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.
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)”
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.
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
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.
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.
I have nothing left, but I still have my heart, and with that I can always love.
One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better.
The World is trying the experiment of attempting to form a civilized but non-Christian mentality. The experiment will fail; but we must be very patient in awaiting its collapse; meanwhile redeeming the time: so that the Faith may be preserved alive through the dark ages before us; to renew and rebuild civilization, and save the World from suicide.
This intimacy of prayer—breathing with the Spirit of God—was at the heart of the life of Francis of Assisi. He advised his followers to have, above all things (supra omnia) the Spirit of the Lord and his holy manner of working, to pray always and to have a pure heart.