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Rule of St. Francis of Assisi
Monasteries and Convents
(Intermediate Rite Monastic life)
Fundamental life style of living a religious life within the CCFM Community
I. In the name of the Lord, the life of the lesser brothers begins.
The rule and life of the lesser brothers is this: To observe the holy gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, living in obedience without anything of our own, and in chastity. Brothers and Sisters of the Rule of St. Francis promises obedience and reverence to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Presiding Bishop and his canonically elected successors, of the CCFM and the Celtic Rite; and the rest of the brothers and sisters are obliged to obey the Rule’s of St. Francis as an official part of the Sacred Order of St. Brendan the Navigator Brotherhood and the Sacred Order of St. Scholastica Sisterhood of the CCFM and Celtic Rite of Churches and Ministries.
II. Concerning those who wish to adopt this life.
If someone should wish to adopt this life and should come to our brothers or sisters, they must send them to their provincial ministers to whom alone is granted the right to receive brothers and sisters. The ministers should examine them carefully regarding the Catholic and or Protestant faith and sacraments of the churches.
If they believe all these things, wishing to confess them faithfully and observe them diligently until the end; and if they have no husband or wife, or their husband or wife have entered a monastery or convent, or permission has been given to them by authority of their bishop, a vow of chastity having been taken and their husband or wife being of such an age as to avoid suspicion; then let them go, sell all they have, and attempt to give it to the poor.
If they cannot do so, their good intention will suffice. Let the brothers or sisters and their ministers beware of becoming concerned about the new brothers' temporal possessions, for they should freely dispose of their belongings as God inspires them.
If they ask advice, the ministers may refer them to some God-fearing brothers or sisters through whose counsel their possessions may be distributed to the poor. Later, let them concede clothing of probation to the new brothers: Two tunics with hoods, belt and trousers, and a chaperon reaching down to the belt, unless the minister decides according to God that something else should be done.
When the year of probation is over, let them be received into obedience, promising to observe this life and rule always; and, according to the command of the lord and presiding bishop, it will be absolutely forbidden to them to leave the order, for according to the holy gospel "no one who puts his hand to the plow and then looks back, is fit for the kingdom of God." And let those who have promised obedience take one tunic with a hood, and let those who wish it have another without a hood. And those who must, may wear shoes. All the brothers are to wear inexpensive clothing, and they can use sackcloth and other material to mend it with God's blessing.
III. Concerning the divine office and fasting; and how the brothers and sisters ought to travel through the world.
Clerics are to perform the divine office according to the Celtic Rite of the CCFM Churches, except for the Psalter, and they can have breviaries for that purpose.
Laypersons are to say twenty-four "Our Fathers" at matins; five at lauds; seven each at prime, terce, sext and none; twelve at vespers; and seven at compline. They should also pray for the dead. They should fast (adhering to bread and water only) from the feast of all saints until Christmas.
Those who voluntarily fast at Quadragessima, those forty days after Epiphany which the Lord consecrated with his own holy fasting, will themselves be blessed by the Lord; yet they are not required to do so if they do not want to. They must fast during Lent, but they are not required to do so at other times except on Fridays.
In case of obvious necessity, however, they are excused from bodily fasting.
We counsel, admonish and beg my brothers that, when they travel about the world, they should not be quarrelsome, dispute with words, or criticize others, but rather should be gentle, peaceful and unassuming, courteous and humble, speaking respectfully to all as is fitting.
Whatever house they enter, they are first to say, "Peace to this house" (Lk. 10:5). According to the holy gospel they can eat whatever food is set before them.
IV. That the brothers should not accept money.
We strictly forbid the brothers to receive money in any form either directly or through an intermediary. Nevertheless, the ministers and custodians can work through spiritual friends to care for the sick and clothe the brothers, according to place, season and climate, as necessity may seem to demand. This must be done, however, in such a way that they do not receive money personally but as a community of Brothers and or Sisters.
V. On their manner of working.
Those brothers and or sisters whom the Lord favors with the gift of working should do so faithfully and devotedly, so that idleness, the enemy of the soul, is excluded yet the spirit of holy prayer and devotion, which all other temporal things should serve, is not extinguished. As payment for their labor let them receive that which is necessary for themselves and their brothers, but not money. Let them receive it humbly as befits those who serve God and seek after the holiest poverty.
VI. That the brothers and or sisters should appropriate nothing for themselves; and on how alms should be begged; and concerning sick brothers and sisters.
The brothers and sisters should appropriate neither house, nor place, nor anything for themselves; and they should go confidently after alms, serving God in poverty and humility, as pilgrims and strangers in this world.
Nor should they feel ashamed, for God made himself poor in this world for us. This is that peak of the highest poverty which has made you, my dearest brothers, heirs and kings of the kingdom of heaven, poor in things but rich in virtues.
Let this be your portion. It leads into the land of the living and, adhering totally to it, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ wish never to have anything else in this world, beloved brothers and sisters.
And wherever brothers and sisters meet one another, let them act like members of a common family. And let them securely make their needs known to one another, for if a mother loves and cares for her carnal son, how much more should one love and care for his spiritual sons and daughters? And if one of them should become ill, let the other brothers and sisters of the order serve him or her as they themselves would like to be served.
VII. On the penances to be imposed on sinning brothers and or sisters.
If any of the brothers or sisters sin mortally at the instigation of the enemy, they should recur to their provincial ministers without delay if the sin is one of those for which such recourse is required. The ministers, if they are priests, should mercifully prescribe a penance for them. If they are not priests, they should see that it is prescribed by others in the order who are such, as seems best to them according to God. They should be careful not to become angry and upset over someone's sin, for anger and perturbation in oneself or others impedes love.
VIII. On the election of the Abbott or Abbess of this brotherhood or sisterhood; and on the chapter at Pentecost.
The brothers and or sisters are always bound to have a brother or sister of the order as general minister and servant of the entire local order, and they are strictly bound to obey him or her. When he or she dies, their successor is to be elected by the Abbot’s or Abbas’s and or custodians during the Pentecost chapter, at which provincial ministers are always to assemble in the place designated by the Preceding Abbott or Abbess.
The general chapter should meet every three to five years, or sooner if the Abbott or Abbess, should so ordain.
If at some point it should appear to the Abbot’s and or Abbas’s that the Abbott or Abbess, is incapable of serving the order properly, the aforesaid brothers and or sisters to whom election is entrusted should, in the name of God, choose someone else. After the Pentecost chapter, the Abbot’s and Abbas’s, may call their brothers and or sisters to a chapter in their own custody's once in the same year, if they wish and it seems worthwhile.
IX. On preachers.
The Friars and or the Rev. Mothers, must not preach in the diocese of any bishop, abbott, abbot, abbess or abbas, if they have been forbidden to do so by him or her. Also, no brothers or sisters should dare preach to the people unless he or she has been examined and approved by the Abbot of his brotherhood or Abbas of her sisterhood and the office of preaching has been conceded to him or her.
We also admonish and exhort the Friars and or Rev. Mothers, that in their preaching their words be studied and chaste, useful and edifying to the people, telling them about vices and virtues, punishment and glory; and they ought to be brief, because the Lord kept his words brief when he was on earth.
X. On the admonition and correction of brothers and sisters of the Sacred Order.
Friars and Rev. Mothers, who are ministers and servants of other brothers and or sisters, must visit and admonish their brothers or sisters in person, and they should correct them humbly and lovingly, prescribing nothing against their soul or our rule.
Brothers and Sisters, who are subject to authority must remember that they have surrendered their own wills for the sake of God. Thus we strictly order them to obey their ministers in all those things which they have promised the Lord to observe and which are not contrary to the soul and to our rule. And wherever there are brothers who know they cannot observe the rule spiritually, those brothers or sisters should and may recur to their ministers in person.
The ministers should receive them lovingly and generously and treat them so intimately that the brothers or sisters can speak and act as the Lord Jesus does with His servants and children in the flock. For that is the way it ought to be. The ministers should be servants of all the brothers and sisters.
We admonish and exhort the brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ to beware of all pride, vainglory, envy, avarice, worldly care and concern, criticism and complaint. And we admonish the illiterate not to worry about studying but to realize instead that above all they should wish to have the spirit of the Lord working within them, and that they should pray to him constantly with a pure heart, be humble, be patient in persecution and infirmity, and love those who persecute, blame or accuse us, for the Lord says, "Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute and accuse you" (Mtt. 5:44). "Blessed are those who suffer persecution for justice's sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Mtt. 5:10)."He who has persevered until the end, however, will be saved" (Mtt. 10:22).
XI. That the brothers should not enter the convents of nuns. Nor the sisters, into the monasteries.
We strictly order all the brothers and sisters to avoid suspicious meetings or conversations with the opposite sex and to stay out of the convents of nuns or the monasteries of the brothers, except in cases of life and death or where special permission has been granted by the Presiding Bishop of the Celtic Rite and the CCFM. Nor should they be godparents of men or women, lest it lead to scandal among or concerning the brotherhood or sisterhood.
XII. Concerning those who go among the Saracens and other infidels.
Whoever should, by divine inspiration, wish to go among the Saracens and other infidels must ask permission from their provincial ministers. The ministers should grant permission only to those whom they consider qualified to be sent. Those that are strong in faith.
We enjoin the ministers by obedience to ask the Lord and the Presiding Bishop of the Celtic Rite and the CCFM of all divisions, subdivisions and departments of the Churches and or Ministries to serve as governor, protector and corrector of their brotherhood or sisterhood so that we servants and subjects at the feet of holy church, firm in faith, will always observe the poverty, humility and holy gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ which we firmly promised.
Signed and Officially Sealed on this date of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
September 16th, 2015
H.E. Very Rev. Dr. Patriarch +++Andrew M. B. Patrick
D.D., Th.D., M.R.Php., B.D.
C.C.F.M., O.S.A., O.S.P., S.O.E., S.O.S.B.N.B.