Such is our present condition (Thomas Merton writing in 1965)

This is no longer a time of systematic ethical speculation, for such speculation implies time to reason, and the power to bring social and individual action under the concerted control of reasoned principles upon which most men agree.

There is no time to reason out, calmly and objectively, the moral implications of technical developments which are perhaps already superseded by the time one knows enough to reason about them.

Action is not governed by moral reason but by political expediency and the demands of technology — translated into the simple abstract formulas of propaganda. These formulas have nothing to do with reasoned moral action, even though they may appeal to apparent moral values — they simply condition the mass of men to react in a desired way to certain stimuli.

Men do not agree in moral reasoning. They concur in the emotional use of slogans and political formulas. There is no persuasion but that of power, of quantity, of pressure, of fear, of desire. Such is our present condition–and it is critical!

~ Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

The best preparation

This openness to the Spirit in all that we do is itself a gift of the Spirit. It is not something we can attain by ourselves. But it is something that we can ask for and prepare ourselves for. Perhaps the best preparation is making ourselves aware of the reality of the Holy Spirit and of his action in our lives. Along with this awareness we must cultivate a desire to know God’s will. Prayer and recollection are essential for this.

~ Benet A. Fonck, OFM, Called to Follow Christ: Commentary on the Secular Franciscan Rule (SFO Resource Library, Vol. 1)

God is not hiding

Franciscan contemplation is about learning to see how God is always already right before us, reflected in all aspects of creation. We need to see the world anew, not because God is hidden and waiting for us to take our turn in a “spiritual hide-and-seek,” but because God is always “it” and at play around us. In other words, God is not hiding; God’s footprints are everywhere. We are usually the ones with our heads in the sand or hands over our eyes.

With arms extended

As he approached his own earthly end, Francis, recalling the love of God made manifest in the gift of creation, looked forward with hope to his share in the resurrection of Christ. There was no longer a need to avoid or exploit death, because death was his sister, closer to him than the fear of the unknown. With arms extended, Francis did not cower from his destiny in fear and anxiety but embraced his sister bodily death with his whole heart and left this world in peace.

Sign of our openness

Poverty invites us to go beyond ourselves, by taking from us everything on which we might tend to lean. It is not a matter of simply being poor but of having nothing that can prevent us from being wholly open to the grace of God. The practice of poverty, therefore, is the condition and sign of our openness to the mystery of God.

~ Ilia Delio, Franciscan Prayer

We have a responsibility to follow

Our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi, instilled a spirit that sought to seek peace through understanding and acceptance, rather than combating for tranquility through aggression and war; justice in mercy and forgiveness rather than retribution in violent reprisal, availability to all rather than opinionated distance from those who do not share the same ideas and values. St. Francis even suffered in silence when the opinions of others had eventually changed the simplicity and brotherhood he had instituted when men began to seek to follow the Gospel Way. As Spiritual Children of St. Francis of Assisi we have a responsibility to follow the example of our Seraphic Father. Paul, the Apostle, and Matthew, the Evangelist, offer us insights upon which to reflect that we might be elements of reform in our society and be true Advocates of Peace and Proclaimers of God’s Love and Life in the Family of Humanity and in our own families, communities … the Church.

~ Fr. Francis A. Sariego, O.F.M.Cap., From the Desk of Fr. Francis – October, 2015