but with trust in His loving kindness to those who turn from their own sins to His ways. As penitents, we know that we have never "arrived" at sanctity. Our conversion does not happen once. It must happen daily, minute by minute, until our wills are always one with His and we can truly say, in peace and joy, "Your will, not mine, be done."

 

Five texts form the basis of the three years of Novice formation. First, of course, is the Bible. This should be a Catholic edition of Scripture. Penitents should be daily reading a portion of Scripture and meditating on it. This should be done every day of our lives. It is impossible to exhaust the riches of God's holy word.

 

Secondly, the Catechism of the Catholic Church which contains the teachings of our Church. We are bound to uphold these. A great sin of our time is ignorance of what the Church actually teaches. We must know these teachings so that we can adhere to them ourselves and instruct others in them.

 

Third, the breviary (the Divine Office) and, for those who do not know how to use the breviary, a breviary instruction manual, The Divine Office for Dodos, available from the Confraternity of Penitents. The breviary is the official prayer book of the Catholic Church. To pray the Divine Office is to join in prayer with Catholics worldwide.

 

Fourth, the Rule and Constitutions of the Confraternity of Penitents.

Fifth, Franciscan Virtues Through the Year, which you began in the Postulancy.

 

 The book Difficulties in Mental Prayer is an optional text. Your formator may choose to make this text mandatory. If Difficulties in Mental Prayer is unavailable, a substitute book is Conversation with Christ: The Teaching of St. Teresa of Avila about Personal Prayer by Fr. Peter Thomas Rohrbach. Both books are available from the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop.

 

 Each month, reading assignments in Scripture, the Rule and Constitutions, The Divine Office for Dodos, Difficulties in Mental Prayer or Conversation with Christ, Franciscan Virtues, and the Catechism will be given. The penitent should do the reading assignment prior to the next month's meeting, should bring the texts to the meeting, and should prepare BRIEF answers (five sentences or less) to the questions marked ANSWER. These answers may be mailed, e mailed, or recorded on audio tape and are to be presented to your formator.

 

May God bless your walk with Him!

 

INTRODUCTION TO THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

 

Every penitent is to have a Catechism of the Catholic Church. Inexpensive paperback editions as well as the more costly hardback editions are available. The Catechism is also on the internet.

 

                The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains in detail the truths that we must believe as Catholics. In this lesson, we will grow familiar with the Catechism and read certain parts of it.

 

Let's begin by examining the Table of Contents. Page through this, reading the titles of Parts, Sections, and Articles. What do you notice?[1]

Following the Table of Contents is the Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum which tells why the Catechism was published. Read this section which Pope John Paul II wrote. What can you learn?

 

                A book's Prologue gives a general overview of the book and tells you how to use it. Read the Prologue to the Catechism. What do you learn from it? Look at section 25 "Above All--Charity." What is the object of all Christian virtue? What does this mean to you? Compare Section 25 with the Prologue to the Gospel of John. What similarities do you find?

 

Page through Part One: The Profession of Faith. Note how it is divided into Chapters with subdivisions called "Articles." At the end of each chapter is a summary entitled "In Brief."

 

Scan the remainder of the Catechism. Notice how this system of Chapters, Articles, and "In Brief" summaries is followed throughout.

Now turn to the Abbreviations section at the back of the Catechism. This section gives the abbreviations for texts cited in the Catechism. How thorough do the Biblical references seem to be? What other references are cited? What does this tell you about the Catechism?

 

Now look at the Subject Index. Read the Prefatory Note. How are the main entry words printed? Reference is made to "In Brief" texts. What are these? Where in the chapters do you find them?

 

The first entry under the Subject Index is Abortion. Note the reference--2270-75. Find this subject in the Catechism. Do the numbers refer to pages or to numbered sections of the Catechism?

 

Turn to the Abortion topic in the Catechism. Next to the paragraph numbered 2270 are two other numbers--1703 and 357. What do you think these are? Find sections 1703 and 357 in the Catechism. Do you see that these two sections support the teaching in section 2270?

 

Read the section on abortion, noting its content, supporting sections, and footnoted material. Read the supporting sections as well.

Look again under the Abortion heading in the Subject Index. You will note references to sections 2319 and 2322-23 which are in italics.

 

The Prefatory Note states that italicized numbers refer to "In Brief" texts. Read those texts also.

 

Have you understood better the Church's stand on abortion after reading this section?

 

Now look through the Subject Index for any subject that interests you. Look up the section references and the supporting section references in the Catechism and read them. Look at the footnotes to the sections you are reading. What are you learning about this subject?

 

The first part of the Catechism is based on our Profession of Faith. All Catholics, and certainly all penitents, must adhere to this profession. So we must know what the profession is. From now on, part of every formation lesson will include some work with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

 

We will begin with this first section of the Catechism. Those who are in Chapters or Circles can discuss the work on the Catechism with their spiritual assistants. Those who are not in Chapters or Circles should spend some time discussing these lessons with their spiritual directors.

 

The lessons will be short enough so that even those with time constraints or complex family obligations should be able to complete the assignments with little trouble.

 

All the lessons from here on will proceed as follows:

 

  • Penitents will receive a "reading assignment" of about 80 sections in the Catechism. It is suggested that a penitent read about 4 sections each day and reflect briefly on them. This should take between 5 and 10 minutes daily.

  • Study assignments on the Rule and Constitutions will be given.

  • A brief Scripture study will be conducted monthly on the theme of that year's formation (prayer: year 1; fasting: year 2; external simplicity: year 3).

  • Each assignment will be followed by questions marked ANSWER. Please answer the questions BRIEFLY (five sentences or less) in writing, e mail, or on audio tape and return the answers to your formator.

  • Penitents should already be spending at least fifteen minutes daily in mental prayer. Meditation may be on Scripture, the Catechism, the Rule and Constitutions, the monthly newsletter, or on whatever the Holy Spirit gives as a theme.

  • Penitents should have on hand a Mental Prayer Journal (any notebook will do) to write down any insights gained during the time of mental prayer. Writing in the journal should not be considered a daily task. The journal is available should the penitent wish to use it. Some days the penitent may write much. Other days, he or she may write nothing. The goal is not to fill up the prayer journal but to use it to record any important thoughts.

  • Penitents will discuss their answers to the questions with their Chapter/Circle and formator. Jottings in the Mental Prayer Journal should be shared with the penitent's personal spiritual director. Theological questions should be directed to the spiritual assistant.

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 1-25 and 2558-2606

 

 ANSWER: What is the main function of humanity and how does the Catechism assist in this? List what you feel are the three most important truths taught about prayer in Sections 2558-2606 and tell why you selected these.

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

"Again I tell you, if two of you join your voices on earth to pray for anything whatever, it shall be granted to you by My Father in heaven. Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in their midst." (Matthew 18: 19-20)

 

Jesus in Matthew 28:20 promises, "And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world." In verses 19-20 of Matthew 18 we have our Lord's promise in action. Wherever even two of His people are, there He is with them.

 

Is He not with us when we are alone? Yes, He is. But in Matthew 18: 19-20, Jesus is saying that, when two people agree together on praying for the things of God, we have a quorum. We have Church. We have congregation.

 

The "marks," or obvious signs of the Catholic faith are the Sacraments. If we have the Sacraments and a Catholic congregation with only two, or three people in the service, do we have Church? Here the Lord answers with a loud, “Yes!" If any two agree together, as we do when we confess our Catholic faith with mutual charity, then He is there with us.

 

Just think how powerful our prayers are before our Lord's "throne of grace" when we have several of His Holy-Spirit-filled Christians agreeing together! This is especially true when we speak together the "prayer of the Church," the sacred liturgy.

 

We are not only in agreement together in the here and now, but also with every saint who has ever participated in the divine liturgy before us. Prayer, in small groups and at the Mass, is especially blessed by the Lord of the Church.

 

  • Do you experience the power of agreeing together in your prayer life?

  • Can you see the benefit of having prayer fellowship with a consecrated group, such as the Confraternity of Penitents?

  • Have you experienced the sensation of being connected with all the Christian people throughout the past who have participated in the Mass and liturgy of the Church?

  • Will you seek a partner to pray with you in prayer as you seek God's will in your CFP formation?

 

 ANSWER: Answer question two above and give your reasons in writing.

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Look over the entire Rule and Constitutions. Study Chapter VI, sections 19 through 21.

 

 ANSWER: Are you supporting the Confraternity of Penitents by your attendance at and participation in meetings and by your financial help (as much as you can)?

 

 Chapter IV. Read section 12. Note all the prayer options in section 12 of the Constitutions.

 

 ANSWER: Am I fulfilling the prayer requirements of the Rule, as expected of me at this point of formation (Constitutions 12, 12l, 12m, 12n)? If I am not, how can I begin to do so?

 

 Addendum to the Constitutions

 

 ANSWER: Do you have a spiritual director? If so, how is your spiritual direction working out? If not, how will you begin to seek one?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 13: Faith. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

DIVINE OFFICE FOR DODOS (Optional)

 

 Look at Table of Contents. Discuss how each part builds on the other. Look at first two sections in general, noting methods for using breviary instruction. Read Sections 1 and 2.

 

DIFFICULTIES IN MENTAL PRAYER (Optional)

 

 Read the Preface.

 

ANSWER: What do you hope to get out of reading this book?

CONVERSATION WITH CHRIST (Optional)

 

Read the Preface and scan the Table of Contents.  

 

ANSWER: What do you hope to gain from reading this book?

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

  • Submit BRIEF answers to the above questions to your formator.

 

  • Attend all meetings of your CFP Chapter (or Circle). If you must miss, turn in a written excuse to your Chapter's secretary. If you are an isolated CFP member, keep in monthly contact with the by-mail or internet community.

 

  • Having successfully completed your postulancy, you have begun to live the Rule by following certain guidelines which you will continue all your life as a penitent. These are what you should already be doing:

 

  • Daily praying in the morning the Apostles' Creed, all of Psalm 51, all of Psalm 54, and verses 1 to 32 of Psalm 119 as did the first penitents. The "Glory Be" is prayed after the Psalms.

 

  • Daily praying in the evening, the Apostles' Creed and all of Psalm 51 as did the first penitents with a "Glory Be" prayed after the Psalm. Making a nightly examination of conscience and praying an Act of Contrition which is part of the Office of Night Prayer.

 

  • Spending fifteen minutes daily in mental prayer. This might involve reading and pondering Scripture and fulfills the obligation for the Office of Prime.

 

  • Always wearing a visible cross or crucifix unless you are already wearing the habit of a Third Order.

 

  • Attending daily Mass, if possible.

 

  • Praying the Psalter yearly for deceased penitents.

 

  • Receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation monthly and Eucharist weekly, at a minimum.

 

  • Praying a Marian Consecration prayer daily.

 

  • Praying a daily five decade Rosary if possible. Praying a fifteen decade Rosary is one prayer option that you can choose.

 

  • Embracing an apostolate from either the spiritual or corporal works of mercy.

 

  • Abstaining from meat on every Friday of the year with the exception of Church Solemnities and special celebrations and praying an Our Father or another prayer before and after every meal.

 

  • Daily asking the Lord to help you surrender your life to Him and praying for the Holy Father, bishops, priests, religious, your spiritual assistant, your spiritual director, all penitents, all sinners, and yourself.

 

 Are you doing these? If not, implement them into your life.

 

[1] In this introductory section, the questions on the Catechism are intended to help Novices learn to use the Catechism. Novices should answer each question and then proceed to the next. Answers need not be written out and presented to the formator. 

FIRST YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON TWO

 

RULE LESSON

 

Review the Preamble to the Rule and Constitutions and the Object of the Commitment, Fruits of the Commitment, and Purpose (Charism) in the Constitutions.

 

 When was our Primitive Rule written?

 What is penance? How is it achieved?

 What should the Rule, well lived, achieve for the penitent?

 Why should a penitent be careful to avoid spiritual pride?

 

 ANSWER: Choose one of the above questions and submit your written answer to your formator.

 

 Review Constitutions 12a and 12b.

 

 ANSWER: How will you embrace the spirit of Constitutions 12a and 12b?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full." (John 16:24)

 

 There are three main things in this verse:

  • Pray in Jesus' Name.

  • Ask.

  • If you do the previous two, then your "joy may be full."

 

Jesus became one of us. That is the mystery of the incarnation. The Infinite, personal God of the universe became a flesh and blood human like us "in all ways, except without sin."

 

Jesus came to earth with a mission--to reconcile fallen mankind with God. He accomplished this mission through His sinless life, His sacrificial death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.

 

Jesus says in John 14:6, "no one comes to the Father but through Me." How does this truth apply to our prayer life?

 

The writer of the book of Hebrews says, "Since, then, we have a great High Priest Who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our profession of faith . . . let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and favor and to find help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:14-16).

 

Jesus has opened the Holy of Holies for us, so that our prayers may ascend to God. They ascend to the throne of grace when we pray in the name of Jesus.

 

Next, we need to ask for what we need or, even better, for what God wants to give us. James the apostle tells us that "You do not obtain because you do not ask (James 4:2). So often we are too busy with the troubles of the world to remember that we have Jesus as our Great High Priest. We need only ask Him for help. Did He not say, "I will never leave you nor forsake you?"

 

Finally, "you will receive that your joy may be full." Does Jesus promise us whatever material blessing we want? First, of all, He is talking about things that will strengthen our spiritual walk. Jesus also tells us to, "lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth..., but instead lay up treasures in heaven." We are told elsewhere in Scripture (1 John 5:14), "We have this confidence in God: that He hears us whenever we ask for anything according to His will."

 

God has a plan for our lives. He always answers our prayers. Sometimes it is "no." Other times it is "yes," and sometimes it is "later" or "I have something better for you." We are approaching Christian maturity when we can conform our will to His Divine Will. We live each day one at a time, walking with Him "in the spirit." If we are praying, reading His word, and living a Christian, God centered life, then "our joy will be full."

 

 1) What is so "special" about the Name of Jesus?

 2) What is the place of saying, "not My will, but Thy Will be done," in our prayer life?

 3) Is there a difference between "joy" and "happiness?"

 

 ANSWER: Submit to your formator a written response to one of the above questions.

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 2607-2682.

 

 ANSWER: List six ways to pray in these sections and give the section number that refers to each way.

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 14: Fraternity. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

DIVINE OFFICE FOR DODOS (Optional)

 

 Read Section 3.

 

DIFFICULTIES IN MENTAL PRAYER (Optional)

 

 Read Chapters 1 and 2.

 

 ANSWER: Explain how man's being a rational animal relates to prayer.

CONVERSATION WITH CHRIST (Optional)

 

Read Chapters 1 and 2.

 

ANSWER: Why is meditation necessary to growth in the spiritual life?

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Use a prayer journal at least once a week to record your spiritual progress. What are your feelings about using this?

 

  • Resolve to be at peace with all from now on.

 

  • Implement anything not yet being done from First Month Assignments.

 

  • If you do not yet have a spiritual director, begin to actively seek one now. The Confraternity through its Chapters and leadership can assist you.

 

  • Return BRIEF answers to questions in this lesson to your formator.

 

 

FIRST YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON THREE

 

RULE LESSON

 

Chapter I of the Rule and Constitutions: Daily Life.

 

Review all the provisions of Chapter I of the Rule and Constitutions. Note that you are expected to live none of them yet with the exception of Constitutions 2g.

 

 ANSWER: What do you suppose is the purpose of Chapter I?

 

Review Constitutions 12e and Appendix B.

 

 ANSWER: Why do penitents pray a daily Marian Consecration Prayer? Do you feel that praying this has strengthened your commitment to living the CFP way of life?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 2683-2758.

 

 ANSWER: List three teachings that especially spoke to you from these sections and tell why they were meaningful to you.

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "I give you My word, if you are ready to believe that you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer, it shall be done for you." (Mark 11:24)

 

Here is another outstanding promise from our God. But you may notice a contingency. What is that contingency? What role do you think it plays? Just in case you aren't getting the point of this verse yet, the topic is; "What role does our faith play in our prayer life?"

 

Martin Luther, who was once a son of the Church, but later rebelled against her, once said that, "faith is trusting that God will take care of you in the way that's in your best interest." Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him...." Faith, or trust and belief in God as our provider and the "lover of our souls," is a pre-requisite for answered prayer.

 

Does that mean that God will not answer our prayers of desperation on that "dark night of the soul?" Yes, He will answer, but in His purpose and in His time. The process we must go through will mature our walk of faith. That verse in Hebrews ends like this: "Anyone who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who seek Him."

 

  • Does this verse in Mark mean that if we believe strongly enough we will receive anything we materially want?

  • Does this verse mean that if we have faith "God will supply all of our needs from His riches in Glory?"

 

 ANSWER: Answer the above questions in writing.

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 15: Generosity. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

DIVINE OFFICE FOR DODOS (Optional)

 

 Read Section 4.

 

DIFFICULTIES IN MENTAL PRAYER (Optional)

 

 Read Chapters 3 and 4.

 

 ANSWER: What is discursive prayer? How may we practice it?

CONVERSATION WITH CHRIST (Optional)

 

Read Chapters 3 and 4.

 

ANSWER: Briefly explain St. Teresa’s method of meditation.

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

  • Pray Night Prayer every night using the breviary.

 

  • Return BRIEF answers to questions in above lessons to your formator.

FIRST YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON FOUR

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Chapters II and III of the Rule and Constitutions and Appendix A of the Constitutions.

 

 Note that at this stage of formation, you are not bound to observe any of these Constitutions with the exception of abstaining from meat on Fridays and to observe the Church appointed days of fast and abstinence.

 

 Why do you suppose the Rule has a fasting/abstinence dimension?

 

 Explain the Church fast and abstinence laws.

 

 Who is exempt from fasting and abstinence?

 

 What days are days of abstinence for the Catholic Church?

 

 What are days of fast and abstinence for the Catholic Church?

 

 ANSWER: Select one of the above questions and submit your answer in writing to your formator.

 

 Read Rule/Constitutions 7.

 

 ANSWER: What does Rule/Constitutions 7 require?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 2759-2837.

 

 ANSWER: How is God the Father made known in the Lord's Prayer and what is to be our relationship to Him?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "Rising early the next morning, He went off to a lonely place in the desert; there He was absorbed in prayer." (Mark 1:35)

 

Isn't this a beautiful model for prayer?

 

What do we learn from our Lord's "school of prayer?"

 

The Scriptures say that in this case Christ arose early. It is fine, of course to pray, at any hour of the day, and in fact the apostles prayed the office of the hours throughout the day. However, it is often in the early morning when we have our most uncluttered thoughts and are the most open to hearing the voice of God in our hearts. For many of us, unless we are standing up late at night, prayer is a sure ticket to nodding off to sleep. However, when we awake refreshed we can offer up some quality time for our first office of prayer.

 

This scripture also says Jesus, "went off to a lonely place in the desert." There is a "time for every purpose under heaven," and this applies to our prayer life as well.

 

There are times when a group prayer is best. Our time at Mass is a special prayer as the whole covenant people of God meet together to offer up the liturgy and receive God's gift in the True Body and Blood of Christ. Yet, there is also a time when contemplative prayer is indicated. That special quiet time alone with our Savior is precious and should be included in our busy day.

 

  • A prayer closet is a quiet spot within our house where we can go to pray alone. Must we have a "prayer" closet? If we want one, how can we construct one or create one at home?

  • Is it a part of your prayer life to have moments alone with the blessed Trinity?

  • In a quiet and solitary prayer time, what might we gain in our prayers and in the responses we receive from God?

 

ANSWER: Where do you go at home when you wish to pray alone? How often do you pray alone? If you wish to have more time alone with God, how might you achieve your goal?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 16: Gratitude. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

DIVINE OFFICE FOR DODOS (Optional)

 

 Read Section 5.

 

DIFFICULTIES IN MENTAL PRAYER (Optional)

 

 Read Chapters 5 and 6.

 

 ANSWER: Discuss one difficulty in prayer and how to combat it.

CONVERSATION WITH CHRIST (Optional)

 

Read Chapters 5 and 6.

 

ANSWER: How does one prepare for meditation?

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Pray Night Prayer nightly using breviary.

 

  • Continue with all prayers and penances up to this point.

 

  • In line with Rule/Constitutions 7, begin to pray an Our Father or other regular meal prayer both before and after meals. If you forget or are fasting completely from food, pray Three Our Father's as stated in Constitutions 7a.

 

  • Return BRIEF answers to questions above to your formator.

FIRST YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON FIVE

 

RULE LESSON

 

Chapter V, Rule/Constitutions 15.

 

How often do you receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

 

How often do you receive the Eucharist?

 

Are you tithing?

 

 ANSWER: Why do you think that the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist and the admonition to restore what belongs to others and to pay tithes are all combined in section 15 of the Rule and Constitutions?

 

Rule and Constitutions 12, Constitutions 12c and 12d.

 

 ANSWER: What substitutions are allowed for the Divine Office and when might you use them?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 2838 to 2865 and Sections 26-53.

 

 ANSWER: How does the ending of the Lord's Prayer fit with what is discussed in Sections 26-53?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "Then, after singing songs of praise, they walked out to the Mount of Olives." (Matthew 26:30)

 

Do you ever "sing" the blessing over your family's meal together? It is often a practice in many liturgical traditions to sing some of the church's prayers. For instance, at Mass we often sing the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God you take away the sin of the world), and the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy Lord of Hosts....).

 

Often when we sing a spiritual song, or hymn (by the way, is there a distinction between these?), can we feel our hearts lifting up to God? The Book of Revelation indicates that in heaven we will "sing our praises to God." What better way to lift our hearts to Him?

 

What if you can't sing like an opera star or a country singer? Take heart. You will not be judged on your vocal prowess. The Bible only says, "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord" but not so as to disturb people around you.

 

  • Have you ever tried singing a verse of a spiritual song at the dinner table instead of a spoken prayer?

  • What do you think of the idea?

  • Is there a time when your spirit soars to the heavens as you sing in church?

  • Do you ever spontaneously sing your prayers to God?

  • Singing a hymn is part of the Divine Office. Many religious chant or sing the entire Office. Why do you think song is included in this official prayer of the Church?

 

 ANSWER: Choose one of the above questions to answer in writing for your formator.

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 17: Honesty. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

DIVINE OFFICE FOR DODOS (Optional)

 

 Read Section 6.

 

DIFFICULTIES IN MENTAL PRAYER (Optional)

 

 Read Chapter 7 and 8.

 

 ANSWER: What is affective prayer? How may we practice it if we don't "feel" like praying?

CONVERSATION WITH CHRIST (Optional)

 

Read Chapter 7

 

ANSWER: How does one select the material for meditation?

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Pray Morning and Evening Prayer every weekday (Monday-Friday), using a breviary.

 

  • Actively seek a spiritual director if needed.

 

  • Submit BRIEF answers to questions above to your formator.

     

FIRST YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON SIX

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Rule/Constitutions 16-17.

 

 ANSWER: Why do you think these two sections are part of the penitential life?

 

 Chapter IV, Section 12 of the Rule and Constitutions, particularly Constitutions 12f, 12g, 12h, 12i, and Appendix C.

 

 ANSWER: What is the preferred method of formal prayer for the Rule? What can be substituted?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 54-141.

 

 ANSWER: 1. Name three of the many ways God speaks to us. 2. What is faith and how may it be developed?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

"Rejoice” in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice! Everyone should see how unselfish you are. The Lord is near. Dismiss all anxiety from your minds. Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions, full of gratitude. Then God's own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:4-7)

 

In this verse we hear once again, "Ask!" But St. Paul makes another connection. He says "Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions, full of gratitude."

 

Commentator R.C. Lenski says, "Do you first have to inform God? God certainly knows even before we ask (Matthew 6:8), but God bids us ask and promises to give us what we ask. Those, who like the skeptic, refuse to ask, simply do not have." (James 4:2) Why do you think God wants us to ask when He already knows what we need?

 

Supplications in this case mean "petitioning." We are instructed to make these known in every need or trouble. In what better hands can any trouble rest than God's? Paul assures us that God will attend to all that we ask by either granting our petition, or giving us something better above what we ask or think.

 

We are told to ask with "thanksgiving." This means constant joy (mind you, not necessarily happiness). And as R. Lenski says, "Only a thankful heart is a joyful heart."

 

  • Do you take time each day to consciously think how God has blessed you?

  • Do so now.

  • Does our "thankfulness" only flow because God has given to us, or because of our relationship with Him?

 

 ANSWER: Time yourself. For five minutes, write down every blessing you can think of that you have received. Share, in writing, your reflection on this activity with your formator.

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 18: Hope. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

DIVINE OFFICE FOR DODOS (Optional)

 

 Read Section 7.

 

DIFFICULTIES IN MENTAL PRAYER (Optional)

 

 Read Chapters 9 and 10.

 

ANSWER: How does mortification support prayer?

CONVERSATION WITH CHRIST (Optional)

 

Read Chapter 8

 

ANSWER: Explain what the consideration is and how to practice it.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • You should have a spiritual director by now and should be having regular, that is at least monthly, appointments with him or her. If you do not yet have a spiritual director, speak with your Chapter's council and spiritual assistant or your Regional Minister and strive to obtain one as soon as possible.

 

  • If you own any lethal weapons that are not being used for hunting game, discuss with your spiritual director the legitimacy of owning these in light of Rule/Constitutions 16. In certain occupations or certain neighborhoods, possession of such weapons may be necessary.

 

  • Continue with all practices already being performed as a penitent.

 

  • Submit BRIEF answers to the questions above to your formator.

FIRST YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON SEVEN

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Rule/Constitutions 18, Constitutions 18a-d and Appendix D.

 

 ANSWER: Evaluate yourself on how well you are living each of these provisions.

 

 Chapter IV of the Rule and Constitutions, with attention to Constitutions 12o and Option One.

 

 ANSWER: Does Option One appeal to you as your prayer option under this Rule? Why or why not?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 142-231.

 

 ANSWER: Write a concise definition for faith, creed, and God.

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your faults." (Mark 11:25)

 

Ouch! Here is another prayer pre-requisite! God more or less tells us not to bother asking Him for anything, including forgiveness, unless we are at least willing to begin the forgiveness process in our own lives.

 

Think of it--who are we to not forgive a neighbor, friend, or family member, when God forgave us for crucifying His Son? We killed the Son of God, yet God forgives us for the sake of His Son. Are we to forgive some human wrong done to us? Yes. We must forgive "so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your faults."

 

What if someone has done us a horrendous wrong? What if we have been assaulted physically by an attacker for instance? Does this verse mean we have to instantaneously, wholeheartedly forgive the abuser? It means we must have purpose of amendment. We might have to start out very, very small. We might have to ask God, "Dear Lord, please give me the beginning of the desire to just start the forgiveness." Even from the humble beginning of just asking for the will to begin to forgive, the Triune God can work a powerful change in us.

 

1) How should our forgiveness mirror God's own forgiveness? Does it?

 

2) Why does God insist that we pray, "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us?"

 

3) Do you have a "seed of bitterness" in your heart? If so, begin the powerful process today, and let forgiveness reign.

 

 ANSWER: Choose one of the questions above and submit its answer in writing to your formator.

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 19: Humility. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

DIVINE OFFICE FOR DODOS (Optional)

 

 Read Section 8.

 

DIFFICULTIES IN MENTAL PRAYER (Optional)

 

 Read Chapters 11 and 12.

 

 ANSWER: What are some ways to deal with distractions in prayer?

CONVERSATION WITH CHRIST (Optional)

 

Read Chapters 9 and 10.

 

ANSWER: Explain how to conduct the conversation with Jesus and how to conclude it.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Return BRIEF answers to above questions to your formator.

 

  • Pray Morning Prayer using the breviary every day.

 

  • Follow the provisions of Constitutions 18a-d.

 

  • If you sin habitually through speech, devise, with your spiritual director, a way to combat this, and be sure to pray three Our Fathers whenever you do sin by speech.

 

  • Determine with your spouse and your spiritual director how better to teach your household to love and serve God. Implement that plan.

 

  • Continue your other penitential practices.

 

 During the ninth month of First Year Novitiate, you will be asked to make a personal evaluation of your journey so far into a life of penance. Is it your intent to complete this year successfully and move into second year novitiate? Between now and the ninth month, please pray about this question. It is very important. If you are behind on a few lessons, strive to catch up. If you need help understanding the lesson or getting through it, let your formator know.

FIRST YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON EIGHT

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Chapter VII, Rule/Constitutions 22-24.

 

 ANSWER: Evaluate yourself on your fulfilling of these sections of the Rule and Constitutions.

 

 Chapter IV, Rule/Constitutions 12 with attention to Constitutions 12i and 12o, Options Two, Three, Four, and Five.

 

 ANSWER: Can these options be used at any time as substitutes for Option One? Why do you say this?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 232-314.

 

 ANSWER: What traits of God show that He is Master of creation?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "He said to them, 'When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins for we too forgive all who do us wrong; and subject us not to the trial." (Luke 11:2-4)

 

Prayer in its purest form, is an act of worship, where we lift up our needs to God and offer Him our praise and thanksgiving! This we owe our Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier.

 

Why do we pray the "Our Father" (Lord's Prayer)? It is the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray. It is a perfect model for our prayers. And it is "awesome" (in the words of Mother Angelica)!

 

The "Our Father" has:

  • An introduction

  • Seven petitions

  • A conclusion

 

In the introduction (Our Father who art in heaven), God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are his true children. Thus, like beloved children asking a beloved father, we can, boldly and confidently, ask Him for whatever we need.

It was often said that the early Church's "desert fathers" were so deeply immersed in meditation that when they would start to pray the Lord's Prayer, they often could get no further than, "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name...."

 

The thoughts contained in this prayer are so often skimmed over. Perhaps we don't appreciate them as we should. Here are the seven petitions. Meditate briefly on each one, asking what each means to you.

 

  • Hallowed by Thy name....

  • Thy kingdom come.....

  • Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven....

  • Give us this day, our daily bread....

  • And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us....

  • And lead us not into temptation....

  • But deliver us from evil....

 

 ANSWER: Which of the above petitions means the most to you and why?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 20: Imitation of Jesus. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

DIVINE OFFICE FOR DODOS (Optional)

 

 Read Section 9.

 

DIFFICULTIES IN MENTAL PRAYER (Optional)

 

 Read Chapters 13 and 14.

 

 ANSWER: Describe three difficulties besides distractions that one may experience in prayer. How should one deal with them?

CONVERSATION WITH CHRIST (Optional)

 

Read Chapters 11 and 12

 

ANSWER: What are meditative recitation of prayers and meditative reading? How do these differ from vocal prayer and spiritual reading?

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

  • Add Evening Prayer to your daily prayer schedule. Continue receiving instruction on how to pray Morning and Evening Prayer.

 

  • Submit BRIEF answers to the above questions to your formator.

 

  • Visit, call, or write ill members.

 

  • Attend, if possible, the funerals of deceased members. Pray the fifty psalms within eight days of the demise of any member.

 

  • Pray the Psalter yearly for all living and deceased penitents.

 

Continue penitential practices of previous months.

FIRST YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON NINE

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Chapter VII, Rule/Constitutions with particular attention to sections 28 and 38.

 

 ANSWER: Choose one of these sections and discuss how this might be implemented in your CFP Chapter or Circle.

 

 Chapter IV, Rule/Constitutions 13-14.

 

 ANSWER: Who is dispensed from saying the Hours and attending Mass?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 315-395.

 

 ANSWER: Compare good and bad angels and humanity, listing similarities and differences.

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

"Be on your guard lest your spirits become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and worldly cares. The great day will suddenly close in on you like a trap. The day I speak of will come upon all who dwell on the face of the earth. So be on the watch. Pray constantly for the strength to escape whatever is in prospect, and to stand secure before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:34-36)

 

There was a highway patrolman one day, sitting by the side of the road when he noticed something curious. There was a car, full of nuns, creeping ever so slowly down the highway. Cars were racing up behind the nun's car and honking angrily before speeding around them.

 

The officer drove up and stopped them with his flashing lights. When he walked over to their car he noticed an elderly nun was driving.

"Sister", he said, "I stopped you because you were going slower than the legal minimum speed limit. Did you know you can't drive any slower than 45 on this freeway?"

 

She smiled at him and said, "Officer, I feel so silly, I thought that the speed limit here was 26 miles per hour."

 

"No, Sister," the officer replied grinning, "that's the highway number sign."

 

He then looked in the back seat where he saw a strange sight. There were four young nuns, all shivering and gripping the back of their seat in horror. Concerned, he asked the elderly driver, "Sister, why are all those nuns back there so upset?"

 

"Well, you see," she said, "we just turned off of highway 101."

 

Jesus warns us to "Be on the watch. Pray constantly for the strength to escape whatever is in prospect and to stand secure before the Son of Man."

 

Do we take for granted that we will be counted among the elect? We may be correct in thinking that we are, but Jesus warns us against complacency. Our number one prayer concern should be our salvation and the salvation of the world. The Bible tells us that it is a "fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:31)

 

This prayer can become a favorite and is often prayed along with the Rosary. "Oh my Jesus, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls into heaven, especially those who are most in need of Your mercy. All for the Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, all through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, all in union with Saint Joseph."

 

ANSWER: The nuns in the earlier joke thought that they were about to meet their Maker. What are your feelings about death? How are you preparing for your own death? Do the prayer requirements of the Rule help?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 21: Joy. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

DIVINE OFFICE FOR DODOS (Optional)

 

 Read Section 10.

 

DIFFICULTIES IN MENTAL PRAYER (Optional)

 

 Read Chapters 15 and 16.

 

 ANSWER: What is our union with Christ and how should this influence our prayer life?

CONVERSATION WITH CHRIST (Optional)

 

Read Chapters 13 and 14.

 

ANSWER: What are the difficulties in meditation and how does one combat them?

 

SELF-EVALUATION

 

 Am I keeping up with the novice lessons and turning in my answers on time?

 

 Am I incorporating the assignments into my life?

 

 Is it my intent to successfully complete the next months of the formation and move into Second Year Novitiate?

 

 Or do I feel it would be better for me to repeat or continue this year of formation before moving on?

 

ANSWER: Do you or do you not plan to move into Second Year Novitiate and why?

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

  • Submit BRIEF answers to the above questions to the formator.

 

  • Begin to pray the Office of Readings daily or make another substitution by choosing one of the prayer options.

 

  • During Lent and Advent, attend Daily Mass unless impossible or a serious inconvenience intervenes.

 

  • Show proper reverence when receiving the Eucharist.

 

FIRST YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON TEN

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Chapter VII, Rule/Constitutions 26-27.

 

 ANSWER: What do these sections say to you about charity (love), forgiveness, and a life of penance?

 

 Chapter VII, Rule/Constitutions 29-31 and 33.

 

 ANSWER: What do these sections say to you about the commitment of living this holy way of life?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 396-483.

 

 ANSWER: How are the fall of humanity and the redemption of Christ related? How should our faith respond to this?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "In prayer you call upon a Father who judges each one justly on the basis of his actions. Since this is so, conduct yourselves reverently during your sojourn in a strange land." (1 Peter 1:17)

 

We are to be imitators of Christ. Holiness is not an option. Perfection this side of heaven is, unfortunately, not an option either. Even the holiest of the saints had to rely on the perfections of Jesus as their source for eternal life.

 

As you look at verse 17 notice the verbs. But what's more, notice the verbs in the four preceding verses (13-16) and in the two which follow (18-19). Here is the full text: "So gird the loins of your understanding; live soberly; set all your hope on the gift to be conferred on you when Jesus Christ appears. As obedient sons, do not yield to the desires that once shaped you in your ignorance.

 

Rather, become holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, after the likeness of the holy One Who called you; remember, Scripture says, 'Be holy, for I am holy.' In prayer you call upon a Father who judges each one justly on the basis of his actions. Since this is so, conduct yourselves reverently during your sojourn in a strange land.

 

Realize that you were delivered from the futile way of life your fathers handed on to you, not by any diminishable sum of silver or gold, but by Christ's blood beyond all price, the blood of a spotless, unblemished lamb chosen before the world's foundation and revealed for your sake in these last days. It is through Him that you are believers in God, the God Who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory. Your faith and hope, then, are centered in God."

 

We have action verbs- "do not yield, become, be, conduct, gird, live soberly...." Even though we are promised the help of the Holy Spirit to keep us in the faith from our baptism on, this doesn't mean that we cannot fall away and lose our reward. Be vigilant.

 

However, if you look at verses 18-19 you will see the source of our hope and all of the grace that is necessary to make it to heaven- Jesus Christ. "Realize that you were delivered from the futile way of life your fathers handed on to you, not by any diminishable sum of silver or gold, but by Christ's blood beyond all price, the blood of a spotless, unblemished lamb chosen before the world's foundation and revealed for your sake in these last days. It is through Him that you are believers in God, the God Who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory. Your faith and hope, then, are centered in God." If we have sinned, we can turn to Him for our forgiveness.

 

1 John 1:8-9 says, "If we say, 'We are free of the guilt of sin,' we deceive ourselves; the truth is not to be found in us. But if we acknowledge our sins, He Who is just can be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrong." The promise is ours. This is especially given to us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (or penance).

 

 1) Are you actively working on becoming holy? How?

 

 2) How often do you frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

 

 ANSWER: Do you see the spiritual life and the pursuit of holiness as active or passive and why?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 22: Justice. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

DIVINE OFFICE FOR DODOS (Optional)

 

Read Section 11.

 

DIFFICULTIES IN MENTAL PRAYER (Optional)

 

 Read Chapters 17 and 18. ANSWER: Briefly describe the journey of prayer. How may Our Lady assist us on this journey?

CONVERSATION WITH CHRIST (Optional)

 

Read Chapters 15 and 16.

 

ANSWER: Describe briefly the regular and alternate methods of meditation. Practice both methods at least twice this month.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Submit BRIEF answers to the above questions to your formator.

 

  • Begin to pray the Office of Readings on Feasts, Memorials, and Solemnities or choose and implement another prayer option.

 

  • If you are not at peace with someone, attempt to make peace following section 26 of the Rule and Constitutions. If you are not sure how to do this, seek the advice of your spiritual director. Also make a list of your "enemies" and pray daily for them by name.

FIRST YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON ELEVEN

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Chapter VII, Rule/Constitutions 32, 34, 35, 36, 39.

 

 ANSWER: How could scandal among members of the Confraternity harm others and the Church?

 

 Chapter VII, Rule/Constitutions 37.

 

 ANSWER: What power does the Visitor have regarding the penitents' living of this Rule?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 484-570.

 

 ANSWER: What to you is the most meaningful mystery of Christ's life and why?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "The Lord said in reply to her: 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and upset about many things; one thing only is required. Mary has chosen the better portion, and she shall not be deprived of it.'" (Luke 10:41-42)

 

Did Jesus not say, "let not your heart be troubled," and "be not afraid." This same Jesus says "listen, guys and gals, your lives are not your own. They were purchased at a price. Worry won't get you anywhere, because it is God's world and He has a plan for you."

 

Okay, okay, I know, that was a paraphrase, but the truth is there somewhere. I saw a sign once that said, "Good Morning! This is God. I will be handling all of your problems today. I will not need your help. So, relax and have a great day!"

 

This is true. It is also true that we are to "work out our salvation." So while we need not worry, we should balance this by living a life for Christ. Walk in the Spirit and avail yourselves of all of the graces that the Church has to offer, and you will prosper spiritually and eternally. Amen.

 

 1) Find the passage in Luke 10 in which the entire story of Martha and Mary is told. Who would you be in the scene? Martha, Mary, Lazarus, one of the servants, Jesus, one of the disciples?

 

 2) Who would you want to be in this story?

 

 ANSWER: Write out your reflection on the above questions.

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 23: Love of Enemy. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

DIVINE OFFICE FOR DODOS (Optional)

 

 Read Section 12.

 

DIFFICULTIES IN MENTAL PRAYER (Optional)

 

 Read Chapters 19 and 20.

 

 ANSWER: What is spiritual dryness? How severe can it become? What must one do when experiencing this stage of prayer? What follows this period?

CONVERSATION WITH CHRIST (Optional)

 

Read Chapters 17 and 18

 

ANSWER: Briefly discuss how recollection and detachment aid meditation.

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

  • Submit BRIEF answers to the above questions to your formator.

 

  • Begin to pray the Little Hours (Midmorning, Midday, and Midafternoon prayer) daily or chose another prayer option with the consent of your spiritual director.

 

  • Evaluate your prayer life with your spiritual director to see if the options you have chosen are the best for you.

 

  • Do you know of anyone who might be interested in living the CFP Rule? If so, invite them to attend next month's meeting or to inquire into this way of life.

 

 
FIRST YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON TWELVE

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Review the entire Rule and Constitutions with particular attention to all of Chapter IV and also to Rule/Constitutions 7, 15-18, 21-24, 26, and the Addendum and Appendices B, C, and D of the Constitutions.

 

 ANSWER: Evaluate yourself on your living of the prayer and charity requirements of this Rule with particular attention to Chapter IV and the Rule/Constitutions, Addendum, and Appendices mentioned above.

 

 Rule/Constitutions 25.

 

 ANSWER: Why do you think this is in the Rule?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 571-658.

 

 ANSWER: Pretend that you are Mary Magdalene, Joseph of Arimathea, or anyone else who was present at Christ's Passion.

 

Write your own account of the death and resurrection of Christ as you might have experienced it. What are your thoughts, questions, insights, and emotions?

 

This is a meditative exercise in which you, the penitent, reflect on and prayerfully try to participate in the Passion and death of Christ.

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer. 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by. Still, let it be as You would have it, not as I." When He returned to His disciples, He found them asleep.

 

He said to Peter, 'So you could not stay awake with Me even for an hour? Be on guard and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but nature is weak.'

 

Withdrawing a second time, He began to pray, 'Father, if this cannot pass me by without my drinking it, Your will be done!' Once more, on His return, He found them asleep; they could not keep their eyes open. He left them again, withdrew somewhat, and began to pray a third time, saying the same words as before." (Matthew 26:39-44)

 

"We are here in a dark sanctuary of deep mysteries which we should enter reverently, humbly confessing our ignorance. Although it was impossible for the human nature of Christ to be separated from His divine nature and all this union entails, still in this agony Christ seems in a certain sense to suspend the spiritual support which His human nature normally received from His divinity.

 

He is here the Second Adam, voluntarily undoing by His loving obedience to the Father the sins which the disobedience of the First Adam had brought upon mankind.

 

Therefore, since Jesus acts here as the representative of all mankind, the Man par excellence, He acts, as far as possible, purely according to His human nature, suffering all the natural, though sinless, frailties of human nature, the dread of suffering and death, the shrinking from depredation and revilement, the intense sorrow of being abandoned by His friends and betrayed by His own disciple, the overwhelming grief at the thought of men's black ingratitude in despising the cost and value of His Sacrifice, and perhaps, as far as it would be compatible with His sinless soul, a sense of guilt for all the shameful sins of the world that He was taking upon Himself to atone for." (A Commentary on the New Testament, Catholic Biblical Confraternity, William H. Sadlier, Inc., 1942, p. 180).

 

 1) How did prayer sustain Christ through the Agony in the Garden?

 

 2) Have you ever experienced a time of intense emotional pain?

 

 3) What was your prayer response at that time? Did it help?

 

 ANSWER: How might our prayer be a union with and consolation to Our Lord?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 24: Love of God. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

DIVINE OFFICE FOR DODOS (Optional)

 

 Read Section 13.

 

DIFFICULTIES IN MENTAL PRAYER (Optional)

 

 Read Chapter 21.

 

 ANSWER: Has reading this book changed how I view my prayer life? If so, how? If not, why not?

CONVERSATION WITH CHRIST (Optional)

 

Read Chapters 19 through 22.

 

ANSWER: How do you feel St. Teresa’s method will help your meditation and foster your spiritual life?

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

  • Submit BRIEF answers to the above questions to your formator.

 

  • Discuss any concerns you may have about your CFP formation with your formator before proceeding on to second year formation.

 

  • Evaluate the 15 minutes of mental prayer that you are doing daily. This will suffice to observe the Office of Prime. Should you alter how you are spending this time with God?

 

  • Complete the application form requesting admission to Second Year Formation.

 

  • If instructed by your formator, obtain the optional text A Year with the Saints available from the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop at www.cfpholyangels.com or write to the CFP for a copy.

 

Make a Day of Recollection prior to entering 2nd year formation. This may be done formally at an established Day of Recollection or informally in the privacy of your home.

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Confraternity of Penitents

1702 Lumbard Street

 Fort Wayne IN USA 46803 

260-739-6882

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May God bless you and give you joy!