Tag Archives: SFO Prologue

“Do You Need a ‘Green Card’ for Heaven” – Phil 3:20-4:1


A large earthquake struck in Haiti 47 days ago, and an even larger one exploded in Chile yesterday.  Many people have died, or are now homeless and hurt physically and/or mentally.  Let us pray that here spirit has not been shaken as well.  They, and all of us, need the divine intervention of God at this time of trial.  Please remember that all happens for a purpose.  We may not ever know the purpose, while on this earth; there is still one, and it will be revealed to us when God chooses.
  

Our citizenship in heaven, and the ticket on how to get there, is the subject of my reflection today.

Quote or Joke of the Day:

 

Truths that little children have learned:
  

You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk!
 
Don’t wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts!
 
The best place to be when you’re sad is Grandma’s lap!

  

Today’s Meditation:

 

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself. Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, beloved.  NAB Phil 3:20-4:1)

 

Citizenship for the Christians of Philippi was the colony of heaven, just as Philippi was a colony of Rome. Christians are already enrolled as citizens of heaven, through the grace of God.  Jesus said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesars, and to God what is God’s.”  We have to live as Jesus showed us how to live in this world, in order to attain our entrance to His world of heaven.

Our mortal bodies cannot enter the final glory without a transformation.  Most of us will need to go through the heavenly divine “carwash” of purgatory.  Many non-Catholics (and sadly some Catholics) do not believe in purgatory, because the word itself is not written in the bible.  To them, I say show me the word “Armageddon.”  What all of us can agree on, is that the risen Christ is our example for how to live a true Christian life. 

The hope Paul expresses in these few but powerful sentences from this letter, involves the final coming of Christ, and NOT what was already attained.  Our future with Him in heaven, is what we live for today.  It is never to late to say yes to God, and to start living a “perfect” life. 

“Lord, I will keep this short.  Please help me to perfection through you.  Amen.”

 

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

 

*****

 

Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Hilary, Pope
 

Pope from 461-468; and guardian of Church unity.  He was born in Sardinia, Italy, and was a papal legate to the Robber Council of Ephesus in 449, barely escaping with his life from this affair.  Hilary was used by Pope St. Leo I the Great on many assignments.  When Leo died, Hilary was elected pope and consecrated on November 19, 461.  He worked diligently to strengthen the Church in France and Spain, calling councils in 462 and 465.  Hilary also rebuilt many Roman churches and erected the chapel of St. John Lateran.  He also publicly rebuked Emperor Anthemius in St. Peter’s for supporting the Macedonian heresy and sent a decree to the Eastern bishops validating the decisions of the General Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon.  Hilary consolidated the Church in Sandi, Africa, and Gaul.  He died in Rome on February 28

 (From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)

 

Prologue to Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule, 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: …  

 

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“Keep Your Friends Close, & Your Enemies Closer!” – Mt 5:43-48


 

Quote or Joke of the Day:

 

Truths that little children have learned:

You can’t trust dogs to watch your food!
Don’t sneeze when someone is cutting your hair!
Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time!

 

Today’s Meditation:

 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?  So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. (NAB Mt 5:43-48)

  

Did you notice this series of verses left out the end of the quote from the first sentence.  There was no “as yourself” at the end of the quotation.  There is no Old Testament commandment demanding hatred of one’s enemy.  The “neighbor” of this “love” commandment was understood as one’s fellow countryman.  Both in the Old Testament, and in the Qumran (1QS 9:21), hatred of evil persons is assumed to be permitted and all right.  Jesus extends the love commandment to the enemy, and the persecutor.  As children of God, we must imitate the example of the Jesus.  Christianity is purposely not aggressive by nature and intent.  Aggression displayed is transformed into a strategy of winning through the wisdom of love.

 Jesus distinguishes between earthly rewards, and Godly rewards.   The tax collectors were Jews of the region, who were engaged in the collection of indirect taxes such as tolls and customs.  Such tax collectors paid a fixed amount of money for the right to collect customs duties within their districts.  Whatever they collected above this amount was profit to them.  The abuse of extortion was widespread among tax collectors. Hence, tax collectors were regarded as sinners and outcasts of society, and were disgraced, along with their families.  Tax collectors were a symbol of low morality, being often associated with extortion and collaborating in the Roman occupation of Palestine.  Tax collectors were hated publicly, verbally, and sometimes violently.  It would have been difficult to be hated more than a tax collector.  Jesus ate with tax collectors frequently, during His ministry.  He instructs that loving those that hate you, increases God’s love for you.  Loving our enemies is a must for all Christians.  Remember, all people are God’s creation, and we should see Jesus in everyone we meet.  If you don’t see Jesus in everyone,  get your vision checked in the confessional, and at mass.

Jesus’ disciples must not be content with the usual standards of conduct in society.  In the time of Jesus, the “greeting” mentioned above, was a prayer of blessing on the one greeted.  In the last sentence of this reading, the word “perfect” was used.  In the gospels this word occurs only in Matthew; here and in Matthew 19:21.  In Luke’s gospel, the parallel verse (Luke 6:36) demands that the disciples be merciful.  The idea of perfection for the Jews of that time, was a man who observed the whole law without exception.  We need to transform ourselves to be like Christ, and follow His whole laws.  The Franciscans’ have a saying: “commit yourself to daily conversion.”

“Lord, I love you above all.  Help me to love all others as much as I love you.  Amen.”

 

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

 

*****

 

Franciscan Saint of the Day: Bl. Sebastian of Aparicio

 

Sebastian lived from 1502 to 1600, and he was a bridge builder mostly in Mexico. At age 72, he distributed all he had among the poor and entered the Franciscans as a brother. He is known as the “Angel of Mexico” and is the patron of travelers.

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

 

Prologue to the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule,  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).

“Martha, the Devils Got My Foot and Won’t Let Go!” – Luke 4:8-9


Saturday morning and the sun is out.  Had a great time at Church today.  Afterwards, a large group of us went to McDonald’s to partake in a little cholesterol enhancement.

Today’s reflections is about temptation, and how to handle it.  Something I need a lot of, is control over temptation.

Bible Scroll

Quote or Joke of the Day:

  

As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in public schools.

  

Today’s Meditation:

  

Jesus said to him [the devil] in reply, “It is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.”  Then he [the devil] led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here … (NAB Luke 4:8-9)

  

You cannot serve two kings.  It’s either going to be God, or the devil.  The devil once worshiped our Lord, and our Lord once loved him and all the other “fallen angels,”  God loved them so much he gave them the same gift we received from Him: the gift of free-will!  After this, the angels no longer believed as God, and refused to honor his creation of us.  They were thrown out of heaven for not following God in His love for his creations. 

The devil doesn’t necessarily want us.  As a matter of fact, the devil despises us with the utmost zeal.  The only interest he has in us, is to turn us from our love of God; his eternal enemy.  The pitiful thing is that at some time in the relatively near future, we are all going to spend eternity with one of these two supreme beings!  If you don’t spend eternity with God in paradise, the only option left is spending eternity with a being that hates you to a degree we cannot even imagine.  Scary thought, isn’t it!? 

For those that think they are immune from the temptation or taunting of the devil, because of their strong faith in God: just remember that God, as Jesus, was tempted for forty days; and then taunted several other times throughout the gospels.  If the devil has no fear of tempting God, what makes you think he has no qualms about tempting or taunting a ‘mere human.’ 

The devil even took Jesus to the place of His birth, and put Him on top of the temple were He became a member of the Jewish community (through His circumcision, and sacrifice of pigeon doves) 30+ years in the past.  From there, the devil challenged Him to do an easy task that Jesus knew he would be protected; but did not succumb to this temptation, as it was not His time.  

How interesting, and ironic that the devil brought Jesus to Jerusalem.  This is the place of His birth, His entrance into the Jewish faith, and His first episode of His future role as priest and messiah, by being “found in the temple with the temple priests” in His early teenage years.  It is also the city were Jesus will ultimately face his destiny with death: not by falling from the temple parapet as the devil wanted; but on the cross in total pain and agony, by His own free-will, as His heavenly Father had instructed, in order to give us redemption for our ‘devil pleasing’ sins. 

“Lord please help the fools that think the immoral acts of today will have no impact on their futures.  They are being deceived by Satan.  Please be with them and come too their aid.  St. Michael, protect us all from the horrors of eternal damnation by protecting us from the devils temptations and taunts.  Amen.”

  

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

  

*****

  

Franciscan Saint of the Day: St. Hyacintha Mariscotti 1585-1640

  

St. Hyacintha, born in 1585, belonged to a wealthy and prominent family. Her father was Count Antonio of Mariscotti, and her mother descended from the princely Roman family of the Orsini.  

After her younger sister had been given in marriage, the disappointed Clarice, as Hyacintha was then called, entered the convent of the Tertiaries at Viterbo, but apparently only as a secular Tertiary. She permitted herself to be supplied with all sorts of things by way of eatables and articles of dress which enabled her to enjoy quite an agreeable and comfortable existence. Her rooms were furnished with much worldly apparatus. The spirit of mortification and of penance with which every Tertiary ought to be equipped was in no wise discernible to her. 

Then it happened that she was afflicted with a strange illness, and her confessor was obliged to go to her rooms to administer the sacraments to her. When he saw the worldly and frivolous objects in her cell, he sharply reproved the sick sister. Following her confessor’s advice, she afterwards went to the common refectory and there, with a rope around her neck, begged forgiveness of her fellow sisters for the scandal she had given them. 

However, it was only after she had invoked the aid of St. Catherine of Siena, that she dispossessed herself of all frivolous and unnecessary objects, and thereupon resolutely entered upon a life of heroic virtue. 

She began to lead a very penitential life, in which she persevered unto the end. She went barefoot, wore an old habit that had been discarded by another sister, and performed the lowliest and most trying tasks. She ate only inferior food with which she mixed bitter herbs. Her bed consisted of a few bare boards, on which there was but a single blanket; a stone served as her pillow. She fostered a special devotion to the sufferings of Christ; and in memory of them, she subjected herself to special austerities on Fridays and in Holy Week. She also entertained a filial love for Mary, the Mother of Mercy, who sometimes appeared to her and comforted her. 

Enriched by every virtue and held in great repute by her fellow sisters, she died in the 55th year of her age, in the year of our Lord 1640. Many miracles occurred at her grave for which reason Pope Benedict XIII placed her in the ranks of the blessed.  

In the year 1807 she was canonized by Pope Pius VII. 

from: The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed.
by Marion Habig, ofm., © 1959 Franciscan Herald Press
 (From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)

  

Prologue to Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule, 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). 

 

Stop Looking Over My Shoulder; I’m Doing the Job!” – Mt 28:19-20


It is another beautifully NON-Sunny day in Hazelwood, MO.  My Nieces Nephew graduates from Basic training this weekend.  Let’s pray from a break in the weather in Oklahoma, so that he has a great experience, and for the safety of all the soldiers families.

  

This reflection is about we are to do as Christians, and what the church is for Catholics.

Bible Study

 

Quote or Joke of the Day:

  

I don’t care WHO you are, quit walking on the water while I’m fishing!

  

Today’s Meditation:

  

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”  (NAB Mt 28:19-20)

  

The Risen Jesus gives the eleven apostles a special, and universal mission.  They are to make disciples of all nations.  Sounds like an easy job; doesn’t it?  While “all nations” is probably referring more to the Gentiles, but it probably included their Jewish society as well.  

Baptism is the means of entrance into the community of the Jesus, “the Church.”  “In the name of the Father . . . Holy Spirit” is perhaps the clearest expression in the New Testament of our trinitarian belief.  It designates the effect of baptism; the union of the one baptized with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as the way of gaining entrance into paradise, and also ends death of the soul. 

All that I have commanded you is a moral teaching found of this gospel verse.  It is the same words as that used at the Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 5-7).  The commandments of Jesus are the standard of Christian conduct, but not Mosaic law, even though some of the Mosaic commandments have now been invested with the authority and word of Jesus.  “Behold, I am with you always” is a promise of Jesus’ real, though invisible presence, and echoes the prophetic name given to Jesus at His birth; “Emmanuel” meaning ‘God is with us.’ 

These two simple verses say a lot.  It gives a command.  It gives us hope.  And it gives a promise of eternal life with the Trinity, in heaven. 

“Lord, be with me as I evangelize in my words and actions throughout my normal days activities.  May the Holy Spirit be in my words when confronted with the opportunity to talk about your love for us all, regardless of who we are, or how bad we have been.  Gives us all the hope of eternal pleasure with you in heaven, and may we never forget you are always with us in the Holy Spirit.  Amen.”

  

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

  

*****

  

Franciscan Saint of the Day:  Bl. Roger of Todi

  

Died at Todi, Italy, in 1237; cultus confirmed by Pope Benedict XIV. Blessed Roger was one of the early Franciscans who was admitted to the order by the founder himself. St. Francis appointed him spiritual director of the convent of Poor Clares at Rieti. 

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

 

Prologue to Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule, 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: …   

“Officer, We Found the Subject Dead; Lying in His Own Transgressions!” – Eph 2: 1-2


It has been 23 years since the U.S. shuttle “Challenger” exploded 72 seconds after lift off, killing all seven astronauts aboard, including school teacher Christa McAuliffe.  Also, last night, President Obama gave his fist State of the Union Address.  I speculate that in another 23 years we will still remember one these historic moments, and not the other!
 
This reflection is about sin’s effect on our future.  The humorous quote is something a friend recently sent to me, and helped placed our perceptions of others in a new light.   

"The Good News"

 

Quote or Joke of the Day:

  

BEST POEM IN THE WORLD 

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
   As I entered Heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor. 

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp–
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash. 

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice. 

Roger, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well. 

I nudged Jesus, ‘What’s the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How’d all these sinners get up here?
God must’ve made a mistake. 

‘And why is everyone so quiet,
So somber – give me a clue.’
‘Hush, child,’ He said, ‘they’re all in shock.
No one thought they’d be seeing you.’ 

JUDGE NOT!! 

Remember…Just going to church doesn’t make you a
Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. 

Every saint has a PAST…
Every sinner has a FUTURE! 

Today’s Meditation:

  

You were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you once lived following the age of this world, … (Eph 2: 1-2)

  

In these verses, Paul was urging the people of Ephesus (In Asia Minor – modern day Turkey) to remember their grim past, when they were dead through their sins; and what they are now, clothed in Christ, both Jew and Gentile reconciled with God.  They are now a new people of one body: the household of God.  These new people are now the temple and dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. 

The recipients of Paul’s letter have experienced, in their redemption from transgressions, the effect of Christ’s power over the devil, who rules not from the “netherworld,” but from between God in heaven and human beings on earth.  Both Jew and Gentile have experienced, through and by Christ, a gift of redemption and salvation that marked them for a future heavenly life in paradise.   

The term, “age of this world,” is synonymous with the rulers of earth, but also reflects the Jewish idea of “two ages,” this present evil age and “the age to come”.  Evil is still very prevalent today.  People are still falling victim to the devil lurking in the recesses of our thoughts and emotions.   Addiction, apathy, immoral sex, abortion, euthanasia, and cheating or just a few of the effects of evil in our society.  The good thing is that anyone can thwart these sins of death, and live forever with Christ in a paradise no one on this earth can even imagine in our wildest dreams.  All we need is to follow Christ, live in Him and Him in us, ask for help from Him, and ask for forgiveness from Him and others we sin against.  Not easy: but not impossible. 

“Lord, tell the devil to go ‘somewhere else.’  Be with us, especially when tempted by the prince of darkness.  Please protect my family and friends from these evils as well.  Amen”

  

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

  

*****

  

Prologue to Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule, 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: …   

 

 

“Love is a Thorny Thing – You Could Get Pricked!” – 1 Cor 13:4


Wednesday morning, and the weather man is using those bad words again.  It seems everyone needs to stock up on the milk, bread, and eggs! 

 

Yesterday marks two weeks for the survivors of the ‘quakes in Haiti.  Please pray that they keep up their faith in God, and allow Jesus to work through them, and others coming to their aid.

 

Today’s reflection is about “Love.”

Bible Study

Quote or Joke of the Day:

  

God loves everyone, but probably prefers “fruits of the spirit” over “religious nuts.”

  

Today’s Meditation:

   

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated

(NAB 1 Cor 13:4)

  

This verse defines love by what it does, or does not do with the relationship. Translated from Greek, it has fifteen verbs.  Many of these translate into English as adjectives.  Patient and kindness is love.  Jealousy and self-importance is not. Love, I have observed, does not usually happen all at once.  I am going to steal from today’s Gospel reading to describe love.  Love is like a mustard seed thrown on the ground.  

As the mustard seed thrown on rocky soil will not grow: neither will attempts at love based on lies, and lack of communication skills.  Many people say they are in love, when they are only infatuated with each other.  I like it when my kids have girl friends.  They think they are in love, but they cannot understand what true love entails.  Patience and kindness are not necessarily virtues of today’s teenage population.  I know a lot of “adults” who have yet to leave this stage in life.  I will call this the “have my ice cream and eat it NOW’ approach to love. 

The mustard seed thrown among thorns equates to love that may start strong for the two persons, but as time goes on, one or both, of the two lose the focus of the relationship, and gets stung by a thorn.  This “thorn” could be jealousy, an extramarital affair, addiction to drugs or alcohol, or lack of pathos for the other person in the relationship, just to name a few.  I’ll consider this the “have my ice cream and let it melt, without ever consuming the dessert. 

I speculate that the “thorn bush” is actually a metaphor for poor communication.  As the mustard seed of love gets entangled in the thorn bush, communication between the two become less and less, until there is no communication.  Without communication, there is no way love can grow, and it will eventually die.  I believe communication is a part of love that gets more rich, sweeter, and fuller with age.  

Finally, the mustard seed of love that is placed on good soil.  Do you know what happens to a seed placed in fertile ground?  IT DIES!  When in love with someone, the two in love die of themselves, and grow into one beautiful creation.  My children say, “There is no “I” in team.”  Love is a team approach to a wonderful gift, expressed by God Himself.  When a couples love develops to a point of marriage, they enter into a special relationship, a covenant, with each other and God.  My favorite ice cream metafore: “On a daily basis, have some of your ice cream and not only eat yours, but eat some of your spouses; and visa versa – and never run out!”  

God is pure love.  He loves us so much, that we cannot understand the depth of His love for us.  God loves us so much, He gave us “free-will,” and the ability to accept or deny His love.  No other creation on this planet is able to do this.  

We all need to cherish our love for others, while at the same time giving this love to all we come into contact with along our daily path in life.  The more love we share, the more love takes root.  Wouldn’t it be great if the entire world was covered with the vines and fruits of love!? 

“Lord, be with me as I attempt to plant the seeds of love in others.  Nurture these seeds so they sprout, and allow these sprouts to grow in others.  The harvest will be great with your help.  Amen.”

  

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

  

*****

  

Franciscan Saint of the Day:  St. Angela Merici 1470-1540

  

Angela Merici was born in the year 1470 at Decenzano, northern Italy, on the banks of Lake Garda.  She so loved modesty and purity of heart that she was quite generally venerated as a little saint in her native town.  When she was in her 13th year she entered the Third Order of St. Francis, and soon afterward took the vow of perpetual chastity, renounced all her possessions, and wished to live only on alms.  Along with this she practiced great austerities, slept on the bare earth, and fasted continuously on bread and water.  Sometimes Holy Communion was her only food over a period of several days. 

When she was 23 years old, Angela was praying one day in a secluded place, and there she had a vision of a friend who had died a short while before.  Her friend prophesied that Angela would be the foundress of a religious institute which would be devoted to the education of youth, and destined to do an unlimited amount of good for the kingdom of God.  That proved to be a great incentive for Angela, not only to lead a life of contemplation, but also to serve her fellowmen in active work. 

She gathered about her a group of young women, and together they went out to give religious instruction to little children, to help the poor, and to care for the sick.  Often there were great sinners among those to whom she ministered, and in such cases she did not cease instructing, entreating, and encouraging them until they were reconciled with God and began to lead a new life. 

Her saintly conduct and the profound knowledge she had, concerning even the most difficult questions of theology, caused her to be greatly respected by high and low and to be regarded as a saint.  In order to escape such honor, Angela left her native town of Decenzano in 1516, and went to Brescia, where a wealthy but pious merchant offered her a house.  There she lived absorbed in God until the year 1524. 

At that time Angela was seized with an ardent desire to visit the Holy Land, just as our holy Father St. Francis once was.  She visited Jerusalem, Mt. Calvary, and the other holy places with uncommon devotion.  She returned by way of Rome, in order to pray at the tombs of the apostles, and this gain the great jubilee indulgence.  Pope Clement VII, who was not unaware of her sanctity, wished to detain her in Rome, and did not permit her to return to Brescia until he understood by divine inspiration that in Brescia lay the field of labor for which God had destined her. 

Due to disturbances caused by war, Angela could not undertake her appointed work until 1531.  On November 25, 1535, her pious society was founded as the religious congregation of St. Ursula, who was the special patron of their work.  The congregation, known also as Ursulines, spread rapidly and is active in many countries, also in America, where its institutions for the Christian education of Feminine youth are blessed with much success. 

When Angela reached the age of 70, the day and hour of her death were revealed to her.  She received the last sacraments with great fervor, and was rapt in ecstasy.  While pronouncing the holy name of Jesus, she departed this life on January 27, 1540, in the very hour that had been foretold to her.  She was laid out in the habit of the Third Order, holding in her hand the pilgrim’s staff she had used in the Holy Land. Thus she reposes in a side chapel of the parish church of St. Afa in Brescia. Pope Clement XIII beatified her, and on March 24, 1807, Pope Pius VII canonized her in St. Peter’s Church, Rome. 

  

from: The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed.
by Marion Habig, ofm., © 1959 Franciscan Herald Press
(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)

 

  

Prologue to the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule,  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). 

“My King is Bigger Than Your King!” – Mt 2:3-8


It is New Years Eve today.  I am anticipating the coming new year with anticipation and hope.  I recently realized hope is the only action verb I can think of that depends on itself to come true:  Hope depends on Hope!  Faith depends on hope as well.  It is what gets us through those trials, when faith is challenged.  To me, both hope and faith are graces from God with each working in the other.  And together, there is a synergistic effect greater than each separately.  Jesus showed us this on the cross: three nail equals four-giveness (Sorry for the pun but anyone who knows me, knows I love puns.)!    

King Herod with the Magi

Quote or Joke of the Day:

     

 Give God what’s right — not what’s left.

     

Today’s Meditation:

     

When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.  Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.  They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.'”  Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child.  When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”  (NAB Mt 2:3-8)

 

King Herod reminds me of the ‘typical’ politician, even today.  He was no different than the Sanhedrin and Sadducees later in Jesus’ life.  Nor is he any different from the politicians of today!  All have the need to be superior to all others.  All are filled with greed, narcissism, suspicion of friends and foes, and fear of losing power. 

Herod had no interest in paying Jesus homage.  He was tyrannical, and wanted to eliminate any threat to his power.  He had no idea where this new ‘messiah’ was, but he knew that even as an infant, Jesus’ presence was a threat from those following Him rather than the “King” of Judea: Herod. 

 Herod’s consultation with the chief priests and scribes have a remarkable similarity to an old  Jewish legend about the child Moses, in which the “sacred scribes” warn Pharaoh about the imminent birth of one who will deliver Israel from Egypt,  and the kings plan to destroy Moses (Matthew 2:11Psalm 72:10, 15, and Isaiah 60:6).

 Again, a lowly versus mighty theme is intertwined in this part of the story.  Bethlehem is a small, poor, and lazy village, compared to the metropolitan Jerusalem with its rich and affluent lifestyles.  I just think about all my family vacations, which were spent getting away from the big city, and trying to spend as much time in the rural lifestyle as was possible.   

It is interesting that as I try to go to the basics in  my lifestyle, I am also getting to the basics of my faith.  There is nothing fancy to my belief in God, and being Catholic.  I need only one basic element, and the rest just fall into place:    

All I want is to be in your presence my Lord, Jesus Christ.  With your grace, I want always to see you in this life of exile, and in future life of eternal paradise.  Amen.    

     

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

     

*****

     

Secular Franciscan Order Motto:

     

Pax et Bonum

(Peace and All Good)