Confraternity of Penitents: St. Francis' Rule of Penance for the Laity
"Most High, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity, sense and knowledge, Lord, that I may carry out Your holy and true command." ---------- Saint Francis' of Assisi's prayer before the San Damiano Crucifix
Confraternity of Penitents Monthly Newsletter: April 2015
A Blessed Easter Season to All!
Confession: A Time to Rejoice!
It is good to rejoice. Why? “Because God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son." Not only the world in its collectiveness but also each and every one of us. God loved YOU so much that he sent his Son to die for YOU. And that is great reason to rejoice.
You have a command to rejoice! Because we ought to rejoice. God loved us and came precisely not to condemn us but to to bring us out of darkness into light. The greatest consolation is that we are so loved by God that he died for us which is why we have this crucifix here in our church. To remind us of the great love of God. However, there is also that great fear of coming to God if you are away from Him. Those who belong to the light come to God, but those who love the darkness do not have that desire. The light will blind them. They have dwelt in the darkness so long that they do not even wish to come into the light. And that is a scary thing for all of us because we all recognize times in our lives when we have dwelt in the darkness.
Does that mean we are not children of the light? We are indeed baptized. How can we ever turn back to darkness? That is just the nature of sin, isn’t it? But even though we sometimes dwell in darkness, we can say, “Rejoice because God has given us everything!” He has given us His very self so that we might always have Him to draw us into the light.
Jesus did not just come once and for all to bring us into the light. He continues to give himself to us in the sacraments. He is beckoning us back into the light. He did not just come 2000 years ago and say “All right. Here is the plan. Here is the book. Good luck! I am outta here.” That is not God. That is not Jesus. He continuously desires to love us, to come into a relationship with us. He has given us the sacraments so that we might always be drawn out of the darkness into the light.
I love the Gospel about Jesus cleansing the temple. He goes in there and he gets something done! Jesus has righteous anger and it tends to put in perspective everything we think about the Lord. Because if you do not read the Gospels in its entirety, you do not get a complete understanding of who he is. You can so easily be led to think that Jesus is one of those hippie, fun-loving people. Nothing ever bothers him. He is just kind of laid back, he does not really care. That is not Jesus. That is not Jesus at all. Jesus cared passionately. Passionately. That is where we see this righteous anger.
Why was he was so upset? These things that they were selling were for a good purpose. They were for sacrifice to God. Why was he upset? Because people were only going through the motions. “OK. I sinned. I go get two pigeons. I sacrifice them before the altar and I go back and just keep doing everything like I did before.” The people made this into a machine rather than what it was supposed to be. It was supposed to be, “I am going to go into my livelihood, take the very best from my livelihood that I would rather sell for my own good, and I am going to give it to God because he is the only one who can transform it. He is the only one who is ultimately going to satisfy my need, not my own production, my own things.” So the people, by just going through the motions, went against what God wanted from them most which is the conversion of their heart. Just like he wants the conversion of our hearts.
The very last line of this Gospel is actually the most important. “But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all. He did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.” Jesus understands us. He made us. He knows us. He gave us the Ten Commandments. Why did he give us the commandments? Not because he is a joy kill. Not because he does not want us to have fun. But because he knows us, and he knows that if we do not master our desires, our desires are going to master us.
And that is what we see in sin. That is why I hear over and over again, “Father, bless me for I have sinned. I do this and I just can’t stop. I want to but I can’t. I’m trapped.” He knows us. He made us. And in our fallenness, he knows that if we do not work at our sinfulness, we will never get over it. That is why confession is so important. If you have a smart phone, I want you to plug confession in there. I want you to push repeat not just one time. Not just Lent. Not just Advent. Not just now. Repeat on a regular basis so that you are constantly repenting. So that you do not fall into the same thing that the Jews did, going and saying, “OK. I will go to confession at least once a year so that I can keep doing what I am doing and not change.” And that is the greatest tragedy--that if you repent but have no desire to change.
Confession. It draws us out of the darkness of our sin, draws us out of the darkness of guilt and shame, draws us out of the world, and places us firmly back in communion with his Church. That beautiful sacrament whereby we leave that little room of the confessional and we know that we have experienced God’s love. Although we have wandered back into the darkness, we can choose to come back to the light through Confession. And all the sacraments lead to Communion, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord’s Body and Blood. And is not enough for God to preach to us. It is not enough for him to beckon us and to leave us alone. He wishes to beckon us unto heaven but also to give us a piece of heaven right here in this world so that we might receive him Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. He does not wish to only commune with us after we die. He wishes to be one with us in this world, and he knows that in order to stay out of the darkness we need strength. And that strength comes from the Eucharist. That is why receiving the Eucharist is the most important thing that we do. This is why we receive the Eucharist every week, indeed some of us every day.
May today be a day when you decide that “I am going to repent. I am going to keep on repenting. I am not going to respond mechanically because I know what I am supposed to do. Rather I am actually going to put effort into this. I want to have that passion that Jesus did. I am going to overturn the tables of my life. All those things that I think are important I am going to put aside and I am going to stop making my heart a marketplace. I am going to stop making my heart a place where the things of the world are more important than the things of God. I am going to change.”
The only way to do that is Confession and changing the way you react. I wish you luck. I wish you grace. I wish you all the grace you need to accept that today because repentance is the only thing that is going to change the righteous anger of the Lord to amazing joy. Then you will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.”
--Father Jacob Meyer, CFP Visitor
Monthly Letter to All Penitents
The Heart of the Gospel
It is said that as you grow in holiness (or age?), you get simpler and simpler. And, as I age, I am more and more convinced that the heart of the Gospel is the forgiveness of sins. This is what Jesus came to do; this is why we need a Saviour. Everything else is on a much lesser plain. Human effort vs. divine solution.
Three times I have known the grace of recognizing (and being able to repent) sin I did not recognize. Once through the grace of a Spirit led confessor who perceived what I could not see. Once, as I wrestled with an occult practice I did not recognize, having been taught it as a child along with a fake explanation, and, with the aid of a holy spiritual director. Once, I suspect, through the prayers of Little Assisi (Note: Little Assisi is a four block area of Fort Wayne IN USA where Franciscan Brothers and Sisters, Poor Clare Nuns, and the Confraternity of Penitents are all headquartered. See FrancisLittleAssisi.com). Each time it felt like Easter. Each time I marveled that one who tries so hard could be held in such ignorant darkness. What I have found, retrospectively, to be most helpful, is really more from the spirituality of the eastern church, to be without guile with my spiritual director, to truly open to him my temptations, doubts, falls and the little falls. [That is a difference between ancient --and still maintained--English and Roman spirituality; in the English tradition (as verses the Anglican patrimony, which has been defined as merely liturgical), we confess ALL our sins with sorrow, not just the big or recurrent ones] But how can our spiritual director pray for us--if he does not know our struggles? And I find, too, that just getting a temptation out in the light of day tends to cause The evil one to flee.
We forget, sometimes, that sin darkens the intellect and messes up the way our souls and minds are supposed to function, making us prisoners of The evil one. We are not in an intellectual battle, but a spiritual battle. And in a spiritual battle, prayer and fasting are amazing weapons.
I delight with you in the prayer and fasting that opens graces to ourselves and to our world. As the Lord Jesus said "this kind comes out only by fasting". I have wondered if I was going crazy since at least grad school days, as the call to fasting and penance has surfaced again and again. I am so thankful for the factors in my life (good confessor and spiritual director and the structure of CFP rule and community support) that help me to not drop the ball at this time. I am absolutely amazed by the power of fasting. I am convinced it is the secret of all the great Franciscan saints who had great power over souls. I think of the Cure of Ars admitting to a close abbot friend of his ability to convert souls--the thing the devil feared most was fasting. The Cure once bewailed a priest's lament that his parishioners did not respond to his preaching. "Yes," said the cure, "you have prayed, but have you fasted for them?"
My love and prayers go out to you all!
Sister Sarah, OSF (Sister Sarah is an Anglican Franciscan Sister in formation as an Associate postulant. Non Catholics may do formation with the CFP as Associates.)
Letter from One Who Serves the CFP
JESUS CHRIST – THE LAST ADAM
In the Apostles’ Creed we confess “I believe in Jesus Christ, only begotten Son of God, our Lord”. In Part II of Introduction to Christianity, Professor Joseph Ratzinger summarizes what is meant by that confession. He does this by referring to St. Paul’s teaching on this in l Cor 15:45-50. “Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living soul’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As with the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust: and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brethren: flesh and bold cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”
What, however, does St. Paul mean when he calls Jesus Christ “the last Adam”? Professor Ratzinger explains it this way: After all that has gone before we shall dare to say first: Christian faith believes in Jesus of Nazareth as the exemplary man (this is probably the best way to translate the above-mentioned Pauline concept of the “last Adam”). But precisely because he is the exemplary, the authoritative man, he oversteps the bounds of humanity; only thus and only thereby is he the truly exemplary man. For man is the more himself the more he is with “the other”. He only comes to himself by moving away from himself. Only through “the other” and through “being” with “the other” does he come to himself.
In the last analysis there is one final depth to this truth. If “the other” is just anyone, he can also cause man to lose himself. Man is finally intended for the other, the truly other, for God; he is all the more himself the more he is with the entirely Other, with God. Accordingly, he is completely himself when he has ceased to stand in himself, to shut himself off in himself, and to assert himself, when in fact he is pure openness to God. To put it again in different terms: man comes to himself by moving out beyond himself. Jesus Christ, though, is the one who has moved right out beyond himself and, thus, the man who has truly come to himself.
Jesus Christ, therefore, is much more than an extraordinary man. He is also much more than just God who came to earth to tell us things about God. He was and is “true God and true Man”. He is not just a man but also Man (humanity). In the Gospels, Jesus often calls Himself the “Son of Man”. He does not call Himself the Son of “a man” like the rest of us can call ourselves the son (or daughter) of a man. No, He calls Himself the Son of Man. While this phrase occurs often in the Old Testament, it surely refers to the book of Daniel (Dan 7:1-28) where Daniel has a dream about future events. Part of the dream concerns the “Son of Man” who comes on the clouds of heaven and approaches the throne of God (Dan 7:13-14). God confers on Him dominion and power which will never end.
Professor Ratzinger then explains further what it means to call Jesus “Adam”. If Jesus is the exemplary man, in whom the true figure of man, God’s intention for him, comes fully to light, then he cannot be destined to be merely an absolute exception, a curiosity, in which God demonstrates to us what sorts of things are possible. His existence concerns all mankind. The New Testament makes this perceptible by calling him an “Adam”; in the Bible this word expresses the unity of the whole creature “man”, so that one can speak of the biblical idea of a “corporate personality”. So if Jesus is called “Adam”, this implies that he is intended to gather the whole creature “Adam” in himself. But this means that the reality that Paul calls, in a way that is largely incomprehensible to us today, the “body of Christ” is an intrinsic postulate of this existence, which cannot remain an exception but must “draw to itself” the whole of mankind (cf. Jn 12:32).
In the quote from the Gospel of John which Professor Ratzinger uses, it says “and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself”. How can any human person, no matter how great, “draw all men to myself”? He can only do this if He is “Adam” or all of humanity. He actually does it through the Church, the “body of Christ”. This idea shows how inseparable the Church is from Christ. Christ founded the Church through the twelve apostles to draw everyone to Himself.
St. John interprets Christ’s statement about being “lifted up from the earth” as referring to the crucifixion. Professor Ratzinger next explains why Christ was “lifted up”. …..Christ as the man to come is not man for himself but essentially man for others; it is precisely his complete openness that makes him the man of the future. The man for himself, who wants to stand only in himself, is then the man of the past whom we must leave behind us in order to stride forward. In other words, this means that the future of man lies in “being for”.
Jesus Christ shows us from the cross that the way forward for humanity is not the way of self-enhancement and self-exaltation but rather “being for” others just like Jesus Christ. Professor Ratzinger explains it in this way: This brings us straight back again to the mystery of the Cross and Easter, a mystery that is, indeed, viewed by the Bible as a mystery of transition. John, who in particular reflects these ideas, concludes his portrait of the earthly Jesus with the image of an existence whose walls are torn down, which knows no more firm boundaries but is essentially openness. “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water” (Jn 19:34). For John, the picture of the pierced side forms the climax not only of the crucifixion scene but of the whole story of Jesus. Now, after the piercing with a spear that ends his earthly life, his existence is completely open; now he is entirely “for”; now he is truly no longer a single individual but “Adam”, from whose side Eve, a new mankind, is formed. That profound description in the Old Testament according to which the woman is taken from the side of man (Gen 2:21ff.) ---an inimitable expression of their perpetual dependence on each other and their unity in the one humanity---that story seems to be echoed here in the recurrence of the word “side” (usually translated---wrongly---by “rib”). The open side of the new Adam repeats the mystery of the “open side” of man at creation: it is the beginning of a new definitive community of men with one another, a community symbolized here by blood and water, in which John points to the basic Christian sacraments of baptism and Eucharist and, through them, to the Church as the sign of the new community of men. The fully opened Christ, who completes the transformation of being into reception and transmission, is thus visible as what at the deepest level he always was: as “Son”. So Jesus on the Cross has truly entered on his hour, as once again John says. This enigmatic mode of speech may now perhaps become to some extent comprehensible.
Those who want to build human progress and advancement by humanly devised programs without Christ, and above all without the Cross of Christ”, are doomed to failure. The old “Adam”, who is steeped in sin and the self, cannot do what the new “Adam” did on the Cross. The last “Adam” drew and continues to draw all humanity to himself.
Jim Nugent, CFP
No Greater Love
Death Transformed by Christ
I had a thought. It was not trite, it is from prayer, and it came after a milieu of efforts. Not the least of which was refuting a Seventh day Adventist Tract on their long-held and misguided belief in the (heretical) so-called “soul-sleep.”
It’s wonderfully odd, sometimes, how better things come from sustained efforts in defending orthodox Christian faith. Almost like in an old-time western when a ricochet bullet punctures the water tower no one was aiming at….
Anyway, I thought of Jesus, who descended into the depths of death (1 Pet.3:18-20 etc.). And by dying, destroyed death. Transformed it, by entering into it.
But before that, as the Apostle says, He “became sin” for us. He entered sin, too, and transformed it, in a sense, on the Roman cross and execution, an instrument of torture. For those who transgressed, He entered sinless into unjust law and transformed judgment. It was a poetic use of language.
But before that, as he walked on this very earth that we walk, He “touched the funeral Bier”, He “touched the Leper”, He touched the heart of the sinful woman, He “touched the Blind man” by rubbing his eyes. He violated (i.e. touched) the unclean and Transformed it.
But before that, He was “born of a woman, born under the law.” He entered through THE LAW, He entered through a WOMAN, and He transformed them. But not only “them” but also all their children, all the ramifications of total Christian Transformation, albeit attenuated for the rest of us born in effects of original sin. Our transformation--logically, morally, psychologically, theologically, and philosophically--is at once a perfect call. Our incomplete and imperfect acceptance of that takes a lifetime.
It was then I realized just how important it is to look backward, in reverse order, to really try to understand St. Paul’s description of just what, exactly, Jesus did to the law. Even Peter, if you recall, had empathy for those of us who struggle in trying to understand Paul. See 2 Peter: 15-16, a passage which makes me laugh just reading it sometimes. In the context of everything Jesus Transformed (for no one , not even the dead, were the same after meeting Him), St. Paul is nestled there, speaking about something he knew so well, but even in his eloquence and effort to be clear, the transcendent sometimes eludes me.
In my present and hopefully better understanding, the LAW is not the same. It couldn’t be, if one follows the whole New Testament “forward, and backward.” But from the New Testament, we know that the law is not the same on the surface. So, what does that mean? Just like death is not the same, sin has been made powerless over Him (and by the extent we are united to the Mystical Body, sin gradually becomes powerless over us), and such is the law. The law instructs, and is a “promise” (119:32 make broad, broaden my understanding) to keep with his grace. I am so fallen, but I am so grateful and –whatever the opposite of presumptuous is—there “is now no condemnation”. How hard that is to understand!!! Especially after I’ve sinned….
What a mystery. The solution has to fit the problem, right? (Even though I know that problems and mysteries are not the same thing, philosophically and theologically, I’m being analogous). Well, I believe the power of evil, the mystery of sin and evil, are confounded themselves in the face of the Mystery of Christ. If it is true that evil and sin are Mysteries, then they are absolutely CONFOUNDED by the indefatigable Mystery of Christ.
Oh, to be that Mystery! To be a member of this Body!
I understand the differences in the law, between the Levitical priesthood of Deuteronomy, and the Decalogue. I know they are different. I know the Levitical priesthood was—among other things—to follow-up. Realize this--in getting Israel out of Egypt, God had to get the Egypt out of Israel. The idol worship in their hearts, the very tendency itself, had to go. The 613 laws were for that purpose.
I think my insight during prayer was to make it easier to understand Paul, in understanding more of the “big picture” by looking at ALL of the things around that Jesus transformed by “entering into” them.
God created Creation itself. And He entered it, not as a forcible conqueror but as an invited guest by Daughter Zion. And by doing this, He cannot have helped but change everything. It’s just not obvious to us humans. To my view, it’s not as if He should be born of Woman, born under the Law, as a ho-hum event, and then on to the “real story”. No, He did all those amazing events recorded in the Gospels, to enter sin and death themselves to destroy them, and then to inspire the Letters and Revelation. The fulfillment started with the consummation of the promise to Israel through Mary’s assent.
It may only be a simple thing, I do not know. I’m not privy to great theological knowledge, but to my view, I try to understand Paul’s discussions of the great event of our redemption. And it began with little things. For example, I think of Mary getting Jesus ready for the presentation at the Temple. Taking great care for what was perhaps His first public outing. You know how mothers are. How He must have looked just a couple of months old. What she may have clothed Him in.
All of those little things put together, all of His the obedience to the law, was making the law never to be the same again. Imagine that.
Yours, a wholly unworthy member of the Christ Jesus,
Your little brother, Eric Welch, Novice 1, Alessando Ministry
Following Francis, Following Christ
Office of the Passion - Office of Life
Saint Francis wrote an Office of the Passion that he prayed daily. In this Office he quoted psalms from memory, as he had been taught as a child and as he heard during the Divine Office and during Mass. He strung these psalm phrases together as he contemplated the great mystery of Christ's Passion, death, and resurrection. Here are the verses prayed at the Hour of Tierce (approximately 9 a.m.) when St. Francis contemplates the crucifixion of Christ:
Ps. 55: 2. Have mercy on me, O God, for man hath trodden me under foot; all the day long he hath afflicted me, fighting against me.
Ps. 55: 3. My enemies have trodden on me all the day long; for they are many that make war against me.
Ps. 40: 8. All my enemies devised evil against me;
Ps. 70: Jo. they have taken counsel together.
Ps. 40: 7. They went out and spoke to the same purpose.
Ps. 21: 8. All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn; they have spoken with the lips and wagged the head.
Ps. 21: 7. But I am a worm and no man, a reproach of men and outcast of the people.
Ps. 30: 12. I am become a reproach among all my enemies and very much to my neighbors; and a fear to my acquaintance.
Ps. 21: 20. Holy Father, remove not Thy help far from me; my God, look toward my defense.
Ps. 37: 23. Attend unto my help, O Lord God of my salvation.
Saint Francis wrote a specific prayer for Office for Easter as follows:
Ps. 97: 1. Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: for He hath done wonderful things. His right hand hath sanctified His Son; and His arm is holy.
Ps. 97: 2. The Lord hath made known His salvation; He hath revealed His justice in the sight of the gentiles.
Ps. 41: 9. In the day time the Lord hath commanded His mercy: and a canticle to Him in the night.
Ps. 117: 24. This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Ps. 117: 26. Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Ps. 117: 27. The Lord is God and He hath shone upon us.
Ps. 95: 11. Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad: let the sea be moved and the fulness thereof.
Ps. 95: 12. The fields shall rejoice and all that are in them.
Ps. 95: 7. Bring to the Lord, O ye kindreds of the gentiles, bring to the Lord glory and honor:
Ps. 95: 8. bring to the Lord glory unto His Name.
At this holy Easter Season, we, too, could do well to sit with the Psalms and meditate on them. How do they speak to us of God? How does God speak to us through them? Do we take time to meditate on the Psalms in this way, slowly and reverently, pausing at a line that speaks to us in a new way and savoring it? Perhaps we would want to compose our own psalm. What might it say? As an Easter gift of gratitude to God Who gave us His all in His Son, can we give Him a tidbit of time in return?
May the Psalms speak to you in a new way this Easter season.
--Madeline Pecora Nugent, CFP
Reflection on the Rule
27. If contrary to their right and privileges trouble is made for the brothers and sisters by the mayors and governors of the places where they live, the ministers of the place shall do what they shall find expedient on the advice of the Lord Bishop.
27. In keeping with section 27 of the Rule:
27a. If contrary to their rights and privileges, trouble is made for the brothers and sisters by those in civil authority of the places where they live, the ministers of the place shall do what they shall find expedient on the advice of their Chapter or Circle's spiritual assistant, their spiritual director, or their parish priest.
We hardly would think that this section of the Constitutions would have any bearing in the modern world. We think it had more importance in the day when many penitents were also members of working guilds whose policies could have come into conflict with civil authorities in the area of work. However, with the persecution of Christians increasing worldwide, we can soberly read this section of the Rule and Constitutions and know what our recourse for action will be if the time ever comes when some of us face trouble with the government. Not that we would necessarily have done anything to cause the trouble other than following Our Lord Jesus Christ. May God make the world safe for our faith.
Affiliates could also come in conflict with government if the government becomes oppressive of Christianity. May God grant Affiliates the courage to stand with Christ no matter the worldly outcome of that choice. We are assured of the eternal outcome if we hold firm to our faith. All we possess in this world--be it money, possessions, honor, employment, or physical life--are passing away. But our soul lives forever. When we choose God above everything worldly, we are assured of possessing life eternally with our Savior. Put this way, there is no choice, is there? There is only one way to respond that makes sense.
Virtues Portrayed in the San Damiano Crucifix
Is Resgnation a virtue? It can be when we realize that we can do nothing about a certain situation but must accept it as God’s will for us. Another name for resignation is serenity. We can be serene even if we have no idea why this may be God’s will for us at this time. Most of the time when we practice the virtue of resignation we have no idea why a particular circumstance has come to us. When we look at the San Damiano crucifix, we see that everyone on it is serene despite the horro of what is happening. Those pictured are accepting the suffering of Christ even as they see through it to his resurrection. When we are resigned to a situation, let us ask God to help us to look beyond it to the grace He wishes to give us through it. The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ form a focal point for us in our resignation. They should help us adopt a measure of serenity. The Serenity Prayer, which has been adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous, is good for us all.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Saint of the Month
Saint Genoveva Torres Morales
Saint Genoveva Torres Morales was known for her faith, peace, and freedom of heart. She strove to maintain these despite the difficulties in her life.
Born on 3 January 1870 in Almenara, Castille, Spain, Genoveva was the youngest of six children. By the the time she was eight years old, Genoveva’s parents and four of her siblings had died, leaving her to care for her home and her older brother Jose who was demanding and taciturn. Unable to expect Jose to provide affection and companionship, Genoveva turned to solitude. The spiritual books she began reading at the age of 10 led her to understand that happiness is doing God’s will, which is the reason for our creation. The desire to do his will became the focal point of her life.
When Genoveva was 13 years old, she developed gangrene in her left leg which had to be amputated to stop the spread of infection. The pain of the amputation was excruciating. For the rest of her life this leg caused her pain so that she had to use crutches in order to get around.
At about the age of 15 Genoveva went to live at the Mercy home run by the Carmelites of Charity. With the nuns and the children they cared for, Genoveva increased in piety and in sewing skills. She also developed the gift of spiritual liberty which enabled her to accept everything as coming from God. This was not something that came easy but rather something she worked at.
Genoveva’s request to join the Carmelites of Charity was refused because of her physical condition. With her desire to be consecrated to God apparently thwarted, Genoveva continued to follow God’s will and be open to his guidance. She left the Carmelites of Charity’s home in 1894 and lived briefly with two women who supported themselves by their own work. Their little community shared the solitude and the poverty of their existence.
Seventeen years later, Genoveva’s secret desire was realized. That desire had been to start a religious congregation that would be concerned with meeting the needs of poor women who cannot afford to live on their own. A priest whom she had known from the Carmelites of Charity suggested to her that she found just such a congregation. The first community, established in Valencia, was the seedbed of other communities in other parts of Spain. These communities grew despite many obstacles and problems.
For Mother Genoveva, her personal sacrifice was her involvement in the communities and new foundations when she preferred to remain in solitude. Nevertheless, she accepted her calling as God’s will and did not let her physical or interior suffering impede her activity. She would say: "Even if I must suffer greatly, thanks be to God's mercy, I will not lack courage". She maintained her kindness, openness, and good humor until her death. Saint Pope John Paul II canonized Genoveva in 2003.
St. Genoveva, help us to develop the spiritual freedom that gave you such peace. Amen
Quote from Scripture
"The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:35-36)
Jesus was speaking of spiritual freedom, true liberty. When we embrace God’s will for our lives, however difficult and unfair it may seem to other people and even to us, we can accept it with the spiritual freedom that brings us peace. Anyone, anywhere, at any time, can become spiritually free by giving their entire will, soul, being, and desires to God. In this way, the Son will set you free. What is imprisoning you today? You do not have to escape the prison of your current circumstances in order to be spiritually free. You can be spiritually free right now by accepting the peace God wants to give you and then working within that to do whatever he shows you so that your current situation can be alleviated or at least improved, if at all possible. Surround everything with prayer, act with justice, and leave the rest to God. In that is spiritual freedom.
Saint Genoveva Torres Morales
Quote from a Saint
I loved freedom of heart very much, and worked and am working to achieve it fully.... It does the soul so much good that every effort is nothing compared with this free condition of the heart. (Saint Genoveva Torres Morales)
When St. Genoveva talks about freedom of the heart, she is talking about spiritual freedom. This means that our hearts are not attached to anything but to God’s Will. Imagine how freeing your life would be if you saw everything as coming from the hand of God to work to your good, no matter how terrible or tragic it may seem at the time. This does not mean that God wills evil because evil is a consequence of sin, and that sin may be our own or someone else’s. The evil may be very great, seemingly overwhelming and completely destructive, but God can and does surmount evil by bringing good out of it. We need to focus on our future lives and the future of everyone else to whom evil has come. God wishes to bring us to eternal joy, and the evils suffered in this world cannot measure up to the eternal joy promised to us. If we can go through life with this freedom of heart, then we can bear what ever comes our way, and offer it all to the Lord who loves us.
For Those Who Aren’t
There is this simple thought
that permeates my mind –
just one plain conjecture
not unfair and unkind –
What if they were different?
If we who are poor, weak and blind
could change with the magnificently aligned –
So as to have
everything we want
What would it be like
for those of us who Aren’t?
For those of us who aren’t?
What would be our Life?
--Joseph Matose IV, CFP Affiliate
The closest to perfection a person comes, is when they describe themselves on a job application.
The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
People live in two tents, content and discontent.
However long you take agonising over the menu deciding which sweet to have, when the next person’s dessert arrives, you realise you made the wrong choice.
God made us a little lower that the angels, but most of us are concerned to climb a little higher than the Joneses.
The average family ambition is to make as much money as they are spending.
Our yearnings will always exceed our earnings.
Confraternity Photo Album
Below find two photos of CFP Life Pledged Members.
Life Pledged CFP Member Karen S on Ash Wednesday.
CFP Life Pledged Member Gilbert C.
Happy Birthday to:
Francisca O 4/2
Anne Marie V 4/3
Terry B 4/4
Sr. Sarah M 4/5
Patricia M 4/6
Shawn R 4/6
Sharon L 4/7
Susan B 4/9
Peter S 4/10
Edgardo S 4/13
Alan F 4/15
Ann F 4/17
Robert D 4/25
Paulette A 4/25
Chad H 4/25
Gretchen E 4/27
Micha J 4/30
Featured Items CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop
The Confraternity of Penitents Holy Angels Gift Shop carries many books and religious items to make your Lenten and Easter season more grace filled. Consider the following examples and view the website at www.cfpholyangels.com Orders may be placed online 24 hours a day or can be postal mailed to CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop, 1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN 46803 USA. All proceeds go to assist the Confraternity of Penitents with its various ministries and administrative expenses.
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Confraternity of Penitents, 1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN 46803 USA 260-739-6882 www.penitents.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org