Novice Three Lessons

 

THIRD YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON ONE[1]

 

YOUR FINAL YEAR OF FORMATION

 

 May God be praised! You are about to enter your final year of formation for the Confraternity of Penitents. If you have come this far, be assured of one thing. Your persistence is a good indication that God may, indeed, be calling you to live this way of life as your own path toward sanctity.

 

 You may already be living very simply. Some of you will have already made a few or more of the clothing adjustments of this Rule. Others may dread getting rid of that favorite outfit.

 

 Be certain of this. Those who are serious about entering a religious way of life must be unencumbered by attachments to worldly things. This year may be a bit difficult. But it will bear much fruit because it will sever you from externals.

 

 Once your wardrobe and life style are simplified according to the Rule and Constitutions, you will feel a new sense of freedom. Not only will the former worldly attachments have lessened their grip on you but you will also have less clutter in your life. You will have more closet space, more attic space, and less to care for. Very freeing, indeed.

 

 The purpose of this year of formation is not to keep the Salvation Army stocked or to have a less cluttered house. This year will move you a major step away from worldly things and a major step toward a total devotion to spiritual ones.

 

At the end of this year, you will look backward and wonder how you could have been so attached to things that ultimately do not matter. You will find yourself loving things a lot less and people and God a lot more. God willing, you will become so firmly rooted in the Lord that, were He to ask you to give up your life for Him, you would respond, "Yes."

 

And, whether or not you actually die a martyr's death, you will give up your life for Him because following Him in the path He has chosen for you is to be dead to your own will and alive for His.

 

 The texts we will use are those used in the previous years of formation: the Bible; Rule and Constitutions of the Confraternity of Penitents; Franciscan Virtues through the Year; and Catechism of the Catholic Church.

 

 Each month, reading assignments in Scripture, the Rule and Constitutions, Franciscan Virtues, and the Catechism will be given. As in previous years, you should do the reading assignment prior to the next month's meeting.

 

It is suggested that 4 sections of the Catechism lesson be read daily so as to complete the lesson within a month's time. If desired, you may use the assignments as a basis for mental prayer or may jot down any insights into a Mental Prayer Journal which may be shared with your spiritual director.

 

 Your formator may also wish to use the optional text Abandonment to Divine Providence (Jean-Pierre de Caussade), available from the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop, as part of your formation.

 

 Texts should be brought to all Chapter or Circle meetings to aid in discussion. BRIEF answers (five sentences or less) to the questions marked ANSWER should be mailed, e mailed, or recorded on audio tape for your formator.

 

 You will also be given monthly assignments in living the Rule by following certain parts of the Rule and Constitutions not yet assigned in previous years. These practices should be started in the month given and then continued as long as you live the CFP way of life.

 

 In making the initial clothing adjustments, you may find that you do not have the clothing you need in the colors permitted by the Rule and Constitutions. Remember that you do not need many clothes in order to live this way of life.

 

Four or five at the most of each article of clothing (other than undergarments) should suffice. You will only need one or two coats or jackets at most. The clothes you select should be tasteful and neat. No one, by looking at you, should suspect that you are doing penance in the area of clothing. Only you should know.

 

 If you still do not have enough clothes, do not go out and purchase new items unless your spouse agrees as well as your spiritual director. Instead, make a list of items and colors needed and request them for birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays. Or shop at a second-hand sale or a thrift store or sew your own clothing. Most penitents at this stage of formation can make the clothing switch with little expense and trouble.

 

 May God bless you this final year as you strive to give yourself completely to the Lord in this penitential way of life!

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 1601-1679.

 

 ANSWER: Is marriage a less meritorious sacrament than Holy Orders? Why or why not? What are sacramentals and how are they used?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "Conscience gives testimony to the boast that in our behavior toward all and especially toward you we have always acted from God given holiness and candor; this has been prompted, not by debased human wisdom, but by God's goodness." (2 Cor. 1:12)

 

When we discuss living a life of simplicity, we begin where St. Paul does: in "God-given holiness and candor (simplicity)." Apart from these there is no reason to attempt to "simplify" our lives. As we grow in a relationship with God through His Son and with the help of His saints' example, we feel the need for holiness. As we grow in a walk that begins to use the grace God gives us daily, and especially through His Word and Sacraments, we start to "cast off" the time-consuming affairs of this world that choke holiness.

 

Paul adds that our consciences will guide us in this endeavor, but that is true only insofar as our consciences are formed by God Himself. St. Paul ends this verse with a reminder that we are not to walk in the ways of the world, but to empty ourselves of worldliness by relying on God's goodness (grace).

 

  • Why does Paul say that his boast consists in his behavior toward all in the world?

  • What are some contrasts between how the world views life and how God's people are instructed to view life?

  • What is the source for your ability to give up any worldly attachments according to the above verse?

 

 ANSWER: What does the above Scripture verse speak to you as someone who wishes to live according to the Rule and Constitutions of the Confraternity of Penitents?

 

RULE LESSON

 

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

 

 ANSWER: How are the goals of the penitential life, under the guidance of your spiritual director, being realized in your own life?

 

 Read Rule/Constitutions 5 and Constitutions 3b.

 

 ANSWER: How do you avoid attending functions at which immoral or sacrilegious behavior is present?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 37: Prayer. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE (Optional)

 

 Read the Preface and Book 1, Chapter 1, sections 1-4.

 

 ANSWER: Select one key sentence from this assignment and explain what it means to you.

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

  • Reread Constitutions 3b again. Beginning this week, go through your personal items and discard at least one per week that you do not need. Remember that these are to be your personal items, not those belonging to another family member. Discuss with your spiritual director how you are feeling about doing this.

 

  • If you have already weeded through your possessions and have very little to yet discard, discuss with your spiritual director what you might do in order to implement the spirit of this directive.

 

  • Having successfully completed the first two years of novice formation, you should already be following all the provisions of Chapters II, III, IV, V, VI, VII (with the exception of Rule/Constitutions 25), and VIII of the Rule and Constitutions. How are you doing with these?

 

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

 

 

 

[1]  Keep copies of all lesson answers you turn in to your formator as they can be lost in mailing either via postal or email.  Lesson answers need not be restricted to the texts discussed.

 

THIRD YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON TWO

 

RULE LESSON

 

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

 

 ANSWER: How are you doing with the fasting and abstinence provisions of this way of life? What is easiest? What is most difficult?

 

 Read Constitutions 2g regarding the wearing of the cross or crucifix.

 

 ANSWER: Are you wearing a cross or crucifix regularly? Do you feel that it fits the spirit of the Constitutions? Why or why not? If not, how will you select a style that does fit?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "What profit does a man show who gains the whole world but destroys himself in the process?" (Mark 8:36)

 

The previous verses say that each follower of Christ must, "deny his very self, take up his cross, and follow in My steps. Whoever would preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will preserve it."

 

If we are following Christ, then we have to be denying our selves and carrying our crosses. If we are denying self and following our Master, then we will not be caving in to our selfish lusts. The admonition in verse 36 is very direct and even scary. There is a chance that by denying Christ and following only our own inclinations that we could lose our very soul.

 

 The message is clear. It is good for us to use and enjoy the gifts that God gives us in our everyday lives. But there is a dividing line between enjoying good things and living for those that are strictly of this world.

 

  There are, however, spiritual blessings that we ought to live for. Some cannot be lived at the present moment, yet it is good to live in the hope of someday receiving them. For example, in Matthew 25, Christ says, "Come, you blessed of my Father." Now there is a blessing to live for.

 

  Seen in the proper way, we can balance self-denial with gratitude for the gifts of God. Then we will be glorifying and enjoying our Creator and Redeemer from Whom every gift comes.

 

  • Is there anything that you covet in your mind that could be a stumbling block for you in God's kingdom?

  • What steps could help you to dedicate this area to Christ and be free of the harmful obstruction?

  • What is a proper attitude for enjoyment of God's blessings?

 

 ANSWER: What worldly thing do you covet the most? How can you handle your attitude toward this object, attitude, or person?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 1680-1761.

 

 ANSWER: How are humanity's dignity, freedom, and happiness related in the vocation given to the human race? How do we observe the death of a human being?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 38: Presence. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE (Optional)

 

 Read Book 1, Chapter 1, sections 5-9.

 

 ANSWER: Select one key sentence from this assignment and explain what it means to you.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Continue to reduce personal belongings by getting rid of one weekly. Why are you doing this?

 

  • Evaluate your personal wardrobe. What articles of clothing do you have that you never or very rarely use? Remove those from your wardrobe and give them away. Discuss with your spiritual director how you feel about doing this.

 

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

 

THIRD YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON THREE

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Review Chapter IV of the Rule and Constitutions and Appendices B and C of the Constitutions.

 

 ANSWER: Are you fulfilling this part of the Rule? Is it time to evaluate your prayer options or are they still working well for you?

 

 Read Rule/Constitutions 1.

 

 ANSWER: Study Rule/Constitutions 1 and then write down, from memory, what colors can be worn and why.

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 1762-1845.

 

 ANSWER: Name and define the virtues. How is conscience related to them?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "If we have food and clothing we have all that we need." (1 Timothy 6:8)

 

St. Paul's saying in our material times may strike us as "archaic," or even impossible to live by. Is it really? Are we too conditioned by the world to even conceive of an existence where our joy is full, not through the things we own, but rather through the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures and Sacraments, and the people around us?

 

Many of the saints, both recent and ancient ones, have fought this battle, and their faith walks and stories can help us on our journey toward simplicity of life and contentment with what God chooses to give us for our daily needs.

 

  • Can you see how reaching this state of spiritual grace can be an entrance way into complete freedom from worldly bondage?

  • What are the negatives that come with continually seeking "things?"

  • What do you make of the saying popular in the 1980's that "you can separate the men from the boys by the price of their toys?"

 

 ANSWER: What is your reflection on this Scripture verse?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 39: Purity. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE (Optional)

 

 Read Book 1, Chapter 2, sections 1-6.

 

 ANSWER: Select one key sentence from this assignment and explain what it means to you.

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

  • Go through your entire outerwear wardrobe. Put the clothes that fit the colors of the Rule together in one place in your closet. If you were to only wear these clothes, would you have enough or would you need to supplement your wardrobe?

 

  • How does doing this make you feel? Why are you making these adjustments? Discuss your feelings with your spiritual director.

 

  • Submit BRIEF answers to these questions to your formator.

 

THIRD YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON FOUR

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Review Chapter V in the Rule and Constitutions and Appendix D in the Constitutions.

 

 ANSWER: How are you doing in living Chapter V of the Rule and Constitutions? If you need improvement in an area or two, how can you improve?

 

 Review Rule/Constitutions 1, particularly Constitutions 1b and 1c.

 

 ANSWER: Why do you think it is important for a lay penitent to avoid giving the appearance of wearing a habit?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "...Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest, and whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all. Such is the case with the Son of Man Who has come, not to be served by others, but to serve, to give His Own life as a ransom for the many." (Matthew 20:26-28)

 

Here Jesus is giving Himself as an example. He served others, giving His life, for no reward to Himself, but to ransom others. The reward of His service went to us.

 

  Sometimes this happens in the world as well. Those who are in the line of duty as military, police, or firefighters serve the nation or the public by sacrificing their lives. They at least knowingly risk their lives in these occupations. Even worldly service professions consist in providing service to others, and in these there are rewards for those who serve and those who are being served.

 

 In God's economy, we are not forbidden to hope for the rewards that He has promised. There is an element of self-seeking that can be present in both, and is expected to be more present in worldly service, but it would be an excessive "perfectionism" to rule this out in spiritual service.

 

After all, Jesus told us to "lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven." What other motive is there in wanting to follow the Rule of the CFP? Even if we are living this life as a means of prayer and sacrifice for the conversion of others, we still hope that God will reward our efforts with eternal life for us.

 

 However, in Matthew 20: 26-28, Our Lord is not talking about seeking rewards but about aspiring to greatness and wanting to be first. We might paraphrase it today by saying, "If you're a priest, and you want to rank first among priests, and be the greatest in God's eyes, don't aspire to be a bishop, or if you're a monk, don't aspire to become abbot.

 

Aspire to serve, to be of benefit to others." The humblest priest or most obscure lay brother may rank first in God's eyes. Elsewhere Christ speaks of not lording it over others, but of serving. Surely in God's economy the service of others brings spiritual rewards.

 

  The world sometimes will do good works because God's image, though greatly damaged, is still present in humankind. Sometimes the works are done out of self-seeking, or merely to have a tax deduction. These are not works done, "...in Jesus' name."

 

 St. Paul says, "Esteem others as greater than yourselves." He doesn't mean, "Have a poor self-image." He also doesn't mean be someone who is purposely trodden under people's feet.

 

If we don't sometimes help people know right from wrong then we aren't truly loving them, as we would be guilty of helping to keep them in their sins. However, we are to not be "self-seeking." Not seeking our glory above other's and God's. Do good and God will lift you up at the appropriate time.

 

  • Does Matthew think that it's better to be impoverished, or that poverty is necessarily glorifying to God?

  • Can poverty be turned into a glory unto God?

  • What does Matthew mean by "must serve the needs of all?"

 

 ANSWER: How does this passage foster poverty of spirit and how does poverty of spirit lead to poverty of possessions?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 1846-1927.

 

 ANSWER: Define these terms in one sentence each:

  • Mortal sin

  • Venial sin

  • Society

  • Subsidiarity

  • Authority

  • The Common Good

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 40: Reverence for Creation. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE (Optional)

 

 Read Book 1, Chapter 2, sections 7-12. ANSWER: Select one key sentence from this assignment and explain what it means to you.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Go through your wardrobe and remove all patterned outerwear. Give these away. Why are you doing this? Discuss with your spiritual director how doing this makes you feel.

 

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

 

THIRD YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON FIVE

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Review Chapter VI of the Rule and Constitutions.

 

 ANSWER: How important do you think your Confraternity membership will become as you reduce your wardrobe this year? Why do you feel this way?

 

 Read Rule/Constitutions 2 with particular attention to Constitutions 2a, 2b, 2e, 2f.

 

 ANSWER: Discuss how each of these are to fit the Rule and Constitutions:

  • Visible undergarments

  • Men's ties

  • Perfumes and after shave lotions

  • Cosmetics

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "Thus the last shall be first and the first shall be last." (Matthew 20:16)

 

Have you ever heard the expression, "There goes so-and-so; he's a legend in his own mind." If we are seeking to empty our selves and to be filled with the Holy Spirit, Who always does the work of transforming us into the image of Christ, then we will not be seeking "firstness." Christ Himself, Paul says, "emptied Himself, even to the point of becoming a servant who died on a cross."

 

  • If Christ is our example, how does emptying oneself fit into His statement that the "last will be first?"

  • Have you yet attempted to esteem others before yourself, in your family, work, and other environments?

  • Honestly take inventory and see if any of your possessions lead you to think that you are somehow "better" than anyone else for having them.

 

 ANSWER: How can you foster the desire to be last in yourself?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 1928-2005.

 

 ANSWER: Define these terms in one sentence each:

  • Social justice

  • Human solidarity

  • Natural moral law

  • Old law

  • New law

  • Justification

  • Grace

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 41: Sacrifice. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE (Optional)

 

 Read Book 2, Chapter 1, sections 1-4.

 

 ANSWER: Select one key sentence from this assignment and explain what it means to you.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Implement parts of Rule/Constitutions 2 and Constitutions 2a, 2b, 2e, and 2f in your life. No longer use scented lotions, sprays, perfumes, after shave, and so on. Go through your visible undergarments and ties and give away those that do not fit the Rule. Why are you doing this?

 

  • Discuss with your spiritual director how this makes you feel.

 

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

 

THIRD YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON SIX

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Review Rule/Constitutions 22-24.

 

 ANSWER: How are you doing following these sections of the Rule and Constitutions? Are you having difficulty with any part?

 

 Read Rule/Constitutions 3 with particular attention to Constitutions 3a.

 

 ANSWER: Do your clothes fall into the simple, inexpensive category or do you feel that a dispensation is necessary in some cases?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "He instructed them to take nothing on the journey but a walking stick--no food, no traveling bag, not a coin in their purses in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals. 'Do not bring a second tunic,' He said." (Mark 6:8-9)

 

Can you imagine the disciples' faces when they learn they must go on their first missionary journey without their credit cards, their new cars, and their designer jeans? What a break with the world it must have been to have to rely on the Creator and Sustainer of the universe! Can we relate?

 

How do we come to the point where we can serve self last and rely on our Creator from day to day for all of our needs?

 

 The Bible says that God will "give us what we need from His riches in glory." The Bible also says, "Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you." God will supply what He wants you to have!

 

  However, we must be prudent. This quotation is a good example of the kind of words of Christ which are not to be taken literally in all circumstances by all disciples. It was to be taken literally (most probably) for that particular journey. But St. Joseph most likely didn't take the Holy Family to Egypt under a Rule like that, and St. Paul definitely didn't follow this exactly on his missionary journeys.

 

 We must be careful not to take every word of the Scriptures out of the context of the whole New Testament. People ought not to go on extended trips with no traveling bag, money, credit cards, or extra clothing these days.

 

The lesson seems to be simply "Cast your care upon the Lord." Don't worry over your plans. You'll have to adapt them to circumstances as they arise. But you won't even get to where you want to go unless you adapt this admonition in light of what is necessary and what is not.

 

  • Do you believe that God will supply your needs?

  • Can you "let go and let God?"

  • How have your first two years of spiritual formation helped to bring you to the point of "self-emptying?"

 

 ANSWER: Make a list of ten things that you have (your possessions, not those of other family members) that you don't really NEED. Ought you to get rid of them? Why or why not?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 2006-2082.

 

 ANSWER: How does merit help Christians advance in holiness? How do the Church and the Ten Commandments assist in this development?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 42: Self-knowledge. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE (Optional)

 

 Read Book 2, Chapter 1, sections 5-8.

 

 ANSWER: Select one key sentence from this assignment and explain what it means to you.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Go through your wardrobe. Give away all clothing that is red, orange, or yellow. Remember, however, the dispensation that goes with Rule 3 and Constitutions 3a. Fancier clothes are permitted in certain occupations and for certain social occasions.

 

  • How do you feel about doing this? Discuss this with your spiritual director.

 

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

 

THIRD YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON SEVEN

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Review Chapter VII of the Rule and Constitutions with particular attention to sections 25-27.

 

ANSWER: Do you have a will? If not, how can you begin to make one?

 

 Review Chapter I of the Rule and Constitutions, with particular attention to sections 1, 2, and 3.

 

 ANSWER: Do you notice anything in these sections that you had not seen before? If so, what?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "Have no love for the world or things that the world affords. If anyone loves the world, the Father's love has no place in him." (1 John 2:15)

 

What in the world does the beloved disciple mean, "Have no love for the world?" Aren't we supposed to love everyone?

 

Yes, indeed, but you do not love the world's system of thinking. We do not love the world's ideology that keeps our young people thinking about self-gratification and pre-marital sex. We do not love the world's way of thinking that bigger, richer and more fleshly beautiful is always better.

 

We must, if we will be followers of the Incarnate YHWH, be able and ready to renounce the darkness that keeps our world from seeing the light that comes from above. We must share the truth with others, but always winsomely and spoken in love.

 

  • Do you agree that lust for the world chokes out the life of the spirit?

  • Read the rest of the passage, including verses 16-17. How does that strike you?

  • Boasting of our accomplishments is mentioned and so is lust of our eyes. How do these two go against the revealed will of our Father? Can you think of examples from Scripture?

 

 ANSWER: Suppose an angel came to you and offered you fame, joy, success, wealth, and health in this world and a long time in Purgatory in the world to come, or humiliation, grief, failure, poverty, and illness in this world and a quick entry into heaven upon death. Which would you choose and why?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 2083-2167.

 

 ANSWER: What do the first and second commandments mean to you?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 43: Service. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE (Optional)

 

 Read Book 2, Chapter 2, sections 1-4.

 

 ANSWER: Select one key sentence from this assignment and explain what it means to you.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Go through your wardrobe. Give away clothing of green, pink, and purple. How does this make you feel? Discuss this with your spiritual director.

 

  • If you do not have an updated will, make an appointment with a lawyer to update your will or make a will.

 

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

 

 During the ninth month of Third 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 pledge to live the Rule and Constitutions for life? Or would you prefer to take a promise to live the Rule and Constitutions for a year? Perhaps you are considering a private vow to live the Rule and Constitutions for life. Between now and the ninth month, please pray about your future as a penitent. 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.

 

THIRD YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON EIGHT

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Review Chapter VIII of the Rule and Constitutions with particular attention to sections 35-37.

 

 ANSWER: Summarize the tone of these three sections.

 

 Review Rule/Constitutions 4 with particular attention to Constitutions 4a.

 

 ANSWER: Do you have any outer winter garments? Do they fit the Rule and Constitutions?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "Sell what you have and give alms. Get purses for yourselves that do not wear out, a never-failing treasure with the Lord which no thief comes near nor moth destroys. Wherever your treasure lies, there your heart will be." (Luke 12:33-34)

 

Does Jesus instruct us to have nothing but to give all to the poor? Our Lord seeks balance in our lives. St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 says that, "though we sell all we have to give to the poor, but have not love, we have nothing."

 

So it isn't only the outward acts of penance, but also the accompanying love that goes with them that counts before our God. He does want us to use our resources for others.

 

We are not to deprive our families, over which we, as our God given duty, are to be good stewards. The first of the neighbors to whom we should give are the parents and children whom God has given us. That is our duty in justice as well as in charity. If we do this, then selling and giving away beyond caring for our families and relatives are good things.

 

The key point is, "Where is your heart?" Is it fixed on things above where the treasure is incorruptible, or below where the treasure is fleeting and transient?

 

  • To whom is Jesus speaking in this passage?

  • Are you a disciple of Jesus?

  • Have you inventoried how you might lay up treasures in heaven by giving away and selling things that you don't need?

 

 ANSWER: What we think most about is where our heart is. If you made a graph of the things you think about, what would have the longest column? What does this tell you about your priorities?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 2168-2257.

 

 ANSWER: If a teen asked you why the third and fourth commandments are so important, what would you answer?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 44: Silence. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE (Optional)

 

 Read Book 2, Chapter 2, sections 5-8.

 

ANSWER: Select one key sentence from this assignment and explain what it means to you.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

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

 

  • Look at your outer weather-wear. Do your clothes fit the Rule and Constitutions? If you can give away those that do not and still have clothing to wear, then do so this month. If you would have to purchase items because nothing you have fits the Rule and Constitutions, then wait for a yard sale or visit a thrift shop to see if you can make the clothing transition with little expense or trouble. Or ask for these items as a holiday or birthday gift.

 

  • Discuss how you feel about doing this with your spiritual director.

 

THIRD YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON NINE

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Review Rule/Constitutions 39.

 

 ANSWER: What does this say to you in light of the adjustments you are now making in your wardrobe?

 

 Review all of Chapter I of the Rule and Constitutions.

 

 ANSWER: What adjustments are going smoothly for you? Which are not? Have you any idea why?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "Lazarus longed to eat the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. The dogs even came and licked his sores." (Luke 16:21)

 

What a travesty of God's will for His creation! A rich man, blessed with goods by God, shows utter contempt for God and God's people by not sharing with and caring for Lazarus. It is very likely that this rich man fancied himself religious.

 

We see people every day in need. We also see the world's well-off every day, with haughty appearance, not only not helping the disadvantaged, but even laughing at them and saying, "Those people get what they deserve." We all need to remember, "There but for the grace of God go I."

 

  • Do we have some crumbs to share that we are hoarding?

  • Is it a sin, necessarily, to be rich?

  • Who has the "gift of benevolence" that St. Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 12:28?

 

 ANSWER: How do you assist the poor? Do you think you are doing as good a job as possible given your circumstances?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 2258-2330.

 

 ANSWER: Make as extensive a list as possible of all the circumstances covered by the fifth commandment.

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 45: Simplicity. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE (Optional)

 

Read Book 2, Chapter 3, sections 1-3.

 

ANSWER: Select one key sentence from this assignment and explain what it means to you.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Go through your outerwear wardrobe. Remove any colors or clothing that still do not fit the Rule and Constitutions. How does this make you feel? Discuss this with your spiritual director.

 

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

 

SELF-EVALUATION

 

Am I keeping up with my 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 Third Year Novitiate and pledge to live the Rule and Constitutions for life or take a promise to live it for a year?

 

Am I considering a private vow to live the Rule and Constitutions for life?

 

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

 

 ANSWER: Do I, or do I not, plan on completing the Third Year Novitiate and why or why not?

 

THIRD YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON TEN

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Review Rule/Constitutions 28 and 38.

 

 ANSWER: Are you willing to accept an office in your Chapter or Circle of the Confraternity or in the larger organization? Why or why not?

 

 Look at Rule/Constitutions 2 with particular attention to Constitutions 2c and 2d.

 

 ANSWER: Why should colorful ornamentation and jewelry be avoided? What jewelry is permitted?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "The affectation of an elaborate hairdress, the wearing of golden jewelry, or the donning of rich robes is not for you. Your adornment is rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the unfading beauty of a calm and gentle disposition. This is precious in God's eyes." (1 Peter 3:3-4)

 

Proverbs says, "Like a fine gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion." A Christian with a beautiful spirit who lacks outward beauty radiates far more loveliness than a crass pagan, who revels in the things of the world and neglects the spirit. Which should Christ's disciples seek?

 

Outward beauty that can distract and lead astray, or inward beauty which attracts others to the light of Christ within us? Embracing the attitude of Christ can be a very difficult thing for those of us seeking to live as penitents, especially in this current age which puts shallow outward beauty and wealth at so much more of a premium than any kind of self-sacrifice or inward beauty.

 

  • Can you see yourself, with the help of God, being able to do away with excess outward adornment?

  • Will you be self-conscious around friends or co-workers without your usual trappings? Can you see yourself dwelling in God's Spirit to an extent where this no longer bothers you?

  • Can freedom from outward trappings actually become a source of freedom for you?

 

 ANSWER: Select one of the above questions to answer in writing.

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 2331-2400.

 

 ANSWER: Summarize the positive and negative aspects of the sixth commandment. In other words, what is not only permitted but encouraged and what is sinful under this commandment?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 46: Surrender. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE (Optional)

 

 Read Book 2, Chapter 3, sections 4-5.

 

 ANSWER: Select one key sentence from this assignment and explain what it means to you.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Go through your jewelry. Put jewelry aside or give it away. Use cosmetics tastefully if at all. How does doing this make you feel? Discuss this with your spiritual director.

 

  • Meet with a lawyer about your will and complete the work on it.

 

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

 

THIRD YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON ELEVEN

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Review Rule/Constitutions 29-34.

 

 ANSWER: Do you meet the qualifications for pledging in the Confraternity? Are you prepared to pledge to live the Rule for life or for a year? Are you considering making a private vow to live the Rule for life?

 

 Review Rule/Constitutions 4 with particular attention to Constitutions 4b.

 

 ANSWER: Do you think this section will be difficult to implement? Why or why not?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "Trust Me when I tell you that whoever does not accept the kingdom of God as a child will not enter into it." (Luke 18:17)

 

 How does a little child approach a great and awesome spectacle? With a degree of timidity and humility yet trust in those adults who have taken him or her there.

 

Little children have an innate trust that our God loves to see in all of His people. We must live in this world, yet not be a party to this world's warped ways of thinking. This can only be done if we trust our Father in a childlike way, each and every day of our lives. We can show humility and yet still be strong in our faith and in how we "seize each day" for our Lord.

 

  • How do you see a correlation between a little child and how our Father wants us to approach Him?

  • Have you ever seen a 9 month old baby play with her mother or father? The pure joy and security is truly a wonder to behold. Can we have that kind of innocent and pure glee in our relationship with the infinite, personal God?

  • What do you think the kingdom of God means (or is)?

 

 ANSWER: How much of a child are you before God? How can you foster the child-like attitude called for by Christ?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 2401-2463.

 

 ANSWER: List five types of action that are covered by the seventh commandment.

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 47: Trust. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE (Optional)

 

 Read Book 2, Chapter 4, sections 1-6.

 

 ANSWER: Select one key sentence from this assignment and explain what it means to you.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Examine your purses and carry bags in light of Rule/Constitutions 4 and Constitutions 4b. If you can switch to the CFP colors without expense, do so. If not, wait until an inexpensive opportunity presents itself.

 

  • Determine to complete any work on your will before pledging to live the Rule and Constitutions, if possible.

 

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

 
THIRD YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON TWELVE

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Review the entire Rule and Constitutions.

 

 ANSWER: Are you ready to embrace this Rule and Constitutions in their entirety? Why or why not?

 

 Review Chapter I of the Rule and Constitutions.

 

 ANSWER: How are you doing in implementing this Chapter? Are you seeing the fruit of it in your life? How?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "Say 'Yes' when you mean 'Yes' and 'No' when you mean 'No.' Anything beyond that is from the evil one." (Matthew 5:37)

 

 In the book of James it is said that, "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the image of God. ....My brothers, this should not be."

 

With this tongue we break the Eighth Commandment when we do not put the best construction on things we hear about others. With it we also pray to Our Father. The tongue is a member that needs taming.

 

We need self-denial to overcome our sinful tendencies, including those sparked by the lust of the eyes, the "pride of life," and our judging nature. The good news is that "God's grace is sufficient for you."

 

Seek Him on yours knees.

 

Discipline your flesh and exercise your spiritual inner man.

 

Build up your spirit with the ministry of Word and Sacrament.

 

Receive the Body and Blood of the Lord often.

 

Sin can be conquered but not without effort on our parts.

 

Together, brothers and sisters, let us strive to "reach for the high calling in Jesus Christ." Amen.

 

  • Go and sin no more! When our Lord says this, does He mean sins of an outward and an inward nature?

  • What are some instances in your life where too many words, or unkind words spoken by you, or others around you, had a profound effect?

  • Can you see where a tongue that is consumed in prayer and praise would be less likely to sin against its Maker?

 

 ANSWER: How might you combat your sins of the tongue?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 2464-2557.

 

 ANSWER: How do the last three commandments relate to purity of motive and thought?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 48: Vigilance. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE (Optional)

 

 Read Book 2, Chapter 4, sections 7-12.

 

 ANSWER: Select one key sentence from this assignment and explain what it means to you.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Make any adjustments needed, that you can make without undue expense or trouble, to fully implement the living of Chapter I of the CFP Rule and Constitutions.

 

  • Finalize your will with your lawyer.

 

  • Complete the Three Lessons Prior to Pledging.

 

  • Make a Day of Recollection either with your Chapter or Circle or on your own. Spend time in prayer to discern your call to pledge to live the CFP Rule for life or for a year's time. If you are considering a private vow, spend additional time in prayer, reflecting on this commitment.

 

  • Complete the Pledging Application Form.

 

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

 

May God bless you as you embrace this life of penance, and may it lead you into the very heart and mind of Christ! May He, and He alone be your joy and consolation, and give you the strength to endure anything, now and throughout your life, for the Love of God.

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Confraternity of Penitents

1702 Lumbard Street

 Fort Wayne IN USA 46803 

260-739-6882

copenitents@yahoo.com 

 

May God bless you and give you joy!