Fear of suffering

What really hurts is not so much suffering itself as the fear of suffering. If welcomed trustingly and peacefully, suffering makes us grow. It matures and trains us, purifies us, teaches us to love unselfishly, makes us poor in heart, humble, gentle, and compassionate toward our neighbor. Fear of suffering, on the other hand, hardens us in self-protective, defensive attitudes, and often leads us to make irrational choices with disastrous consequences.

~ Fr. Jacques Philippe, Interior Freedom

In one’s example and deeds

Evangelical life focuses on what we are, not what we do. The goal of the life is to be a sister or brother to all, announcing the Good News in one’s example and deeds.

~ Ilia Delio, Franciscan Prayer

An inherent value in not acquiring

This is what we might call the missionary vocation of the Franciscan way of life. Emerging from a commitment to follow in “the teaching and footprints of Jesus Christ,” this is a disposition that orients the believer outward and toward others as opposed to inward and focused on the self. Like Jesus in the Gospels, Francis saw an inherent value in not acquiring the security and comfort afforded by the appropriation of property, resources, and status.

Prayer Request Update

Thank you so much for your prayers. My nephew’s surgery went as well as it possibly could. Please continue your prayers as he begins his recovery, continues his chemo, and awaits the biopsy results.

Attentive and present to all of life and creation

Our fraternities are clearly called to help the brothers and sisters live their faith in the world, helping them to understand and act on the social dimensions of the gospel in their everyday lives. Like Saint Francis, we are not only called to rebuild the church, we are called to be like our Incarnate God, who is attentive and present to all of life and creation.

~ Handbook for Animators of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), National JPIC Commission of the Secular Franciscan Order, USA

Prayer Request

Please keep my 18-year-old nephew Josh and his family in prayer today. He’s going in for cancer surgery this morning. Thank you. Pax et bonum.

May be living realities

As Secular Franciscans, we commit ourselves to live the Gospel according to Franciscan spirituality in our secular state. We are called to make our own contribution, inspired by the person and message of our Seraphic Father Francis, towards a world in which the dignity of the human person, shared responsibility, and peace and love may be living realities.

~ Handbook for Animators of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), National JPIC Commission of the Secular Franciscan Order, USA

Not just something we do

Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) is simply the Rule of the Secular Franciscan in action. Our Rule is based on the Gospels; JPIC is also based on the Gospels. It bubbles up from the Gospels. It is lived out from the Gospels. JPIC is not just something we do, it is who we are, as followers of Jesus in the way of Saint Francis of Assisi. It is an attitude that influences what we do and how we minister, with God, with ourselves, with other people and with creation.

~ Handbook for Animators of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), National JPIC Commission of the Secular Franciscan Order, USA

Masks

So much of life, particularly in our modern, hyper-busy, and technologically saturated world, tends to pull us away from the path toward discovering our true self, from the journey into God. We are told in big and little ways every day that we must construct our identities, supplement ourselves with products and services, look a certain way, speak a certain way, and be a certain way. What results from following that path is what Merton will call the “false self,” what he sometimes refers to as our “masks.”

The ordinary result of a prayerful spirit

Francis, through his prayerful relationship with Jesus, grew in his love for everyone. Like Jesus, Francis is willing to give his life for the sake of other people. This is the ordinary result of a prayerful spirit. It seeks the spirit of Jesus and is responsive to the Holy Spirit.

~ Lester Bach, OFM Cap, The Franciscan Journey: Embracing the Franciscan Vision

At God’s disposal

Day in and day out, both when convenient and inconvenient, in good times and in bad – the Professed Secular Franciscan is to place him/herself at God’s disposal.

~ Fr. Richard Trezza, O.F.M., “Profession and the Secular Franciscan: Theological and Liturgical Foundations” (FUN Manual)

When human activity proves powerless

It is time to reaffirm the importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians engaged in charitable work. Clearly, the Christian who prays does not claim to be able to change God’s plans or correct what he has foreseen. Rather, he seeks an encounter with the Father of Jesus Christ, asking God to be present with the consolation of the Spirit to him and his work. A personal relationship with God and an abandonment to his will can prevent man from being demeaned and save him from falling prey to the teaching of fanaticism and terrorism. An authentically religious attitude prevents man from presuming to judge God, accusing him of allowing poverty and failing to have compassion for his creatures. When people claim to build a case against God in defense of man, on whom can they depend when human activity proves powerless?

Seeing in his example

Often people are distracted by the miraculous and unusual nature of an experience such as the stigmata, suggesting that what is really important to take away from this part of Francis’s story is the living confirmation of his sanctity, even before his official canonization. While that might be a worthwhile point to consider, I suggest that what is really at stake here is the model of Christian living this particular episode presents to us. It is not about putting Francis on a pedestal in order to laud him as so exceptional that we cannot possibly relate but instead about seeing in his example what it means to so deeply reflect on scripture and the love of God that his whole life, mentally and physically, was transformed by the experience of prayer, solitude, and reflection

From now on

Those to be professed in the SFO should realize that from now on they will belong to a special family within the Church, which will entail not only rights but also obligations and responsibilities. Once again, directors of formation and members of local councils, all agents of formation, should make sure that candidates for the Professed life understand what those obligations and responsibilities are.

~ Fr. Richard Trezza, O.F.M., “Profession and the Secular Franciscan: Theological and Liturgical Foundations” (FUN Manual)

An ever-more concrete reality

Unlike service work or charity (as popularly conceived), solidarity requires “specific action, a style of life, a break with one’s social class.” It is perhaps unreasonable to expect most Christians to so radically adopt a position of solidarity and a life of evangelical poverty in short order, but it is not beyond their capacity to begin to reimagine what a morally just and particularly Christian life might look like and then work in ways to make that commitment an ever-more concrete reality.

To disclose the image of God

The journey of prayer for Franciscans is the discovery of God at the center of our lives. We pray not to acquire a relationship with God as if acquiring something that did not previously exist. Rather, we pray to disclose the image of God in which we are created, the God within us, that is, the one in whom we are created and in whom lies the seed of our identity. We pray so as to discover what we already have—“the incomparable treasure hidden in the field of the world and of the human heart.(St. Clare)”

~ Ilia Delio, Franciscan Prayer

If it is meant to be

Right from the beginning, we are to convince ourselves of the truth of the fact that this entire idea about vocation to and profession in the SFO is something driven by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we approach these realities as if everything depended on us… our knowledge, our input, our time and talent. We miss the point if we do not allow the Spirit to breathe throughout our deliberations and reflections. God gives the call and through the Spirit will see it through if it is meant to be.

~ Fr. Richard Trezza, O.F.M., “Profession and the Secular Franciscan: Theological and Liturgical Foundations” (FUN Manual)

All human beings without exclusion

And now, at the dawn of the new millennium, does the Franciscan adventure still have meaning? Does it still have any chance of  success? Never has true fraternity been so longed for and at the same time so little lived. Never has the Franciscan charism been more needed than today in order to offer the total Christ to a disintegrating world which fears a brotherhood of solidarity among all human beings without exclusion.

~ Cardinal Roger Etchegaray on the occasion of the Great Franciscan Jubilee celebrated at St. John Lateran in Rome, April 9, 2000

It is expected that you

The world needs this Franciscan spirit, this Franciscan vision of life. It is expected that you, beloved children, know it deeply, love it with passion, above all that you live it with the perfection that your state allows.

~ Pope Pius XII, To the Secular Franciscans of Italy, 1 July 1956

Simply because it is God’s and it is good

This time of being “alone” with God is essential to fully live the Franciscan spirit. To build relationship with anyone takes time, effort and presence, and that also includes relationship with God. If we are willing to constantly make the effort, the Holy Spirit will lead us to the relationship we seek, and, for the Franciscan, effect the peace and joy we need to love and serve all God’s creation, simply because it is God’s and it is good.

~ Bob Fitzsimmons, OFS, “St. Francis and His Approach to Divinity” (FUN Manual)