"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
_______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Stations of the Cross" Originated From The Franciscans

 FUS students praying at the outdoor Stations of the Cross on the 
campus of the Franciscan University of Steubenville

The emperor Constantine permitted Christians to legally worship in the Roman Empire in 313 after 250 years of persecution. In 335, he erected the Church of the Holy Sepulcher at the site where Jesus’ tomb was believed to have been. Processions of pilgrims to the church, especially during Holy Week, began soon after its completion.

Devotions to the Way of the Cross began in earnest after 1342, when the Franciscan friars were given custody of the holy sites in the Holy Land. The Franciscans have been closely identified with the devotion ever since; for years, Church regulations required a set of the stations to be blessed by a Franciscan when possible.


The Breviary Originated From The Franciscans

Franciscans are itinerant ministers called to travel throughout the world preaching repentance and penance. At first, in the early thirteenth century, this exempted them from praying the Office of the Hours in a church or monastery. Also, the complete Office of the Hours was very large and bulky, consisting of several volumes of books, making it impossible to carry them all around when walking from town to town. Therefore, they developed a briefer version of the Office of Hours called the Breviary. As the friars carpeted Europe they spread the use of the Breviary throughout the entire Church. ~ Fra Chris


Portiuncula Cookie Recipe From Assisi, Italy!

While St. Francis fasted from food a lot, he also had a great love for a particular kind of almond cookie in Italy. And on his death bed he asked to have these cookies. Here is a recipe for those cookies. Make a batch and celebrate St. Francis of Assisi:

Mostaccioli - An Italian Almond Pastry

1 pound blanched almonds
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon, or 1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
Approximately 1 cup of flour

Chop the almonds very fine or coarsely grind in a blender.

In a bowl combine the nuts, honey, cinnamon, and egg whites. Mix thoroughly. Gradually stir in enough flour to form a thick paste. On a lightly floured surface, knead the paste until smooth and stiff. Roll out to about 1/4 inch. Cut into diamond shapes, about 2 1/2 inches long. Place the diamonds on a lightly buttered and floured baking sheet. Let dry for 1 to 2 hours.

Bake in a preheated 250°F oven for 20-30 minutes or until set. Do not let brown.

Yield: about 3 dozen

Starting now, the Portiuncula Franciscan Hermitage and Retreat Center will be serving these at our "Come to the Quiet" Retreats in Jesusalem.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

"Come to the Quiet" Become a Monk Without Having to Leave Your Day Job!

Dr. Tom Ringenberg during personal prayer time at the
Portiuncula Hermitage in Jerusalem, Ohio

Dear Christian Brothers and Sisters,

Having just experienced one of the most peaceful and fulfilling weekends of my Christian life, I feel led to write you and encourage you to take a fresh breath of the clean air at the Portiuncula Retreat in Jerusalem Ohio. Surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation in the hills of Appalachia, I was refreshed in God’s peace.

The initial reaction to a weekend of silence, fasting and prayer was mixed as I revel in the world’s flash of media and the madness of twenty-four hour news. I feared boredom and the lack of external stimulus. But God is good, and He provided plenty for me. Walks in the woods and fields, silent prayer and meditation, communal prayer with my Brothers in Christ, prayers of intercession, and theological discussion on the travel to and from Jerusalem, stimulated my spirit far more than my flesh has ever been stimulated.

It is my hope that the Portiuncula will become a haven for those who need a fresh touch of God. I will return soon to restore my soul with peace.
Please prayerfully consider joining me in supporting the Portiuncula Retreat Center by simply contributing $5.00 $10.00 $15.00 or more a month.

Simply Click On This Icon

Or mail payments to:

"Portiuncula Hermitage"

P.O. Box 114
Richmond, IN 47375-0114

Thank you and God bless!
Yours In Christ,

Dr. Tom Ringenberg


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Companions Appeared To Be Crucified Men

Because St. Francis and his companions had been called by God and chosen to bear the Cross of Christ in their hearts and in their actions and to preach it by their words, they appeared to be and they were crucified men, both in their habit and their austere life and their deeds and their actions. Therefore, they had a greater desire to receive shame and insults for the love of Christ than the vain honors or respect or praise of the world. On the contrary, they rejoiced in being insulted, and they were made sad by being honored. And so they went through the world as pilgrims and strangers, taking with them nothing but Christ Crucified.

Saint Francis of Assisi
Little Flowers of St. Francis


Casting Our Hearts Firmly On God

By casting our hearts firmly on God, and we are of good conscience concerning our devotion and innocence, we have nothing to fear when others say things against us. Great blessings flow when we ignore these things, which is easy to do when we humble ourselves and trust in God more than ourselves. ~ Fra Chris


We Should Not Involve Ourselves With Contentious Bickering

Every person has their own opinions. We should leave them there and not involve ourselves with contentious bickering. If we stand in God's graces and respect His ways, we will more easily be able to do this. ~ Fra Chris


The Third Order Franciscans Shall Dress In Humble, Undyed Cloth

 (Photo of the Piccoli VV in Assisi, Italy)
"The men belonging to this brotherhood (Third Order of Franciscans) shall dress... in humble, undyed cloth, the price of which is not to exceed six Ravenna soldi *  en ell, unless evident and necessary cause a temporary dispensation be given.

The sisters in turn shall wear an outer garment and tunic made of cloth of the same price and humble quality"...

Saint Francis of Assisi
 Six Ravenna soldi was the equivalent of $5.29 United States in American money in January 2012 


Monday, January 21, 2013

Being Filled With God

Do you want to be filled with God? Then the first thing you have to do is empty yourself of yourself so that you can make room for Him. The more we empty ourselves, the more room there is for Him to come in. How do we do that? Only through humility are we able to empty ourselves completely so that God can then fill us completely. ~ Fra Chris


Judging the Rich

"We have no right to judge the rich. For our part, what we desire is not a class struggle but a class encounter, in which the rich save the poor and the poor save the rich." ~ Mother Teresa of Calcutta



Solitude, silence and stillness help us connect to God, but he doesn't intend for us to hoard them. Rather, we are to share them with the world. The genious of the Franciscan Movement is that it balances quiet meditation with preaching. Intimacy with God builds up a foundation through which we discover intimacy with our brothers and sisters in Christ! ~ Fra Chris


Being Alone

"We seem so frightened today of being alone that we never let it happen... We choke the space with continuous music, chatter, and companionship to which we do not even listen. It is simply there to fill the vacuum. When the noise stops there is no inner music to take its place." ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh


Showing Love

Giving away money does not show love. Giving away love shows love. ~ Fra Chris


Share With Those Who Really Need It

Maybe you're not ready to clothe yourself in a monk's simple habit, but there are still many ways Franciscans can wean themselves from a $100 Billion a year fashion industry. Why not pare down your closet and share your wardrobe with a homeless shelter or local soup kitchen with people who really need it? ~ Fra Chris 


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Healing Ministry

We must be compassionate and pray for those who are sick and suffering; mentally, physically, as well as spiritually. Never boast if God answers your prayers. Rather praise Him and give Him thanks for His great glory! When He doesn't answer your prayers, know that healing belongs to God alone and not to man and give Him thanks for His great glory. After all, their healing may have come interiorly and not exteriorly. ~ Fra Chris


Praying Before Meals

When dining out, do we say Grace, making the Sign of the Cross before and after praying? Or are we more concerned about the people who may laugh at us? Perhaps if they see us Crossing ourselves in public they will be emboldened enough to do it themselves next time. ~ Fra Chris


Discalced Franciscan Lay Apostolates

Discalced is a term applied to those religious congregations of men and women, the members of which go entirely barefoot or wear sandals, with or without other covering for the feet. These congregations are often distinguished on this account from other branches of the same order. The custom of going unshod was introduced into the West by Francis of Assisi for men and Clare of Assisi for women.


Private Devotions

Private devotions should be kept just that - private. When visited by the Lord in prayer, never flaunt it or talk about it or even think too much about it. Why? Because they are gifts from God that He can just as easily take away from us and give to someone else who is far more humble than we are... and therefore more deserving. ~ Fra Chris


Saint Padre Pio On The New Franciscan Constitutions

"In 1966, the Father General (of the Franciscans) came to Rome prior to the special Chapter on the Constitutions in order to ask Padre Pio for his prayers and benedictions. He met Padre Pio in the cloister. 'Padre, I came to recommend to your prayers the special chapter for the new Constitutions . . .' He had scarcely gotten the words 'special Chapter' . . . 'new Constitutions' out of his mouth when Padre Pio made a violent gesture and cried out: 'That is all nothing but destructive nonsense.' 'But Padre, after all, there is the younger generation to take into account . . . the youth evolve after their own fashion . . . there are new demands . . .' 'The only thing missing is mind and heart, that's all, understanding and love.' Then he proceeded to his cell, did a half-turn, and pointed his finger, saying: 'We must not denature ourselves, we must not denature ourselves! At the Lord's judgment, St. Francis will not recognize us as his sons!'"

A year later, the same scene was repeated for the aggiornamento of the Capuchins: "One day, some confreres were discussing with the Father Definiteur General (The counselors or advisers to the general or provincial of a religious order – Ed.) the problems in the Order, when Padre Pio, taking a shocked attitude, cried out, with a distant look in his eye: 'What in the world are you up to in Rome? What are you scheming? You even want to change the Rule of St. Francis!' The Definiteur replied: 'Padre, changes are being proposed because the youth don't want to have anything to do with the tonsure, the habit, bare feet' . . ."

Padre Pio replied: "Chase them out! Chase them out! What can you be saying? Is it they who are doing St. Francis a favor by taking the habit and following his way of life, or rather, isn't it St. Francis who is offering them a great gift?"


May We Never Boast

May we never boast or be proud for healings. Nor should we give special admiration to others who have this gift. Those whom our Lord has truly honored with his gift of healing certainly don't want to receive any special credit for it. Why? Because those signs and wonders don't come from us but only from Jesus Christ. It is he alone who deserves all the credit! Can a clay jar take credit for quenching the thirst of those who drink water from it, or should the water receive the credit? ~ Fra Chris


Seeking Possessions

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting more and more possessions. May we all seek to possess prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, understanding, charity, love of the poor, gentleness and hospitality. ~ Fra Chris



Contemplation is not a matter of doing but a matter of being. ~ Fra Chris


Contemplative Prayer

Contemplatives throughout the ages have learned how to be alone with God. Throw away the books! Knock off the daydreaming! Get rid of everything! Simply dwell in His presence. Silent... Empty... Expectant... Completely Still... ~ Fra Chris


Have You Ever Heard A Tree Grow?

Have you ever heard a tree grow? Have you ever heard grass grow? I haven't. Have you ever stretched out across the ground at midnight and stared up at the moon and stars? What sound do they make as they move across the sky? NONE! Completely silent! No wonder our Seraphic Father, Francis, loved nature so completely. This was how nature taught him to pray, in silence... ~ Fra Chris


Want To Know Our Secret?

Want to know our secret here at the Portiuncula? We pray. Then, we pray some more. And when we're done praying, we pray some more. Once you begin to love prayer then you will begin to "feel" prayer. Then you will "become" prayer. ~ Fra Chris


Fear Only God

Only God should we fear, not creatures, and especially not men. Can these give you eternal life? ~ Fra Chris



When surrendering to God, a simple word will do: "Yes!" ~ Fra Chris


How Members Of The Franciscan Lay Apostolate Are To Dress

"The men belonging to this Third Order shall dress in humble, undyed cloth, the price of which is not to exceed six Ravenna soldi an ell, unless for evident and necessary cause a temporary dispensation be given."

Dated 1221 A.D.


Confession and the Eucharist

The first step toward holiness is an examination of conscience (Confession). The second step is to return to the Eucharist. Then love and service follow at once, leading us step-by-step into holiness. ~ Fra Chris


We Must Never Separate Ourselves From The Eucharist

We must never separate the Eucharist from our daily lives or our daily lives from the Eucharist. Jesus satisfied our hunger for him by giving us his Body and Blood and so we must now go and satisfy his hunger for the souls of the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed. ~ Fra Chris


Holiness is Meant Both for You and for Me!

Holiness is not something that is meant to be had by the few. It is meant for you and me! It is meant for ALL of us! Holiness is simply this; learn to love and you will become holy. ~ Fra Chris


The Franciscan Lay Apostolate is Dedicated to Serving the Poor

We do not want the Franciscan Lay Apostolate, as has been the case with other religious orders throughout history, to begin serving the poor and then gradually move toward serving the rich. ~ Fra Chris


Wednesday, January 16, 2013