"CUM GRANDE HUMILITATE!"

"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
T
T
_______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

Are You "Searching" For Jesus?

________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________
Donate ONE PENNY to the
Portiuncula Franciscan Hermitage
every time you
SEARCH
the Internet!
GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!
T
_______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

Monday, March 31, 2008

St. Francis And The Swallows At Alviano

It happened once when St. Francis was preaching in Alviano that he could not be heard because of the chattering of a flock of swallows building their nests there. So St. Francis said to the birds, "My Sister Swallows, you have had your say. It is now my turn to speak. Be quiet now and listen to the word of the Lord."

Then to the astonishment of the people standing about, the little birds fell silent and did not move until St. Francis finished preaching.

Celano
First Life - 59

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Saint Francis Preaches To The Birds

Once near Bevagna inthe Spoleto valley St. Francis saw a large flock of birds of various kinds. There were doves and crows, and those popularly called daws. Now Francis was always fervent toward creatures and showed them great tenderness, so as soon as he saw these birds, he left his companions and ran eagerly to the birds. And when he got close to them, he greeted them in his usual way. They seemed to be waiting for him; they didn't fly away as he expected them to. And so, filled with joy, he begged them to listen to the word of God. Among other things, he said to the birds: "My Brother Birds, you should always praise your Creator and love him. He covered you with feathers and gave you wings to fly and granted you a kingdom of pure air. He cares for you, too, without any worry on your part, though you neither sow nor reap."

At these words, as Francis and his companions later reported, the birds acknowledged his words in a wonderful fashion. They stretched out their necks and flapped their wings, and gazed at him with their beaks open. And St. Francis walked among them in fervor and spirit, brushing their heads and bodies with his tunic, and not one of them moved until he made the sign of the cross over them and gave them permission to fly away. And Francis and his companions went on their way, as well, praising and thanking God whom all creatures venerate and humly acknowledge.

Celano
First Life - 58

St. Bonaventure
Major Life - 12:3

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley: Comments Regarding The Franciscan Constitution

"The present constitutions emerged from a long process and the hard work of commissions and General Chapters. We also had the advantage of the newly composed Constitutions of the OFMs and the scholarly work of the legendary Father Cajetan Esser, O.F.M. Each Chapter of the present Capuchin Constitutions adopted a format which takes the Revelation of the Church and then Francis’ genius and then our fraternity and then develops the topic of the Chapter. It is a wonderfully constructed ecclesial vision of religious life and Franciscan spirituality. It locates us in the context of the Church and not as a sideshow of charismatic wonder.

"Capitular fathers were grateful to the fine work of the Italian Friar Guiseppe Santorelli from the Province of Ancora who helped incorporate more of the original Capuchin constitutions into the new Constitutions. All in all the Chapters that worked on the Constitutions did a remarkable job. I was present for some of those Chapters as a lowly translator and witnessed firsthand the hard work of the Capitulars.

"The new Constitutions despite its many strengths does have some flaws in my opinion. It is my hope that the call to re-look at the Constitutions might address some of these concerns:

• The new Constitutions dropped too much of our life of penance and the contemplative side of our life.
• The new Constitutions fail to give a clear formula for living a life of poverty “with explanations.”
• The new Constitutions favor generalities to honor an ill-conceived notion of pluriformity that has robbed the Constitutions of its fire.
• The new Constitutions needed to say more about the friars’ love for the Church and the fidelity to her moral and dogmatic teaching. Francis was so devoted to the Church, despite all the defects and shortcomings of the clergy and leadership.
•Our Constitutions should not be a bland description of how we are living our vocation in the 3rd millennium, but rather a description of how we should be living our life in a concrete program of radical poverty, radical prayer, radical love. Constitutions should not be easily tempered with. Performance and stability are important to inspire people with a sense of awe and seriousness. In today’s world young people see how everything is expendable, “throw-away.” Technology has created a world where everything is experimental or obsolete.

"The Constitutions are our identity as Capuchins and need to be firmly grounded in our history. We do not need a document that is modern and trendy that will soon seem dated and passe.

"Conclusion:

"Capuchin Identity is safeguarded by the Constitutions only in as much as it inspires us to live the Rule and Testament in a radical way. Generalities will never do. The Gospel Life of the Capuchin Brotherhood is about radical love. It is a life that begins with contemplative prayer. This allows one to imitate the self-emptying of Christ’s kenosis and leads to a radical witness that invites people to renounce the extreme individualism and materialism of our age in order to follow Christ poor and crucified.

"Some people are advocating removing some of the concrete directives on prayer that are in the Constitutions and place them in the Ordinances. This would be a fatal mistake. The ordinances are unknown and irrelevant to most of the friars. The Rule and Constitutions will always be the documents that form us and teach us our identity. The Constitutions cannot be a weak exhortation to live a vague ideal of the most common denominator. Rather, the Constitutions should be a challenging document that incorporates concrete directives about the life of prayer, poverty, and austerity. We need more boldness in our Constitutions if we are going to inspire young men to join our ranks.

"If we embrace or institutionalize a comfortable, bourgeois life style, the Order will die out, no matter how much lip service we give to a liberal social agenda. Our way of life lived in all its radical renunciation is capable of producing men whose witness of prayer, poverty and love will help transform society by calling people back to God, calling them to come home to the Church, by helping people to have a sense of personal vocation and to be part of a communal mission.

"It is my conviction that the contemplative aspects of our life should be addressed first of all. The Capuchin charism begins with the eremitical emphasis of the first friars as reflected in the document of Albacena, the subsequent Constitutions elaborate more on ministry and mission. The point of departure however is the contemplative basis of our vocation. When the life of prayer is carefully delineated, then the other aspects of our life take shape. The centrality of the Eucharist and mental prayer needs to be very clear. Daily celebration of a communal Eucharist, two periods of meditation, and the communal praying of the entire liturgy of the hours needs to be enshrined in the Constitutions as a bare minimum. To leave that up to local communities to legislate is too risky. By leaving things out of the Constitutions we are sending a signal that they are not really important and we encourage a take it or leave it attitude.

"The subjective mood, weak exhortations and mild recommendations do not communicate the sense of urgency that Francis wants to communicate in the Rule. It is a matter of life and death. St. Paul says no one will follow an uncertain trumpet blast. Our legislation should not be an exercise in subtleties. The directives about prayer and poverty need to be concrete, airtight and unyielding."

Cardinal Sean

http://www.cardinalseansblog.org/

A Ladder To The Throne Of God

St. Francis praised the Artist in every one of his works; whatever he found in things made, he referred to their Maker. He rejoiced in all the works of the Lord's hands, and with joyful vision saw into the reason and cause that gave them life. In beautiful things he came to know Beauty itself. To him all things were good. They cried out to him, "He who made us is infinitely good." By tracing his footprints in things Francis followed the Beloved wherever he led. He made, from created things, a ladder to his throne.

Celano
Second Life - 165

Friday, March 28, 2008

Lesser Brothers Are To Become Models Of Humility

Francis, the model of humility, wanted his brothers to be called Lesser and the superiors of the Order to bear the name "servants," thereby preserving the very words used in the Gospel which he had promised to observe. At the same time he enabled his followers to learn from their very name that they had come to the school of the humble Christ to learn humility. Jesus Christ, the teacher of humility, intending to form his disciples in true humility, said, "Anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to become the first among you must be your slave" (Matthew 20:26-27).

St. Bonaventure
Major Life - 6:5

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Prayer Of St. Francis Before The Crucifix

Most High, Glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart,
and give me correct faith,
sure hope and perfect charity,
with understanding and knowledge, Lord,
so that I may fulfill your holy and true command,
Amen.

Writing of St. Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Strip The Altar Bare And Strip Off Its Ornaments!

Strip the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary and cart off its varied furnishings if you cannot otherwise satisfy one who is in need! Believe me, it is dearer to Mary that the Gospel of her Son be kept, though it means stripping her altar, than to see her altar ornamented and her Son neglected!

Celano
Second Life - 67

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Consider How Inadequate And Meager Is Our Virtue

Lifting his eyes and hands to heaven, Francis prayed with the greatest devotion and fervor, saying, "My God and my all! My God and my all!" And he continued saying nothing but "My God and my all!" and weeping profusely until matins.

St. Francis said this prayer while contemplating in awe the excellence of the Divine Majesty which had bent down to this perishing world and was about to provide a saving remedy for Francis and others through the little poor man, Francis himself. For, enlightened by the Holy Spirit through a prophetic spirit, Francis saw the great things God was going to accomplish through him and his Order. But when he considered how inadequate he was and how meager was his virtue, he cried out in prayer to God that in his mercy, without which human frailty can do nothing, he would supply, help, and fill up what was lacking in Francis.

St. Francis of Assisi
Little Flowers of St. Francis - Chapter 2

Monday, March 24, 2008

Holding Anything Back From God?

Blessed are you, servant of God, if you attribute all that is good in yourself to the Lord God; for if you hold back anything for yourself, you hide inside yourself your Lord's money (Matthew 25:18), and what you think you have will be taken from you (Luke 8:18).

St. Francis of Assisi
Admonition 18

Sunday, March 23, 2008

EASTER SUNDAY

MARCH 23, 2008

Rejoice, heavenly powers!
Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our king, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Chris has conquered!
Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!
Rejoice, O Mother Church!
Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
Echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

The above verses are the beginning of the Easter proclamation called the Exsultet, a Church hymn written probably in the 5th century, and now sung at the Easter Vigil. At the Easter Vigil, Christopher and Julie Sywassink became full members of the Catholic Church. Welcome, Chris & Julie!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

HOLY WEEK - HOLY THURSDAY

FIRST READING: Isaiah 61:1-3,6,8-9

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 89:21-22, 25, 27

SECOND READING: Revelation 1:5-8

GOSPEL:Luke 4:16-21


Receive the Body and the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ with great humility and with veneration, remembering the words of the Lord: “Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life” and, “Do this in remembrance of me.”

Rule 1221, Chapter XX




The Spear Pierces The Heart of Jesus


Lord Jesus Christ, sweet brother Jesus, thank You for allowing me to become hidden in Your wounds because by Your wounds, I am healed!

Oh sweet Brother Jesus, I beg You to take that very spear that pierced Your Most Precious and Holy Heart and “run me through!” Impale me, Oh Lord! Wound my soul! Pierce my heart and soul with Your love for all mankind; every man, woman and child, regardless of Race, Color or Creed. Pierce my heart and soul with Your love for for the birds of the air, the fish in the sea and the animals of the field. Pierce my heart and soul with Your love for Brother Sun, Sister Moon and all of the stars and galaxies in the sky. Lord jesus, pierce our hearts with your love for this beautiful and magnificent earth, this temporary home, You have so graciously given us. And dear brother Jesus, I beg you to drive that spear deep into my heart and soul so that all my sins and sinful nature pours out onto the dust and dung heaps of the earth, to be replaced by Your total Being, Your Holy Spirit, our Father's Love, and our Father's Joy!


Hidden in the wound. Hidden in the tomb. Contemplation...silence...listening...expectant...emptied of all...peace...serenity...quiet...complete emptying of self...plunged into the dark night of his presence...pitch black...God is present...only God...

Submitted by a brother from the Portiuncula Hermitage/Retreat Center

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

HOLY WEEK - WEDNESDAY

FIRST READING: Isaiah 50:4-9

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34

GOSPEL: Mathew 26:14-25

God called St.Francis and his companions and chose them to bear the cross of Christ in their hearts and to preach it in word and action. That is why they looked like and were in fact crucified men in their comportment and in their austere life, in their deeds and actions. And that is why they wanted more to receive shame and insults for the love of Christ than the world's vain honors or respect or praise; and that is why they were saddened when they were honored. And so they went through the world as pilgrims and strangers, with Christ crucified as their only baggage.

Little Flowers of St. Francis – Chapter 5


THE NAIL PIERCES HIS PRECIOUS FEET

My sweet Lord Jesus, I plead with you to please take that very nail that pierced Your precious and holy feet, place it in Your hands and drive it through these unworthy and sinful feet of mine. Use that nail to “Shod my feet for the the preparation of the Gospel," commissioning me to take Your “Good News” to all the corners of the earth. Lord Jesus, it is written that “The God of peace will shortly crush Satan under your feet,” so I beg You, my Beloved, to allow my sinful and unworthy feet to stomp, crush, and destroy Satan in the world.

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

HOLY WEEK - TUESDAY

FIRST READING: Isaiah 42:1-7

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17

GOSPEL: John 12:1-11


St. Francis used to say we should prefer nothing to the salvation of souls, and he said so for this reason: It was for souls that the only-begotten Son of God deigned to ascend the cross.

St. Bonaventure – Major Life 9:4



The Nails Pierce His Precious Hands

Lord Jesus, just as those nails pierced Your precious and holy hands, so I willingly invite You to take those very same nails into Your fists and drive them through my unworthy and sinful hands to make me Your “Carpenter Apprentice,” so that I can "Go, and rebuild Your house, which is falling completely to ruin!"

Lord Jesus, as my soul walks blindly through the dark night of my soul, I humbly raise my hands up to you and beg You to take them into Yours (as a big brother leading his his little brother by the hand) into our Father's Light.

Anon brother from Portiuncula

Monday, March 17, 2008

HOLY WEEK - MONDAY

FIRST READING: Isaiah 42:1-7

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14

GOSPEL: John 12:1-11


When he was asked why he went about the countryside weeping, St. Francis said, “I should travel through all the world and, without any false shame, cry and moan over the passion of my Lord!”

Legend of Perugia – 37


THE CROWN OF THORNS

I was in an area of complete and utter darkness. Then a mist Appeared, through which two hands appeared that were handing me a crown of thorns.

I took the crown of thorns from the outstretched hands and placed it upon my head. As the crown was being seated upon my head, I prematurely winced, fully expecting searing pain from those thorns to shoot through my head and throughout my entire body.

But instead of pain, a warm and wonderful feeling of joy and peace settled over me. I was being bathed in God’s love.

Simultaneously with the crown of thorns being placed upon my head, a vision appeared before me of a glass mirror “unfurling” like a window shade, even though it was glass.

Jesus then appeared in the glass before me.

I was immediately filled with shame because Jesus had caught me wearing his crown, and I immediately pulled it from my head.

As I did, Jesus disappeared.

I then placed the crown back onto my head. As I did, the glass unfurled before me, and again Jesus was standing before me.

At that moment, the realization hit me that I was looking into a mirror and seeing my own reflection, and that reflection was my Savior and my Lord! And me! One and the same!

This vision greatly troubled me. After all, who did I think I was, anyway? Was I so vain as to think myself equal to Jesus? God forbid! The vision continued to frighten me long afterwards, fearing that my attitude was obviously not right with God…that is, until I heard these words:

“Do not be afraid to put on my crown of thorns.

It is My crown of glory!

Wear it as I did.

I will bear the pain so that you have none.

Then, and only then, will you see Me in glory.

Then we shall meet face to face.

You in me, and I in you.

People will see me in your image.

Give yourselves to Me fully,

And I will come to you in glory…”

Lord Jesus, I humbly beg You to place Your crown of thorns upon my sinful and unworthy head. I pray that Your Crown blocks any thoughts that are not from you from entering into my mind.

O sweet brother, Jesus, I pray that only Your good and holy thoughts are able to penetrate Your Crown and enter into my mind. Give me Your Knowledge and Wisdom and allow me to come into complete
union with You. Clear my mind so that I can hear Your voice and be obedient to whatever it is You are telling me to do.


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

Sunday, March 16, 2008

PALM SUNDAY

FIRST READING: Isaiah 50:4-7

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24

SECOND REDING: Philippians 2:6-11

GOSPEL READING: Luke 22:14-23, 56


Blessed are you, servant of God, if you do not consider yourself any better when you are honored and extolled by others than when you are considered low and simple and despised; for what you are before God, that is what you are, and no more.


St. Francis of Assisi
Admonition 19



The Scourging at the Pillar

Lord Jesus Christ, sweet brother Jesus, thank you for allowing me to become hidden in Your wounds because by Your wounds, I am healed!

Just as that whip scourged Your precious body, Lord Jesus, so take that very same whip into your hands and beat me from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. Lay wide open my sins and my sinful nature, to be exposed to the healing power of the Son, the Son of the Everliving God.

Lord Jesus, I pray that as I search along that path into Your outstretched arms, that if I deviate from that path, that You take that whip and drive me back onto that narrow path to righteousness.

anon brother

Poverty And Joy

Where there is poverty and joy, there is niether cupidity nor avarice.

St. Francis of Assisi
Admonition 27

Sister Lark: An Example For Religious

Sister Lark has a hood like a religious and is a humble bird who gladly goes in search of any little grain, and even if she finds something in the garbage, she picks it out and eats it. In flight she sweetly praises God like the religious who, detached from worldly things, turn ever toward heaven and who long only to praise God. The lark's garb, her plumage, is the color of the earth. Thus she offers religious an example of how not to wear elegant, flashy clothes, but moderately priced things, of the color of earth, the humblest of the elements.

St. Francis of Assisi
Mirror of Perfection - 113

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR - 2008 Catholic Charismatic Conference

Catholic Charismatic Conference
"The Power And The Kingdom"


Friday, June 06, 2008 - Sunday, June 08, 2008


"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witness es in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" -Acts 1:8

Hosts: Fr Michael Scanlan TOR and Mark Nehrbas

This year's Catholic Charismatic Conference will help you open yourself to the Spirit's power. Speakers such as Sister Ann Shields, SGL, and Deacon Ralph Poyo will help you learn how to go deeper in prayer and how to help those in your homes and parishes go deeper as well. You'll hear powerful stories of witness and conversion from speakers such as former NFL standout Danny Abramowicz.

Unlike years past, however, this summer's conference will be less about listening and more about experiencing. It will be less about what the speakers have to say and more about letting the Holy Spirit do his work in your heart. That means more time for prayer, more time for praise and worship, and more time for sacred silence. It also means additional time for healing prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.


Conference Schedule
Please note - All conference schedules are subject to change!


The Transforming Fire of the Spirit
Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR
Friday, June 06, 2008 - 7:00 PM

Are You Ready? : A Testimony
Danny Abramowicz
Friday, June 06, 2008 - 8:30 PM

Your Will Be Done
Sr. Ann Shields, SGL
Saturday, June 07, 2008 - 8:30 AM

Mass and Homily
Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR
Saturday, June 07, 2008 - 10:30 AM

Workshop: Power To Change: Intercessory Prayer
Sr. Ann Shields, SGL
Saturday, June 07, 2008 - 2:00 PM

Workshop: The Straying Sheep-Hope for Adult Children Who Have Left the Church
Mark Nehrbas
Saturday, June 07, 2008 - 2:00 PM

Workshop: Reaching Men For Christ
Danny Abramowicz
Saturday, June 07, 2008 - 2:00 PM

Workshop: Youth Evangelization: Reaching Teens For Christ
John Beaulieu
Saturday, June 07, 2008 - 2:00 PM

Workshop: Bringing the Kingdom Power To Your Parish
Deacon Ralph Poyo
Saturday, June 07, 2008 - 2:00 PM

Workshop: Discipleship
Fr. Jonathan St. Andre, TOR
Saturday, June 07, 2008 - 2:00 PM

Eucharistic Holy Hour
Deacon Ralph Poyo
Saturday, June 07, 2008 - 3:30 PM

Going Deeper in Worship
Sr. Ann Shields, SGL
Saturday, June 07, 2008 - 7:00 PM

Prayer Ministry for Healing-Fr. Michael Scanlan TOR and Team
Saturday, June 07, 2008 - 9:00 PM

Light Of The World, Salt Of The Earth
Fr. Tom Forrest, CSsR
Sunday, June 08, 2008 - 8:30 AM

Liturgy Homilist
Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR
Sunday, June 08, 2008 - 10:30 AM



Sign up here:

http://www.franciscanconferences.com/conferences/confdetails.asp?ConferenceID=120

Sublime And High Perfection

If thou lovest, thou shalt be loved.

If thou servest, thou shalt be served.

If thou fearest, thou shalt be feared.

If thou doest good to others, fitting it is that others should do good unto thee.

But blessed is he who truly loves, and desireth not to be loved again.

Blessed is he who serves, and desireth not to be served.

Blessed is he that doeth good to others, and desireth not that others should do good to him.

But because these things are most sublime and high perfection, therefore they that are foolish cannot understand them nor attain thereto. Three things there are that are very sublime and very profitable, which he who has once acquired shall never fail.

The first is, thou shalt bear willingly and gladly, for the love of Jesus Christ, every affliction that shall befall thee.

The second is, that thou humble thyself daily in every thing thou doest, and in every thing thou seest.

The third is, that thou love faithfully with all thy heart that invisible and supreme Good which thou canst not behold with thy bodily eyes.

LITTLE FLOWERS OF ST. FRANCIS
Part Four
Chapter 1
OF VICES AND VIRTUES

Friday, March 14, 2008

FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

FRIDAY

FIRST READING: Jeremiah 20:10-13

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 18:2-3, 3-4, 5-6, 7

GOSPEL READING : John 10:31-42

In the beginning, when St. Francis was still wearing the clothes of a layman, although he had already renounced the world, he went about Assisi for a long time looking wretched and so emaciated by penance that many thought he had turned simple-minded. They laughed at him as though he were mad, and relatives and strangers alike drove him away with insults and stones and mud. But he was already seasoned with a divine salt and rooted in peace of soul by the Holy Spirit, so he bore patiently all their insults and scorn with a joyful countenance, as if he were deaf and mute.

Little Flowers of St. Francis – Chapter 2


Someone I know was in the Spirit and saw many men had picked up stones from the ground to throw at Jesus and kill him. Suddenly, the earth began to shake. The ground trembled madly. Stones, dirt and dust all vibrated away from the spot where Jesus had just stood. Then the ground suddenly split open. Just a little bit at first. Then the earth shook more violently and the corner of a large rock began to appear from the crack. As the earth became more and more violent, the more the rock grew and protruded from out of the ever widening crack.

"Gazing upon this massive rock, I saw that it had grown to the size of a house, wide at the base and slender at the top, coming almost to a point.

"In fear, the men threw down their rocks. They were useless to throw against that gigantic rock!

"The giant rock became a foundation for all that there was to come. Nothing in this world could harm that rock. It was far too formidable.

"I threw myself onto it and began kissing it. It gave me strength. It gave me hope. It was my salvation."


A brother

Creatures Serve And Know And Obey God More Than We Do

Consider, O human, the wondrous dignity God has conferred upon you. He created and formed your body in the image of his Beloved Son, and your soul in his own likeness. Still, all creatures under heaven serve and know and obey their Creator in their own way better than you do.

St Francis
Admonition 5

Thursday, March 13, 2008

To Be Gone And To Be With Christ

Above everything else, St. Francis desired "to be gone and to be with Christ" (Philippians 1:33). That was why he was so concerned with freeing himself from every worldly care: lest his peace of mind be disturbed by the taint of what was mere dust. He made himself insensible to external noise and controlled his external senses and desires so that he could live absorbed in God alone.

Celano
First Life - 71

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

St. Francis's Rule for Hermitages

Voce mea ad Dominum clamavi
[With my voice I have cried out to the Lord].

...And let them always recite compline of the day immediately after sunset. And they are to strive to preserve silence and to recite the hours, rising even for matins, and let them seek first the kingdom of God and his justice. And at the proper hour let them say prime, and after terce they may break silence, in order to speak or have recourse to their mothers; and when they wish, they may ask alms of them for the love of God, just as little poor ones do. And afterward they are to say sext and none and vespers at the required times*...

St. Francis of Assisi
The Rule of Hermitages


*Matins, lauds, prime, terce, sext, none, vespers, and compline are the hours of the Roman Breviary, the oficial prayer book of the clergy.

Monday, March 10, 2008

"SPIRITUAL WARFARE" Conference

Father Gregory Bramlage Invites You to a Fall Conference on:

"Spiritual Warfare"

Saturday, October 25, 2008
East Central High School
St. Leon, IN

Call (812) 623-8007 for more information or go to:

HealingThroughthePowerofJesusChrist.org

Learn How To:

- Recognize Spiritual Attack
- Protect Yourself & Your Family
- Lift Generational Curses
- Break Inner Vows & Soul Ties
- Pray for Healing of the Heart
- Be Set Free & Stay Free
- Put On The Full Armor of God

Featured Speakers:

Fr. Gregory Bramlage
Fr. Dan Wilder
Dr. Richard Meyer

FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

MONDAY

FIRST READING: Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6

GOSPEL READING : John 8:1-11



Once St. Francis was giving a mother and her daughter the comfort of the word of God. All the while he spoke, he never looked at them, and so when they left, his companion said to him, “Father, that holy woman and her virgin daughter came to you with such devotion; why didn't you look at them?” But the holy father answered, “Who would not be afraid to look upon a bride of Christ? A whole sermon was preached with my eyes and face when they looked at me, but not I at them.”

Celano – Second Life – 114



Here I am, hanging on the cross next to Jesus. My offense? I was convicted of adultery, because every sin is adultery to God. Oh how many times have I sinned, Lord? How many times have I been unfaithful to you? Too numberous to count.

You look at me, Jesus. Our eyes meet. I cry out to you, “My Lord, I indeed have been condemned justly, for I am getting what I deserve for my sinful deeds and sinful nature, and only you are able to pardon me. Remember me, Jesus, when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

As I die, I can see my spirit rising up out of my body like smoke. The smoke reforms into the body it has just left. I am born again, filled by your Holy Spirit. And you call out to me, “Go and do not sin again.”

Submitted by a brother from the Portiuncula Hermitage/Retreat Center

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Sermon of Francis

HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

Up soared the lark into the air,
A shaft of song, a wing'ed prayer,
As if a soul, released from pain,
Were flying back to heaven again.

Saint Francis heard; it was to him
An emblem of the Seraphim;
The upward motion of the fire,
The light, the heat, the heart's desire.

Around Assisi's convent gate
The birds, God's poor who cannot wait,
From moor and mere and darksome wood
Came flocking for the dole of food.

"O brother birds," Saint Francis said,
"Ye come to me and ask for bread,
But not with bread alone today
Shall ye be fed and sent away.

"Ye shall be fed, ye happy birds,
With manna of celestial words;
Not mine, though mine they seem to be,
Not mine, though they be spoken through me.

"O doubly are ye bound to praise
The great Creator in your lays;
He giveth you your plumes of down,
Your cromson hoods, your cloaks of brown.

"He giveth you your wings to fly
And breathe a purer air on high,
And careth for you everywhere,
Who for yourselves so little care!"

With flutter of swift wings and songs
Together rose the feathered throngs,
And singing scattered far apart;
Deep peace was in St. Francis' heart.

He knew not if the brotherhood
His homily had understood;
He only knew that to one ear
The meaning of his words was clear.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Vatican: Feminist Wording Invalidates Baptism

By Cindy Wooden (Catholic News Service)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A baptism administered "in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer and of the Sanctifier" is not a baptism at all, said the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The congregation's statement was published Feb. 29 as a brief response to questions regarding the validity of baptisms using that formula.

Asked whether a baptism performed with that formula -- or a similar one referring to the "Creator, Liberator and Sustainer" -- would be valid, the congregation answered "Negative."

Asked whether people who were initiated with a rite using these formulas would now need to be baptized "in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," the congregation answered "Affirmative."

The congregation said Pope Benedict XVI "approved these responses" and ordered their publication.

If either formula -- recently initiated in North America to avoid referring to the Trinity with masculine names -- was used, the person is not yet formally a Christian and any subsequent sacraments the person received also are invalid, said Cardinal Urbano Navarrete in a commentary commissioned by the doctrinal congregation.

"Persons who were baptized or will be baptized in the future with the formulas in question in reality are not baptized," the cardinal wrote. If they are now adults and want to be baptized, they must receive the instruction prescribed for all preparing for baptism and they should receive baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist during the same Mass, he said.

The most serious practical consequences, he said, are likely to be seen in the area of marriage where no sacrament exists if both spouses had been baptized with an invalid formula.

Even if only one of the spouses had been baptized with an invalid formula, there still is no valid sacrament of matrimony unless before the wedding the couple had obtained the dispensation needed for a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Christian, the cardinal said.

Cardinal Navarrete also said that, obviously, the sacraments of confirmation and of holy orders also are invalid when conferred on people baptized with an invalid formula.

In addition, he said, anyone who attempted to baptize someone using an invalid formula is subject to church penalties, which should be applied since it is "seriously illegitimate and unjust to deceive both the baptized and the community" by presenting the rite as a baptism.

In a separate commentary also commissioned by the doctrinal congregation, Msgr. Antonio Miralles said "expressions that invalidate the conferral of a true baptism cannot be tolerated by the church."

The monsignor, a consultant to the doctrinal congregation and a professor at Rome's Pontifical Holy Cross University, said the church believes it has no authority "to change that which Christ himself instituted" when he told his disciples to go out and baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

The problem with using "creator" and "redeemer" is not that they do not identify God as male, but that they "subvert faith in the Trinity" because they do not make clear the relationship among the three distinct persons, he said. For example, "God is eternally Father in relation to his only begotten Son, who is not eternally Son except in relation to the Father."

Msgr. Miralles said that the formula "creator, redeemer, sanctifier" is not Trinitarian because it blurs the distinctions among the three persons of the Trinity who all are involved together in the divine actions of creation, redemption and sanctification.

The monsignor also argued that the use of the recent formulas -- more common among Protestants than among Catholics -- could have a negative impact on ecumenism, because a common baptism is essential for Christian unity.

A baptism recognized as valid by all dialogue partners is what allows them to call each other Christians, he said.

"All of us Christians are called to remain solidly faithful to the unity well expressed in the Letter to the Ephesians," which calls for a common profession of "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all," he said.

FOURTH SATURDAY OF LENT

FIRST READING: Jeremiah 11:18-20

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 7:2-3, 9-10, 11-12

GOSPEL READING: John 7:40-53



With every fiber of his being Francis burned with love for the Sacrament of the Body of the Lord. It left him overcome with wonder for so great a condescension and merciful love. He was said to be disconsolate if, even once, he could not hear daily Mass, even if it was impossible to do so.

He received communion often and with such devotion as to make others experience a like devotion. He rendered every reverence to so venerable a sacramant, offering the sacrifice of his whole self; and when he received the Immolated Lamb of God, he immolated his own spirit in that fire which always burned on the altar of his heart.

Celano – Second Life – 201



Someone I know told me of seeing themselves playing in a field of tall grass with several other kids.

"A little lamb began to follow me everywhere I went. I was angry with the lamb because it was so demanding of all my attention, preventing me fromplaying with the other kids wanted to. That lamb was always getting in my way, pestering me at every turn with its constantly bleating. I became so angry that I turned on it and began to strike it. Time and time again I wounded it. Then the other kids joined in with me.

"We beat the lamb down onto the ground and still we kept beating it until it was dead. Then the other kids ran off laughing and playing and calling after me to follow. As I began to run off with them, I turned and looked back at the lamb. There it was, all bloodied and dead. The sight of it gently wounded my soul. I went back to it and cradling it in my arms I began to weep and begged it to forgive me for what I had done. So gentile, so kind, so loving, how could I have done such a vile thing as this? What was I thinking? Oh please forgive me, little lamb. Please forgive me. Oh Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on me!"

A brother

Conference connects the Holy Spirit and evangelization

BATESVILLE—“I can feel the fire, Holy Ghost fire. I can feel the fire burning in my soul.”

These words were sung with passion and flowed from a high school auditorium on March 1 in Batesville during a conference sponsored by St. Nicholas Parish in Ripley County.

Some 500 people from across Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio attending the conference belted out the song between presentations that focused on how the gifts, also known as charisms, of the Holy Spirit are to be used in everyday life to share the Gospel with others.

The conference, “The Holy Spirit and Evangelization: Go and Make Disciples of All Nations,” featured Bishop Sam Jacobs of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux in Louisiana, Sister of Charity of New York Nancy Kellar, Father Daniel Wilder of the Diocese of Peoria, Ill., and Father Gregory Bramlage, pastor of St. Nicholas Parish. (See a photo gallery from this event)

Called by Name, a music group made up mostly of members of St. Nicholas Parish and led by Angie Meyers, led participants in praise and worship songs between presentations and during the conference Mass.

Participants thought it was the Holy Spirit that was the driving force behind all that happened at the conference.

“I think this is absolutely wonderful,” said conference attendee Chris Dickson, a member of St. Mary Parish in Richmond. “This is the best conference that I’ve ever been to here yet.

“It really convicted me because I know that I haven’t been doing the job [of evangelization] that the Holy Spirit has been telling me that I’m supposed to do. I’ve been too timid. And now, it’s like, ‘OK, all the stops are out now. You have no more excuses.’ ”

In his presentation, “The Charisms and Evangelization,” Bishop Jacobs emphasized how the Church’s mission of evangelization has been given to all the faithful.

“You are an evangelizer,” said Bishop Jacobs with gusto. “You are to proclaim the word of God. You are to proclaim the Good News of salvation.

Read entire article:

http://www.archindy.org/criterion/local/2008/03-07/holyspirit.html

Friday, March 07, 2008

You Are Heirs And Kings In The Kingdom Of Heaven

The brothers shall acquire nothing as their own, neither house, nor place, nor anything at all. Instead, with all trust, let them go begging alms as pilgrims and strangers in this world, serving the Lord in poverty and humility, and without shame, since the Lord made himself poor for us in the world. This is the highest summit of poverty, which has made you, my most beloved brothers, heirs and kings in the kingdom of heaven; it has made you poor in material things but exalted in virtue. Let this be your portion which crosses over into the land of the living. (Psalm 142:5).

St. Francis of Assisi
Rule 1223
Chapter VI

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Little Flowers of St. Francis

Just as the holy Apostles were marvels of holiness and humility throughout the whole world, and were filled with the Holy Spirit, so the companions of St. Francis were of such sanctity that not since the time of the Apostles were there such marvelous and holy men in the world. It happened that one of them was caught up into the third heaven as St. Paul was, and this was Brother Giles. Another, namely Brother Philip Lungo, had his lips touched by an angel with a burning coal as did Isaiah the prophet. Another, Brother Sylvester, spoke with God as one friend to another, as Moses did. Another, with subtlety of intellect, flew like an eagle, John the Evangelist, all the way into the light of Divine Wisdom, and that was Brother Bernard, the humble one, he who opened up the Scriptures in the most profound ways. Another was sanctified by God and canonized in heaven even while he lived on earth, and that was Brother Ruffino, a true gentleman of Assisi.

Little Flowers of St. Francis
Chapter 1

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Would I Might Wake Saint Francis in You All

VACHEL LINDSAY

Would I might wake Saint Francis in you all,
Brothers of birds and trees,
God's Troubadour,
Blinded and weepingfor the sad and the poor:
Our wealth undone, all strict Franciscan men,
Come, let us chant the canticle again
Of mother earth and the enduring sun.
God make each soul
The lowly leper's slave:
God make us saints, and brave.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

TUESDAY

FIRST READING: Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

GOSPEL READING: John 5:1-3, 5-16

You can live spiritually among nonbelievers in two ways. One way is not to enter into arguments or disputes but for the sake of the Lord to be subject to every creature and to acknowledge that you are Christians. Another way is to proclaim God's word when you see it is pleasing to the Lord, so that those who do not believe may believe in the all-powerful God – Father and Son and Holy Spirit – Creator of everything, and in the Son who is Redeemer and Savior, and so that they may be baptized as Christians; for “no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born through water and the Spirit.”


St. Francis of Assisi
Rule 1221, Chapter XVI


I am in the middle of a dry, parched desert, all is desolate, except for one thing; our Lord hanging on the Cross. Water begins to pour from his side. What began at first as a very small trickle begins to flow more and more wildly. Where this water flows, grass begins to grow. Then trees. Then deer, sheep, racoons, all God's creatures come to drink from it. Then the crickets and locusts come to drink from it. Then it is filled with fish, turtles, and reptiles. Birds in flight swoop down to taste it's beauty. Then men and women come to quench their thirst. Some find the taste bitter and walk off, back into the desert, to perish. Others, not trusting in its freshness, take tiny little sips every now and then, never fully slaking their thirst. Still others, plunge headlong into the cool, sparkling waters, washing their bodies and their garments, refusing to ever leave it again. Fill me to overflowing with the water of your Holy Spirit, Lord! Let me stay here with you forever, my Beloved!

Submitted by a brother from the Portiuncula Hermitage/Retreat Center

Monday, March 03, 2008

Spiritual Warfare Conference Fall of 2008

Fall Healing Conference: October 25, 2008

Spiritual Warfare

East Central High School, St. Leon, Indiana

Speakers: Fr. Bramlage, Fr. Wilder, & Dr. Rich Meyer

For registration and additional information, please go to:

http://www.stnicholas-sunman.org/healing.htm

Conventional Franciscans Launch New Website

Today, the Conventual Franciscan friars re-launched their North American website, www.franciscans.org. This new communications Ministry and outreach was begun in January 2006 and has since developed a large daily following, in the Catholic Community and beyond. In an effort to further the growth of this Franciscan online community the Friars have refreshed the site and added some important new content and features.

Join the BrotherHood initiative continue to be an invitation to explore Franciscan life and spirituality. The invitation is open to everyone but is specifically designed for Catholic men and women looking to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church through St. Francis of Assisi and Franciscan community life and service.

Please go to:

http://www.franciscans.org/

How To Endure With Patience All Tribulations And Adversities

Blessed is the man who has ever before the eyes of his mind the remembrance of his sins and of the favours of God; for he will endure with patience all tribulations and adversities for which he expects so great consolation. The man who is truly humble looketh for no reward from God, but endeavours only to satisfy him in all things, knowing himself to be his debtor; every good thing which he hath he acknowledges to come from the free bounty of God, while every evil that befalleth him proceedeth from his sins alone.

LITTLE FLOWERS OF ST. FRANCIS
Part Four
Chapter V
OF HOLY PATIENCE

Sunday, March 02, 2008

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT (LAETARE SUNDAY)

FIRST READING: 1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 23: 1-3, 3-4, 5, 6

SECOND READING: Ephesians 5:8-14

GOSPEL READING: John 9:1-41



St. Francis had attained a wondrous purity of soul and body, yet he never stopped purifying the eyes of his spirit with a flood of tears, despite the fact that it was damaging his bodily sight. As a result of his continual weeping, he developed a serious eye disease. But when the doctor tried to persuade him to restrain his tears if he wanted to prevent blindness, St. Francis replied, “Brother Doctor, we shouldn't, in order to preserve that light we share in common with the flies, refuse even the smallest measure of that eternal light which visits us. The gift of sight was not given to the spirit for the good of the body, but the body for the good of the spirit.” He preferred to lose the light of his eyes rather than to dry up the fervor of his spirit by damming up his tears which cleansed his interior sight and rendered him able to see God.

St. Bonaventure – Major Life 5:8



After reading these bible passages, someone I know saw God's people were struck and consumed by a blinding white light, brighter than the sun. It bleached their clothing pure white, glowing magnificently...blindingly. From out of every pore of their bodies, both inside and out, the blinding white light of God's presence poured forth. It went through them like sunlight through a window. So white, in fact, that it seared and blinded our eyes, pitching us into pure black darkness.

Then God sent his people out this light to all the corners of the earth, commanding them to take it to all the people on earth so that everyone who was blinded by it. As God's people handed off the light to others, they also were comsumed by the blinding white light. They, likewise, passed it on to others. Their numbers immediately grew larger and larger, finally encompassing the entire earth. Everyone clothed in light shouted and rejoiced that the Lord had used them as a carrier of His light.

There was joy, dancing, singing and shouting of praises to God. Evryone who received the light received the blindness, and were also able to give this precious gift to everyone else....all-consuming fire...magnificent splendor !!!!


A Portiuncula brother