Let anyone who comes to you go away feeling better and happier. Everyone should see goodness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile. Joy shows from the eyes. It appears when we speak and walk. It cannot be kept closed inside us. It reacts outside. Joy is very infectious.
Since the Secular Franciscan Order is part of a special spiritual family raised up by the Holy Spirit within the Church, it is a representative piece of the whole Church and an expression of the entire Church in miniature. Just as the traditions of the Church and Holy Scripture are inspired by the Holy Spirit and just as this inspiration is given concrete explanation by the official leadership of the Church, so the authentic meaning and direction of the rule for Secular Franciscans comes ultimately from the leaders of the Church!
His (St. Francis) vocabulary is essentially biblical. He is obliged to repeat the very words of the Bible. When greeting people, he does not say “Good morning” or “Good evening,” but “The Lord give you His peace.” When blessing Brother Leo, he does not invent a formula, but adopts the blessing that God commanded Aaron and his sons to say over the people of Israel.” When he sends a brother on mission, he does not say “Have trust,” but uses a verse from the Psalms: “Cast your care upon the Lord and He will care for you.” His use of the Bible in his writings does not take the form of explicit quotations. Yet, entire passages from Sacred Scripture enter spontaneously and directly into his writing, even though he does not use formulas such as “Thus says ‘the Lord” or “As it is Written.” He simply makes the language of the Bible his own.
Jesus, help me to be rooted in you when I respond to those around me.
Help me to detach myself from expectations, negative thoughts from myself and others, and attach myself to you.
Help me become an anomaly like you, someone entirely moved and influenced by the Father’s will, not my own or the will of others around me.
Reverence and respect for nature is a Franciscan perspective that is part of our lives, As good stewards, we choose to find ways to protect nature’s resources so they are available to all people – and to the children of future generations. Wherever we work and live we promote healthy responsibility and concern for earth’s resources. To do otherwise would make us poor stewards. This perspective may not always be popular, but it is part of our identity as Franciscans. Once again we look to things that concern the common good and not exploitation for personal gain.
Profession in the Secular Franciscan Order, as a promise to live the gospel in the manner of St Francis, aims to put before us the radical, light-filled and joyful style in which Francis listens to the gospel and commits himself to live it.
Clare, like Francis, did not choose poverty for philosophical reasons, nor for practical ones, as a choice making her life more productive or efficient. And neither of them speak about this poverty as a response to the affluence of Church or society in their day, though it was undoubtedly seen by others in that way. The focus of their attention was God’s overwhelming generosity and love, expressed in the free choice of the Son to embrace poverty in becoming a creature. The two disciples from Assisi embraced poverty because it was embraced by their Beloved.
Do you imagine that the individual created things in the world are imperfect attempts at reproducing an ideal type which the Creator never quite succeeded in actualizing on earth?
~ Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation
The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in. The settled happiness and security which We all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the World: but joy, pleasure, and merriment He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and pose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.