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 -- August 2014
Why Did Jesus Speak in Parables?
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’"
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13: 1-23)
We all remember the parable of the sower. The parable of the sower reminds me of Mass. Mass?
The glory of the sacrifice of the Mass can often be seen in beautiful churches. The church is like a parable. It is not just a beautiful space. It is a space where the seed of faith is planted and nurtured in us. In church we receive the beautiful gift of baptism, the Eucharist, reconciliation, and the other sacraments. We are enriched in our faith life.
The church is not a monument to art, nor is it a museum of beauty. It teaches us about what is to come, about the community of heaven. There are so many people who live around beautiful churches but who never see them. We may worship in a beautiful church, and we may have a beautiful expression of our faith, but what do we do with it? Our job is to explain the faith to people and bring them to the Lord, to help those people outside of church understand a bit of what goes on inside it. Our hearts must be converted to the faith which leads us to the King.
We think about college students who go to college for the first time, and the first thing they say is, “I am free! I am free! I can do what I want!” Then they come home with their first semester grades and their parents say, “It does not take a rocket scientist to get good grades in college. Just go to class. Just go to class! If you go to class, you can get good grades and things will go well for you.”
How often have we heard the Gospels? Or are we like the apostles? They asked Jesus why he was speaking in parables. Jesus said not everyone is ready to hear the word of God. They need parables to understand it. They need parables to be able to think about God’s message because they aren’t ready to receive it completely yet.
We are like teenagers in our faith. The faith can be explained to us. But we are not listening. We are not ready to take it all in yet. The church has everything we need. It has the words of the priest. It has the Gospels, confession, the sacraments, community. I could stand up here and tell you all of the things you need to do to get to heaven. I could tell you to go to confession, pray every day, go to Mass, do the works of charity, go to Holy Communion if you are not in mortal sin. You know all of these things and if I tell them to you, you will understand them, but if I speak to you in a parable, you get the real point. A parable brings the main truth home to us. It makes you understand the words further. It makes you think about how to get to God.
Jesus spoke in parables because he made us and he knows us. He comes to us better through these parables. Are you thinking about what you are hearing at Mass? We all fit into the parable of the sower. Think about it. The words you hear at Mass today go out to all of you. What kind of ground are you? We all want to get to heaven, but are we ready to go there? The seeds of faith in the Savior are sown in us, but are we soil that will bear the fruit? Do we want to reform our lives? Are we walking the narrow path? We have to have faith in the Gospel. We need to appropriate the truth from the Gospel, meditate on it, change our life because of it, and put it into action.
Father Jacob Meyer, Visitor
Following Francis, Following Christ
Misinformation Presented as Fact
In working on this book on St. Francis of Assisi, I come across, from time to time, conflicting but apparently factual information. How does one reconcile this?
First, one looks at the date of the material presented. New scholarship and new information often change what had been accepted as fact several decades ago. For example, it was commonly thought that St. Francis’s father Pietro and his mother Pica had two children, Francis and his brother Angelo. Modern scholars, however, believe that Pica was a widow with the child Angelo when Pietro married her. This means that St. Francis was the only biological son of his father. This would explain some of Pietro’s anguish when Francis gave up the family inheritance and the family business to give his life to God.
When one wants to see if an incident probably happened regarding St. Francis, it is wise to check the first life of St. Francis. If it is in there, it happened. The first life of St. Francis was written and published within three years of his death. Certainly those who read this biography would have known the truth or the untruth of what was in it. Therefore it is considered by scholars to be a definitive and primary source.
When one is trying to find out truthful information, another good tactic is to consult an authority. I am very blessed to have a Franciscan scholar, who teaches Franciscan studies at a major university, who is willing to help me ascertain whether something I have read is true or not. He has told me that everything that is on the Internet, for example, is not necessarily true. In fact, some of the things which I have read about St. Francis seem way off the wall.
Another tactic is to check the historical record. For example, history indicates that Assisi had an amphitheater and a naumachia which was a basin in which mock sea battles took place during Roman times. A little research indicates where this was, and a search at Google maps lets one see the remains of these places from the air. None of the early histories of St. Francis mention either one of these places because neither factored in the life of Francis except obliquely. But just because we have no stories of Francis in the area of these two Roman ruins, this does not mean that he was not aware of them. They were part of his daily life.
When one is trying to determine the truths of faith, it is important to look at the date of the material being presented. Go back to Scripture and determine what Jesus was telling us. His words become the starting point and the ending point of anything we are trying to discern. Scripture is the definitive and primary source of the truths of our faith.
We can also consult an authority. And we need to make sure that the authority actually has the credentials to give us correct information. If we have a question about Scripture, it would not be wise to consult a coworker. It would be better to consult a priest who is trained in Scripture. It is wise to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the writings of the popes.
We can also check the historical record regarding our faith. What did Jesus say? What did the early Church teach? What did the Doctors of the Church say about this matter? Theologians of our day may have an agenda, so does what they say correspond to the teaching authority of the Church?
We should not come at our faith with the attitude of a researcher, but some of the techniques used by researchers can be helpful if we are confused about something we have heard or read. May the Holy Spirit guide us to the truth of whatever is troubling us.
--Madeline Pecora Nugent, CFP
Monthly Letter to All Penitents
We Must Become Like Little Children
Jesus said that we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 18: 3) What did He mean by that?
Consider the traits of a little child.
A little child trusts adults. A little child is willing to be led from place to place and trusts that the adult in charge of him will take care of him. If the adult takes the child to the doctor for a vaccination, the child does not think that the adult made a mistake. In fact the child does not link the adult to the vaccination but rather focuses on the pain as if it had nothing to do with the adult bringing your child to the doctor in the first place. The child may be afraid to go to the doctor again, if he remembers the pain suffered there, but he will not be afraid to go to the adult who brought him to that place. In the same manner, we need to trust God and His decisions regarding our lives. He is acting to protect us. We may not understand this, but like a child, we should not hold the painful situations against God but rather continue to trust Him.
A little child takes joy in simple things. A flower. A toy. An animal. Crumpled paper. Sunbeams. All of these delight a child. The Lord is asking us to take delight in all of his creation, as if it were new to us every moment of the day. That is a childlike appreciation.
A little child does not question whether or not something is good for him. He may not like what is happening, but the question of, “Is this good for me?” does not enter his mind. He also does not ask if something is bad for him. A little child has to be told what is good for him and what is bad for him. The person telling him is an adult who knows. If our attitude is like that of a little child, we will trust that what God tells us is good for us or bad for us is the truth.
A little child gets alarmed if he realizes that he is alone. This only happens if the child has strayed away from the parent. In many cases, the parent is actually close by, but the child has lost sight of the parent and so thinks that he is alone. If we are like little children, we will want to be in God’s presence all the time. And if we lose sight of Him, we will understand that He is not far away but rather close and watching us. We need only look for Him and we will find Him again.
A little child does not worry about keeping up with her neighbors. She does not worry about the latest hairstyles or the most fashionable clothes or whether or not her toys are as good as her neighbor’s. If we are like little children, we will not worry about these things either. We will be content with what we have and be happy to use what someone else has.
A little child does not dwell on the past or worry about the future. She enjoys the present moment. A little child is not deadened by past mistakes. She goes on in her life with the past in the past. The future is not yet and may never be. A child does not think about it. Thus, if we are to be like little children, we need to live in the present moment. We ask God for forgiveness of our sins and trust that He has forgiven us. We trust that He will be with us in the future as He has been in the past.
There are many other attributes of little children. Think about them. What is God teaching you through them? How can we become more like little children? May God show us the way.
Let us pray for one another and for all doing penance worldwide.
--Madeline Pecora Nugent, CFP
Letter from One Who Serves the CFP
THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY AS NEGATIVE THEOLOGY
In Chapter 5 of Professor Joseph Ratzinger’s Introduction to Christianity, he treats the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity as “negative theology”. Negative theology focuses on the limitations of our knowledge of God as opposed to positive statements concerning the nature of God. If the painful history of the human and Christian striving for God proves anything, it surely proves this: that any attempt to reduce God to the scope of our own comprehension leads to the absurd. We can only speak rightly about him if we renounce the attempt to comprehend and let him be the uncomprehended. Any doctrine of the Trinity, therefore, cannot aim at being a perfect comprehension of God. It is a frontier notice, a discouraging gesture pointing over to unchartable territory. It is not a definition that confines a thing to the pigeonholes of human knowledge, nor is it a concept that would put the thing within the grasp of the human mind.
This character of Allusion, in which the concept becomes a mere hint, and comprehension a mere reaching out toward the incomprehensible, could be accurately mapped by the ecclesiastical formulas themselves and their early history. Every one of the main basic concepts in the doctrine of the Trinity was condemned at one time or another; they were all adopted only after the frustration of condemnation; they are accepted only inasmuch as they are at the same time branded as unusable and admitted simply as poor stammering utterances---and no more. The concept of persona (or prosopon) was once condemned, as we have seen; the crucial word that in the fourth century became the standard of orthodoxy, homoousios (= of one substance with the Father), had been condemned in the third century; the concept of “proceeding” has a condemnation behind it---and so one could go on. One must say, I think, that these condemnations of the later formulas of faith form an intimate part of them: it is only through the negation, and the infinite indirectness implicit in it, that they are usable. The doctrine of the Trinity is only possible as a piece of baffled theology, so to speak.
Here Professor Ratzinger is pointing out the folly of taking any doctrinal statement and isolating it from other truths and making it absolute. For example, it is heresy to assert the personal nature of God if by “person” (Latin persona, Greek Prosopon) you mean simply a role or mask as was the original meaning of the word “person”. God has to be understood as “person” in the modern sense of person. Another example would be the statements of St. Paul concerning salvation by faith apart from works of the Law. These statements do not mean that one can willfully sin as long as you have faith. St. Paul himself emphatically denies that interpretation in Romans chapter 6. As Professor Ratzinger explains it: On the contrary, every heresy is at the same time the cipher for an abiding truth, a cipher we must now preserve with other simultaneously valid statements, separated from which it produces a false impression. In other words, all these statements are not so much gravestones as the bricks of a cathedral, which are, of course, only useful when they do not remain alone but are inserted into something bigger, just as even the positively accepted formulas are valid only if they are at the same time aware of their own inadequacy.
Professor Ratzinger then points out that just as you cannot describe or understand God in simple statements which explain everything, the same thing is true of physics. The physicist is becoming increasingly aware today that we cannot embrace given realities---the structure of light, for example, or of matter in general--- in one form of experiment and so in one form of statement: that, on the contrary, from different sides we glimpse different aspects, which cannot be traced back to each other. We have to take the two together---say, the structure of particle and wave--- without being able to find a comprehensive explanation---as a provisional assessment of the whole because of the restrictions implicit in our point of view. What is true here in the physical realm as a result of the limitations in our ability to observe is true in an incomparably greater degree of the spiritual realities and God. Here, too, we can always look from one side and so grasp only one particular aspect, which seems to contradict the other, yet only when combined with it is a pointer to the whole, which we are incapable of stating or grasping. Only by circling round, by looking and describing from different, apparently contrary angles can we succeed in alluding to the truth, which is never visible to us in its totality.
Just as we cannot explain God in simple, neat statements, we also cannot observe God as a “neutral observer”. We have to enter into Him to know Him. Professor Ratzinger explains that this is also true of physics. We know today that in a physical experiment the observer himself enters into the experiment and only by doing so can arrive at a physical experience. This means that there is no such thing as pure objectivity even in physics, that even here the result of the experiment, nature’s answer, depends on the question put to it. In the answer there is always a bit of the question and a bit of the questioner himself; it reflects not only nature in itself, in its pure objectivity, but also gives back something of man, of what is characteristically ours, a bit of the human subject. This too, mutatis mutandis, is true of the question of God. There is no such thing as a mere observer. There is no such thing as pure objectivity. One can even say that the higher an object stands in human terms, the more it penetrates the center of individuality; and the more it engages the beholder’s individuality, then the smaller the possibility of the mere distancing involved in pure objectivity Thus, whenever an answer is presented as unemotionally objective, as a statement that finally goes beyond prejudices of the pious and provides purely factual, scientific information, then it has to be said that the speaker has here fallen victim to self-deception. This kind of objectivity is quite simply denied to man. He cannot ask and exist as a mere observer. He who tries to be a mere observer experiences nothing. Even the reality “God” can only impinge on the vision of him who enters into the experiment with God---the experiment that we call faith. Only by entering does one experience; only by cooperating in the experiment does one ask at all; and only he who asks receives an answer.
Pascal set this out in his famous argument of the wager with an almost uncanny clarity and an acuteness verging on the unbearable. The verbal strife with the unbelieving interlocutor has finally reached the point at which the latter admits that he must make a choice about God. But he would like to avoid the leap, to possess a mathematical certainty: “Is there no way of illuminating the darkness and of seeing the face of the cards?” “Yes, Scripture and all the other testimony of religion.” “Yes, but my hands are tied and my lips are closed…I am so made that I cannot believe. What am I to do?” “So you admit that your inability to believe does not come from reason; on the contrary, reason leads you to belief; the reason for your refusal lies elsewhere. There is therefore no point in trying to convince you any further by piling up the proofs of the existence of God; you must above all fight against your passions. You would like to reach faith, but you do not know the way? You want to cure yourself of unbelief, and you ask for a remedy? Take a lesson from those who were earlier racked by doubts like yourself…Follow the way by which they began; by acting as if they believed, by taking holy water, by having Masses said, and so on. This will bring you quite naturally to believe and will stupefy you.”
In this curious passage, this much at any rate is right; the mere neutral curiosity of the mind that wants to remain uninvolved can never enable one to see---even in dealing with a human being, and much less in dealing with God. The experiment with God cannot take place without man.
Unfortunately, many theologians use the arguments given here by Professor Ratzinger to deny the validity of Divine Revelation. They reason that since the subjectivity of man is involved even in Divine Revelation, there is little or no objective validity in Scripture and religion in general. Of course, Professor Ratzinger, both here and elsewhere, asserts strongly the validity of Divine Revelation. We cannot simply assume that God is incapable of conveying genuine truth to us just because He uses humans to deliver this truth. It is difficult to see how God could possibly reveal Himself to us if we don’t enter into the “experiment with God” which we call faith. As Professor Ratzinger put it “only he who asks receives an answer.”
--Jim Nugent, CFP
No Greater Love
Keeping Up on What's Going Down
(Note: This email letter was written January 14, 2014, just a little over a month before Doc (br. Philip Julius) died. I shows so well the character of this wonderful brother in our Confraternity of Penitents.)
Thank you for asking about what’s happening. Truth is, the Lord continues to shower blessings on me. There are far too many to mention in a single email. I’ll tell you just a few to show what I mean.
I’ve just returned from my “hangout” the Selesian community http://www.don-bosco-juenkerath.de where on Thursday evenings we have an hour of silent devotion in front of the Blessed Sacrament preceding Vespers with the brothers and priests. Recently I’ve introduced a lay handicapped fellow to the “hours.” He shows up every Thursday evening and Sunday morning to pray the hours with me using my briviary or smart phone. Kinda nice, don’t you think?
My prayers this evening, actually all the time lately, are prayers of gratitude for what the Lord sends my way these days. Example: with my mobility now drastically reduced, I’ve been introduced to radio Horeb (www.Horeb.org). Coming out of Germany, this radio station allows me to pray the hours (Laudes, Sext, Vespers, Komplet) when I can’t make it to the Salesians. The station broadcasts allow me to pray “in community” with nuns in Switzerland, and priests or lay communities in Austria, Germany, and Italy (Süd Tirol) depending on the hour of the day.
It gets even better! Helene and I are in the midst of a five-day retreat (mornings and afternoons) broadcast by radio Horeb from central Germany where a truly outstanding retreat master, Fr. Winfried Abel, is delivering his talks “live” to nuns in a convent. This, in a way, I guess, is the substitute for the 30-day spiritual exercises that I have been secretly planning to do with the Jesuits in 2014. Before the health problems started, I had even researched which Jesuit at which community I would do them with. Oh, well ….
Unrelated to the wonderful spiritual graces that continue to come my way like the progress our four formatees (Catherine, Castilo, Andrea and Roger) continue to make, are the experiences I’m having in the secular realm of my life. I mean our line dancing. Our dancing days are over, of course. We thought, so too would be our ability to visit and observe our dancing friends at our favourite dancing place. www.wild-horses-saloon.de Would you believe some of the dancers, knowing that Helene and I are relatively immobile these days have called to say they’d be happy to pick us up and bring us home again so that we could visit with the people we’ve danced with over the years. For one of the couples that would involve more than an additional two hours of drivng time! For our weekends of dancing Helene and I used to go in our RV on a Saturday afternoon and stay at the saloon until Monday for the hour and a half drive home.
Careful. Here comes a little bit of br. Pajamas (Note: br. Philip Julius--br. PJ for short--is making a pun on his name). From what I’m hearing, I'm going to be the first of any of us CFP who will have his picture hanging in a prominent place on the wall of a saloon! After I’m gone, of course.
I won’t burden you with any more. I could go on for hours as I do, for example, with Andrea and Roger via Skype. I just want you to know that I couldn’t be more happy. Coming apart at the seams, to be sure, but more than ever ready to go to the new home the Lord has chosen for me.
P & R
Doc (br. P-J)
Reflections on the Rule
RULE: 19. All the brothers and sisters of every city and place are to foregather every month at the time the ministers see fit, in a church which the ministers will make known, and there assist at Divine Services.
19. In keeping with section 19 of this Rule:
19a. Penitents living in proximity to each other should stay in touch with one another and ideally form a Chapter or Circle to assist each other in this way of life, subject to the Confraternity's guidelines on forming a Chapter or Circle.
19b. No Chapter or Circle may be formed without a spiritual assistant (Visitor). The spiritual assistant must be a priest, deacon, or male or female religious who upholds all the teachings of the Catholic Church and who fully supports the penitents in living this Rule of Life.
19c. Should a Chapter or Circle lose its spiritual assistant, it must obtain permission from the Confraternity Visitor to continue meeting while a search is made for a replacement. In the meantime, the Confraternity shall assign a temporary spiritual assistant to the group. Permission to continue meeting without a permanent spiritual assistant must be renewed annually.
19d. Chapters and Circles that are temporarily without spiritual assistants may wish to use audio or video tapes to provide formation for their members until a new spiritual assistant is acquired.
19e. All members of this Confraternity are to gather for their monthly Chapter or Circle meeting at a time the local ministers see fit. If possible, they should attend Mass as part of this meeting.
19f. If there is no local Chapter or Circle, a member is permitted to attend an internet Chapter of the CFP, be part of a by-mail Chapter of the CFP, or live this Rule on his or her own under a competent spiritual director. All such members should be in regular contact with the Confraternity by letter, e-mail, or phone call and should obey the spiritual assistant (Visitor) of the Confraternity in all matters that concern the Visitor as stated in the Rule.
The local Chapter or Circle is an important part in the life of a penitent. The Confraternity makes it possible for every member, including those isolated from other penitents, to be part of a larger gathering of CFP members. This is done via the internet chat room and, in some cases, by Skype or Conference Call meetings. Each group requires a spiritual assistant to guide the group. A male or female religious, deacon, or priest can serve this role. Members who are in proximity to one another should strive to establish a CFP group for regular, monthly gatherings. Those who belong to such groups attest to the value of meeting in person with other penitents.
Affiliates may attend CFP Chapter and Circle meetings with the agreement of the members of the Chapter or Circle. We are grateful for our Affiliates and their prayers and pray for them daily.
Belle of Aquidneck Isle – For Patrice*
If ever the clouds could weep and speak
Color would be the form of voice
Obviously color would be its own choice
That color would be grown blondish hair
And your voice the poetic flair
Wishing me the sounds of mine
A valentineish valentine
Of humor and a jug of wine
You are unlike any I know
Full of laughter full of glow
On an isle of peace and snow
Such mystery’s answer
I do not know.
--Joseph Matose IV, CFP Affiliate
*Patrice is a brave and joyful woman, batting cancer and undergoing chemotherapy for many years. Please pray for her.
Virtues Portrayed in the San Damiano Crucifix
Christ's obedience to the Father's Will, to lay down His life for the salvation of humanity, is evident in every crucifix. But this crucifix casts its own special light on this act of grace. Christ is serene in His oblation. He is more than resigned. A smile plays around His lips as if He is recalling that obedience and sacrifice brought Him great joy in that His loved brothers and sisters will now, through His merits, be able to join Him in eternity. Obedience to the Will of God brings this joy as we realize that God's plan is fulfilled through our surrender to it.
Saint of the Month
Saint Caminlla Baptista Varano (1458 - 1524)
Saint Camilla Baptista Varano (Varani) (Varano) was born April 9, 1458, in Camerino in the March of Ancona. Her father Julius Caesar Varano was the Duke of Camerino and her mother Lady Ceccina di Maestro Giacomo. Although born out of wedlock, Camilla as raised in her father’s palace. There the prince’s wife Giovanna Malatesta instructed her in the arts and literature just as if she were Giovanna’s biological daughter.
Around the ages of 8-10 Camilla heard a Good Friday sermon about the Passion of Christ. The preacher urged the listeners to shed one tear for Christ’s passion. Moved, Camilla made a vow to meditate on the Passion ever Friday and later vowed to shed a tear for Christ every Friday. As soon as she did this, she would go and play. She really did not want to spend time in prayer and often made fun of friars and nuns.
However, Camilla persisted in her vow. One day she found a book on the Passion which she began to ready every Friday on her knees, while meditating on a crucifix. She also began other penitential practices such as fasting on bread and water and keeping night prayer vigils. But during the day, she continued with the music, dancing, singing, and other frivolities of courtly life. During Lent of 1479, a homily by another preacher convinced her to take a vow of chasity. Now interior voices told her that she had to become a nun to save her soul. Nevertheless, she struggled against the world and against the marriage which her father was forcing on her, even to the point of imprisoning her. Finally he relented, leaving her free to follow her vocation. For the next two and a half years, Camilla experienced profound mystical conversations with Christ as well as severe physical illness. During this time she composed a poem of praise about the joy she felt in Christ’s love.
On 14 November 1481, Camilla entered the Poor Clare Monastery at Urbino and took the name Baptista. In 1484 she returned to Camerino with eight companions to begin a new community of Poor Clare nuns in a monastery which her father had purchased, then later moved to another monastery which he built. She made both moves under obedience for she did not desire to be close to home. When her father and three brothers were murdered by political enemies, she, her mother, and a younger brother escaped.
As Abbess for several terms, Camilla treated her sisters with patience, kindness, and love. She experienced of Christ in His Passion and such intense interior knowledge of His sufferings that she exclaimed, "O Lord, tell me no more of this Thy sorrow, for I can no longer bear it.” She was also subject to spiritual battles to abandon the faith, rebel against God, and disbelieve the Scriptures. Neverthess, she continued in prayer and spiritual writing. She also founded Poor Clare Monasteries in Fermo and in San Severino. She wrote in both Italian and Latin and was one of the finest scholars of her day. Her best known work is “The Mental Sufferings of Jesus in His Passion.” Her works are outstanding for originality of thought, spirituality, and vivid language.Camilla died on the Feast of Corpus Christi, May 31, 1524. Her body has been lovingly retained in her monastery where it can be venerated.
Quote from Scripture
But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. (Matthew 5:39)
Jesus is asking us to not seek revenge or even restitution but to give beyond what would be required, to be generous in forgiving as God is. This does not mean that we do not work against injustice and evil, but it does mean that we do not seek our own comfort in doing so. In all we act as God does Who gives good things to the just and the unjust because the actions of the unjust affect the just. If they would change for the better so would the world. God always acts to bring about positive change. So should we. Absorbing evil personally without striking back cannot help having a positive influence on others. It has wrought conversion frequently.
Saint Camilla Baptista Varano
Quote from a Saint
O Most Clement God, if you were to reveal to me all the secrets of your Sacred Heart and everyday were to show me the Angelic Hierarchies; if everyday I could raise the dead, it would not be because of these things that you love me with an infinite love. Rather, it would be because I have done good to the one who has wronged me, said good things of and praise the one who has spoken ill of me and wronged me unjustly. (Saint Camilla Baptista Varano)
One can add little to this beautiful prayer. Saint Camilla realizes that sanctity comes from returning good for evil and not seeking retaliation or taking offense for wrongs done against oneself. Jesus asked us to turn the other cheek when wronged. Saint Camilla did it.
Happy Birthday to:
Michael B 8/1
Richard K 8/4
Gilbert C 8/8
Patricia B 8/13
Tim S 8/14
Austin K 8/17
Caroline F 8/23
Anthony C 8/24
Dianne J 8/27
Robert S 8/31
These signs were photographed.
News broadcast streaming headline on broadcast marked "LIVE" - "Two dead found dead."
Street sign: "Haviture Way"
Bumper sticker. "Dogs are family. Would you chain your grandmother outside?"
Sign on a city park bench. "Learn to read. Free! Call 404.422.1540"
First Sign. "Dog Run -->" points to second sign, about five feet away, that reads "No Dogs Past Here"
Quote of the day, "You haven't had enough coffee unless you can thread a sewing machine while it's running."
A bent over sign at some Department of Motor Vehicles read, "DMV. End of Drive Test Parking"
Confraternity Photo Album
Three life pledged members of the Confraternity of Penitents: Jim Nugent, Madeline Pecora Nugent (sr. Margaret of Cortona in the CFP), Sieglinde McGuinness Stevens (sr. Peter Thecla in the CFP) met at a picnic grounds in West Virginia for family gathering, catching up on the news, and prayer.
Chris Hartzog, CFP Affiliate, visited the Confraternity of Penitents Headquarters in June, hailing in from the state of Washington. Chris has been in contact with the CFP since the late 1990's. Now he has finally met some other penitents in person. And we have met him. What a blessing for all!
Featured Items CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop
The Queenship of Mary is August 22, the date on which the Confraternity of Penitents was refounded. This follows the great Marian feast of the Assumption of Mary on August 15. Below are three of the several Marian items available through the Confraternity of Penitents Holy Angels Gift Shop at cfpholyangels.com All proceeds go to the Confraternity of Penitents. God bless you for your support.
Queenship of Mary Poster - $2
Song of Mary: Marian Prayers. Book. Hard cover. 9.95
"You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with all your mind, (and) you shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Jesus' words as recorded in Matthew 22:37-38)
Living Love of God and Love of Neighbor by following modern constitutions to the the original Rule which Saint Francis gave to the penitents in 1221.
The Confraternity of Penitents is fulfilling the Church's call to penance and repentance in the modern world. The Confraternity has canonical status as an international private lay association of the faithful with commendation under the Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend IN USA (formerly under the Bishop of the Diocese of Providence Rhode Island). Its members live in their own homes. The Confraternity of Penitents welcomes inquiry from all Catholic laity and religious in union with the Pope who are interested in living a life of personal conversion and deepening surrender to God. Non-Catholics may apply as Associates.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com