The Restoration of the Eremitorio de San Bartolomé Begins!

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As readers of the Franciscanum might remember from last summer, in Spain, in the environs of Pamplona, there exists a hermitage in which St. Francis stayed during his first trip to Spain and which later became one of the first foundations of the Order of Minors in the Iberian Peninsula. The Franciscanum published an English translation of a news article about the Hermitage last year.

Also, Last year we shared some photos of the Hermitage, in its degraded state. Among the first Charitable organizations to make a donation to the Spanish Non Profit which is collecting funds for the work was Save Old St. Mary’s Inc., of Massachusetts, USA, the charity which supports The Franciscan Archive and the apostolic works of Br. Alexis Bugnolo.

You too can make a donation to the Spanish non Profit, Asociación de Amigos del Eremitorio de San Bartolomé de Rocaforte, via their website:  http://eremitoriodesanbartolome.es/ The total cost of the project will be € 234000 approximately. Their site has more information about the Project (Proyecto) and through their contact form you can get in touch directly with Mrs. Soto.

We are happy to report, from our contact at Rocaforte, Mrs. Maria Soto, that work has begun on the restoration.  She has kindly shared with the Franciscanum some photos, which show the repair of the Aspe and Roof of the Church.

That work has begun so soon, it a marvel, considering how expensive historical repairs are in Europe, and that the group caring for the work is not the Order, but a Spanish non profit, which hopes to restore the place as a pilgrimage stop on the way of Santiago.

If you happen to visit Spain this August, be sure to make your way to Rocaforte, near Pamplona, and celebrate the Feast of Saint Bartholomew with them!

Here are the photos of the work in progress at Rocaforte:

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abside antes

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Fare Frate tradizionale!

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francisbirds_origins.fwNuova opportunità vocazionale francescana in Italia, per frati e vocazioni:

Se ha avuto il desiderio di seguire San Francesco come i suoi primi compagni facevano, adesso c’è una nuova opportunità di farlo, osservando la Regola Bollata di San Francesco secondo i decreti papali di un tempo:

L’osservanza antica della Regola Bollata di San Francesco d’Assisi è la forma di vita ispirata di Gesù Cristo, scritta dalle mani di San Francesco, approvata da Papa Onorio III il 26 Novembre 1223 e confermata da più che 20 papi.  Essa è la forma di vita originaria della vita Francescana che non si osserva in nessun altra comunità religiosa in tutto il mondo.

Questa vita è distinta dal non uso dei soldi, il non avere di proprietà sia personale sia in comune, il portare indosso del saio francescano sempre e ovunque ecc., della predica dei quattro nuovissimi: in somma, dalla osservanza di tutti i precetti della Regola Bollata di San Francesco senza mitigazioni. (leggi più qui  sull’invito di formare comunità).

Why study anything but Scholastic Theology?

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To understand how important it is to support The Scholasticum — the only institute in all the world and all the Church dedicated to reviving the study of Scholastic Theology — take a moment to hear what Pope Sixtus V said of them, in his Decretal Letters of March 14, 1588, entitled, Triumphantis Hierusalem, § 10.:

For with the divine gift of Him, Who alone gives the spirit of knowledge and wisdom and understanding, and Who furnishes His Church throughout the lifetimes of generations with new benefits, as is needed, and Who provides Her with new supports, there has been discovered by Our ancestors, most wise men, Scholastic Theology, which two Doctors glorious above all, the angelic Saint Thomas, and the seraphic Saint Bonaventure, most brilliant professors in this capacity, and first among those, who have been registered among the number of the Saints, with excellent genius, assiduous study, great labors and vigils have refined and decorated, and have passed on to those who would come after, optimally arranged and in many ways very clearly explained. And, indeed, such a salutary understanding and practice of this science, which spread abroad from the richest sources of divine letters, of the Roman Pontiffs, of holy Fathers and Councils, could certainly always bring the greatest assistance to the Church, either to understand and interpret, truly and sensibly, the Scriptures themselves, or to read through and explain the Fathers more securely and usefully, or to detect and refute the various errors and heresies. Truly in these last days, in which there has already arrived those dangerous times described by the Apostle, and the blasphemous, proud, (and) seductive men who advance to what is worse still, erring and sending others into error, this (kind of theology) is necessary to sensibly confirm the dogmas of the Catholic Faith and to confute heresies. And the state of affairs is such, that the judges are the very enemies themselves of the truth, by whom Scholastic Theology has become dreadful to the greatest degree, who scarcely understand, by that apt and inner-connected coherence of things and causes, in that order and arrangement, as by the training of soldiers in fighting, with those lucid definitions and distinctions, by that firmness of arguments and the sharpest disputations, light is distinguished from shadows, and the true from the false, and their mendacity, involuted with many deceptions and fallacies, like a vestment borne away, is brought to light and stripped bare. Therefore, inasmuch as these men undertake to fight and overturn this most fortified citadel of Scholastic Theology, so much more does it befit us to defend this unconquered bulwark of the Faith, both to conserve and keep safe the inheritance of Our fathers, and to embellish, as much as we can, the keenest defenders of the truth with merited honors.

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The Scholasticum

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Reblogged from www.studium-scholasticum.org

frontpage-image-289x300October 25, 2015:  An international association of scholars announced today its intention to work for the establishment of a new institute of medieval studies dedicated to reviving the study of Scholastic Theology and Philosophy. The institute will have as its goal the formation of a new generation of faithful Catholic theologians and philosophers according to the method of study employed by Sts. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure. (See our About page for more information), and will bear the name, “The Scholasticum”. Its website will be http://www.studium-scholasticum.org

The institute will offer courses to students physically present at its headquarters in Rome and by video-conferencing to those throughout the world.

To accomplish this goal, they are launching a fundraising campaign to meet the expenses of founding the institute, with the aim to open for the 2016/2017 academic year in Rome, Italy.  In addition, they are inviting scholars throughout the world who are interested in supporting the project to contact them (See Faculty page).

To help reach these goals, please consider making a generous donation via the Donation page, and let your friends and colleagues know about this endeavor in person and by electronic means.

Read more at their website:  www.studium-scholasticum.org

Torniamo a seguire le orme del nostro Serafico Padre

St Francis in the ancient habit of the Order, with the tonsure of a friar Deacon.

St Francis in the ancient habit of the Order, with the tonsure of a friar Deacon.

Sono passati ottocento anni da quando Dio Altissimo si è degnato di rivolgere il Suo sguardo al Suo servo Francesco per chiamarlo a una vita di semplicità evangelica. In un primo momento, tramite la visione miracolosa a San Damiano, durante i primi giorni dell’inverno del 1206; poi, durante la festa di San Mattia, il 24 febbraio 1209, quando San Francesco, che aveva l’abitudine di assistere ogni giorno al Santissimo Sacrificio della Messa nella chiesa della Vergine Regina degli Angeli alla Porziuncola, nella vallata sottostante al paese di Assisi, in Italia, udì con le sue orecchie il Vangelo dell’invio dei discepoli e rimase dopo la celebrazione per chiedere al sacerdote di spiegargliene il significato. Dopo aver compreso il significato di questo brano della Scrittura, il Serafico Padre esclamò con gioia: Questo è ciò che voglio, questo è ciò che anelo con tutto il mio cuore!

Che gran giorno fu quello, che giorno pieno di speranza fu per tutti i figli e le figlie del Poverello! Possiamo scorrere le innumerevoli pagine degli anni e tornare indietro a quel giorno meraviglioso e sorprendente in cui un uomo così umile, Francesco di Bernardone, che desiderava con tutta la sua anima e il suo corpo seguire il Signore Gesù, intraprese la vita evangelica in un modo straordinario e apostolico, mettendo in pratica le parole del Vangelo in modo letterale. Perché a partire da quel giorno San Francesco fece ciò che Nostro Signore comandò: non prese nulla con sé, né oro né argento, né una seconda tunica, né un bastone né una bisaccia, e cominciò una vita di completa, intera e perfetta dedizione al servizio di Gesù Cristo nella Sua Chiesa, predicando il pentimento ai peccatori e offrendo opere di carità ai lebbrosi e ai poveri.

Che giorni pieni di speranza sono quelli per tutti noi Francescani! Possiamo vedere che ciò che ha reso San Francesco così grande è qualcosa a cui non solo possiamo aspirare, ma che possiamo tutti ottenere, perché a San Francesco fu concesso dalla grazia di Dio, che Egli, nella Sua impenetrabile misericordia e generosità, si è degnato di concedere anche a noi, tramite la nostra vocazione, e verso cui e in cui possiamo camminare e progredire, se solo vogliamo seguire le orme del nostro Serafico Padre, San Francesco.

Umiliamoci, dunque, e camminiamo ancóra una volta con nostro Padre. Mostriamoci suoi figli ascoltando le sue parole e osservando la sua Regola. Imitiamo soprattutto la sua semplicità nella sua fede nel Vangelo, che era pari a quella di un bambino, come lo era il suo distacco da tutti gli interessi e le ambizioni mondani.

 

Continua a leggere

 

Fonte: https://exffi.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/torniamo-a-seguire-le-orme-del-nostro-serafico-padre/

What a true Franciscan Pope would say to America, today!

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Pope Saint Pius X, from his Encyclical, Communium Rerum, 1909 A. D.

…For you are aware, Venerable Brothers, and you have often lamented it with us, how evil are the days on which we have fallen, and how iniquitous the conditions that have been forced upon us… efforts of all kinds are being made to supplant the kingdom of God by a reign of license under the lying name of liberty. And to bring about by the rule of vices and lusts the triumph of the worst of all slaveries and bring the people headlong to their ruin-“for sin makes peoples wretched (Prov. xiv., 34)… thus the ministers of religion have been despised and mocked, and, wherever that was possible, reduced to powerlessness and inertia…distinguished laymen who openly profess their Catholic faith have been turned into ridicule, persecuted, kept in the background as belonging to an inferior and outcast class, until the coming of the day, which is being hastened by ever more iniquitous laws, when they are to be utterly ostracized from public affairs.

And the authors of this war, cunning and pitiless as it is, boast that they are waging it through love of liberty, civilization and progress, and, were you to believe them, through a spirit of patriotism-in this lie, too, resembling their father, who “was a murderer from the beginning,” and “when he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar” (Igan., viii., 44), and raging with hate insatiable against God and the human race. Brazen-faced men these, seeking to create confusion by their words and to lay snares for the ears of the simple. No, it is not patriotism, or zealous care for the people, or any other noble aim, or desire to promote good of any kind, that incites them to this bitter war, but blind hatred which feeds their mad plan to weaken the Church and exclude her from social life, which makes them proclaim her as dead, while they never cease to attack her-nay, after having despoiled her of all liberty, they do not hesitate in their brazen folly to taunt her with her powerlessness to do anything for the benefit of mankind or human government.

…But with no less severity and sorrow have we been obliged to denounce and to put down another species of war, intestine and domestic, and all the more disastrous the more hidden it is. Waged by unnatural children, nestling in the very bosom of the Church in order to rend it in silence, this war aims more directly at the very root and the soul of the Church. They are trying to corrupt the springs of Christian life and teaching, to scatter the sacred deposit of the faith, to overthrow the foundations of the divine constitution by their contempt for all authority, pontifical as well as episcopal, to put a new form on the Church, new laws, new principles, according to the tenets of monstrous systems ; in short, to deface all the beauty of the Spouse of Christ for the empty glamor of a new culture…against which the Apostle frequently puts ;us on our guard: “Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit, according to the traditions of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ.” ( Colos. ii., 8.)

By this figment of false philosophy and this shallow and fallacious erudition, joined with a most audacious system of criticism, some have been seduced and “become vain in their thoughts” (Rom. i., 21), “having rejected good conscience, they have made shipwreck concerning the faith” (1. Tim. i., 19) ; they are being tossed about miserably on the waves of doubt, knowing not themselves at what port they must land; others, wasting both time and study, lose themselves in the investigation of abstruse trifling, and thus grow estranged from the study of divine things and of the real springs of doctrine. This hotbed of error and perdition (which has come to be known commonly as modernism from its craving for unhealthy novelty), although denounced several times and unmasked by the very excesses of its adepts, continues to be a most grave and deep evil. It lurks like poison in the vitals of modern society, estranged as this is from God and His Church, and it is especially eating its way like a cancer among the young generations, which are naturally the most inexperienced and heedless. 

It is not the result of solid study and true knowledge, for there can be no real conflict between reason and faith. ( Concil. Vatic., Cons tit. Dei filius, capo 4·) But it is the result of intellectual pride and of the pestiferous atmosphere that prevails of ignorance or confused knowledge of the things of religion, united with the stupid presumption of speaking about and discussing them. And this deadly infection is further fomented by a spirit of incredulity and of rebellion against God, so that those who are seized by the blind frenzy for novelty consider that they are all sufficient for themselves, and that they are at liberty to throw off either openly or by subterfuge the entire yoke of divine authority, fashioning for themselves according to their own caprice a vague, naturalistic individual religiosity, borrowing the name and some semblance of Christianity, but with none of its life and truth. 

Now in all this it is not difficult to recognize one of the many forms of the eternal war waged against divine truth, and one that is all the more dangerous from the fact that its weapons are craftily concealed with a covering of fictitious piety, ingenuous candor and earnestness, in the hands of factious men who use them to reconcile things that are absolutely irreconcilable, viz., the extravagances of a fickle human science with divine faith, and the spirit of a frivolous world with the dignity and constancy of the Church.

But if you see all this, Venerable Brothers, and deplore it bitterly with us, you are not therefore cast down or without all hope. You know of the great conflicts that other times have brought upon the Christian people, very different though they were from our own days. We have but to turn again to the age in which Anselm lived, so full of difficulties as it appears in the annals of the Church. Then, indeed, was it necessary to fight for the altar and the home, for the sanctity of public law, for liberty, civilization, sound doctrine, of all of which the Church alone was the teacher and the defender among the nations, to curb the violence of Princes who arrogated to themselves the right of treading upon the most sacred liberties, to eradicate the vices, ignorance and uncouthness of the people, not yet entirely stripped of their old barbarism and often enough refractory to the educating influence of the Church, to rouse a part of the clergy who had grown lax or lawless in their conduct…

…To us, as you know well, Venerable Brothers, are especially addressed the words of the Lord: “Cry out, give yourself no rest, raise your voice like a trumpet” ( Isai. lviii., :t.), and all the more that “the Most High has made His voice heard” (Psalms xvii., 14), in the trembling nature and in tremendous calamities, “the voice of the Lord shaking the earth,” ringing in our ears a terrible warning and bringing home to us the hard lesson that all but the eternal is vanity, that “we have nowhere a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come” ( Hebr. xiii., 14), but also a voice not only of justice, but of mercy and of wholesome reminder to the erring nations. In the midst of these public calamities it behooves us to cry aloud and make known the great truths of the faith not only to the people, to the humble, the afflicted, but to the powerful and the rich, to them that decide and govern the policy of nations, to make known to all the great truths which history confirms by its great and disastrous lessons, such as that “sin makes the nations miserable” (Prov. xiv., 34), “that a most severe judgment shall be for them that bear rule” (Sap. vi., 7), with the admonition of Psalm ii.: “And now, ye Kings, understand; receive instruction, you that judge the earth. Serve the Lord with fear . . . embrace discipline lest at any time the Lord be angry, and you perish from the just way.” More bitter shall be the consequences of these threats when the vices of society are being multiplied, when the sin of rulers and of the people consists especially in the exclusion of God and in rebellion against the Church of Christ-that double social apostasy which is the deplorable fount of anarchy, corruption and endless misery for the individual and for society.

And since silence or indolence on our part, as unfortunately is not unfrequently the case among the good, would incriminate us, too, let every one of the sacred pastors take as said to himself for the defense of his flock, and bring home to others in due season, Anselm’s words to the mighty Prince of Flanders: “As you are my Lord and truly beloved by me in God, I pray, conjure, admonish and counsel you, as the guardian of your soul, not to believe that your lofty dignity is diminished if you love and defend the liberty of the Spouse of God and your Mother, the Church, not to think that you abase yourself when you exalt her, not to believe that you weaken yourself when you strengthen her. Look round you and see; the examples are before you ; consider the princes that attack and maltreat her. What do they gain by it, what do they attain? It is so clear that there is no need to say it.” (Epist., lib. IV., ep. 12.) …

But there is comfort for us ; the Lord liveth and “He will make all things work together unto good to them that love God.” (Rom. viii., 28.) Even from these evils He will bring good, and above all the obstacles devised by human perversity He will make more splendid the triumph of His work and of His Church. Such is the wonderful design of the Divine Wisdom and such “His unsearchable ways” (Rom., xi., 33) in the present order of Providence, “for my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor my ways your ways, saith the Lord” (Isai. lv., 8), that the Church of Christ is destined ever to renew in herself the life of her Divine Founder, who suffered so much, and in a manner to “fill up what is wanting of the sufferings of Christ.” (Coloss. i., 24.) Hence her condition as militant on earth divinely constrains her to live in the midst of contentions, troubles and difficulties, that thus “through many tribulations she may enter into the kingdom of God” (Act. xiv., 21) and at last be united with the Church triumphant in heaven…

They err greatly, therefore, who lose faith during the storm, wishing for themselves and the Church a permanent state of perfect tranquility, universal prosperity and practical, unanimous and uncontrasted recognition of her sacred authority. But the error is worse when men deceive themselves with the idea of gaining an ephemeral peace by cloaking the rights and interests of the Church, by sacrificing them to private interests, by minimizing them unjustly, by truckling to the world, “the whole of which is seated in wickedness” (I. loan. v., 19), on the pretext of reconciling the followers of novelties and bringing them back to the Church, as though any composition were possible between light and darkness, between Christ and Belial. This hallucination is as old as the world, but it is alwaysmodem and always present in the world so long as there are soldierswho are timid or treacherous and at the first onset ready to throwdown their arms or open negotiations with the enemy, who is the irreconcilable enemy of God and man.

It is for you, therefore, Venerable Brothers, whom Divine Providence has constituted to be the pastors and leaders of the Christian people, to resist with all your strength this most fatal tendency of modern society to lull itself in a shameful indolence while war is being waged against religion, seeking a cowardly neutrality made up of weak schemes and compromises to the injury of divine and human rights, to the oblivion of Christ’s clear sentence: “He that is not with Me is against Me.” (I. Cor. ix., 22.) …

This effort is necessary not only to oppose the assaults from without of those who fight openly against the liberty and the rights of the Church, but also in order to meet the dangers from within, arising from that second kind of war which we deplored above when we made mention of those misguided persons who are trying by their cunning systems to overthrow from the foundations the very institution and essence of the Church, to stain the purity of her doctrine and destroy her entire discipline. For even still there continues to circulate that poison which has been inoculated into many even among the clergy, and especially the young clergy, who have, as we have said, become infected by the pestilential atmosphere in their unbridled craving for novelty which is drawing them to the abyss and drowning them.

Then, again, by a deplorable aberration the very progress, good in itself, of positive science and material prosperity gives occasion and pretext for a display of intolerable arrogance towards divinely revealed truth on the part of many weak and intemperate minds. But these should rather remember the many mistakes and the frequent contradictions made by the followers of rash novelties in those questions of a speculative and practical order most vital for man, and realize that human pride is punished by never being able to be coherent with itself and by suffering shipwreck without ever sighting the port of truth. They are not able to profit by their own -experience to humble themselves and “to destroy the counsels and every height that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every understanding even unto the obedience of Christ.” (II. Cor. X., 4. s.)

Nay, their very arrogance has led them into the other extreme, and their philosophy, throwing doubt on everything in darkness, has involved them ; hence the present profession of agnosticism with other absurd doctrines springing from an infinite series of systems in discord with one another and with right reason; so that “they have become vain in their thoughts . . . for professing themselves to be wise they became fools.” (Rom. i., 21, 22.) But unfortunately their grandiloquent phrases and their promises of a new wisdom, fallen as it were from heaven, and of new methods of thought, have found favor with many young men, as those of the Manicheans found favor with Augustine, and have returned these aside, more or less unconsciously, from the right road. But concerning such pernicious masters of an insane knowledge, of their aims, their illusions, their erroneous and disastrous system, we have spoken at great length in our encyclical letter “Pascendi dominici gregis.”…

But if the erring continue obstinately to scatter the seeds of dissension and error, to waste the patrimony of the sacred doctrine of the Church, to attack discipline, to heap contempt on venerated customs, “to destroy which is a species of heresy” (S. Anselm., De nuptiis consanguineorum, cap. 1), in the phrase of St. Anselm, and to destroy the constitution of the Church in its very foundations, then all the more strictly must we watch, Venerable Brothers, and keep away from our flock, and especially from youth, which is the most tender part of it, so deadly a pest.

This grace we implore of God with incessant prayers, interposing the most powerful patronage of the August Mother of God and the intercession of the blessed citizens of the Church triumphant, St. Anselm especially, shining light of Christian wisdom, incorrupt guardian and valiant defender of all the sacred rights of the Church, to whom we would here, in conclusion, address the same words that our holy predecessor, Gregory VII., wrote to him during his lifetime: “Since the sweet odor of your good works has reached us, we return due thanks for them to God, and we embrace you heartily in the love of Christ, holding it for certain that by your example the Church of God has been greatly benefited, and that by your prayers and those of men like you she may even be liberated from the dangers that hang over her, with the mercy of Christ to succor us.” Hence we beg your fraternity to implore God assiduously to relieve the Church and us who govern it, albeit unworthily, from the pressing assaults of the heretics and lead these from their errors to the way of truth.” (In libro II., Epist. S. Anselmi, ep. 31.)

« Laudato Sie, mi Signore… » — The Encyclical which needs to be written

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Editor’s note: Since some Catholics may consider it distasteful or inappropriate to publicly criticize Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment, I have chosen not to publish anything regarding it.

However, by the grace of God, there has come into view the text of a rough draft of an Encyclical from the future, the reading of which is an occasion to reinvigorate me in the Catholic Faith which has come to us from the lips of the Eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ.  Having transcribed it, as best I can, I pass it on the text to the readers of this blog for their edification and consolation in the present hour of madness and confusion.

 

ON THE HONOR AND GLORY DUE TO THE DIVINE MAJESTY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY

AGAINST THE ERRORS OF ENVIRONMENTALISM

(Draft Copy — Nota bene: Not under embargo)

Encyclical Letter From a Future Catholic Pope, to all the Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Clergy, Religious and Laity in communion with this Apostolic See:

Peace and Apostolic Benediction!

INTRODUCTION

« Laudato sie, mi Signore cum tucte le Tue creature »:  with these words Saint Francis of Assisi — whom the Most High and Triune Lord, the Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost, raised up from a family of cloth merchants in a small Umbrian town, and sent to this Apostolic See for the restoration of the House  of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15, cf Eccles 4:17) — the poverello, sought to draw all Christians to the praise and glorification of the One True God, the Catholic God, apart from Whom there is no god in Heaven or Earth.

2. These words are drawn from his Canticle of Brother Sun, or Canticle of Creatures, and are in the native tongue of his home town, in the Umbrian dialect as it was spoken at the turn of the 13th century after the Birth of Christ, Jesus, Our Lord.

3. That Canticle begins with a praise of the One True God:

Altissimu, onnipotente bon Signore,
Tue so le laude, la gloria e l’honore et onne benedictione.

Ad Te solo, Altissimo, se konfano,
et nullu homo ène dignu te mentouare.

in which Saint Francis, after the likeness of a seraph of the empyrean Heaven, recalls to our minds the attributes which are peculiar and properly of God alone:  Most High, Omnipotent, Good Lord… words, which the Saint pronounces in the vocative case, to indicate, after the example of the Prophet Job, that when one speaks of Our Lord and Creator, it is most proper and right to do so, as one speaking to Him, not of Him.

4. For Our God is Most High, just as the Prophet Isaiah teaches:  O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, who sittest upon the cherubim, thou alone art the God of all the kingdoms of the earth, thou hast made heaven and earth. (Isaiah 37:16).

5. Our God is Omnipotent, that is, Almighty, as He Himself declared to the Prophet Moses:  I am the Almighty God: walk before me, and be perfect. (Genesis 17:1).

6. Our God is the Good Lord, as He Himself taught us, when He deflected the false praise offered to the human nature which He assumed in His Incarnation for our salvation, saying:  No one is good but God. (Mark 10:18).

7. God alone is good, because God alone in His very Being, which both is and exists from all eternity, is the sum and origin  of all perfection, and it is He Who is, and who was, and who is to come, just as He revealed to the Apostle Saint John:  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. (Apoc 1:18)

8. Because God is God, the only God, for this reason all men are bound to praise and glorify him, as the holy man of Assisi did in his Canticle of the Creatures after the manner of a Levite of old, as was written of King David, when he brought the Ark of the Lord into Jerusalem for the first time:  And he appointed Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, and to remember His works, and to glorify, and praise the Lord God of Israel. (1 Parapilomenon 16:4).

9.  This did the great Seraphim and Archangel Raphael command men, when in the guise of Azarias the son of the great Ananias (Tobias 5:18) he said to Tobit:  For when I was with you, I was there by the will of God: bless ye him, and sing praises to him. (Tobias 12:18).

10. But all the more so, are Christians bound to praise Him, they who have been saved through the laver of regeneration (Titus 3:5) by the merits of the blood of Christ Jesus, the Eternal Son of God, and have been transferred from the kingdom of this darkness, to the Kingdom of His Everlasting Light (cf. Colossians 1:13), and this after the example of the Prophet Moses and the Jews of old, who upon their rescue in the sea, when they sung the Canticle of the Lord, exclaimed: The Lord is my strength and my praise, and he is become salvation to me: he is my God and I will glorify him: the God of my father, and I will exalt him. (Exodus 15:2).

PART I

Our God and Savior is the Lord of Heaven and Earth

1. At the very heart of the Christian religion, which originated and endures and shall ever purdure only in the Catholic Church, lies the confession of a most sublime truth:  that Our God and Savior is the Lord of Heaven and Earth, that is, that He who had created us and all things at the beginning of time, who is named by the Name, “Yahweh, Sabbaoth!” (2 Samuel 7:27), is the same God, who in His incarnation as man, offered Himself up as a living holocaust for the expiation of sin upon the Cross (cf. Hebrews 9:14), during the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, in proconsulship of Pontius Pilate (cf. Luke 3:1), on the mount of Golgotha (cf. Matthew 27:33; Mark 15:22; John 19:17).

2. This is what the people of God of old hoped and prayed for, as the Prophet Baruch witnesses:  For my hope is in the Eternal that he will save you: and joy is come upon me from the Holy One, because of the mercy which shall come to you from our everlasting Savior. (Baruch 4:22)

3. For the Creator of All, Who at the beginning of time, having created all things, pronounced them, “good” (Genesis ), in the fullness of time sent His Son to save sinners, and commissioned men to preach the Gospel of salvation, as is written of His preferential or antecedent will for mankind:  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4).

OUR DIVINE AND APOSTOLIC CHARGE MOVE US

4. For this reason, on account of the sublime office which We have received from the Hands of the Living God, when in the person of Saint Peter, he received from Christ Jesus Our Lord, the duty and office of confirming His flock in the truth of His teaching (Matthew 16:18), We cannot be silent at the grave errors of Our own day which have overwhelmed the entire human race with monstrous falsehoods which denigrate and dishonor the Divine and Eternal Majesty of God Our Creator and threaten and do lessen the glory which He is due from every creature, on account of the Goodness and Wisdom with Which He worked in the creation and ordering of the entire universe of things.

THE DUTY OF THIS APOSTOLIC SEE TO AVOID THE PROFANATION AND SACRILEGE OF ITS SACRED MINISTRY

5. For Our Most High Lord entrusted the office of teaching to Saint Peter so that the one, sole and unique Church which He founded in Himself upon the profession of Saint Peter’s faith, might be the bulwark and pillar of the truth for all His own, and indeed for all mankind, until the end of time, when He comes is glory to judge the living and the dead, meeting out eternal and glorious rewards for those who have remained faithful to Him, and punishing the wicked and godless with eternal damnation in the fire pits of Gehenna.

6. For this reason, if We as a private person were to use our august office to teach anything which is merely naturally good, We would not be exempt from the demerit of some culpability for having profaned the sacred duty of Our office.  This sin would be all the greater in Us and sacriligeous, if We used the authority of Our office — which is not of man’s contrivance, but which originates immediately from the largess of the Creator and Savior of men — to promote error or to foster in souls a turning away of minds and hearts and actions from the goal of the salvation offered by the Redeemer of mankind:  life on high with Christ Jesus, just as St. Paul wrote:  But our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will reform the body of our lowness, made like to the body of his glory, according to the operation whereby also he is able to subdue all things unto himself. (cf. Philippians 3:20).

7. For this reason, the Apostle of the Gentiles warned all who would follow him in the Apostolic ministry with these stern words:  Be ye followers of me, brethren, and observe them who walk so as you have our model. For many walk, of whom I have told you often (and now tell you weeping), that they are enemies of the cross of Christ; Whose end is destruction; whose God is their belly; and whose glory is in their shame; who mind earthly things. (Philippians 3:17-19)

8. This sinful obsession with earthly things is, as the glorious Doctor of the Church, the Seraphic Saint Bonaventure frequently notes, the necessary consequent of a human spirit bent down to face earthly things by the weight of his own sins and vices and concupiscences.

9. It should, therefore, not be a matter of dispute among all who know their faith, that godless and carnal men have not the liberty of mind to be but the cause of error and darkness, since their minds are not intent on things above in that Heaven of heavens, in which the God who is Light Himself, dwells in inaccessible light.

10. For this reason, God in His Wisdom and Providence chose to warn us beforehand against those who would clothe themselves in the raiment of Angels and belch forth monstrous errors to deceive the faithful, after the manner of the False Prophet of which the beloved Apostle spoke in the Book of the Apocalypse:

And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom became dark, and they gnawed their tongues for pain: And they blasphemed the God of heaven, because of their pains and wounds, and did not penance for their works. And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon that great river Euphrates; and dried up the water thereof, that a way might be prepared for the kings from the rising of the sun. And I saw from the mouth of the dragon, and from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are the spirits of devils working signs, and they go forth unto the kings of the whole earth, to gather them to battle against the great day of the Almighty God.

DIVINE PROVIDENCE CONDEMNED  BEFORE AND AFTER THE ENCYCLICAL LETTER OF MY PREDECESSOR

11. The Apostle of St. John warned us of these things long ago, just as Divine Providence did in our own days, when according to the liturgical books for the liturgy in the vernacular, on the very day great scandal was to be given to the world, this reading from Saint Paul was proclaimed:

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema. (Galatians 1:8-9)

12. And on the very day which followed, again, the passage of Our Lord’s admonition, which is aptly accommodated as a pastoral exhortation to the successors of Saint Peter:

Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also. (Matthew 6: 19-21)

13. For these reasons and motives, and after the example of the Seraphic Saint Francis, who grieved most of all from the many scandals which were given by corrupt clergy and religious, We consider it necessary to remove a grave scandal which has shaken the whole world: namely, that which emanated from the once unsullied throne of this Apostolic See. I speak of the encyclical letter, Laudato Si’ of my predecessor, Francis, of infelicitous memory, who added to the presumption of taking as his name, that of the Saint whom the Lord Jesus, in a vision given to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, declared was the one most conform to His Sacred Heart, by promoting in an official papal document, into which he mixed many half-truths, the falsehood of environmentalism unto the deception of the entire Catholic world.

My Predecessor did not intend to exercise the Papal Magisterium when he wrote

14. To remove all doubt and scruple of conscience, We shall begin with the historical fact, that as is written in the official text of the Encyclical, Laudato Si, our predecessor never intended, when he prepared and wrote, to exercise the office of the magisterium which Christ entrusted to this Apostolic See. This is evident both in the circumstances of its release, which was entrusted to non-Catholics, and the text of the document itself in paragraph n. 15, wherein the author expresses his intention to engage in a pastoral approach and the opening of dialogue.  Nor is the affirmation, therein, that the encyclical enters into the social teaching of the Church, in any way definitive or obliging, since, according to the norm of canon law, there is no obligation except regarding that which is imposed.  This is further evidenced if we examine the presuppositions and contents of the encyclical letter, which deviate so clearly from the 5 necessary conditions for infallible teaching, established by the infallible and ecumenical First Council of the Lateran.  Finally, it should be obvious to sane and rational men, that the expression of opinion or the relation of facts is not teaching; rather the formal exercise of any magisterium consists in the declarative pronouncement of truths which must be accepted as true by all men in all times.  While this will become more clear, in what We have yet to say, yet, for the sake of all consciences, We affirm and declare and define that the entire totality of the Encyclical and its every part are to be considered merely as the personal doctrine of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and not of this Apostolic See.

PART II

God alone is the Lord of Heaven and Earth

1. First among the truths which must be professed against the errors of communism, socialism and environmentalism, is that the One True God is the Lord of Heaven and Earth.  This is no mere customary title ascribed to God.  Nay, as the Apostle of the Gentiles, the glorious Saint Paul of Tarsus preached in the Areopagus of Athens:  God, who made the world, and all things therein; He, being Lord of Heaven and Earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands (Acts 17:24).

2. This lordship of God depends upon the twofold dignity of God:  He is the first and only Eternal one, and He is the creator of all which comes after Him.  This lordship is not just a title of dignity, however, but a name of power which signifies to men that He is Almighty over everything in Heaven and Earth to such an extent and degree that no one can compare to Him (cf. Ps. 86:8, 40:5) in the power which He can display over them, the Wisdom with which He made and arranged them, and the Providence and Goodness with which He has designed and fashioned and now doth regulate  and govern them.

3. From these most profound theological truths regarding God, our Creator and Lord, we must recognize and profess that it is not man who is the lord and master of creation, but God; that it is not man who is first and foremost responsible for the heavens and the Earth and all these contain, but God; that is is not man who must mind the order and regulation of the environment, but God.  For without God none of these things would be, and they are sustained in continual being and right order by His Most Eminent Power and His Most Intimate Presence and His most Universal Omnipotence, in this way manifesting the sublime Dignity of the Father, the humble service of the Son, and the continual governing movement of the Holy Ghost.

Fundamental Presuppositions of Environmentalism impugn the Majesty and Wisdom of God, our Creator

4. For this reason, it is theologically an effrontery to God to say or concede that the environment of this planet Earth depends upon mankind.  And since the same Lord and Creator of Heaven and Earth, is the One who created man, it is similarly a blasphemy and indignity to man’s Lord and God, to say or imply that the nature or existence or natural actions of man can or are in disharmony with the divine order of the cosmos or the natural proper functioning of the organic biosphere of the planet Earth.

5. God made all things for man, but man for Himself, so that even in his being and acting man glorifies His Creator, that is, manifests the wondrous wisdom and providence and knowledge which His Creator exercises in making him, in designing him, in empowering him with intellect and will and in giving him a body and planet which is fit for everything which is necessary for human life (Genesis 1:29-30).

6. Therefore, it is false and heretical to say that the dominion over all things, which God has created, does not belong ontologically and causally and by right to the Lord Creator of Heaven and Earth.  It is also false and heretical to say that God cannot or ought not concede a relative, subordinate dominion over creatures to man, nay it contradicts Sacred Scripture. (Genesis 1:28).

7. Finally, it is false and heretical to say or imply that man does not have the divine right to exercise this rule over all creatures, or that in doing so he violates the Divine, moral or natural laws which God established for and in the universe.

Environmentalism contradicts Science on many points

8. Therefore, it is sheer popular superstition to hold, therefore, that anything natural which man dispossesses from his ownership can be the cause of the pollution or harm to the environment.  This is so, because, since God made all things to serve mankind, it is impossible that He did not make and fashion a world in which natural things acting naturally naturally take care of both man and the things he uses and has used or discarded.

9. This is confirmed by the many findings of modern empirical sciences such as physics, chemistry and biology, which confirm, that for ever action there is a reaction, that all things left to themselves tend to entropy, and that there is a hierarchy of innumerable species of life, subordinated to man, which live and thrive and have their being with him on this planet, in such wise as to use what is taken and discarded by others to foster their own growth and development.

10.  For this reason, We by Our Apostolic Authority, following closely in the footsteps of Saint Peter, to whom it was revealed by an Angel from Heaven, that things are not to be disdained, which God the Son had cleansed by His Passion (Acts 10:9-16), so We recognize and declare, that since God at the beginning had both made all things and declared them together with man, “very good” (Genesis 1:30, and throughout), that it is a mortal sin of blasphemy to call them or their use evil, and thus, likewise, a grave error and sin, to say that their non-use or discarding, is of itself, or by itself, or according to its genus a sin.

Environmentalism detaches beauty from truth and goodness

11. Now just as the divine order of things, in which God has established the universe, manifest the Wisdom and Power of God, so does it manifest the Beauty and Providence of God.   For though the biological history of this Planet differs from age to age, yet nothing disturbs the wonderful, fruitful and abundant order in which God rules and commands the heavens at the service of the Earth, the Poverello of Assisi so truly sings:  May Thou be praised, my Lord, for brother wind, and for the air and the cloudy and the clear weather and every weather (Dan 3:64-65) through which to all Thy creatures Thou gives sustenance (cf. Ps. 103:13-14) [Cant 6].

12. For this reason, it is a grave perversion of right aestetics to say that anything in the environment which is caused by man or by natural forces is ugly, undue, or improper. This is God’s very own teaching, as it was revealed to the Prophet Isaiah himself:  For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens, God himself that formed the earth, and made it, the very maker thereof: he did not create it in vain: he formed it to be inhabited. I am the Lord, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:18)

13. To say or imply, therefore, that man’s activities in general make this world ugly or pollute it is false, erroneous and implicitly heretical, inasmuch it impugns the Divine Goodness, Providence and Wisdom of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

14. The falsehoods and lies of environmentalism are derived from several errors, chief of which is materialism.  For the error of material holds that there is nothing spiritual and hence denies the existence of God and spiritual causes.  Combined with the darkness of unbridled pride of humanism, which would exalt man to the level of God Himself, it leads to the error that what is not in harmony with human will to be ugly and unjust.  And inasmuch as the proud man is the avaricious man, it says that which violates the aesthetics of man in his domination of creation is immoral and must be corrected.

15. Another chief cause of environmentalism is the error of naturalism, which holds that man is disparate and inharmonious with the rest of creation, which it terms the “natural world”: a name for creation which is false, since it presupposes that man is not part of creation, or that his handiwork is unnatural or in conflict with the rest of creation and its purpose.

15.  These errors combine to form a noxious poison in the minds of men.  To use an example:  Environmentalists see a landscape in which remnants of things made of paper or plastic or metal are strewn about by the wind, and they see pollution which must be corrected by the removal of all these things.  Yet, what they do not see is the forces of creation doing what they were made to do, in the manner in which they do it, of returning these materials to their constituent parts and elements and compounds by a process so gradual that it often escapes the observation of flighty men.  To say that the manner in which created things treat of created thins is ugly, unnatural, or wrong is thus scientifically as false as theologically it is erroneous and heretical.

16. For this reason, it is clear that much of what is called “pollution” is so named out of a aesthetic which has long been divorced from a Christian notion of creation and a Catholic appreciation of the divine order of things in the cosmos; which error is in turn founded upon an exaggerated notion of a man-centered materialism.

 17.  This is especially and primarily true in regard to those things used and manufactured by man, which are composed of substances and compounds and elements which occur naturally in creation.  For just as God created, let us say, the metal iron, and just as in some parts of the world the concentration of iron in the soil or water, naturally occurring, is too high to allow that water or soil to be readily used by men, so it would be false and erroneous to say that man, in abandoning iron in any place of this Planet is of itself, by itself, harmful to nature or contrary to the divine order of creation.  For if that were true, then God would Himself appear to be guilty of polluting the land and water, which He made, when He ordered the arrangement and disposition of things upon the Earth.

PART III

It is the Duty of Every Man to Recognize and Acknowledge the Sovereign Majesty of the Lord of Heaven and Earth

1. It follows from what We have said and expounded, that each and every man, woman, and child, is gravely bound to recognize and acknowledge the Sovereignty and Majesty of the Lord of Heaven and Earth, His Creator and Savior.  This is not only a grave obligation founded upon the rights of God but also a grave obligation founded upon the dependence of man, individually and as a society, upon Him and the divine order according to which He has arranged the universe, which He has created and given mankind to guard and keep and use, for His honor and glory and his own salvation.

2. This duty of recognition is first and foremost, only and truly fulfilled in the acceptance and profession of the Catholic Faith, which is the One and Only True Religion revealed by the Eternal God to men, as the sole means of salvation for mankind.  Without such a profession of faith and expression of fidelity in faithful adherence, man, even as a creature, is distanced from His Lord and Creator.

3. This distancing of mankind and the consequent disorder which arises in himself and in his relation to the university of things has no other cause but the sin of our father Adam, who having been entrusted with the headship of the human race and the rule of all creation under God, rebelled against His Lord and Creator by eating of the fruit of the Tree which he had been forbidden by God to eat (Genesis 2).

4. On account of this mortal sin, Adam lost many and tremendous divine gifts, for himself and for all his descendants.  Chief of these was the grace of God, without which man cannot clearly, easily or with facility, know God and obey His precepts.

5.  For this reason, just as there is no right and sane care for things of lesser significance, without dutiful fulfillment of things of greater import; and just as those who are faithful in greater things, can easily be faithful in lesser ones:  so it is vain and absurd for mankind to take care, individually or as a society, to guard the divine order of things in the created universe, if he neglects his own proper subordination and zealous service of the Divine Majesty of His Creator.

6. Indeed, only when mankind comes universally and faithfully to profess the Faith of Christ, that is the Catholic Religion, is any collective and effective care of the created things entrusted to mankind, by man as a race possible.  For the divine order of things, having God as their origin and cause, cannot be understood, let alone rightly perceived without faith in the Living God, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, as He Himself has revealed Himself in Christ Jesus Our Lord.

7. Therefore, let all mankind hasten to the Ark of Salvation, outside of which no man can be saved or have hope of salvation, and seek the cleansing waters of baptism in Christ Jesus, which have their full effect of grace and sanctification only in the Catholic Church, where there alone is a right profession of authentic faith, a firm and stable adherence to the hope which saves, and the working of the charity which both honors and glorifies God in the service of the needy.

Editor’s note: At this point, I cannot perceive clearly the text of the remaining pages, so I rush to publish what I have transcribed so far…if I succeed in discerning the contents of the rest of the draft copy, I will publish it in the coming days. — I only ask the reader to consider the contents, and not to shoot the transcriber!

The Serra Option

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1293866Friar Junípero Serra Ferrer, O. Min. (November 24, 1713 – August 28, 1784)

The Benedict Option

Recently there has been talk in conservative political circles that Christians need to make a radical response to the de-Christianization of western civilization.  This response, in the words of some, is called the “Benedict Option”.  You can read more about it here.

The Benedict option consists in a withdrawal from secular society and the founding of Catholic enclaves in the countryside to preserve Christian civilization.

Proposed in such terms, the example of the great Saint Benedict of Nursia, who abandoned the city of Rome to found a monastery (eventually at Monte Cassino) serves as a template of sorts.

But preservation — of itself a good a noble cause — can ever only be 1 aspect of Christian society.  This is because the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, and as such, it is a living organism, which not only preserves Itself true to its Founder, but grows and thrives.

Thus, for Catholics merely to withdraw from society, and take flight in the countryside, would not be faithful to their mission as adopted sons of God, since in doing such, they would only be faithful in part, and not in whole.

Friar Junípero Serra Ferrer

imagesBl. Junipero Serra was a Franciscan priest of the Alcantarine Observance.  On account of the work he did in founding 21 mission-stations in California, he is universally consider the founder of the cities of that land, which is now a state of the United States of America.

Here is a brief synopsis of his life, from the official site for his cause for canonization:

At his beatification on September 25, 1988, Fray Junipero Serra, O.F.M., S.T.D. (1713-1784), was declared by His Holiness Pope John Paul II to be a “shining example of Christian Virtue and the Missionary Spirit.” The new Blessed is truly an international luminary.

He distinguished himself as an exemplary Franciscan priest, respected in academic circles, and acclaimed in the pulpit by the age of thirty-five. During the next two decades, he labored as an apostolic missionary throughout central Mexico, notably in the Sierra Gorda among the Pame Indians. During the final fifteen years of his life, he emerged as a pioneer and the Apostle of California. Dramatically he demonstrated the natural and supernatural branch of his missionary motto: “Always go forward – never turn back!”

On his deathbed at Mission Carmel, Blessed Junipero Serra promised that if God granted him “eternal happiness” he would pray for “all dwellers in the missions, and for the conversion of so many whom I leave unconverted.” Armed with the knowledge that he promised to continue his apostolate from Heaven, and knowing that he is indeed there as affirmed by his beatification, we are guaranteed that Blessed Junipero is truly a heroic friend and ally, able to intercede for us before God himself. As such, he is a channel of divine grace and a source of inspiration and solace.

Due to the fact that this Saint who worked miracles in life and after death made a specific promise to work for the conversion of souls after death, he is a fitting patron for Catholics of today, who are facing a complete collapse of western civilization’s Christian and Christ-centered culture.

The Serra Option

junc3adperoWalking in the footsteps of St Francis as Bl. Junipero did, who kept the ancient observance of the Rule of St. Francis, I consider it necessary to state that there is a better way and solution, than the Benedict option, to the current crises in the West.  And this solution I take from the example of his holy life.

In part, I agree that it can be good and very useful for Catholics to separate from the godless world in which they find themselves.  While spiritually this can be done anywhere, but it is much more facile to do this in an enclave dedicated to the Catholic faith and Christian culture.  Such an enclave would be intrinsically fertile for all aspects of Catholic society, for Catholic Families, the Church, for vocations and their culture expression.

But it is necessary to add the living aspect, that is one which is aimed at restoring the Social Reign of Jesus Christ, not only through families and the Church, or cultural endeavors, which would regard education and public profession of the Catholic Faith, or only in regard to political undertakings, but through that which is the life-blood of societies: economic activity.

As Bl. Serra gathered the natives of California together and taught them the faith and instructed them in professions by which they could support themselves and their families, so if Catholics are to restore the Social Reign of Jesus Christ, they would be better off establishing Catholic enclaves where they could do all these things in conjunction with an effort to promote their own economic activities, necessary to sustain all these good works.

Baptizing the Italian Republic

What Bl. Serra did was to baptize the Italian City-State and direct it towards the establishment of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth.  There was in his missions the intention of establishing in general terms the norms of public and societal life according to the teachings of the Gospel and the Catholic religion, with the ancient Roman Rite at the center of the Mission’s worship of the Triune God.

Similarly, in the Serra Option, Catholics would gather together in a religious institution, which would establish minimums to be observed as a requirement of membership, but leave enough freedom for Catholics of all states of life to join, clergy, religious, laity (married or not), so long as they keep the requirements.  They would band together and found new villages and towns, where they lived in close proximity —after the example of their forebears in Europe — in a urban plan which promoted the public expression of the Catholic Faith, an education system which raised all the Children and formed all the youth in the example of the Catholic Saints, and which prepared and enabled the adults to fully engage in free economic activity in a manner which was mutually beneficial, free-market based, and aimed at the mutual self-protection and promotion of the city-state.

This is what I call the Serra Option.  And I believe with the vivacity and power of grace and economics, such an option will be more successful in the long run.

Letter to a prospective vocation of the Ancient Observance

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St Francis in the ancient habit of the Order, with the tonsure of a friar Deacon.

St Francis in the ancient habit of the Order, with the tonsure of a friar Deacon.

First, there is not much advice that can be given by email for a vocation, so rely on what your spiritual director tells you, after reading and praying over what I am about to say.

As for the form of life which I live, it is the ancient observance of the Rule of St. Francis as the Popes through history have said it was his intention to be observed. This observance existed from the beginning of the order, was temporarily suppressed by Pope John XXI in the 13th century, but revived by some brothers a few decades later, was promoted by the Saints of the Reform, such as St. Bernardine of Sienna, St. John of the March, St. John Capistrano, etc., and existed in the OFMs until 1953 when they altered their constitutions and abandoned it as a formal requirement of their community.

Presently there are no other friars of this observance in the world, and though I have searched for 18 years have not found any, mostly because other friars are either unaware of the ancient Papal documents or are disposed to think that one must conform to the world more than observe the Rule, for the sake of the apostolate they say.

So every couple of years I put a call out for vocations, and that is how I came to write this present letter.

The Ancient Observance requires that a man put unlimited trust in the truth of Scripture and especially in all the words and teachings and counsels of Our Most High Lord Jesus Christ. This requires that a vocation intend to love God not only above all things, but before and more than all things; and that he abandon entirely his own prudence and do what the Apostles did after Cana, “Do whatever He tells you”, abandoning everything and living in obedience, chastity and without property and money either personally or in community.

Such a life is for souls who understand that simplicity in matters of faith and hope and charity is superior to the calculating prudence of men. And being simple souls trusting in the words of God the Truth, they find the sacrifices of this life a joy, since they know that in it they spiritually walk with Christ just as the Apostles did with Him on earth, and that He walks with them by providence and grace.

We live in a very dark, pragmatic, materialistic world shaped by the ideologies of modernism and sentimentalism. This life is therefore not for all vocations and most cannot understand it. And of those who can, unless they pray and desire it greatly, indeed more greatly than any thing, they cannot grasp it or embrace it.

So, that is what it takes to discern such a vocation. And with such a vocation discerned, nothing else matters at all. So if there is such a vocation, I say, let him contact me, and I will found a community and teach him this ancient observance.

And the best way he can be prepared is simply to consider this, that since Our Lord even in His human mind knew the actual future of the world until the end of time, for whomsoever intends to put into practice whatever He counseled, such as, “Take with you neither gold nor silver, nor two cloaks etc.” He is obliged by grace to provide for until the end of time, just as He said, “There is NO ONE who has forsaken father, mother, brother, sister, home or property, who WILL NOT receive a 100 times as many in this world, and in the world to come, life ever lasting”.