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: September 2015
Hunger for the Eucharist
There are not many things that I am an expert on. Actually there are very few things that I am an expert on, to be perfectly honest. But, as the reformed fat man, there is one thing I am an expert on and that is hunger. Hunger I get. Hunger I understand. Hunger is something that all of us can definitely understand. We hunger for certain things. We hunger for certain foods. We have cravings. We desire all of these different things, and yet we know that that which we desire is not always that which we should have. Knowing what we should and should not have is the key. And that is my issue. I have slowly begun to learn that I can control that which I desire. Yes, I may desire that entire cheesecake, but I am not going to have said cheesecake. Instead I will have a piece of said cheesecake.
So this understanding of hunger, this image of hunger, is something we can all recognize and learn from. Jesus asks us, "Are you hungry for the Eucharist?" On Sunday, when you wake up, are you so hungry for the Eucharist that you are excited about coming to church? Yes! The Eucharist! I want the Lord! Or does the alarm clock say, "It is a duty for you to go to Mass on Sunday, so get out of bed and go do it."
So the goal would be to hunger for the Eucharist. There is a church back in my hometown, the local mega-church, which is just down the street from your local Catholic Church. And this church got the brilliant idea that, for Christmas one year, they were not going to have Christmas service. They would just send everyone home with the DVD of the service. That way you could just watch Christmas service at home with your kids! All the rest of the pastors of the area just about died with laughter, thinking, "Let's sit back and watch the fireworks because this is going to be good!" And News channels came. News at 11: "Church Cancels Christmas!" Absolutely hysterical.
But when you get to think about it, why not? If the Eucharist is not at the center of your life, why not just have a DVD sent home? Because church is just about the message if you don't have the Eucharist. You get that message anywhere. Well, yes, Mass has a community aspect to it. Fine, but your family is community, too. Nevertheless, for Catholics, to send home a DVD and cancel Christmas would be completely unthinkable, not only because we cannot have Christmas without singing "Silent Night" and all those things, but because the center of our worship is not just the community. It's the Eucharist. It's this Bread that Jesus is talking about, that we as Catholics hunger for. If you did not go to Christmas Mass, you would feel like Christmas didn't happen. Christmas is not the same without the Mass, without the Eucharist.
The Eucharist should be the center of our lives. You should never go a Sunday without hungering for this Eucharist, hungering for the Bread that fills you completely.
And so the goal for all of us is to recognize our false desires. We all have false desires, such as I do when I look at the entire box of donuts and I desire to eat them all-- that is a false desire; it is a desire not for the good but for the lesser good. Do you have a desire for the Eucharist? Is the Eucharist what brings you to church? Not just the message. Not all the other trappings. The music is beautiful, but what ultimately should drive us to Mass is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. We should come here hungering for that which gives us eternal life. We should come here hungry for the thing which is most important in the world. What happens at this altar is more important than anything else on earth, and I should want It with all of my being. The question then becomes, “Okay, Father, I know that I should want the Eucharist, and maybe sometimes I do and maybe sometimes I don't, but how do I get there?”
I have three things for us to get there, to help us to hunger for the Eucharist.
There are three rules for the reception of Holy Communion. They have been the same since the very beginning of the Church. Contrary to popular belief, we Catholics apply the same rules to everybody, Catholics, non-Catholics, anybody. Doesn't matter who you are. The same three rules apply. A lot of non-Catholics say, “Why can't I have Communion in your church? You just form a special club of those who can. I want to be a part of that club and I don't like being excluded. It’s discriminatory.” They don't understand. The same three rules that apply to non-Catholics apply to us Catholics, too. Here are the three rules. Number one: you have to be baptized. You have to be washed with the waters of regeneration. Baptism orders us to the Eucharist. You have to be baptized to receive the Eucharist. Number two: you have to believe everything that has been enjoined on us by the Catholic Church, everything the Church believes. Why? Because Communion is not just this token that you get because you woke up on Sunday and went to Mass. It's not "I wake up on Sunday. I go to church. So I get to receive the Eucharist." No. That's not how this works. You come here, and communion is not just the communion with God and yourself. It is a communion with the entire body of Christ. We all believe in the same thing. So it is a unity of faith--you have to believe everything that the Church believes. Number three: In order to receive Holy Communion, you have to be living in accord with those beliefs. You have to be living a moral life. You have to be free of mortal sin. So, as Catholics, what trips us up is normally the last one. When we can't receive Holy Communion, it is normally because we have fallen off the ladder and we got into mortal sin. At least, on the surface, we believe everything that the Church believes, even though we sometimes don't do it very well. The problem is the morality. For non-Catholics--they may be living a perfectly good life and they may even be baptized. Their problem is the second rule--they don't believe in everything that we believe in. So the Catholic Church is equal opportunity. Everyone gets the same rules. But the first step to acknowledging the real presence in the Eucharist is recognizing when you are not able to receive it. At the beginning of every Mass, we pause, saying “Let us call to mind our sinfulness that we might partake of these mysteries worthily.” We really do need to be taking that more seriously. If what we receive here is the most important thing on earth, and we receive It unworthily, then we drink the blood of Christ upon our head. We need to be giving that a little more thought than we probably do. When, at Mass, the priest calls us to pause and to call to mind our sin, we should review the last week. We should see if we committed any mortal sins. If so, then abstain from Holy Communion why? Because that shows, “Lord, You are more important than my selfish desires. You are more important than my receiving what I think is my do. Receiving You is not my do. I have to live up to the standards that You, God, set.”
What you do when you are processing up to receive holy Communion? Are you thinking,"Okay. Step. Step. Okay. I am here." Are you Mr. Roboto communicant? When you come up to receive the Eucharist, do you have a specific prayer that you say? I encourage a prayer, something along the lines of, “I am about to receive You, not a symbol of You, but You entirely. I know I am not worthy. Help me to live like You." A prayer something like that. Anything that says, “I am going to receive my God.” Anything that keeps you focused on what you are receiving and how you are to receive It. Do you have a prayer? And on your way back, do you kneel down in the pew and pray the prayer of St. Thomas, “My Lord and my God!” Or are you thinking, "Come on, Padre. Let's get this Mass on the road. Let's move it. Let's get out of here. I've got breakfast to go to." The Eucharist is the most important part of Mass. When you receive the Eucharist, do you rush it or do you recognize the beauty?
Canon law, and all the teachings of the Church, say that the Church would like you to offer thanksgiving after receiving the Body and Blood of Christ. In fact, you are required to offer thanksgiving. After Mass, you required to kneel back down and say, “Thank you, God, for giving me Your very self. Thanks for coming to me just like You came to the apostles. Thanks for coming into my life just like You came into the world on that first Christmas. Thank you for giving yourself on the altarr just like You gave yourself on the cross.” Your thanksgiving does not have to be long. It does not have to be arduous. But it has to be something.
And I think if you do those three things, you will recognize that the Eucharist is the center of our lives. You will recognize what we are supposed to be truly hungry for is not the restaurant after Mass but the true Bread that came down from Heaven, this Bread that will give us eternal life.
Prepare yourself to celebrate the Eucharist. Pray before and after you receive It. And give thanks for the greatest gift on earth. These three things will help us to realize what we receive, eternal life.
--Father Jacob Meyer, CFP Visitor
Monthly Letter to All Penitents
Awareness of the Holy Spirit's Presence
Peace to you, my friends,
You know I love to share some interesting things with you. Well, another one happened in the yard. I was reading about the Holy Spirit, and the chapter I was in was discussing the symbols used for the Holy Spirit. After working in the yard I took a break. I was hot, aching, and my feet were very sore. A cool breeze came and felt great. Then I looked up and saw something really neat - a huge cloud formation looking like a flying dove. I ran to get my camera, hoping that the formation would still be there. Parts of it were, and I could still visualize it enough to write a poem about it. I added actual photographs and even outlined the image in the clouds. I did say a prayer to the Holy Spirit and then the rain came, a soft downpour which caused me to think of Baptism and the Spirit also.
May the poem let you see how we can experience some wonderful little blessings. Spiritually it is easy to understand. It takes some faith to be able to recognize these things when they occur and be lifted and refreshed by them.
Peace and Goodness, Paul Michael Phelan, CFP Associate
A Spiritual Visit by the Holy Spirit in My Yard
I was very sore and my feet were aching and sore.
I had to take a break and could not work any more.
I was studying two books on the Holy Spirit that day.
And sitting on the bench in the yard was prompted to pray.
"Lord I offer all my suffering to You.
In reparation for my sins, and those that the world would do.
Come, Holy Spirit, in-kindle the "fire" of your love, in me,
So that I can learn much more about Thee.
Give me strength and ease my pain; I love You so.
Thank you for the breeze and coolness, I want you to know.
Wiping my face I looked up into the sky.
Something wonderful caught my eye.
The Holy Spirit uses "clouds", and a "dove" in them I see!
I race for my camera, hoping there it would still be!
I came out and sat and took picture pictures 2 or 3!
It was slowly dissipating and harder to see!
The Spirit is found in "water", and rain drops hit my face.
The Spirit is in the "breeze", so cool, I could feel it in this place.
I renewed my Baptismal vow and gave thanks for his love.
Signs of the Holy Spirit send to see from above.
The trees were moving in the wind;
The Holy Spirit must be here, a "blessing" he did send.
I thanked Him for comforting me in this special way.
The Holy Spirit visited me in my yard today.
A prayerful meditation poem by Paul Michael Phelan, CFP Associate who has completed formation
August 10, 2015
Letter from One Who Serves the CFP
FINALITY AND HOPE
In the course of Professor Joseph Ratzinger’s discussion of Christian faith in part II of Introduction to Christianity, he discusses the finality of Christian hope. Christian faith says that in Christ the salvation of man is accomplished, that in him the true future of mankind has irrevocably begun and thus, although remaining future, is yet also perfect, a part of our present. This assertion embraces a principle of finality that is of the highest importance for the form of Christian existence, that isto say, for the sortof existential decision that being a Christian entails. Let us try to work this out in more detail. We have just established that Christ is the beginning of the future, the already inaugurated finality of the being"man". This idea was expressed in the language of Scholastic theology by the statement that with Christ revelation is concluded. Naturally this cannotmean that a certain number of truths have now been imparted and God has decided to make no further communications.. On the contrary, it means that God's dialogue with man,God's entry into mankind in Jesus, the man who is God, hasachieved its goal. The point of this dialogue was not, and isnot, to say something, many kinds of things, but to utter himself in the Word. Thus his purpose is fulfilled, not when the greatest possible sum of knowledge has been communicated, but when through the Word love becomes visible, when in the Word "You" and "You" make contact. Its meaning does not lie in a third thing, in some kind of factual knowledge, but in the partners themselves. It is called "union". In the man Jesus, God has once and for all uttered himself: he is his Word and, as his Word, himself. Revelation ends here, not because God deliberately puts an end to it, but because it has reached its goal. We can say that according to Christian faith, Jesus Christ is God’s ultimate revelation to humanity. “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9)
If one looks more carefully at this conclusion a further point emerges. The fact that in Christ the goal of revelation and, thereby, the goal of humanity is attained, because in him divine existence and human existence touch and unite, means at the same time that the goal attained is not a rigid boundary but an open space. For the union that has taken place at the one point "Jesus of Nazareth" must attain the whole of mankind, the whole one "Adam", and transform it into the "body of Christ". So long as this totality is not achieved, so long as it remains confined to one point, what has happened in Christ remains simultaneously both end and beginning. Mankind can advance no farther or higher than it has, for God is the farthest and highest; any apparent progress beyond him is a plunge into the void. Humanity cannot go beyond him---to that extent Christ is the end; but it must enter into him---to that extent he is the real beginning. We therefore need to enter into Christ through faith, but that is only the beginning. We need to begin with faith in Jesus Christ, but that is not the goal or the “end”. The “end” is not faith, but, as Professor Ratzinger says above, “union”. As Christians, our ultimate goal is union with Christ. This obviously is a lifelong process. Perhaps this clarifies what St. John says in the book of Revelation concerning Christ. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Jn 22:13).
The fact that God's final decision for man has already been made means---according to the conviction of the Christian faith---that there is such a thing as finality in history, even if this finality is of such a kind that it does not exclude a future but inaugurates it. This has the further consequence that there is and must be such a thing as the final, the irrevocable in the life of man, too, especially where he encounters the divine finality of which we were just speaking. The confidence that the final already exists, and that precisely therein the future of man is kept open, is characteristic of the whole Christian attitude to reality: the Christian can find no validity in the circling movement of actualism, which adapts itself to each new "now" and never discovers finality. On the contrary, he is certain that history marches forward; but progress demands finality of direction---that is what distinguishes it from the circular movement that leads nowhere. The struggle for the irrevocability of Christianity was fought and won in the Middle Ages as a struggle against the idea of the "third Kingdom". According to this notion, Christianity so far represented the second Kingdom, that of the Son, which was better than that of the Old Testament, the "Kingdom of the Father", but had to be succeeded by the third Kingdom, the age of the Spirit. Faith in the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ can admit no "third Kingdom"; it believes in the finality of what has already occurred and knows that for this very reason it is open to the future. Unfortunately, there are many people who believe that the Church, which Jesus Christ founded and even Jesus Christ himself, is obsolete. The “new” things that are going on in secular society must be the work of “the Spirit”. Indeed, in the last several decades we have seen innovations such as abortion, sexual freedom, and acceptance of homosexuality which has not led us forward but instead has led us backward.
We have already touched on the fact that this also brings with it decisive consequences for the life of the individual. It means that faith makes a definitive claim on man and cannot be succeeded one day, after the reign of the Father in childhood and that of the Son in youth, by an enlightened age of the Spirit that would obey only its own reason and insinuate that it was the Holy Spirit. To be sure, faith has its terms and stages, but it is precisely in this way that it constitutes the abiding ground of man's existence, a ground that is always oneand the same. This is also how it comes about that faith can have final statements---dogma and Creed---in which its intrinsic finality is articulated. Again, this does not mean that theseformulas cannot open further in the course of history andthus be understood in fresh ways, just as the individual mustcontinually learn to understand the faith afresh as a result ofhis own experiences in life. But it does mean that in the course of this understanding and maturing the unity of what is understood neither can nor may be destroyed. There are theologians who have said that “mankind or humanity has come of age”. Because of our scientific and philosophical progress, we have matured to the point that we no longer need the tutelage people needed in the Middle Ages.The dogmas of the Church frustrate the work of “the Spirit”.
Lastly, it could be demonstrated that the finality of the alliance of two human beings, which Christian faith knows to be established by the Yes of love on which marriage is based, also has its roots here. Indissoluble marriage is in fact onlycomprehensible and feasible on the basis of faith in God's henceforward irrevocable decision, embodied in Christ, in favor of "marriage" with mankind (cf Eph 5: 22-33). It stands or falls with this faith; in the long run, it is just as impossible outside this faith as it is necessary within it. And once again it should be stated that it is precisely this apparent fixation on the decision of one moment in life that enables man to march forward, to consolidate himself stage by stage, while the continual annulment of such decisions keeps sending him back to the beginning again and condemns him to a circular motion that encloses itself in the fiction of eternal youth and thus refuses to accept the totality of human existence. While Professor Ratzinger wrote these words in the 1960’s, what he said then is certainly relevant for the United States now. As Western and American society has become more agnostic, it has lost the sense of God’s commitment to humanity through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Since the commitment of Christian marriage is a mirror of God’s commitment to humanity, it is reasonable to suppose that the commitment entailed by marriage would also be lost. This is exactly what has happened. Many people, even professed Christians, no longer think of marriage in terms of finality. It is something for “now”, but it could change since “people change”. So many people enter into marriage and then end up starting over again in something new. As Professor Ratzinger correctly points out, the rejection of the commitment of Christian marriage has its roots in the rejection of the Christian basis of society. This tells us that the problems which we face in Western society are extremely deep rooted.
--Jim Nugent, CFP
No Greater Love
The Language of Silence
Peace to you, my little sparrow friends. I have been thinking about St. Francis' words to..."Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words." It brought to mind that silence is actually a language...it is here that I believe the Saint was striving, in his simple way, to point out to us that ministering to people in silence was a viable form of communication.
Along these lines I developed some interesting thoughts in meditation. The language of silence is employed only in humans. Animals know more about the value of silence than humans do, but do not use silence as a means of communication. If a person chooses to remain silent when a vocal response is expected, he is speaking the language of silence. This language may be either noble and principled or cutting and cruel.
Jesus used the language of silence when He stood on trial before Pilate. He could have argued convincingly to be exonerated, but His mission was to die, so He remained silent. His silence sent a powerful message to Pilate that before him stood a man falsely accused. It was very appropriate for Christ to behave as He did. However, it is a different matter entirely for a sullen youth to refuse to answer his father's questions about why he didn't come home until 2:00 A.M. This silence speaks rebellion.
if someone tells a questionable joke in our hearing, there may be times when we do not have the opportunity or courage to speak our objection. But to remain silent when others laugh will send a message all its own. Those who observe will feel the rebuke of silence.
Some people express ill will by refusing to speak to someone they are angry with. This is known as the silent treatment, and it is extremely cruel when used against those close to us. The language of silence is easy to learn if we want to use it harmfully, but it takes great courage to use the language for noble purposes. My dear little sparrows I am reminded of an old rhyme:
SILENCE IS GOLDEN, OR YELLOW OR BLACK; WITH MALICIOUS INTENT IT'S A KNIFE IN THE BACK!
Pax et bonum, br. sparrow (Robert Hall, CFP Affiliate and Alessandro Ministry)
Following Francis, Following Christ
The Problem of Tomorrow
Do you worry about tomorrow? Do you wonder of how you will find the time, money, or resources to do what needs to be done? St. Francis and his Friars solved the problem of tomorrow. They let God worry about it.
This was nothing new. They were simply following Jesus’ injunction. Consider this passage from the Gospel of Saint Matthew:
Therefore I say unto you, be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6: 25-34)
As laypeople, we may object that we cannot be as carefree as the Friars. After all, they had no families to support, mortgages to pay, or job obligations to meet. They were free to come and go as they wished, to find work to do and be paid in food, and to beg from door to door if they needed anything. If we lived like that in modern society, we would be either arrested or taken off the street and placed in a shelter.
Jesus’ words were not directed to Franciscan Friars. They were directed to everyone. Francis and his followers took these words literally and followed them, and it worked! But what are we, as laypeople, to do?
Jesus has the answer. He says in this passage, “do not worry about tomorrow.” In other parables, He talks about using our talents wisely, and He praises the steward who, even though he used unjust means, was prudent in looking out for his welfare. Who better than God knows what we need to stay alive? Who better than God knows what we need to serve Him best and to tell others about Him? If we believe in God’s all-knowing wisdom, if we believe that His wisdom far exceeds ours, then the logical consequence is to let Him worry about our lives and take care of us.
There are three popular prayer devotions which deal with letting God take over. One is the Novena to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, in which the person praying the Novena asks the Mother of Jesus to untangle the difficulties of life and to provide the direction to follow. Pope Francis has promoted this Novena as it is one of his favorites. This Novena has received the Imprimtur.
Another devotion which has also received the Imprimatur is the Rosary of Abandonment (Gesù pensaci tu), a prayer of Father Dolindo Ruotolo, an Italian priest. This Rosary (actually a chaplet) implores Jesus to take charge of one’s life. Father Ruotolo writes, as if Jesus were speaking, “Shut your eyes and say with all your soul: Jesus, You take over. Don’t be afraid, I indeed will take care of you, and you shall bless My Name, in humility. A thousand prayers do not equal only one act of abandonment; don’t ever forget it. There is no better novena than this: Oh Jesus I abandon myself to You, Jesus, You take over.” . The Rosary of Abandonment may be prayed on any Rosary. Here are the prayers:
God come to my assistance. Lord make haste to help me. Glory be. Our Father. Hail Mary.
1st Decade: Jesus, You take over! (10 times on the beads of the Hail Mary) Glory be.
2nd Decade: Mother Mary, guide me (10 times on the beads of the Hail Mary). Glory be.
3rd Decade: Jesus you take over! (10 times on the beads of the Hail Mary). Glory be.
4th Decade: Mother Mary, guide me. (10 times on the beads of the Hail Mary). Glory be.
5th Decade: Jesus, you take over! (10 times on the beads of the Hail Mary). Glory be.
St. Francis, who put all his trust in Jesus, and who venerated with great love the Mother of Christ, would have praised all three of these devotions. To the Blessed mother he wrote this salutation:
Hail, holy Lady, most holy Queen, Mother of God, Mary who art ever Virgin, chosen from Heaven by the most Holy Father, whom He has consecrated with the most holy beloved Son and the Ghostly Paraclete, in whom was and is all the fulness of grace and all good. Hail thou His palace! Hail thou His tabernacle! Hail thou His house. Hail thou His garment! Hail thou His handmaid! Hail thou His Mother and all ye holy virtues which by the grace and illumination of the Holy Ghost thou infusest in the heart of the faithful, that from infidels ye mayest make them faithful to God.
In the Letter to All the Faithful, he wrote:
And since He has suffered so many things for us and has done and will do so much good to us, let every creature which is in heaven and on earth and in the sea and in the abysses render praise to God and glory and honor and benediction; for He is our strength and power who alone is good, alone most high, alone almighty and admirable, glorious and alone holy, praiseworthy and blessed without end forever and ever. Amen.
As laypeople, we can be prudent in preparing for tomorrow. However, worry robs us of our joy in the present and achieves nothing positive. Try giving your worries to Jesus and his Blessed Mother and then go about your day in prayerful service to God and to others. An unknown author quipped, “For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.” Only when you follow this advice and lift worry from your spirit will you realize how heavy was its burden.
--Madeline Pecora Nugent, CFP
Reflection on the Rule
32. No heretic or person in bad repute for heresy is to be received. If he is under suspicion of it, he may be admitted if otherwise fit, upon being cleared before the bishop.
32. In keeping with section 32 of the Rule:
32a. No person who does not adhere totally to all that the Catholic Church teaches through its hierarchy and Magisterium, and no person in bad repute for disputing these teachings, shall be admitted. If such persons are under suspicion of this, they may be admitted if otherwise fit, upon being cleared by the bishop.
From the very conception of this Rule, penitents were to be totally in line with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. At the time when Cardinal Ugolino wrote the Rule of 1221, several heretical groups in Europe were calling themselves Catholic but teaching erroneous doctrines. One doctrine stated that God created the spiritual world but satan created the physical world, so everything physical, including our bodies and procreation, were evil. Another doctrine refuted the authority of the Pope over the Church. Still another teaching stated that anyone, led by the Spirit of God, could preach with authority equal to that of ordained priests. We see that, today, certain sects still hold similar doctrines.
Penitents were to adhere to everything that the Catholic Church teaches. If there was any question, the person applying to enter the Order of Penance had to be cleared by the Bishop of any charges before being admitted to the Order. In the same way, the Confraternity of Penitents stipulates that all its members must adhere to everything that the Catholic Church teaches. Anyone suspected of believing or behaving otherwise, needs to be examined by the Bishop before being admitted to membership. Those who do not agree may still be admitted as Associates so that they can receive instruction in a life of penance and do formation with the Confraternity of Penitents, but they are not members. Members must be loyal Catholics who affirm the Church’s teachings with their words and actions.
Certainly anyone affiliated with the Confraternity of Penitents would, in all honesty, have to be loyal to the Catholic Church in all its teachings. Why? Because Affiliates are to pray for the Confraternity of Penitents daily and to offer one Mass per year for the CFP. It would seem that non-Catholics would be uncomfortable with the Mass requirement. The Mass is the chief prayer of the Roman Catholic Church. It would seem that anyone who is willing to attend Mass to offer it for the Confraternity of Penitents could possibly be on the way to becoming a Catholic.
Virtues Portrayed in the San Damiano Crucifix
While the crucifix is an instrument of death, the San Damiano crucifix teams with life. Jesus, even though wounded mortally, is very much alive and serene. The figures surrounding Christ are filled with life and animation. Their wonder, at what they are experiencing through the crucifixion of the Son of God, is what makes them share with one another the great blessings of God’s Kingdom. The whole crucifix speaks the message that God is the God of life, not of death. The crucifix calls us to praise our God who is Love and Life.
Saint of the Month
St. Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, SJ
Saint Hurtado, born Luis Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga on January 22, 1901, in Chile, began his journey toward sainthood at the age of four when his father died. This tragic loss cost his family their property which Alberto’s mother had to sell in order to pay the family’s debts. Moreover, unable to provide for her children, she sent Alberto and his brother to live with relatives who shunted them from one family to another. Alberto knew firsthand what it meant to be poor and homeless.
Because he was a bright boy, Alberto earned a scholarship to study at a prestigious all boys Jesuit school in Santiago. While there, he volunteered at a Catholic parish and school in a poor neighborhood where he assisted in the office and was also librarian. When he was 17, he entered the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile to study law, writing his thesis on labor law. Once he completed obligatory military service, he completed his studies and graduated in 1923.
However, Alberto entered the Jesuit novitiate rather than a law practice. He studied in Argentina and Spain, then went on to Belgium to continue his studies. He was ordained a priest in 1933 and in 1935 obtained a doctorate in pedagogy and psychology.
Father Hurtado visited social and educational centers in Europe before returning to Chile in 1936 where he began to teach religion to college students. When he was given directorship of the Sodality of Our Lady, he involved the students in teaching catechism to the poor.
Chile resisted the Vatican’s teachings on social equality. Father Hurtado, on the other hand, strove to do away with social inequality through were more and better clergy and more faithful catechesis of youth. Whereas his efforts for the clergy met with little success, his advocacy of youth brought magnificent results.
By 1941, Father Hurtado was Chile’s national director of the Catholic Action youth movement. At this time Chile was facing a priest shortage and most Chileans never attended Mass. Father Hurtado wrote books and articles to address the priest shortage, the lack of catechesis, and the laxity of faith. His works were highly criticized.
Father Hurtado did more than simply write. He was deeply spiritual, intensely reflective, and ever optimistic and joyful. His charismatic personality brought many people of all ages and walks of life to Christ and His Church. Father Hurtado founded an organization of children’s shelters that took in all children, whether abandoned or not, and provided them food and shelter. He purchased, in 1946, a green pickup truck which he drove through the streets at night to find children and adults in need. In six years, more than 850,000 children received some help from Father Hurtado’s movement.
Concerned about laborers and inspired by the Church’s teaching, Father Hurtado founded the Chilean Trade Union Association to instruct leaders while inspiring labor unions with Christian values. On this topic, he wrote several books and articles while also acting as confessor to a political party.
This prayerful, energetic, and hard-working priest was stricken in 1952 with pancreatic cancer which quickly took his life. Cherished by the people of Chile, Father Hurtado was mourned by many. Pope Benedict XVI canonized him in 2005. Father Hurtado, pray for us.
Quote from Scripture
the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Imitating-Jesus#sthash.y5fOiAbJ.dpuf
the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Imitating-Jesus#sthash.y5fOiAbJ.dpuf
the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Imitating-Jesus#sthash.y5fOiAbJ.dpuf
"Whoever says, ‘I have come to know him’, but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says, ‘I abide in him’, ought to walk just as he walked." (1 John 2: 4-6)
You've heard the saying. "Don't just talk the talk. You have to walk the walk." In other words, talk is cheap. God looks at actions. If we live in the love of and presence of Christ, then we need to do what He asks. What does He ask? To love one another, forgive one another, support one another. Our faith and our prayers must translate into action. Father Hurtado was an excellent example of a modern saint who "talked the talk and walked the walk." Are you doing both?
St. Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga
Quote from a Saint
I hold that every poor man, every vagrant, every beggar is Christ carrying his cross. And as Christ, we must love and help him. We must treat him as a brother, a human being like ourselves. If we were to start a campaign of love for the poor and homeless, we would, in a short time, do away with depressing scenes of begging, children sleeping in doorways and women with babies in their arms fainting in our streets. --St. Alberto Hurtado, SJ
Perhaps the most effective way to help the needy is to see Christ in them. That, alone would change our attitude toward those who need our love. Father Hurtado would have been a promoter of the "What Would Jesus Do?" movement. Jesus could not turn His back on the needy and the suffering, nor does God His Father turn His back on us. No matter how underserving, we receive God's graces in great measure every day. If we are to imitate Christ, as we are called to do, then we ought to look for ways to grace others with our love and concern. How much room there is on earth for love!
My Father Passes
The middle of the night
in the faded light
you passed from here to there
Family all around
you left unbound
the Nether World
a heavenly fare
Living the others
and both my brothers
wept then carried
on with all the care
and a score of years later
our love grows greater
we carry his banner
with joy and great flair.
--Joseph Matose IV, CFP Affiliate
Thought Provoking More than Amusing
Sooner or later, false thinking brings wrong conduct. Julian Huxley
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right. Thomas Paine
Most ignorance is vincible ignorance. We don't know because we don't want to know. Aldous Huxley
The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don't know what to do. John Holt
I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to lighten his load by all possible means -- except by getting off his back. Leo Tolstoy
CFP Associate Antoinette Padua Becomes a Consecrated Virgin
Antoinette Padua, CFP Associate, on the day of her consecration.
Antoinette Padua, a CFP Associate who has completed formation, became a Consecrated Virgin in her diocese in South Africa on August 1. Archbishop Stephen Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town, consecrated her into the Order of Virgins. Antoinette, in white gown and veil, is shown in this photo with the Archbishop and with her spiritual director Sr. Francis Cosgrove, O.P. The flowers were given to Antoinette by a friend. In this photo, the Archbishop is presenting Antoinette to the congregation as newly consecrated just before the Liturgy of the Eucharist started and after the Rite of Consecration was completed according to the Roman Pontifical Missal.
Antoinette had spent time in the United States at the Confraternity of Penitents headquarters, managing the Confraternity of Penitents Holy Angels Gift Shop. While here, a former Visitor of the Confraternity, Father Jay Finelli, introduced Antoinette to a consecrated virgin.
Antoinette writes, I am just Antoinette, but some don't understand and address me as "sister!" I am a publicly consecrated virgin (not hermit) and belong officially /publicly to the Order of Virgins. My Spiritual Director believes that it's is just a rubber stamp as it's been my lifestyle which only became more intense when I joined the CFP.
I still follow the 1221 Rule of St. Francis, but Consecrated Virgins normally do not have a specific rule of life. (They may follow a specific spirituality such as Franciscan, OP's etc.) No vows are made. The Bishop consecrates one and that consecration IMPLIES living the evangelical counsels. The consecration is recorded in the Baptismal register. Daily Mass, mental prayer, Liturgy of the hours, work (if not retired), provide for ourselves, live on my own, own medical etc. Consecrated Virgins do not wear a habit. I received a veil and ring as insignia of my status, but I only wear a cover over my head for Holy Mass. No one should know by my dress that I am consecrated, although it should be appropriate, of course. I still wear what is left of my CFP San Damiano lapel pins, but even this is not necessary.
I receive notification of meetings, workshops, conferences, retreats etc for religious in the diocese and am able to take courses and workshops with them.
Some Excerpts from the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity
Calling of the Candidate:
Bishop: Come, listen to me, my daughter; I will teach you reverence for the Lord. Candidate: Now with all my heart I follow You, I reverence You and seek Your presence. Lord, fulfill my hope; show me Your lovingkindness, the greatness of Your mercy.
Renewal of Intention:
Candidate: Father, receive my resolution to follow Christ in a life of perfect chastity which, with God’s help, I here profess before you and God’s holy people.
Prayer of Consecration:
Bishop: Be Yourself her glory, her joy, her whole desire. Be her comfort in sorrow, her wisdom in perplexity, her protection in the midst of injustice, her patience in adversity, her riches in poverty, her food in fasting, a remedy in time of sickness. She has chosen You above all things; may she find all things in possessing You.
Presentation of the Veil:
Bishop: receive this veil, by which you are to show that you have been chosen from other women to be dedicated to the service of Christ and of His Body, which is the Church.
Presentation of the Ring:
Bishop: Receive the ring that marks you as a bride of Christ. Keep unstained your fidelity to your Bridegroom, that you may one day be admitted to the wedding feast of everlasting joy.
Presentation of the Liturgy of the Hours:
Bishop: Receive the book of the Liturgy of the Hours; may the praise of our heavenly Father be always on your lips; pray without ceasing for the salvation of the whole world.
Happy Birthday to:
Marcos P 9/4
Castilo M 9/6
John A 9/7
Brian M 9/9
Amanda A 9/11
Angela C 9/11
Tsion A 9/12
Donna C 9/13
Betsy K 9/14
Karen H 9/20
Linda S 9/22
Reji K 9/22
David H 9/25
Jacob D 9/26
Gina K 9/28
Francesca B 9/30
Janet S 9/30
Featured Items CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop
The Confraternity of Penitents Holy Angels Gift Shop offers a wide variety of Catholic gift, book items, jewelry, sacramentals, rosaries, chaplets, etc. All proceeds go to support the Confraternity of Penitents. Some new items are shown below. See www.cfpholyangels.com for more items and to place your order. Or send your order (please include a donation for postage) to CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop, 1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN 46803. God bless you for your support of the CFP!
The Temperament God Gave You: The Classic Key to Knowing Yourself, Getting Along with Others, and Growing Closer to the Lord. 18.95
Jesus in the Womb Prolife Prayer Card - 75c, bulk prices available (limited quantity)
Hand Crafted Black Bead and Cord Rosary for the Military, made by prisoners in the Confraternity of Penitents Alessandro Ministry. 1.59
When emailing us, please write "Inquiry about Confraternity of Penitents" in your subject line so that we do not mistakenly delete your email as spam. If you do not hear from us within five days, please write again as occasionally emails go astray.
Also please email us in English as we are unable to translate correspondence sent in other languages. Thank you for understanding.
Confraternity of Penitents, 1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN 46803 USA 260-739-6882 www.penitents.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org