Monthly Archives: November 2009

“Humility Is Not Always Easy: The Canticle of the Sun by Francis of Assisi (day 14 of 14)”


24 days till the BIRTH of CHRIST,

and this is the 2nd day of the ADVENT season.

“HO, HO, HO-ly God, We Praise Thy Name!”

 

Quote of the Day:

 

 Peace starts with a smile.

 

Today’s Meditation:

 

The Canticle of the Sun by Francis of Assisi (day 14 of 14):

… Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility.

 

To me, this is the overall philosophy of St. Francis.  “Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.”  The only way to preach the gospel this way is to actually live the gospel in your actions.  This conversion will lead to a humble approach to god, and to others. 

Jesus loved the down-trodden.  God said that the meek will inherent the earth.  The act of love means that you will allow the one you love to take the lead unconditionally.  All are excellent examples of true humility.

Humility probably has been my hardest virtue to achieve.  I have always been ‘the leader.’  My training as a Paramedic and educator called for taking the ‘superior’ role, and directing others.  I never thought of humility until becoming a Secular Franciscan, but through my journey, I have learned to be humble, while still directing and educating.

Thank you Lord for teaching the way to humility in life.  I wish to do your will always.  Please be with me to help me with the virtue of humility.  Amen.

 The full text of “The Canticle of the Sun” can be found at many web sites

including: http://www.poverello-society.org/prayer_canticle.htm.

 

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

*****

 

From the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule Prologue, Chapter 1:

 

… “Oh, holy Father, protect them with your name (cf. Jn 17:11) whom you gave me out of the world. I entrusted to them the message you entrusted to me and they received it. They have known that in truth I came from you; they have believed that it was you who sent me. For these I pray, not for the world (cf. Jn 17:9). Bless and consecrate them, and I consecrate myself for their sakes. I do not pray for them alone; I pray also for those who will believe in me through their word (cf. Jn 17:20) that they may be holy by being one, as we are (cf. Jn 17:11). And I desire, Father, to have them in my company where I am to see this glory of mine in your kingdom” (cf. Jn 17:6-24).

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“Woe, I don’t want to die twice!~The Canticle of the Sun by Francis of Assisi (day 13 of 14)”


ADVENT BEGINS TODAY:

Praise the season, and pass the cookies!

25 days till the BIRTH of CHRIST, 

and TODAY starts the ADVENT season.

“HO, HO, HO-ly God, We Praise Thy Name!”

Quote of the Day:   

The best mathematical equation I have ever seen: 1 cross + 3 nails = 4given

 

 

Today’s Meditation:

 

The Canticle of the Sun by Francis of Assisi (day 13 of 14):

… Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she [Sister Bodily Death] finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them. …

 

I have never heard of “second death.”  After researching, I found the term “second death” is mentioned in the bible four times: Rev 2:11, Rev 20:6 & 14, and Rev. 21:8.  My understanding is that this “second death” means a permanent separation from God, in hell.

 So now the question is: “What is ‘first’ death?”   Death is eventual to all individuals: this death is the “first” death.  The “first” death is physical, but temporary deaths from which everyone will be resurrected to everlasting life; and those dying in sin will be resurrected, judged, physically die again, but this time the death is presumed to be permanent!

The full text of “The Canticle of the Sun” can be found at many web sites

including: http://www.poverello-society.org/prayer_canticle.htm.

 

 

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

*****

 

From the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule Prologue, Chapter 1:

 

… Oh, how glorious it is to have a great and Holy Father in heaven! Oh, how glorious it is to have such a beautiful and admirable Spouse, the Holy Paraclete.

Oh, how glorious it is to have such a Brother and such a Son, loved, beloved, humble, peaceful, sweet, lovable, and desirable above all: Our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave up his life for his sheep (cf. Jn 10:15) and prayed to the Father saying: …

 

Go to the Light, Go to the Light – The Canticle of the Sun by Francis of Assisi (day 12 of 14)


Advent starts tomorrow.  Are you prepared?  Do you have your Advent wreath out, and on the table yet?  Have you explained ‘Advent’ to your children and other loved ones?  

 

 26 days till the BIRTH of CHRIST,

and TOMORROW is the beginning of the ADVENT season.

“HO, HO, HO-ly God, We Praise Thy Name!”

  

Quote of the Day:

 

 In the sentence of life, the devil may be a comma–but never let him be the period.

 

 

Today’s Meditation:

 

 The Canticle of the Sun by Francis of Assisi (day 12 of 14):

… Be praised, my Lord [Jesus], through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. …

 

The morbid joke is that the two things all must do, is pay taxes and die.  In essence, this is true, but the true and absolute fact is that no matter what you do medically and physically, all are going to die eventually.  At this moment, you will be judged and your soul will go to heaven, hell, or purgatory to be purged of the remnants of sin – and then to heaven.

 What most forget (or do not know) is that it is too late to ask for forgiveness once you die.  This judgment is immediate and swift.  The other tenant of our faith that most do not think of is that Sister Death coming to us is not the end.  We are all also destined to be risen from the dead, just as Jesus was rose from the dead.  The good and faithful, living in union with God will be separated from the ‘damned’ after all are risen, and will live forever either with eternal bliss and happiness with Christ, or with both physical and emotional torture eternally with Satan.

 The full text of “The Canticle of the Sun” can be found at many web sites

including: http://www.poverello-society.org/prayer_canticle.htm.

  

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

*****

 

Franciscan Saint of the Day:  St. James of the March

 

James was born in the March of Ancona. His parents raised him in the fear and love of God, and in due time he was sent to the University of Perugia, where he studied civil and canon law with such remarkable success that he received a doctor’s degree in both subjects. Despite the fact that brilliant positions were already open to him, he soon recognized the vanity of the world and felt a singular attraction for the religious life. At first he thought of joining the contemplative Carthusians, but almighty God, who had destined him to labor for the salvation of thousands of souls in the active life, led him to the Order of St. Francis.

During his novitiate James distinguished himself by the practice of all virtues, so that he became a model of religious perfection. In order to preserve angelic purity, which he had kept unsullied from his youth, he led a most austere life. He never slept more than three hours, and that on the bare floor; the remainder of the night he spent meditating on the sufferings of Christ. He constantly wore a coat of mail having sharp points. and scourged himself daily; Like our holy Father St Francis, he observed a 40-day fast 7 times a year. Bread and water were his regular fare, although he sometimes added uncooked beans or vegetables. Some years later, St. Bernardin of Siena prevailed upon him to mitigate these austerities somewhat in order to conserve his strength.

Soon after his ordination, when he was 30 years old, he was sent out as a missionary. He undertook this high calling with untiring zeal. For more than 50 years he traveled through Italy, Dalmatia, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia, Austria, Bohemia, Saxony, Prussia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Russia. During the years 1427 and 1428 he preached in Vienna, Augsburg, Ratisbon, Ulm, Limburg, Brandenburg, and Leipzig. Inspired by his apostolic example, more than 200 of the noblest young men of Germany were impelled to enter the Franciscan Order. The crowds who came to hear him were so great that the churches were no large enough to accommodate them, and it became imperative for him to preach in the public squares.

At Milan he was instrumental in converting 36 women of bad repute by a single sermon on St. Mary Magdalen. It is said that he brought 50,000 heretics into the bosom of the Church, and led 200,000 unbelievers to baptism. In addition, God granted St. James such wisdom, that popes and princes availed themselves of his services, seeking counsel from him. He possessed the gifts or miracles and of prophesy in great measure, yet his humility surpassed all those distinctions. He was offered the archepiscopal dignity of the see of Milan, but he declined with these words, “I have no other desire upon earth than to do penance and to preach penance as a poor Franciscan.”

Worn out by his many labors as well as advanced age, he died at Naples, November 28, 1476, in the 85th year of his life, 60 years of which were consecrated to God in the religious state. He was entombed in the Franciscan church at Naples, where his body can still be seen in a crystal coffin, incorrupt, flexible, and emitting a fragrant perfume. Pope Benedict XIII canonized St. James in 1726.

 

from: The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, ofm.,

© 1959 Franciscan Herald Press

(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)

 

From the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule Prolgue, Chapter 1:

 

… We are spouses, when by the Holy Spirit the faithful soul is united with our Lord Jesus Christ; we are brothers to him when we fulfill “the will of the Father who is in heaven” (Mt 12:50).

We are mothers, when we carry him in our heart and body (cf. 1 Cor 6:20) through divine love and a pure and sincere conscience; we give birth to him through a holy life which must give life to others by example (cf. Mt 5:16). …

 

“Peace Be to You, and You’ll Like IT or Else! – The Canticle of the Sun by Francis of Assisi (day 11 of 14)”


I hope all had a great Thanksgiving Day and that the prescribed gluttony wasn’t to excess (Is that an oxymoron?!).  Did you thank God for His interventions and miracles He has done for you?

 

27 days till the BIRTH of CHRIST,

and 2 days till the beginning of the ADVENT season.

“HO, HO , HO-ly God, We Praise Thy Name!”

 

Quote of the Day:

 

 Why settle for the lesser of two evils?

 

Today’s Meditation:

 

The Canticle of the Sun by Francis of Assisi (day 11 of 14): 

… Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High [Jesus], they will be crowned. …

 

“Let me be an instrument of your peace…”  If anything I have learned through my journey of Franciscan discernment, I have learned the meaning and significance of ‘peace.’  I was a man that was a very direct, to the point, and at times rude individual.  I always insisted on it being my way.  I think I was the typical American.  My philosophy was that if threatened, to ‘beat them down’ (verbally or physically) and do not allow them to tread on me.

 I still believe on the right to protect one-self.  But my aggressiveness in thought, speech, and actions has been tempered by the tenant of St. Francis’ peace, especially in an aggressive situation.  The louder someone gets, I purposely let me body and verbal interchange get softer and quieter.  This does two things.  It almost always seems to calm everyone, and it also allows me to control the conversation.  It seems ironic that one can win by peace over force.

 Dr. Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Pope John Paul II, all worked through peace to achieve their goals.  I am still not completely at their level of sustainable peace that they exuded, but I am working at it.

 St. Francis, please help me on my journey of peace and understanding of others.  Amen,

 

The full text of “The Canticle of the Sun” can be found at many web sites

including: http://www.poverello-society.org/prayer_canticle.htm.

 

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

*****

 

Franciscan Saint of the Day:  St. Francis Anthony Fasini

 

Born in 1681 at Lucera, southeastern Italy, Francis Anthony was the son of very poor peasants; but he was a bright lad, and received a good education from the Conventual Franciscans in his native town.  When he was 14 he received the habit of St. Francis among the Conventuals, and in 1705 he was ordained to the priesthood.  He was then sent to the Sagro Convento, adjoining the basilica in Assisi where St. Francis is buried, for the purpose of continuing his studies.  Two years later he received the doctorate in theology, and he was then appointed lector of philosophy in the college conducted by the Conventuals in his home town. He was promoted successively to regent of studies, guardian, and provincial, which latter office he held from 1721 to 1723.  After that he served as master of novices, and then as pastor of the church of St. Francis in Lucera. A bishopric was offered to him, but he declined it.

Among the devotions that he cherished there were especially a tender love for the Immaculate Mother of God, a childlike affection for the Infant Jesus, and fervent devotion, also night adoration, of the Holy Eucharist.  Once, while he was absorbed in prayer, someone who happened to be in the church heard a voice saying: “This priest prays much for his people.”

As a priest, he also became an eloquent preacher, a lover of the poor, a friend of the unfortunate.  He was a missionary, a retreat-master, and a Lenten preacher.  For hours he would sit in the confessional, hearing and absolving the sins of his penitents, consoling the afflicted, warning the hardened of heart.  He spent much time in visiting the sick, the orphans, and the imprisoned.  As a pastor he was a real father to his people.

After 35 years in the priesthood and a life of penance, union with God, and intense labor the salvation of souls, God called Father Francis Anthony to Himself on November 29, 1742.  On that day the people of Lucera came hurrying to the church of St. Francis, exclaiming as did the children at the death of St. Anthony of Padua, “The saint is dead!  The saint is dead!” And for 200 years since then, they have continues to kneel and pray at his tomb.  The cause of his beatification was introduced in Rome in 1832; and in 1951 Pope Pius XII solemnly enrolled him among the blessed.

from: The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, ofm., © 1959 Franciscan Herald Press

 

Also on November 27th: In 1830-31 Our Lady appeared four times to St. Catharine Laboure in Paris and instructed her to have the Miraculous Medal struck.  On these occasions, Our Lady showed herself to St. Catharine as the Immaculate Conception and the Miraculous Medal is really the Medal of the Immaculate Conception.  On the medal are the words of the little prayer which Our Lady herself wishes us to say, “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”  This feast is observed by the Conventuals.

 (From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)

 

From the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Prolgue, Chapter 1:

 

All who love the Lord with their whole heart, with their whole soul and mind, with all their strength (cf. Mk 12:30), and love their neighbors as themselves (cf. Mt 22:39) and hate their bodies with their vices and sins, and receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and produce worthy fruits of penance.

Oh, how happy and blessed are these men and women when they do these things and persevere in doing them, because “the spirit of the Lord will rest upon them” (cf. Is 11:2) and he will make “his home and dwelling among them” (cf Jn 14:23), and they are the sons of the heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:45), whose works they do, and they are the spouses, brothers, and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Mt 12:50). …

 

“I Would Love to Forgive You – The Canticle of the Sun by Francis of Assisi (day 10 of 14)”


Happy Turkey Day!  What are you thankful for during this season?!  I am thankful for many things, but mostly for my immediate family; my extended family; and you, my readers.

28 days till the BIRTH of CHRIST,

and 3 days till the beginning of the ADVENT season.

“HO, HO , HO-ly God, We Praise Thy Name!”

 

Quote of the Day:

 Forbidden fruits create many jams.

 

Today’s Meditation:

The Canticle of the Sun by Francis of Assisi (day 10 of 14):

… Be praised, my Lord [Jesus], through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. …

 

I gave a talk on forgiveness at a retreat I recently attended.  When I sat down to write this talk, I had no idea what to write.  I sat there quietly praying, and asked the Holy Spirit to help me.  I came up with revelations that I never would have thought without His help.  Again, when I presented the talk, I was filled with His presence, giving witness to the need of forgiveness, that was well beyond my capabilities.  Among other things, I remember talking about the “Our Father,” and the portion of this prayer that discusses forgiveness.  The prayer, I referenced, can be found in the USCCB’s New American Bible (NAB) Matthew 6:9-15:

 “This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.  If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions

I also talked about how we need to forgive without keeping score; and that once we forgive someone, it is over – forever.  Just as if tearing up a ticket and burning the pieces: the infraction should never be brought up again.  To forgive without forgetting is the same as actually ‘never forgiving.’

 Afterwards, I was told by several of the retreatants that they were opened to what this prayer is actually saying.  These very religious and spiritual individuals have been holding resentments for some time.  After the Sacrament of Reconciliation, they appeared happier, and very content with their situations and status in life.  They honestly seemed to be more at peace, and filled with the Lord alive in them. 

The full text of “The Canticle of the Sun” can be found at many web sites

including: http://www.poverello-society.org/prayer_canticle.htm.

 

 Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

*****

 

Franciscan Saint of the Day:  St. Leonard of Port Maurice

 

Leonard had great devotion to the Holy Eucharist, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to Saint. Francis.  He  joined the Franciscans (OFM) in  1697.  After his ordination in 1703 he preached all over the Tuscany region of Italy.  

Through his devotion to the Stations of the Cross, he  erected about 600 Stations of the Cross throughout the lands.  In 1744, the Pope sent Leonard to preach on Corsica.  

He returned to Rome in 1751 after receiving a summons from the pope.  Leonard died at his friary, St. Bonaventure, November 26.

(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)

 

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #26:

 

As a concrete sign of communion and co- responsibility, the councils on various levels, in keeping with the constitutions, shall ask for suitable and well prepared religious for spiritual assistance. They should make this request to the superiors of the four religious Franciscan families, to whom the Secular Fraternity has been united for centuries.

To promote fidelity to the charism as well as observance of the rule and to receive greater support in the life of the fraternity, the minister or president, with the consent of the council, should take care to ask for a regular pastoral visit by the competent religious superiors as well as for a fraternal visit from those of the higher fraternities, according to the norm of the constitutions.

“It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature – The Canticle of the Sun by Francis of Assisi (day 9 of 14)”


29 days till the BIRTH of CHRIST,

and 4 days till the beginning of the ADVENT season.

“HO, HO , HO-ly God, We Praise Thy Name!”

 

Quote of the Day:

 

 The good Lord didn’t create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.

 

Today’s Meditation:

 

The Canticle of the Sun by Francis of Assisi (day 9 of 14):

… Be praised, my Lord [Jesus], through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs. …

 

On reading this, I can’t help but think of the beautiful stories of creation from Genesis.  I picture God making all creation, and then strolling through the garden, with Adam & Eve.  With an easy conversation between the three of them; they are lightly touching the plants, and stroking the heads and backs of the animals: the three of them smiling and laughing at the majesty and beauty of what God had created for us. 

God created all the animals and plants for our use.  It disappoints me that most humans abuse this gift, and responsibility.  We are slowly destroying our resources, and I believe God is not happy.  He will not stop us though, because He gave us a ‘free will.’  The quote, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature'” is true.

I pray we learn from our mistakes and selfishness.  Please Lord, help us to find our way to be good stewards of this precious gift you gave us – the earth, and its resources.  Amen.

 

The full text of “The Canticle of the Sun” can be found at many web sites

including: http://www.poverello-society.org/prayer_canticle.htm.

 

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

*****

 

Franciscan Saint of the DayBl. Elizabeth of Reute, virgin, III Ord

 

Elizabeth was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis, born 25 November, 1386, at Waldsee in Swabia, of John and Anne Acheer; died 25 November, 1420.

From her earliest days “the good Betha”, as she was called, showed a rare piety.  When fourteen she received the habit of the third order, but continued to live at home. Finding the life uncongenial, she secured the consent of her parents after long entreaties to leave home.   Receiving no support from them she remained at the house of a pious tertiary, and the two worked at weaving; but the remuneration was small and they frequently suffered from hunger and other privations. After three years Conrad Kugelin established a house for tertiaries at Reute on the outskirts of Waldsee and Elizabeth entered it together with some others.

Here she took up her work in the kitchen, and now began her wonderful life of seclusion, fasting, and prayer. There was no clausura at the convent, still she led so retired a life that she was called “the Recluse.” She spent many hours in a little garden, kneeling on a stone or prostrate on the ground in contemplation.  So pure was her life that her confessor could scarcely find matter for absolution. She had much to suffer from attacks of the evil spirit, from suspicions of her sisters in religion, from leprosy, and other sicknesses, but in all her trials she showed a heavenly patience. This she learned from the Passion of Christ, which she made the continual subject of meditation, the object of her love, and the rule of her life.

In consequence God permitted her to bear the marks of the Passion on her body; her head often showed the marks of the Thorns, and her body those of the Scourging. The stigmata appeared only now and then, but her pains never ceased. She was shown the happiness of the blessed and the souls in the state of purgation; the secrets of hearts and of the future were unveiled to her.

She foretold the election of Martin V and the end of the Western Schism. Though so much favoured by Divine Providence she always preserved a great humility. After her death she was buried in the church of Reute. Her life was written by her confessor and sent to the Bishop of Constance, but it was only after 1623, when her tomb was opened by the provost of Waldsee, that her popular veneration spread in Swabia. After several miracles had been wrought through her intercession the Holy See was asked to ratify her cult. This was done 19 June, 1766, by Clement XIII. The Franciscans celebrate her feast on 25 November. (from Catholic Encyclopedia). Please note that many Tertiaries in those days lived together in a fashion similar to a convent or monastery. Even in Europe until the mid-1950’s, these community houses existed, at least in the Netherlands /FSS.

 (From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)

 

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #25:

 

Regarding expenses necessary for the life of the fraternity and the needs of worship, of the apostolate, and of charity, all the brothers and sisters should offer a contribution according to their means. Local fraternities should contribute toward the expenses of the higher fraternity councils.

“The Canticle of the Sun by Francis of Assisi (day 8 of 14) – I Want To Be a Pyromaniac”


30 days till the BIRTH of CHRIST,

and 5 days till the beginning of the ADVENT season.

“HO, HO , HO-ly God, We Praise Thy Name!”

 

Quote of the Day:

 

 Suffering from truth decay? Brush up on your Bible.

 

Today’s Meditation:

 

The Canticle of the Sun by Francis of Assisi (day 8 of 14):

… Be praised, my Lord [Jesus], through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful & cheerful, & powerful and strong. …

 

Most people are fancinated by fire.  The colors, movement, warmth, dancing in the air in a raw “emotion” that claims that it is in charge and in control.  Fire causes massive damage each year, but also does so much good in the way of heat, cooking, and ascetic beauty at a camp fire or in the home fireplace.

Fire separates the darkness of night.  It decreases the fear of the unknowing by illuminating the world that surrounds us.  Jesus is our light.  When on fire with HIS Holy Spirit, there is nothing to fear in this world.  When He dwells in us, he are warmed by His indescribable love and mercy.

Let His fire burn in me forever.  Amen.  

The full text of “The Canticle of the Sun” can be found at many web sites

including: http://www.poverello-society.org/prayer_canticle.htm.

 

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

*****

 

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #24:

 

To foster communion among members, the council should organize regular and frequent meetings of the community as well as meeting with other Franciscan groups, especially with youth groups. It should adopt appropriate means for growth in Franciscan and ecclesial life and encourage everyone to a life of fraternity. The communion continues with deceased brothers and sisters through prayer for them.