Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rosaries for Fraternity and Order

Please Pray that Third Decade of the Rosary for our One Secular Franciscan Order and our Four Fraternities
(Originally emailed October 30, 2014)

Beloved National Family,

May the Lord give us Peace!

Before we leave October, the Holy Month of Our Lady of the Rosary, and we begin November, the Holy Month of Prayer for all of our beloved dead, please permit me this request.

Would you forward as best you can to every Secular Franciscan in the United States this request to pray the Third Decade of the Rosary for our One Secular Franciscan Order and our Four Fraternities to which each of us belongs?

With the Mysteries of Joy, the Third Decade is for the Nativity, the Birth of Jesus Christ into Poverty as one of us. This decade stresses our Franciscan emphasis on Christ and His Incarnation. Nothing makes sense without Christ. Our Franciscan Spirituality focuses on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Word made Flesh (see John 1:14). Since this Mystery is our beginning, so to speak, please pray this decade for our Local Fraternity where we all began our Franciscan Journey in Admission to Candidacy and then in Permanent Profession. My Local Fraternity is St. Thomas More that meets at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. My Minister is Ann Wester.

With the Mysteries of Light, the Third Decade is the Call to Conversion, "The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the Good News!" (Mark 1:15). Hello, is there a better mystery to pray for our Order? This decade stresses our Franciscan call to daily, ongoing conversion as we turn away from sin and strive to go faithfully from Life to Gospel and Gospel to Life (see Secular Franciscan Rules 4 and 7). We pray this decade for our Regional Fraternity where all of us should gain the Light that Fraternity is more than just the Local Fraternity! My Regional Fraternity is St. Margaret of Cortona. My Minister is Patrick Martin.

With the Mysteries of Sorrow, the Third Decade is for the Crowning of Thorns. This decade stresses our Franciscan emphasis on humility and even humiliation. As someone has said, "There is no humility without humiliation." Whatever crown we seek should only be the Crowns of Thorn because we should "never boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14). Let this decade be prayed for our National Fraternity because our great country is so large and has such diversity that service at this level is often a Crown of Thorns! My National Fraternity is the United States of America. My Vice Minister is Elaine Hedtke.

With the Mysteries of Glory, the Third Decade is the Coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Blessed Mother and the Apostles praying together at Pentecost. This decade stresses the truth that this is not ultimately our Order, but the Holy Spirit's with the Blessed Mother as our Advocate (see Celano, Second Life, 198) and all the saints as our Intercessors and Protectors. We offer this decade for all those holy ones we know least about, the International Fraternity covering the entire world and based in the Eternal City of Rome. My Minister is Encarnita (Incarnation in English) del Pozo from Spain. And after the General Chapter in November, my Minister is Tibor Kauser from Hungary.

Again, Please pray the Third Decade of your Daily Rosary for our One Secular Franciscan Order and our Four Fraternities. Please spread the Word. Please add your own meditations as God inspires you!

Peace, Love and Prayers,

Deacon Tom Bello OFS
National Minister
Secular Franciscan Order
United States of America

Pax et bonum

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Spiritual Maturity

By Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
Perhaps the greatest temptation we are faced with in the spiritual life is to pursue the things of God rather than God himself. After all, it is the things of God that often fill our senses with delight and consolation, whereas God himself always transcends our senses and their experience. This is why all the great spiritual masters remind us that we must welcome consolation, moments where we can “feel” God’s presence and times of great enthusiasm in our spiritual life. However, we cannot stop there nor can we rely on them to always be there. In short, we can never find our rest in anything but God, not even in his works.
In a mysterious way, the spiritual life really begins when we stop “feeling” God and when all the lights we relied on to get to him have been dimmed or even turned off. It is here where faith, hope and love, the theological virtues that ultimately lead us to union with God, become activated and we begin to really make “progress” in the spiritual life. St. Paul himself alludes to this when he reminds the Corinthians that they are to, “walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Ultimately, God wants our love to become mature. In the beginning of our journey God used our senses and his works to get our attention and draw us to him. But as we grow God wants us to be ready for a deeper experience of him, which means that we have to leave behind the “things” that once drew us to God so as to receive something greater, namely God himself.   
Pax et bonum

The Heart of God

From EWTN -

Devotion to the Sacred Heart, as we know it, began about the year 1672. On repeated occasions, Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, a Visitation nun, in France, and during these apparitions He explained to her the devotion to His Sacred Heart as He wanted people to practice it. he asked to be honored in the symbol of His Heart of flesh; he asked for acts of reparation, for frequent Communion, Communion on First Friday of the month, and the keeping of the Holy Hour.

     When the Catholic Church approved the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, she did not base her action only on the visions of Saint Margaret Mary. The Church approved the devotion on its own merits. There is only one Person in Jesus, and that Person was at the same time God and Man. His Heart, too, is Divine -- it is the Heart of God.

     There are two things that must always be found together in the devotion to the Sacred Heart: Christ's Heart of flesh and Christ's love for us...

     This love of Christ for us was the moving force of all he did and suffered for us -- in Nazareth, on the Cross, in giving Himself in the Blessed Sacrament, in His teaching and healing, in His praying and working. When we speak of the Sacred Heart, we mean Jesus showing us His Heart, Jesus all love for us and all lovable.

Jesus Christ is the incarnation of God's infinite love. The Human Nature which the Son of God took upon Himself was filled with love and kindness that has never found an equal. He is the perfect model of love of God and neighbor.

     Every day of His life was filled with repeated proofs of "Christ's love that surpasses all knowledge" (Eph 3:19). Jesus handed down for all time the fundamental feature of His character: "Take My yoke upon your shoulders and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of Heart" (Mt 11:29). He invited all, refusing none, surprising friends and rivals by His unconditional generosity.

      The meaning of love in the life of Jesus was especially evident in His sufferings. Out of love for His Father He willed to undergo the death of the Cross. "The world must know that I love the Father and do just as the Father has commanded Me" (Jn 14:31).

      The love that Jesus bore toward us also urged Him to undergo the death of the Cross. At the Last Supper, He said, "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends" (Jn 15:13)

      The Heart of Jesus never ceases to love us in heaven. He sanctifies us through the Sacraments. These are inexhaustible fountains of grace and holiness which have their source in the boundless ocean of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Pax et bonum