Novice Two Lessons

SECOND YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON ONE

 

CONTINUING YOUR FORMATION

 

Congratulations! You are about to enter the second year of novice formation for the Confraternity of Penitents. Some of you will feel very comfortable entering upon this year. Others may feel a twinge of dread.

 

Be assured of one thing. The eating adjustments that you will make this year will be more freeing than restrictive.

 

If you are used to snacking, you will discover that you have more time to do other things when you restrict your food intake. You will also have fewer dishes to wash, a healthier body, and lower food expenses.

 

If you love to eat meat, you will find some interesting and tasty ways to observe the Rule's abstinence provisions. By the end of this year, you will feel healthier physically than you do now.

 

Nevertheless, the CFP is not a health club that claims to add years to your physical life.

 

The CFP is a Confraternity intended to improve your spiritual health and bring you closer to the Lord. As you discipline yourself in the area of food, especially if you are undisciplined in this area, you will find yourself more readily surrendering to God's guidance in other areas of your life. It is this surrender, not the meatless or fast days, that will ultimately assist in sanctifying you.

 

In the First Year Novitiate, you learned to give God a great deal of your time in prayer. This year you will learn to give Him a portion of your physical appetites. What you learn about Him and yourself in this process will draw both you and Him into a deeper union.

 

With such a worthy goal, let us begin.

 

The texts we will use are those used in First Year Novitiate: the Bible; the 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. 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 wish to use the optional text A Year with the Saints (available from the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop and published by TAN Books and Publishers.

 

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, emailed, or recorded on audio tape for your formator.

 

You will also be given monthly assignments in living the Rule and Constitutions by following certain parts of the fasting and abstinence provisions. These practices should be started in the month given and then continued as long as you live this Rule.

 

If, due to age, pregnancy, health, or other reasons, you are dispensed from following these provisions, then implement your dispensation while continuing formation for this second year of novice training.

 

May God bless you this year as you strive to more closely follow Him!

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 659-747.

 

 ANSWER: What is the mission of the Holy Spirit in the world and the Church? How has the Holy Spirit worked in your life?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "...When you fast, you are not to look glum as the hypocrites do: They change the appearance of their faces so that others may see they are fasting. I assure you, they are already repaid. When you fast, see to it that you groom your hair and wash your face. In that way no one can see you are fasting but your Father Who is hidden; and your Father Who sees what is hidden will repay you." (Matthew. 6:16-18)

 

Jesus assumes that we, who are His disciples, will FAST.

 

Some Protestant denominations do practice fasting. Some do it to bolster their supplications. Some fast to help their spiritual discipline. Lutherans used to fast during Lent, but only a handful do these days. Roman Catholics fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Orthodox Christians fast all during Lent.

 

We living the CFP Rule fast daily during Lent and Advent, except Sundays and Solemnities, as well as on every Friday of the year, and on Wednesdays from the Octave of Christmas until Lent. Some of the brothers and sisters voluntarily keep a continual fast on all days of the year except Sundays, Solemnities, and the Octaves of Easter and Christmas.

 

There is a right way and a wrong way to fast.

 

Fasting to lose weight, for instance, is not a fast unto God.

 

Fasting to show off how "spiritual" we are immediately causes us to lose any spiritual reward we would have received.

 

Once again we see Jesus reprimanding the Pharisees because they were only practicing their religion outwardly and not seeing the inward spiritual importance. Jesus takes them to task in the Beatitudes and the Woes in Matthew Chapters 5, 6, and 23.

 

Our darker, more sinful spiritual woes come from within; so also do our reflections of the Divine image when we live our lives in Truth and in Spirit.

 

Anything we offer up to God must come from within and be combined with the outward to be a blessing to God, or to ourselves and neighbors. God promises that our reward for seeking Him through acts of consecration, such as fasting and prayer, will be secret in this world (usually anyway), and outward in the world to come.

 

  • What was your first impression when you understood that the Rule required fasting?

  • Do you see fasting as a part of your prayer life?

  • How can we fulfill Jesus' commitment, as we live our Rule, to let our fasting be done in secret?

 

 ANSWER: How do you see fasting relating to your relationship with God?

 

RULE LESSON

 

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

 

 ANSWER: Which of the goals of a penitential life seem to be taking place most strongly in your life? How is your spiritual director assisting in this growth?

 

 Make a general review of Chapters II and III of the Rule and Constitutions. Study Constitutions 6a, 6c, 6g, 6i, 9b, 9c, 9d, 9e, 9f, 10a, 11a, 11b, and Appendix A. These contain exceptions to the fasting and abstinence provisions.

 

 ANSWER: Without looking at the Rule or Constitutions, make a list of all the exceptions you can remember. Go back and check your list. Add any exceptions you forgot. Put an identifying mark by any exceptions that apply to you.

 

Constitutions 6d.

 

 ANSWER: Do you think you will have difficulty with this section? It will be implemented gradually into your life, beginning this month.

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 25: Love of Neighbor. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

A YEAR WITH THE SAINTS (Optional)

 

 Begin with the reading for Day 1 and then read one reading each day in the order in which they are published in the book. Spend at least one minute reflection on the reading. Do this every day until you have completed the book in a year.

 

 ANSWER: Select one writing of a saint from this month’s reading and comment on its relevance to your life.

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

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

 

  • Eliminate all solid-food snacks between lunch and dinner (afternoon snacks). Beverages may be taken.

 

  • Having successfully completed the First Year Novitiate, you should already be doing the following which you will continue doing all your life as a penitent:

 

  • 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.

 

  • Daily praying Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer.

 

  • Using another prayer option taken from the Rule, in consultation with your spiritual director, to bring your total prayer to 90 minutes per day unless your obligation has been excused or adapted.

 

  • 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.

 

  • 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, our bishops, spiritual assistants, your spiritual director, your pastor(s), all penitents, the intentions of the Confraternity of Penitents, your enemies, all sinners, and yourself.

 

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

 

SECOND YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON TWO

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Chapter VI, Rule/Constitutions 19-21.

 

 ANSWER: Discuss your involvement in Chapter/Circle meetings of the CFP.

 

 Chapter II, Rule/Constitutions 7 and Constitutions 6h.

 

 ANSWER: Are you able to implement these sections in your daily life or do you sometimes forget? If you forget, what can you do to help you remember?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "I warn you then: do not worry about your livelihood, what you are to eat or drink or use for clothing. Is not life more than food? Is not the body more valuable than clothes?" (Matthew 6:25)

 

 As we train our bodies through the disciplines of fasting and simplicity, we likewise train our spirits. Thus we are heeding this warning of our Lord Jesus. Jesus does not say our bodies are unimportant; He is stating that the whole being, body and soul together, is of the most importance. He is not saying that eating and dressing are not important but that we are more important that what we eat or wear. Our priorities are therefore directed to be put in order: 1) Spirit 2) Body.

 

It has been said that the "eyes are the windows of the soul." Jesus speaks of the eyes as being the "lamp of the body" in this very chapter of Matthew (verses 22 and 23). If our eyes are full of covetousness, we are thinking that we are being neglected by God because someone else has more material goods than we do. We are breaking the Tenth Commandment, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods."

 

  • Is it ever possible in our modern world to "not worry" about clothes, transportation and money?

  • Is there a connection with self-discipline (such as fasting) and the fulfillment of this verse?

  • What is that connection?

  • Will fasting help you set your priorities on the things of God?

 

 ANSWER: Answer question 4 above in writing.

 

CATECHISM LESSON  --  Read Sections 748-829.

 

 ANSWER: Name any five truths about the Catholic Church from this assignment and the Sections of the Catechism that discuss them.

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 26: Love of Self. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

A YEAR WITH THE SAINTS (Optional)

 

Continue reading one reflection daily, taking them in the order in which they come in the book. Spend at least one minute reflecting on the day’s reading.

 

 ANSWER: Select one writing of a saint from this month’s reading and comment on its relevance to your life.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

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

 

  • Eliminate any solid food snacks eaten between dinner (supper) and bedtime. Beverages may be taken.

 

  •  At meals, endeavor to allow all others to be served before you if you can do so without calling attention to yourself.

 

SECOND YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON THREE

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Chapter I of the Rule and Constitutions. Note especially Constitutions 2g.

 

 ANSWER: In no more than five sentences, discuss the tone and reasons for this Chapter of the Rule and Constitutions. Remember that you are not expected to live these provisions at this stage of formation, with the exception of wearing a visible cross or crucifix.

 

 Appendix A of the Constitutions.

 

 ANSWER: The CFP Rule observes fast and abstinence as defined by the Church. What is the difference between fast and abstinence?

 

CATECHISM LESSON --  Read Sections 830-913.

 

 ANSWER: Draw, type, or otherwise create a simple chart or ladder showing the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and summarizing the duties of those on each step.

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "There was also a certain prophetess, Anna by name, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She had seen many days, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She was constantly in the temple, worshiping day and night in fasting and prayer." (Luke 2:36-37)

 

Do we see here a proto-type of the religious orders for women? We should take great comfort that, over the surface of this globe, thousands of men and women live their lives devoted only to Christ.

 

At any given moment, hundreds are offering up prayers for this sin darkened world. Anna was one of these. Her service to God was her "fasting and prayers." This is to be every Christian's service, but especially of those who seek a great level of consecration.

 

 Those of us who seek to be transformed by the content of the Rule for the Confraternity of Penitents must see that value and connection between the "outward and the inward."

 

  • Why do you suppose that fasting and prayer are usually linked?

  • Does the link come in the discipline that one affords the other?

  • Does fasting add an element of sincerity to our prayers?

  • As Anna was faithful to fast "night and day," can we sustain our intentions to fast and pray?

 

 ANSWER: Answer question 1 above in writing.

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 27: Loyalty to the Church. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

A YEAR WITH THE SAINTS (Optional)

 

Continue reading one reflection daily, taking them in the order in which they come in the book. Spend at least one minute reflecting on the day’s reading.

 

 ANSWER: Select one writing of a saint from this month’s reading and comment on its relevance to your life.

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

  • Eliminate any snacks you may be eating in the morning. By doing this, you should now have eliminated all between meal snacking.

 

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

SECOND YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON FOUR

 

RULE LESSON

 

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

 

 ANSWER: Evaluate yourself on your living of Chapter IV. All of the provisions of this Chapter should be fully implemented in your life at this time.

 

 Rule and Constitutions 6 and Constitutions 6a, 6b, 8b, Appendix A.

 

 ANSWER: Who does the Church exempt from fasting and abstinence? What days of fast and abstinence are enjoined on all Catholics with the above exceptions?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 914-991.

 

 ANSWER: In one sentence each, define these terms:

 

  • Consecrated life

  • Communion of saints

  • Marian prayer

  • Forgiveness of sins

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, then returned from the Jordan and was conducted by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, where He was tempted by the devil. During that time, He ate nothing and at the end of it He was hungry." (Luke 4:1-2)

 

Jesus' self-deprivation, we might think, would have made Him weaker and more likely to succumb to the temptations of the devil. But that is not how fasting works. Our sufferings strengthen our spirits. Jesus' fasting and prayer actually fortified Him where it was important--in His spirit.

 

Jesus told John and James, when they could not stay awake with Him during His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, "your spirits are willing, but your flesh is weak." If we train our flesh through the discipline of fasting coupled with prayer, our whole being is strengthened to withstand suffering and turn it to good.

 

  • Do we see the value of fasting as we experience the hunger and deprivation?

  • Is the experience of fasting similar to John of the Cross's "dark night of the soul," where we experience the silence from God, and the agony of working toward our goal, but then the beauty as we "break through to the other side?"

  • Have you ever experienced a temptation where fasting may have helped strengthen you in your spirit?

 

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

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 28: Marian Devotion. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

A YEAR WITH THE SAINTS (Optional)

 

Continue reading one reflection daily, taking them in the order in which they come in the book. Spend at least one minute reflecting on the day’s reading.

 

 ANSWER: Select one writing of a saint from this month’s reading and comment on its relevance to your life.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Begin now to observe every Monday as a day of abstinence (that is, no meat is to be eaten on Mondays). This will be in addition to the Friday abstinence which you should already be keeping.

 

  • Return BRIEF answers to questions above to your formator.

SECOND YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON FIVE

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Chapter V, Rule/Constitutions 15-16.

 

 ANSWER: Evaluate yourself on the living of these sections. .

 

 Rule and Constitutions 6 with particular attention to Constitutions 6e, 6f.

 

 ANSWER: How are you observing these provisions?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 992-1076.

 

 ANSWER: What are death and resurrection in our faith and in your own faith journey?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "Then, raising His eyes to His disciples, He said, "Blest are you poor; the reign of God is yours. Blest are you who hunger; you shall be filled. Blest are you who are weeping; you shall laugh." (Luke 6:20-21)

 

While it is true that our Lord is speaking of physical deprivation, He is also saying that His words go deeper than material poverty and physical hunger. To say otherwise is to elevate the physical above the spiritual.

 

When combined with Matthew 5:3 ("How blest are the poor in spirit; the reign of God is theirs), we see that Jesus speaks of an acknowledgment of our "poverty in the spirit," and our "hunger for righteousness."

 

However, it is true that external things can lead us to a deeper focus on internal things.

 

Think of praying before a crucifix and meditating on our Lord on the Cross. The image is physical, but the crucifix helps us focus on our inward need; it helps us participate in the Cross. We must become poor in our selfish inner beings so that the Lord can lift us up into His kingdom. We must become hungry for righteousness in order to desire to be filled with that virtue.

 

  • Do you "hunger" for Christ and His righteousness to be a part of you? Is this a general feeling or is it related to some area of your life?

  • Do you believe that something physical can truly have an impact on your spirit?

  • Do you think that it is more inherently spiritual to be poor than to be well off?

  • Is it true that poverty can be either a blessing, or a curse depending on one's relationship with God?

 

 ANSWER: Answer in writing either number 2 or number 3 above.

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 29: Minority. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

A YEAR WITH THE SAINTS (Optional)

 

Continue reading one reflection daily, taking them in the order in which they come in the book. Spend at least one minute reflecting on the day’s reading.

 

 ANSWER: Select one writing of a saint from this month’s reading and comment on its relevance to your life.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • From now on, observe every Wednesday as a day of abstinence from meat. This will be in addition to the Monday and Friday days of abstinence.

 

  • Submit BRIEF answers to questions above to your formator.

SECOND YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON SIX

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Rule/Constitutions 17-18 and Appendix D of the Constitutions.

 

 ANSWER: What are you doing to fulfill Constitutions 18d?

 

 Review all of Chapter II in the Rule and Constitutions.

 

 ANSWER: Summarize the abstinence provisions of this way of life.

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 1077-1144.

 

 ANSWER: Find something in this section that you did not know about the liturgy and discuss it. Give the section number in your discussion.

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 St. Paul writes: "What I do is discipline my own body and master it, for fear that after having preached to others I myself should be rejected." (1 Corinthians 9:27)

 

Hell is real. It is separation from God, but since we are going to be physically resurrected it is also a plane of existence.

 

Some people do go to Hell. See Romans 16:18 "Such men serve, not Christ our Lord, but their own bellies, and they deceive the simpleminded with smooth and flattering speech." In Philippians 3:19, St. Paul says, "Such as these will end in disaster! Their god is their belly and their glory is their shame." See also Romans 1: 18-25.

 

God does not necessarily enjoy it when we are physically hungry, but He certainly doesn't want us to wind up in Hell.

 

We sinners live in a material and spiritual world, but it is so easy for the material to choke out the spiritual. We have so much trouble keeping the First Commandment ("Thou shalt have no other gods before Me"), let alone the rest. "Where your heart is, there your treasure will be also," Jesus tells us.

 

We can help keep our eyes on the Lord if we join the good company of St. Paul by "disciplining our body," and "bringing it into subjection."

 

  • Do you see a connection between the Ten Commandments and Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 9:27?

  • Would a hair shirt and flagellum help us to keep our priorities on the kingdom of God?

  • Would the practices in question 2 be excessive?

  • What is the danger of being excessive in our physical discipline?

  • Do most Americans run the risk of too harshly disciplining their bodies for spiritual reasons?

 

 ANSWER: What can you do to maintain balance regarding mortification in your life?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 30: Obedience. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

A YEAR WITH THE SAINTS (Optional)

 

Continue reading one reflection daily, taking them in the order in which they come in the book. Spend at least one minute reflecting on the day’s reading.

 

 ANSWER: Select one writing of a saint from this month’s reading and comment on its relevance to your life.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Begin to observe Saturday as a day of abstinence from meat, adding this to the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday abstinence days.

 

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

SECOND YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON SEVEN

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Chapter VII of the Rule and Constitutions with particular attention to section 22.

 

 ANSWER: How have you been able to observe this section?

 

 Chapter III of the Rule and Constitutions with particular attention to section 8, and Appendix A of the Constitutions.

 

 ANSWER: On fast days, how will you determine how much food to eat?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 1145-1228.

 

 ANSWER: Pretend that a non-Christian friend asked you how the liturgy was celebrated. Write a one paragraph summary to answer this inquiry.

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "The day will come, however, when the groom will be taken away from them; on that day they will fast." (Mark 2:20)

 

In some places Jesus and the disciples could be distinguished from the Pharisees because they disdained false outward religion as they feasted and drank. On other occasions Jesus taught that the Pharisee's piety was not even close to being pious enough.

 

"There is a time a purpose for everything under heaven," said wise King Solomon. This is why the Church, in her wisdom, gives us regulations for both fasting and feasting. "In all things equilibrium," though not catchy, might be a worthwhile slogan for us.

 

In this verse Jesus is contrasting the behavior of His disciples with those of John the Baptist (see preceding verses, Mark 2: 18-19). He is not saying that neither He, nor His disciples, ever fasted until after He was crucified. He was indicating that the true purpose of the disciples' fast would center around their Master, a fact which would only become clear to the disciples after the Resurrection.

 

(Note: In the Mosaic law, only the fast on the Day of Atonement was required. After the Babylonian exile of the Jewish nation, four other yearly fasts were observed. In Jesus' time, the Pharisees fasted twice a week.)

 

  • How should we offer up our prayers and fasts?

  • Around what or Who should they be offered up?

  • Our prayers can go through to the Father because we pray through Jesus even if in union with Mary or St. Joseph. Is fasting any different?

  • Have you studied the feast and fast days of the Church?

 

 ANSWER: How can we center our fasting around Christ?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 31: Pardon. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

A YEAR WITH THE SAINTS (Optional)

 

Continue reading one reflection daily, taking them in the order in which they come in the book. Spend at least one minute reflecting on the day’s reading.

 

 ANSWER: Select one writing of a saint from this month’s reading and comment on its relevance to your life.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Begin from now on to fast as well as abstain on every Friday of the year except those which are Solemnities or within the Christmas and Easter Octaves.

 

  • Return BRIEF answers to above questions to your formator.

 

 During the ninth month of Second 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 third 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.

SECOND YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON EIGHT

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Chapter VII of the Rule and Constitutions with particular attention to sections 23-25.

 

 ANSWER: How are you observing these sections?

 

 Rule/Constitutions 6 with attention to Constitutions 6c, 6d, 6g, 6i, as well as Rule/Constitutions 8 and 11, and Appendix A of the Constitutions.

 

 ANSWER: Write from memory how often penitents (who are not dispensed from the fasting and abstinence provisions of the Rule) eat, with the exception of Solemnities and Sundays.

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 1229-1321.

 

 ANSWER: Summarize the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

"Rather put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the desires of the flesh." (Romans 13:14)

 

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" is a verse similar to this one which directly opposes salvation by faith alone without the necessity of works (a Protestant teaching from Luther and the Reformers).

 

Why can we say that? The verse is filled with verbs. The subjects are understood to be you and me. YOU put on the Lord Jesus. How? Through the Sacraments! Through prayer and fasting! Through daily consecration! Through disciplining your body through periodically depriving it!

 

"Make no provision for the desires of the flesh." Does this mean don't go to work, feed your families, or buy life insurance? No! It means avoid occasions for sin and temptation.

 

Are there certain television shows and movies that fill our brains with nonsense or propaganda? Yes, and these lead to what someone has called "stinkin' thinkin'".

 

Don't forget that your sanctification is God's will. His Holy Spirit works "in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure." But even our Lord Jesus said, "I work and My Father works." Let us work to stay consecrated to our Lord in union with St. Mary and St. Joseph.

 

  • Is there a place where we should be the subject of the verbs and not God?

  • Is there a place where we should consider ourselves the object of the verbs and God the subject?

  • Are we saved "by grace through faith?"

  • Do our works have a place in our salvation?

 

 ANSWER: Reflect on this month's Scripture verse and tell what it means to you.

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 32: Patience. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

A YEAR WITH THE SAINTS (Optional)

 

Continue reading one reflection daily, taking them in the order in which they come in the book. Spend at least one minute reflecting on the day’s reading.

 

 ANSWER: Select one writing of a saint from this month’s reading and comment on its relevance to your life.

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

  • Determine how you will reduce your meals to two per day in light of Constitutions 6c. Will you need a bite to eat for a third meal? This month try out different patterns of eating to see which seems to work best for you. You will implement this plan next month.

 

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

SECOND YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON NINE

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Rule/Constitutions 26-27.

 

 ANSWER: All of us have offended others. Think of one or two people who most need your apology and write or speak an apology to them. Then submit your response to this activity to your formator.

 

 Chapter II of the Rule and Constitutions with particular attention to section 6. .

 

 ANSWER: Explain how you will observe Constitutions 6c.

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read sections 1322-1390.

 

 ANSWER: How do the Eucharist and the Mass support each other? How meaningful is the Eucharist to your faith journey with Christ?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "The man who will eat anything must not ridicule him who abstains from certain foods; the man who abstains must not sit in judgment on him who eats. After all, God Himself has made him welcome." (Romans 14:3)

 

Does the CFP Rule indicate that we must follow it strictly even in public where other people might be somehow scandalized?

 

No, it does not. We are to follow a rule of simplicity, but where that would unduly burden our spouses it becomes a scandal to the spouse and we are not to do that. We are not to make a show of our piety by refusing meat in public unless it would not be a problem to those around us.

 

Do we sin if conformity to the crowd conceals our Christianity?

 

God tells us that we must obey Him and not mankind in those instances in which the Catholic Church has set up certain fasting and abstinence provisions (such as meatless Fridays during Lent). However, where there is a voluntary discipline involved, as there is in the case of the CFP Rule, we run the risk of performing our discipline to be "seen by men" if we are overly rigid in public situations.

 

We are certainly to never gloat over our discipline of fasting and prayer; to do so would indicate that we are far from understanding its purpose. God, through His Church, is working in us through our Rule. We must not bring scandal upon it by a false public show of rigidity.

 

  • Is Paul talking only of abstinence here, or could fasting be included as well?

  • Do you understand the difference between fasting and abstinence? (Abstinence is denying ourselves meat at meals; fasting is limiting the amount of food intake).

  • What sin is involved if we gloat over our supposed spiritual superiority?

  • Be sure to read the rest of Chapter 14 to truly understand Paul's full thrust! Once you have done so, decide what are two of the key issues in this passage. Hints: For whom did Christ die? What is the essence of the kingdom of God?

 

 ANSWER: Answer in writing number 4 above.

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 33: Peace. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

A YEAR WITH THE SAINTS (Optional)

 

Continue reading one reflection daily, taking them in the order in which they come in the book. Spend at least one minute reflecting on the day’s reading.

 

 ANSWER: Select one writing of a saint from this month’s reading and comment on its relevance to your life.

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

  • Reduce your meals on every day of the week except Sundays and Solemnities to two per day. If you feel you need a bite to eat at the third meal, decide what that will be in light of Constitutions 6c.

 

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

 

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 Third 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 I, or do I not, plan on entering Third Year Novitiate and why or why not?

SECOND YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON TEN

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Rule/Constitutions 28, 38.

 

 ANSWER: How are these sections being observed in your CFP Circle or Chapter?

 

 Rule/Constitutions 8, 9, 10, 11.

 

 ANSWER: Unless you are dispensed, how will you observe the pre-Christmas fast as required by Constitutions 9a and the Wednesday fast between All Saints' Day until Easter, as required by Constitutions 8a?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 1391-1470.

 

 ANSWER: What is the purpose of the Sacrament of Penance and how may one receive it worthily?

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "They gave Him a drink of wine flavored with gall, which He tasted but refused to drink." (Matthew. 27:34)

 

 Jesus refused to drink this mixture because He wanted to be fully conscious until His death.

 

Gall was used as a numbing agent to somewhat mitigate the suffering, but Jesus had to taste suffering for everyone of us. He had to be conscious until His death.

 

Modern mankind seeks not only to avoid suffering but also to stay numbed for recreational purposes. This makes us who seek to live as penitents stand out at times like sore thumbs.

 

We, in some small way like our Master, choose to experience suffering and deprivation. Ours is to help us focus on our spiritual life and on the needs of the world around us. We, along with Jesus and Mary, say, "not my will but Thy will be done." God works on us through our surrender. We surrender our wills somewhat, through our voluntary living of the CFP Rule and Constitutions.

 

  • Do you see that the living of the penitential life must be prayerfully considered and fully voluntary?

  • Is there a self-emptying involved in your life as you fulfill your pledge to live this Rule?

  • Have you grown in your "inner man" through daily spiritual discipline?

  • Have you meditated lately on our Lord's suffering and its voluntary nature?

 

 ANSWER: How does the penitential life and its voluntary nature relate to our dealings with our family, co-workers, friends, and other Catholics?

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 34: Perseverance. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

A YEAR WITH THE SAINTS (Optional)

 

Continue reading one reflection daily, taking them in the order in which they come in the book. Spend at least one minute reflecting on the day’s reading.

 

 ANSWER: Select one writing of a saint from this month’s reading and comment on its relevance to your life.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • Unless dispensed, observe the fasting provisions during the pre-Christmas fast as discussed under Constitutions 9a.

 

  • Also implement the Wednesday fast from the Feast of All Saints until Easter as stated in Constitutions 8a.

 

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

SECOND YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON ELEVEN

 

RULE LESSON

 

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

 

 ANSWER: What is our obligation as penitents regarding scandal or serious sin involving ourselves or another member of the Confraternity?

 

 Chapters II and III of the Rule and Constitutions..

 

 ANSWER: Of all the stipulations in these two chapters, which one do you feel is most important and why?

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read sections 1471-1553.

 

 ANSWER: Define these terms in one sentence each:

  • Indulgences

  • Anointing of the Sick

  • Viaticum

  • Holy Orders

  • Ministerial Priesthood

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "Jesus said to all: "Whoever wishes to be My follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in My steps." (Luke 9:23)

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian and Hitler martyr, said, "Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

 

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field....Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of His Son: 'ye were bought at a price,' and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us." (The Cost of Discipleship, p. 36-37)

 

The term "Christians" given to believers in Jesus means "Christ's people" or "belonging to Christ." Do we "belong" to Jesus?

 

Bonhoeffer also wrote, "When Christ calls a man, He bids Him come and die." (79) "Discipleship means adherence to Christ, and because Christ is the object of that adherence, it must take the form of discipleship." (50)

 

  • For Bonhoeffer "to deny oneself is to be aware only of Christ." Do you agree, or disagree? Why?

  • Is such a thing possible given our nature? Is it something to strive for?

  • ". . . the wounds and scars we receive in the fray are living tokens of this participation in the cross of our Lord." What does this mean? Have you heard this before? Where?

 

 ANSWER: Reflect on the Scripture passage for this month and tell what it means to you.

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 35: Poverty. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

A YEAR WITH THE SAINTS (Optional)

 

Continue reading one reflection daily, taking them in the order in which they come in the book. Spend at least one minute reflecting on the day’s reading.

 

 ANSWER: Select one writing of a saint from this month’s reading and comment on its relevance to your life.

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

  • When Lent comes, observe the daily fast as stated in Rule and Constitutions 9, with particular attention to Constitutions 9a.

 

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

 

SECOND YEAR NOVITIATE: LESSON TWELVE

 

RULE LESSON

 

 Rule/Constitutions 29, 30, 31, 33, 37.

 

 ANSWER: Pretend that you found a ragged copy of the Rule and Constitutions. All you could read were the above sections and no others. What would these sections tell you about the objectives of the Confraternity of Penitents?

 

 Constitutions, Appendix A.

 

 ANSWER: Evaluate yourself on how well you are doing in adjusting the way you fast and abstain under the Rule and Constitutions, with the regulations set down by the Church as delineated in Appendix A.

 

CATECHISM LESSON

 

 Read Sections 1554-1600.

 

 ANSWER: List five important facts about Holy Orders from this section.

 

SCRIPTURE LESSON

 

 "Life is more important than food and the body more than clothing." (Luke 12:23)

 

This is not the prevailing philosophy of today's world, especially as represented in pop culture (movies, T.V., commercials etc...). Public education teaches children that religion is at best a myth and crutch.

 

Many youngsters today look at life as ending at biological death. But the Bible teaches that "life is more than....." that. Jesus says, "Do not fear him who can destroy the body, but Him who can destroy both body and soul." (Matthew 10:28)

 

Our pledge to live the CFP Rule helps us be mindful of what's truly important and hopefully helps us communicate this lovingly to others. We do not lord our Rule over others but use it as a vehicle to draw nearer to God and to be made more into the image of His only begotten Son.

 

Let us meditate on that in this our second year of living the Rule of the Confraternity of Penitents. May the Love of God, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you now and forever. Amen.

 

  • Where is your "treasure?"

  • Do you understand that grace can neither be bought nor sold? It is a gift, and, like beggars, we thank the Giver for it. Grace can be "merited" but even the merit is God's gift.

  • If you fail in living your pledge of fasting, do you take this to our Lord and ask for His empowerment to try again?

  • Has your spiritual improvement caused you to look at others in a new light?

  • Are you being "salt" and "light" to those around you?

 

 ANSWER: Answer number 4 above in writing.

 

LESSON ON THE FRANCISCAN VIRTUES

 

In Franciscan Virtues, read Virtue 36: Praise. Spend at least five minutes meditating on the virtue. Answer the questions. Share your answers with your formator.

 

A YEAR WITH THE SAINTS (Optional)

 

Continue reading one reflection daily, taking them in the order in which they come in the book. Spend at least one minute reflecting on the day’s reading.

 

 ANSWER: Select one writing of a saint from this month’s reading and comment on its relevance to your life.

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

  • You should now be living the full fasting and abstinence requirements of the CFP Rule. Evaluate with your spiritual director how you are doing with these and how you are physically and spiritually feeling. Do you need to make any modifications?

 

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

 

  • If your formator wishes, obtain the text Abandonment to Divine Providence (Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Image Books/Doubleday, c. 1975) which is available from the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop, to use as part of third year Novice formation.

 

  • Make a Day of Recollection prior to entering 3rd year formation. This may be done formally at an established Day of Recollection or informally in the privacy of your home.

 

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

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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!