It’s about being converted in our lives

Francis and his brothers in faith were then — and they remain today — a confirmation of how God renews the Church through a kind of gentle rebellion against the world; an uprising of personal holiness; a radical commitment to Christian poverty, chastity and obedience in service to the Church and the poor.

The Franciscan revolution of love teaches a lesson that Catholics too often forget. Rules, discipline, and fidelity to doctrine and tradition are vital to the mission of the Church. But none of them can animate or sustain Catholic life if we lack the core of what it means to be a Christian. If we really want God to renew the Church, then we need to act like it. We need to take the Gospel seriously. And that means we need to live it as a guide to our daily behavior and choices – without excuses.

Christian discipleship is not about how generous we feel, or our good intentions, or even how well we do certain religious duties. It’s about being converted in our lives according to the pattern of Jesus Christ.

~Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Remarks at CALL (Catholic Association of Latino Leaders) Conference, Houston, Texas, Aug. 16, 2014 via Catholic Philly

 

Totally centered on Christ

If there is a word which does complete justice to Franciscan theology and spirituality, it is ‘Christocentric,’ and they have this as their distinguishing feature, because the faith and holiness of St. Francis were totally centered on Christ. In Jesus Christ the revelation is made to us of what the world, as a whole and in all its parts, means to God.

~ Eric Doyle, “Saint Francis of Assisi and the Christocentric Character of Franciscan Life and Doctrine” (Franciscan Christology)

Encourage others to follow

From the hills and plains, from cities and farms, they come in every age; clergy, religious, laity, treading the road to holiness in the footsteps of the little poor man of Assisi. Working together in love and mutual support, they throw the meaning of Christ’s love into those corners of the marketplace where huddle the poor, the friendless, God’s little neglected ones.

Franciscans are simple people whose many-faceted lives are directed toward “becoming like little children.” Working hour by hour, at varying tasks under various conditions, they seek only to stand as a diversion from the pettiness of the world, and by their living the gospel life after the manner of Francis, encourage others to follow.

~ Benet A. Fonck, OFM, Called to Follow Christ

The root and source of Franciscan joy

 Liberty born of poverty and humility, the happy fruit of minoritas, becomes in turn the root and source of Franciscan joy. In the heart of him who lives for God and whose desires are always in accord with the Will of God there arises such joy that nothing in the world, whether men or circumstances, can destroy or lessen it. For him there can be no reason for sadness save abandonment of this attachment to God and that is sin. The gloomy friar finds no sympathy in St. Francis: “Let the friars take care not to show themselves outwardly as gloomy and sad hypocrites, but let them show themselves joyful in the Lord, and gladsome and becomingly courteous.” Only the true “minor” possessed of the Spirit of the Lord attains the true and deepest source of perfect joy , for only to him is revealed the secret of this joy which comes down to all Friars Minor not only as the heritage but also as the challenge of St. Francis.

~ Cajetan Esser OFM, “Franciscan Poverty, Liberty and Joy

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

That continues to wreak havoc

In Francis’s time the renouncement of power for which he is best known takes the form of rejecting the economic or monetary system of his day. Surely this remains an important element of the Franciscan disposition toward the world today. Franciscan men and women are, at least in part, supposed to live prophetically as people committed to speaking out against the systemically sinful nature of capitalism and unbridled consumption that continues to wreak havoc in our nation and world.

~ Daniel Horan OFM, Francis of Assisi and the Future of Faith

So tender in the manger, so sorrowful on the cross

There is, then, a Franciscan doctrine in accordance with which God is holy, is great, and above all, is good, indeed the supreme Good. For in this doctrine, God is love. He lives by love, creates for love, becomes flesh and redeems, that is, he saves and makes holy, for love. There is also a Franciscan way of contemplating Jesus: the meeting of uncreated Love with created love. Similarly, there is a method of loving Him and of imitating Him: in reality it sees the Man-God, and prefers to consider Him in His holy Humanity, because this reveals Him more clearly and, as it were, allows Him to be touched. From this arises a burning devotion to the Incarnation and the Passion of Jesus, because these (mysteries) allow us to see Him, not so much in His glory, in His omnipotent grandeur, or in His eternal triumph, as rather in His human love – so tender in the manger, so sorrowful on the cross.

~ Pope Pius XII,  1956

On the fifth anniversary of my profession (thanks be to God)…

Profession of Commitment to the Gospel Life

 

I, N.N.,
by the grace of God,
renew my baptismal promises
and consecrate myself to the service of His Kingdom.

Therefore,
in my secular state,
I promise to live
all the days of my life
the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
in the Secular Franciscan Order
by observing its Rule of life.

May the grace of the Holy Spirit,
the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary
and our holy father Saint Francis,
and the fraternal bonds of community
always be my help,
so that I may reach the goal
of perfect Christian love.

~ The Ritual of the Secular Franciscan Order

I would first of all have to be

If I were to be a good Franciscan, that is, Christlike, I would first of all have to be in almost all points as this peasant appears to be. That is–to set no store on pride in knowledge, or possessions, or ambitions, but completely obscure looking and acting: and with all that not envious, not ambitious, but quiet and good, and giving people things, and being patient, and working and living on little food. But being, first, nobody: this peasant, obscure and dark, and silent, and not knowing much how to talk: of such were Christ’s Apostles.

~ Thomas Merton, Run to the Mountain: The Story of a Vocation