Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 12 Admonition 12

Day 12 Admonition 12

Of Knowing The Spirit Of God.


Thus may the servant of God know if he has the Spirit of God: if when the Lord works some good through him, his body—since it is ever at variance with all that is good—is not therefore puffed up; but if he rather becomes viler in his own sight and if he esteems himself less than other men.


[1] Cod O and Is. read “If therefore his body is puffed up, he has not the Spirit of God. If, however, he becomes rather viler in his own sight, then he truly has the Spirit of God.”

Of Discernment.



King David prayed, and taken from the archaic though poetical Authorised version

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.”

Is this the knowing of the Spirit of God that we fear to lose it and to be bereft of consolation even in the Lord’s presence?

Francis speaks of the knowledge of the spirit of God as being something detected when we feel vile and worthless in our own eyes.

Is the Spirit of God something that ebbs and flows within us according to our self-esteem?

Then surely those who lie within the pit of depression have the spirit of God?

Cleanliness of heart, a fresh page in our book of life, each day is as a new beginning as when that blessed Spirit first lit upon our mind; First the joy of a swept out and dusted heart and then the knowledge of the Spirit of God, not in our worthlessness but because the Lord so pleased to send us his Spirit.


Robinson, P. 1906,The Writings of Saint Francis of Assisi [1906]   The Online Library of Liberty A Project Of Liberty Fund, Inc. 


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Deep regression

 It has been sometime since I recorded here, thoughts of our little brother Francis and of what he may have meant to his contemporaries - what he means today. I have been in regression, one might say since out of the depths of my deep depression no light has penetrated my darkness.

By this time I ought to be familiar with the tides that fall so far away from the shore that no human sign reaches them. Tides of my mind, have become my world and even the Saviour seems to have no help for me and so my Faith has failed.

Yet I have despaired and can no longer speak from the depth can no longer console me with possibilities of light-ending my darkness. And so I am.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Day 13. Admonition 10


Of Bodily Mortification.


There are many who if they commit sin or suffer wrong often blame their enemy or their neighbor. But this is not right, for everyone has their enemy in their own control.  This is their own body by which they sin. Therefore blessed is that servant who always holds captive the enemy thus given into their power.  Who wisely guards themselves from it.  As long as they act like this, then no other enemy, visible or invisible, can do them harm.


“Let us go to St Peter and St Paul, and let us pray them together that they may teach us and help us to possess the unbounded treasure of holy poverty, for it is a treasure so great and so divine, that we are not worthy to possess it in these vile bodies of ours.” 1


Francis was crazy about his body, not that he was handsome, rather the opposite though that was not why he constantly referred to it as ‘vile’: He pronounced it his enemy, the enemy of all who would follow Christ.


Francis teaches self-control in the literal sense, that we can control our deeds by keeping our body’s captive.

While it is true that it is in our bodies we enact sin, always our actions follow our intentions.


Thoughts then deeds. But can our mind be captive of our deeds and so is incapable of doing the good?


1( upon the occasion of brother Masseo’s elevation while at prayer: Ch. XIII of  The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi

By Brother Ugolino)




Tuesday, September 6, 2011




For there are many religious who, under pretext of seeing better things than those which their superiors command, look back and return to the vomit of their own will. These are homicides and by their bad example cause the loss of many souls.


2 Peter2 20


20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,”* and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”





The word homicides ought to read murderers since a homicide is the death of a man rather than the killer of one.


If we get above ourselves when it is thought best we do another thing than is wanted of us, and look back upon our former lives with nostalgia – we may become murderers of those smaller Christians who look to us for example.


This is something I seem to understand within me though cannot articulate it. There is a yearning in me to return to places where I was surefooted and knew my way, rather than continue in this way where I know not the way.


God calls us away from the comfortable roads we tread be they however rocky and rutted and towards another way that is full of mystery and never will be known even when traversed.


Though others look to us for guidance we need not fear to lead them astray for we are not blind guides; the Lord who is the light of the world goes before us. Even though we still do not see the way God guides us to lead them onward, nevertheless be not afraid for he goes with us.

*Proverbs 26:11

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.





Sunday, September 4, 2011

Slings and arrows

Of Perfect and imperfect obedience – 1


If, however, a superior command anything to a subject that is against his soul it is

permissible for him to disobey, but he must not leave him [the superior], and if in

consequence he suffer persecution from some, he should love them the more for

God’s sake.


For he who would rather suffer persecution than wish to be separated from his brethren, truly abides in perfect obedience because he lays down his life for his brothers.


For there are many religious who, under pretext of seeing better things than those which their superiors command, look back and return to the vomit of their own will. These are homicides and by their bad example cause the loss of many souls.


Whenever someone asks us to do anything that is against our own conscience we are permitted to disobey- in fact we must.


For those of us in religious life, though we do so (disobey) we ought to remain with our Superior, Guardian, brother or sister Shepherd; even when as the result of our disobedience we suffer persecution from our fellows in religion.


These slings and arrows are to move us to greater love for them, such a love like unto dying for them. Being like Christ for them.


If I have made proper sense of his writing, it appears here that it might be possible for a Subject to mistake the bridling of their own will for the pangs of conscience that would suggest to them that they do not enact the request.


Disobedience in this case is like returning to the vomit of our own self-will. Losing ground after we have come so far.

1 Firstly, because Francis wrote these words of admonishment for himself and his brothers I have decided not to sanitize his words by rendering them gender neutral – as I do sometimes.


What to make of his last sentence: “These are homicides and by their bad example cause the loss of many souls”?



Saturday, September 3, 2011

Gossamer threads or thorn bushes

Gossamer threads or thorn bushes



Of Perfect and imperfect Obedience


The Lord says in the Gospel: they “that do not renounce all that they possess cannot be” a “disciple” and “they that will save their life, shall lose it.”


A person is truly obedient when they leave all they possess, lose their body (and their soul), and wholly obeys their superior, doing whatever the superior requires - (provided the person know that what they do is good and not contrary to the superior’s will). 


If at times a person sees things which would be better, or more useful to, them than those which the superior asks of them, let them sacrifice their will to God.


Let them strive to fulfil the work requested by the superior. This is true and charitable obedience, which is pleasing to God and to one’s neighbour.


Obedience, thought to be the domain least visited by most children, can be a thorn bush seeming to ambush the adult in Religion.


I believe that St. Francis must have had difficulties with obedience himself; we read of his childhood escapades, his disobedience to his father. And I feel that his struggle went with him into religious life.


This is one of the longest Admonitions he wrote – and this is just the first half of it. The longest one, I think is the one he wrote on the Body of Christ.


(I have chosen to omit that one – for now, from the comments this month.)


Obedience has a hefty price tag that only the poor might pay. Forsaking everything one owns in order to follow Jesus is too high a price for most. Yet if we don’t, the Gospel tells us we will lose our lives! Surely we will not die for sake of thirty thousand dollars or more (and will we pass through the Needle Gate if we do forsake it?)


What is obedience?


In monetary terms: -For us today it is firstly: to set aside our income, once all our commitments are met and to dedicate it to the Lord’s use. To make beggars of ourselves is far too irresponsible a vocation for religious life today. We are to minister to the children of God and in today’s world that requires money, however tainted the ‘lucre’ may be.


Secondly, to do so with as perfect grace as we can muster – and this will grow as our relationship to our Saviour deepens.


Spiritually - Regarding our Superiors wills, more important than in any other age we must be careful that our words and deeds reflect honesty and goodness – that if our Superior asks anything of us that bruises their own conscience, in charity we must refrain from it and gently chastise our Superior concerning it.


The binding by gossamer threads of Obedience may be the most challenging binding there is for we can forget ourselves in our zeal to amount to something in our own eyes. Given patience we will find our hearts desires,( for higher education or greater skills or a posting to the more traditional Mission Fields) are become our Father’s will for us.

When we have proven that we can be obedient in the little things…







Thursday, September 1, 2011

When I have Love

Of The Virtues Putting Vices To Flight.

Where there is charity and wisdom there is neither fear nor ignorance

Where there is
patience and humility there is neither anger nor worry.

Where there is poverty and joy there is neither cupidity nor avarice.
Where there is quiet and meditation there is neither solicitude nor dissipation.

Where there is the fear of the Lord to guard the house the enemy cannot find a way to enter.

Where there is mercy and discretion there is neither superfluity nor hard-heartedness.

When I have love and know all things, I am neither ignorant nor afraid.
When I have patience and trust in the Lord as only the meek can trust I am neither angry nor careful of anything.
When I have not  a care in the world, I am joyful and want for nothing.
When I sit quietly amid the glory of the Lord I neither care too much nor indulge in anything.
When I sit in awe of my God, he guards me from all fear of the foe for my enemy cannot find any way to my soul.
For, when I have mercy and can be trusted in all things I have all that I need and my heart is not hardened against neither man nor beast.