Wholeheartedly devote themselves

It is therefore quite clear that all Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of love, and by this holiness a more human manner of life is fostered also in earthly society. In order to reach this perfection the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ’s gift, so that, following in his footsteps and conformed to his image, doing the will of God in everything, they may wholeheartedly devote themselves to the glory God and to the service of their neighbor.

~ Lumen Gentium, 40

If they are authentically converted

Violence and oppression take many forms within our world. No Secular Franciscan can work for the reform of every oppressive system; yet every Secular Franciscan must be involved somehow in the work of justice if they are authentically converted, if they truly appropriate the Rule. Each response to the Rule will be unique; each person must interpret what that call to radical conversion means in his or her life. But to all those who respond authentically will come the blessing of penance.

~ Fr. Robert M. Stewart OFM, “De illis qui faciunt penitentiam”: The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order: Origins, Development, Interpretation

The basic life attitude of all his followers

He (St. Francis) no longer did what he wanted himself but what God demanded of him: “that which seemed bitter to me.” In the process, he came to experience a special grace, that his bitterness was”changed into sweetness of soul and body.” Penance to him is thus the conversion of a person from a life centered on the personal “I” to a life which is completed under the will and sovereign lordship of God. Thus, penance is the same as “change of heart” in the biblical sense (Turn away from your sin and believe in  the good news,” Mk 1:15), and according to the mind of St. Francis, it must be the basic life attitude of all his followers.

~ Fr. Cajetan Esser, OFM

Built up day after day

To wage war on misery and to struggle against injustice is to promote, along with improved conditions, the human and spiritual progress of all men, and therefore the common good of humanity. Peace cannot be limited to a mere absence of war, the result of an ever precarious balance of forces. No, peace is something that is built up day after day, in the pursuit of an order intended by God, which implies a more perfect form of justice among men.

~ Pope Paul VI, On the Development of Peoples #76

They are meant to bring out in each one of us

Material goods and the way we are developing the use of them should be seen as God’s gifts to us. They are meant to bring out in each one of us the image of God. We must never lose sight of how we have been created: from the earth and from the breath of God.

~ Pope John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, “On Social Concern”, #29

Does not mean the renunciation of action

The renunciation of the use of violence, characteristic of the followers of Francis, does not mean the renunciation of action. However, the brothers and sisters should take care that their interventions are always inspired by Christian love.

Doing nothing is no longer a choice for us

What does the rule ask of us? To be in the forefront in promoting justice by the testimony of their human lives and their courageous initiatives. We are not bystanders any more. Franciscans get involved. We involve ourselves in wise ways, observing, judging, acting. We use common sense. We get help if that is needed. We seek trained help if that is needed. We seek training if that is needed. We support professional help if that is needed. But doing nothing is no longer a choice for us.

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