"Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words."

A special "Thank you!"
Goes out to
John Michael Talbot
for giving us permission
to use his song on our
"Come to the Quiet"
You Tube Video
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Thursday, February 28, 2008

What Is Contemplation?

Then Brother Giles said to a cetrain friar, "Father, I would fain know what is contemplation?" And the friar answered: "Father, truly I know not." Then Brother Giles said: "To me it seems that contemplation is a divine fire, a sweet devotion infused by the Holy Ghost, a rapture and suspension of the mind inebriated by the unspeakable savour of divine sweetness, and a sweet and tranquil enjoyment of the soul which is rapt and suspended in loving admiration of the glories of heaven, and an inward burning conscousness of that celestial and unspeakable glory."

Part Four
Chapter XI

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Become A Night In Armor And Fight Valiantly

A friar once asked counsel of Brother Giles, saying, "Father, I am assailed often by an evil temptation, and I have many times besought the Lord to deliver me from it, yet he takes it not from me; counsel me, father; what ought I to do?" To whom Brother Giles made the reply following: "My brother, when a king arrays one of his knights in strong armor of proof, it is a token that he requires him to fight valiantly against his enemies for love of him."

Part Four:
Chapter IX

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Suffer To Be Ruled

"The horse is a noble and useful creature; for in his swiftest course he suffers himself to be ruled, and turned hither and thither, backwards and forwards, according to the will of the rider; so likewise should it be with the servant of God, who should suffer himself to be ruled, guided, turned and bent, according to the will of his superior; nay, of all others, for the love of Christ.

Little Flowers of St. Francis
Chapter V
Of Holy Patience

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Ladder That Leads To Heaven

The grace of God and the virtues which flow therefrom are a way and a ladder that leadeth to heaven; but vices and sins are a ladder and a way that leadeth to the depths of hell. Vices and sins are a venomous and a mortal poison, but virtues and good works are a salutory medicine. One grace leadeth to another; and one vice leadeth to another. Grace asketh not to be praised, and vice cannot endure to be despised. The mind reposeth tranquility in humility, of whom patience is daughter. Holy purity of heart seeth God, and true devotion enjoyeth him.

Little Flowers of St. Francis
Part Four
Chapter 1
Of Vices and Virtues

Sunday, February 24, 2008


FIRST READING: Exodus 17:3-7

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

SECOND READING: Romans 5:1-2, 5-8

GOSPEL: John 4:5-42

St Francis being once grievously ill, Brother Leo, as he was in prayer by his bedside, was rapt in ecstasy, and carried in spirit to a great, wide and rapid river; and watching those who crossed it, he saw some brothers enter the river heavily laden, who were carried away by the current and were drowned; some contrived to reach one third of the way; others arrived as far as the middle of the stream; yet none could resist the rapidity of the waters, but fell down and were drowned.

Presently he saw other brothers arrive; these carried nothing on their backs, but all bore upon the marks of holy poverty. They entered the river, and passed over to the other side without any danger to themselves. Having seen this, Brother Leo came to himself; and St Francis knowing in spirit that he had had a vision, called him to him, and asked what he had seen. When Brother Leo had related to him the vision, St Francis said: "What thou hast seen is indeed true. The great river is the world; the brothers who were drowned are those who do not follow their evangelical profession, or practice the great virtue of poverty; but they who passed the river are those who neither seek nor possess in this world any earthly riches, who having food and raiment are therewith content, and follow Christ naked on the cross, bearing joyfully and willingly his sweet and easy yoke and loving holy obedience: these pass easily from this earthly life to life eternal."

The Little Flowers

I am nothing but an old, cracked, filthy, jar. How can you possibly use me, Lord? Of what value can I be to you or to anyone? I watch as Jesus dumps his life-giving water into me. Immediately all my dirt and filth is washed away. I am being purified. As the water flows like torents into me, and although my cracks are large and leaking, the amount of water flowing into me is far greater than the amount I lose. Then just as I am completely filled, the dirt and filth flows up over the top and down into the drain. Still the water is poured...more and more. More than I can stand. An overflowing flood. It begins to pour out over me and toward God's people. They come to drink and they too become filled and they begin to overflow. They too are cracked, broken, filthy. Yet they overflow as well. They are cleansed as well. Their dirt flows over the sides and down the drain. More and more paople come to drink of your sweet tasting water, Lord. We all share your life-giving water with those whom you love - those who are dying of thirst. You quench us all. O sweet, magnificent water. Refreshed. Come Holy Spirit,come!

(Submitted by a brother from the Portiuncula Hermitage/Retreat Center)

Never Refuse Anyone Who Begs "For The Love Of God."

One of the expressions we use in ordinary speech always moved Francis profoundly whenver he heard it, and it was, "For the love of God." As soon as he would hear these words, they would excite him, work upon him, and enkindle him, as if an inner chord had been plucked by them. And he kept faithfully until his death the promise he made to himself when he was still living a worldly life, that he would never refuse a poor person who begged anything "for the love of God."

Second Life - 196

Saturday, February 23, 2008


FIRST READING: Micah 7:14-15, 18-20

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12

GOSPEL: Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

God alone is kind
from whom and through whom and in whom is
all pardon
all grace
all glory
of all the penitent and the just
of all the blessed who rejoice together in

Rule 1221 – Chapter XXIII

Lent is a marvelous gift from the Church. Satan has so many ways of leading us away from Jesus, most of them subtle. Yet Jesus never leaves our side. No matter where we go or what wE do, he is always there, following us in every step we take, anxiously awaiting with outstretched arms to once again receive us and forgive us. We have forgotten about God altogether. It's as if we have placed blinders over our eyes. We are only able to see through our own selfishness and pride, leading us away from the one who loves us more than anything else in the world. Lent is a time of reflection, allowing us to re-focus on Jesus and the fact that through all our mischievous wanderings, he never stopped loving us.

As Easter draws near, let us remind ourselves that just as we bathe before visiting an old friend, so too should be bathe ourselves from all our sins before we return to Jesus' presence.

(Submitted by a brother from the Portiuncula Hermitage/Retreat Center)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Vice President Mike Pence

"The Son of man came not to be served but to serve" (Matthew 20:28), says the Lord.

Those brothers who are placed in authority over the others are to glory in their office as much as if they were appointed to wash the feet of the brothers; and if they are more disturbed when their office is taken from them than they would be if the service of washing feet were taken from them, then to that extent have they amassed treasures for themselves to the peril of their souls.

St. Francis of Assisi
Admonitions 4

(WANE) Congressman Mike Pence is one of the country's leading conservatives, the group experts say John McCain needs to get in his corner to win the presidency. Pence has also been mentioned in several newspapers across the country as a name that could possibly be on the short list when presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain is selecting a running mate.

"I want to hear him talking about the right to life, the sanctity of marriage, second amendment rights, and lower taxes," said Pence in an exclusive interview with Newschannel 15's Mark Mellinger this week. In fact, Pence offered McCain just that advice in a speech last week, telling McCain, "Embrace the right, and the right will embrace you". His words prompted a phone call from McCain the next day. "I think he received it as advice from a friend," said Pence.

Click to view entire interview:

Wherever We Go, We Have Our Cell With Us

Wherever we are or wherever we go, we have our cell with us. For Brother Body is the cell, and the soul is the hermit who dwells in it, meditating there and praying to God. Therefore, if the soul does not preserve quiet and solitude in its own cell, of what profit is a cell made by human hands?

St. Francis
Legend of Perugia - 80

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Humble Yourselves In All Things

In the love which God is (1 John 4:16) I beseech all my brothers - speakers, workers, whether clerics or laics: Seek to humble yourselves in all things, and do not glory in yourselves or rejoice inwardly, or exalt yourselves for the good words and works or, indeed, of any good which God sometimes says or does or works in you and through you.

St. Francis
Rule of 1221
Chapter XVII

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


FIRST READING: Jeremiah 18:18-20

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 31:5-6, 14, 15-16

GOSPEL: Matthew 20:17-28

Francis spent the remaining few days before his death in praise, teaching his much-beloved companions to praise Christ with him. He also asked all creatures to praise God and, using the words he had composed earlier, exhorted them to love God. He even exhorted death itself, terrible and hated by all, to give praise; and joyfully going to meet it, he invited death to be his lodger. “Welcome,” he said, “my sister Death.”

Celano – Second Life 127

In a vision, the soldiers gathered us all up into a large group. There was no escape. We watched in horror as one-by-one we were taken to a cross and nailed. Most of us were dressed in filthy, tattered, gray robes. A few of us were adorned in pure white robes.

Those in pure white robes began to call out, “Me! Take me! Take me next!”

Those in filthy gray robes cowered in horror at our feet. They screamed, they cried, they flailed. They did everything they could to break away from our captors.

But there was no escape for anyone. We all had to go through the crucifixion.

I wondered what my reaction was going to be. Will I be brave? Will I run up and beg them to allow me to embrace this horror or will I cower and shriek in terror?

Suddenly I looked around and we were all nailed to our crosses, both those in gray robes and those in white. I could see everyone's faces. Everyone was in agony. For some, the agony was unbearable. For others, they embraced the pain and suffering with longing and ecstatic pleasure.

Then from above, Jesus reached down to those dressed in white robes, grabbed one by one by the hand and pulled them up into heaven.The others, those who were dressed in filthy gray rags, were left hanging on their crosses until the flesh rotted off their bones. The stench of rotting flesh was overwhelming!

How can I not embrace suffering and death? How can I not long to be with my Brother, Jesus?

“Me! Take me! Take me next!”

(Submitted by a brother at the Portiuncula Hermitage/Retreat Center)

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley: the future father of nations, and most venerable bishop of the whole world.

Saint Francis predicted many times to the cardinal of Ostia, Ugolino, whose intimate friend he was, that he would be made pope, and he always addressed the little notes he used to send him in these words: "To the future father of nations, and most venerable bishop of the whole world." The event proved the truth of this prediction, for the cardinal succeeded Honorius III, under the title of Gregory IX.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mere Appearances

Woe to those who are satisfied with the mere appearance of a religious life. They will grow sluggish in their sloth and will not remain steadfast amid the temptations permitted to prove the just. For only those who have overcome the test, after an enterval of torment from the malice of the wicked, will receive the crown of life.

Second Life - 157

Monday, February 18, 2008

Franciscan Rule For Hermitages

Those brothers who wish to live a religous life in a hermitage are to be three or at most four in number. Two of them are to act as mothers and are to have two sons or at least one. The two who perform the role of mothers are to follow the life of Martha, the other two that of Mary.

Those who follow the life of Mary are to have a cloistered space within which each one is to have his own cell in which to pray and sleep.

Mirror of Perfection - 95

Sunday, February 17, 2008


FIRST READING: Genesis 12:1-4

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 33:4-5, 18-10, 20, 22

SECOND READING: 2 Timothy 1:8-10

GOSPEL: Matthew 17:1-9

When Francis prayed in the wilds and in solitary places, he would fill the woods with sighs, water the earth with his tears, beat his breast with his hand, and there, making the most of a more intimate, secret place, he often spoke aloud to the Lord. He would give an account to his Judge, entreat his Father, speak with his Friend, chat amiably with his Bridegroom. Indeed, in order to offer to God with every fiber of his being a single, multifaceted holocaust, he would ponder the many facets of him who is Supremely One.

Celano -Second Life – 95

While sitting in front of a fireplace my mind was completely absorbed by the vision of one of the burning logs. I became the log, a completely worthless hunk of wood having been thrown into the fireplace. As I was consumed by the fire, the words of St. John of the Cross came racing into my mind:

“Let's look at this loving knowledge and divine light like a fire. Fire transforms wood into fire. When fire touches wood, the first thing it does is that it begins to dry the wood out. It drives away moisture, causing the wood to shed the tears it has held inside itself. Then the wood blackens, turning dark and ugly; it may even give off a bad odor. Little by little, the fire desiccates the wood, bringing out and driving away all those dark and unsavory accidents that are contrary to the nature of fire. Finally, heating up and enkindling the wood from outside, the fire transforms the wood into itself, rendering the wood as beautiful as the fire is.”

It is only after being stripped of all that I am inside that I am finally able to be completely consumed with Your fire, O Lord. Then I am made perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect. Only then am I able to be transformed from a worthless piece of wood into a magnificient, glorious, all-consuming fire. Only then can I radiate Your light for Your people to see. Only then can I radiate the warmth of Your presence.

(Submitted by a brother from the Portiuncula Hermitage/Retreat Center)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Royal Dignity

God is well pleased with poverty, and above all with voluntary poverty. For my part I possess royal dignity and special nobility, in that I follow the Lord, who was rich but became poor for our sakes. (2 Corr 8:9).

Second Life - 73

Friday, February 15, 2008

Our Faith Can Move Mountains

Once, for several years, St. Francis suffered a serious temptation of the spirit that caused him great anguish. Then one day when he was praying at St. Mary of the Angels, he heard in spirit a voice: "Francis, if you have faith, even if it is as small as a mustard seed, you will say to the mountain, move, and it will move." The saint responded, "Lord, what is the mountain I would want to move?" And again he heard, "The mountain is your temptation." Then weeping, Francis said, "Let it be unto me, Lord, as you have said." And immediately the temptation was removed, and he was made free and wholly at peace within.

Second Life - 115

Thursday, February 14, 2008


St. Francis used to state firmly that we should desire the grace of prayer above everything else, and in every way possible he would encourage his brothers to the zealous practice of prayer. It was his conviction that no one could make progress in the service of God without it.

St. Bonaventure
Major Life 10:1

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fasting Required Of Franciscan Brothers

The brothers are to fast from the feast of All Saints to the Nativity of the Lord. Then, as to the other fast which begins with the Epiphany and lasts uninterruptedly for forty days and which the Lord sanctified with His own fast, those who keep it voluntarily, may they be blessed by the Lord, and those who do not wish to keep it, are not bound to do so. But the brothers are bound to keep the other fast which ends with the feast of the Resurrection of the Lord.

They are bound to no further fasting, then, except on Fridays. And whenever necessity requires that a brother not fast, he is not bound to corporal fasting.

St. Francis
Rule of 1223
Chapter III

Tuesday, February 12, 2008



FIRST READING: Isaiah 55:10-11

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19

GOSPEL: Matthew 6:7-15

Have no fear of being thought insignificant or unbalanced, but preach repentance with courage and simplicity. Have faith in the Lord, who has overcome the world. His Spirit speaks in you and through you, calling men and women to turn to him and observe his precepts. You will encounter some who are faithful, meek, and well disposed; they will joyfully receive you and your words.

But there will be more who are skeptical, proud, and blasphemous, and who will insult you and resist your message. Prepare yourselves, therefore, to bear everything with patience and humility.

Legend of the Three Companions – 36

I behold your face, O Lord. We are sitting across from each other. Your eyes smile at me. Sometimes one of us says something and we both laugh out loud. Other times we contemplate the words that are spoken in silence. We are friends and we enjoy these times together.

Then I do something sinful in your sight. Your head droops, your eyes drop to the floor, you spin in your chair, turning your face from me. You are humiliated and embarrassed to be in my presence. Please, Lord, please don't turn your face away. I'm sorry. I love you. Please turn back to me. I can't bare to see you turn away from me like this. It wounds my soul.

When I beg your forgiveness, Lord, you turn back to me, smile, and we go back into intimate conversation with one another. It's as if nothing had ever happened. Please help me not to encounter this feeling of loneliness again. I can't bear it.

Then I sin again. Again you turn your face away. Again the pain of losing you rips into my heart. Again I cry out to you for forgiveness. And again you turn back to me and our friendship is restored as if nothing had every happened.

How many times must I fail you Lord? How many times will you forgive me, Lord? Every time I come to you and ask forgiveness.

Submitted by a brother from the "Portiuncula Hermitage/Retreat Center"

Monday, February 11, 2008

Proper Care For Sick Brothers

If one of the brothers falls sick, wherever he may be, the other brothers are not to leave him unless one of the brothers, or more, if necessary, are chosen to serve him as they would wish to be served themselves.

St. Francis
Rule of 1221
Chapter X

Sunday, February 10, 2008


FIRST READING: Genesis 2:7-9 ; 3:1-7

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17

SECOND READING: Romans 5:12-19

GOSPEL: Matthew 4:1-11

When we think of possessions, we usually have material things in mind, but St. Francis used to remind his brothers that possessions are material and spiritual, anything we appropriate to ourselves. For him it is not possessions which are sinful, but possessiveness, appropriating to ourselves what is not ours. He says: "You eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good when you appropriate to yourself your own will, thus crediting yourself with the good which the Lord says and does in you."

St. Francis
Admonition 2

Oh how it must wound your heart, Jesus, when we take credit for all that you did to save mankind. Did I suffer and die on the cross for mankind? No! For what then, can I take credit? We remember your people, O Lord, who followed you in tribulation, persecution, shame, hunger, sickness and trial, so that they might receive eternal life from you. Great is my shame because while these saints actually followed in your footsteps, I, your servant today, demand glory and honor simply because I am able to recite what they did.

Submitted by a brother at the Portiuncula Franciscan Hermitage/Retreat Center

Friday, February 08, 2008


FIRST READING: Isaiah 58:1-9

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 18-19

GOSPEL: Matthew 9:14-15

"St. Francis used to say that he felt filled with the sweetest fragrance and anointed with "costly ointment" when it was reported to him that his brothers, scattered throughout the world, were drawing many to return to the right way by the fragrant perfume of their holiness. When he heard things like this, he rejoiced in spirit and poured his enviable blessings upon those brothers who, by word and deed, were leading sinners to the love of Christ."

St. Bonaventure - Major Life 8:3

Gazing down, I see my hands with my palms facing toward the sky and I am holding my heart in my hands. It is crushed and broken. I offer it to you. I see your heart as you hang there on the tree and see that it is even more crushed and broken than my own. It is I who have done this to you, my Lord.

Oh, how can I heal you? Just tell me Lord, how can I make things right? You refuse my gift, calling it unacceptable to you. You tell me to take my heart that I hold in my hands and offer it to others.

But to whom, Lord? To the one who has hurt me the most? May it not be, Lord! To the one person that I loathe above all other creatures? NO! To the one I would love to see crushed, humiliated and stomped into the ground? How can you do this to me, my Lord? I am offering it to you, not them! So this is the Fast you demand from me: to offer my heart and soul to the lepers of today; the poor, the sorrowful, the hungry, the naked, the racist, the bigot, the government official, my boss, the harlot in the second pew, the wealthy, the AIDS victim. And you tell me that I must offer them my heart knowing full well that they could simply reach out and squash it in their hands, just as I did to yours when you offered it to me so many times and in so many ways.

Ah, I surrender to you, my Lord!

Submitted by a brother at the "Portiuncula: the Little Portion"

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


FIRST READING: Joel 2:12-18

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17

SECOND READING: Corinthians 5:20-6:2

GOSPEL: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

"Wherever we are or wherever we are going, we have our cell with us. For Brother Body is the cell, and the soul is the hermit who dwells in it, meditating there and praying to God. Therefore, if the soul does not preserve quiet and solitude in its own cell, of what profit is a cell made by hands?"

Legend of Perugia – 80

As I enter the tiny, darkened church, I can see the Tabernacle on the Altar. The church is my body and the tabernacle my soul. Drawing nearer to the Tabernacle, I take the key and open it.

As your Eucharistic Body is exposed, your presence being brighter than the sun, plunges me into pitch-black darkness. I know you're there, somewhere in that black night within my soul. I find you! We throw our arms around each other in a tight embrace!

But what is this? My chest is covered with warm dampness. You're bleeding, my Lord! Your chest is covered in blood and now I am covered in that blood too. I did this to you, Jesus. That spear pierced your precious and holy heart because of my sins.

You weep.

You weep tears of sorrow because we have been separated for so long because of my sins. You also weep tears of joy because I have returned to you and we grip to each other in a locked embrace.

From a brother at the Portiuncula: the Little Portion

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Dogs Always Return To Their Own Vomit

There are many religious who, under the pretext of seeing better things than those which their prelates command, look back (Luke 9:62) and return to the vomit of self-will (Proverb 26:11; 2 Peter 2:22). Such as these are murderers because by their bad example they cause many souls to be lost.

St. Francis
Admonition 3

Monday, February 04, 2008

Behavior Of A Franciscan

I advise, admonish, and exhort you in the Lord Jesus Christ that when you travel through the world you do not quarrel or argue or judge others; rather, be meek, peaceful and modest, courteous and humble, speaking honorably to everyone.

St. Francis
Rule of 1223
Chapter III

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Chris Dickson: A New Kind Of Fool

The Lord has called me into the way of simplicity and humility, and he has indeed made this way known through me and through all who choose to believe me and follow me. So I prefer you not talk to me about any other Rule, whether St.Benedict's, or St. Augustine's, or St. Bernard's, nor recommend any other ideal or manner of life than that which the Lord in his mercy has revealed and given to me. He told me I am to be a new kind of fool in this world.

Mirror of Perfection - 68

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Franciscan Obedience

Among other graces which the Divine Mercy has deigned to give me is this: If a novice only one hour in the Order were made my guardian, I would obey him as scrupulously as I would the oldest and most prudent brother in the Order. A subject should not see the man in the prelate, but him for whose love he is subject.

St. Bonaventure
Major Life 6:4