Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) is simply the Rule of the Secular Franciscan in action. Our Rule is based on the Gospels; JPIC is also based on the Gospels. It bubbles up from the Gospels. It is lived out from the Gospels. JPIC is not just something we do, it is who we are, as followers of Jesus in the way of Saint Francis of Assisi. It is an attitude that influences what we do and how we minister, with God, with ourselves, with other people and with creation.
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.
Franciscans face the task of linking scripture and the life and Words of Jesus to their own lives. Moreover, we rely on the Holy Spirit to continue to teach us what we need to know. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth… (John 16:13). We cannot escape the message of scripture nor the model that Jesus gives. Francis understood the primacy of Jesus and sought to imitate what he saw in and heard from Jesus.
God’s word is unpredictable in its power. The Gospel speaks of a seed which, once sown, grows by itself, even as the farmer sleeps (Mk 4:26-29). The Church has to accept this unruly freedom of the word, which accomplishes what it wills in ways that surpass our calculations and ways of thinking.
~ Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium via a minor friar blog: Evangelii Gaudium: My Favorite Parts.
One of the things Christ must have learned in the thirty yeas before his public ministry is that no amount of discussion or reasoning will convert the human heart. If you hunger and thirst for goodness, beauty, truth, you will fall upon the Gospels weeping with joy; if you don’t, you will steadfastly, insanely deny them, or worse, try to twist them to support your own ends, insisting that Love thine enemies means to kill them, and that Blessed are the poor means blessed are the prosperous. So again we return to the scandal of the Cross. Of praying in secret, of hungering and thirsting for justice, of quietly and mostly hiddenly consenting to the ongoing Crucifixion of trying to live out our smallest moments in love. Failing most of the time, of course, but still…
~ Heather King, Jesus Said So Little….
You have to hunger and thirst for righteousness. You have to have faith, you have to have hope that if you live your life by the blueprint of the Gospel, God will take care of the rest. He says Don’t worry what you’re going to eat or what you’re going to wear. But by take care of I don’t mean protect from all harm. He himself was hardly protected from all harm. I mean take care of in the sense that your enemies may kill you but your life will bear fruit. Your life will go toward the building of the Kingdom. That’s the goal for the authentic follower of Christ. To go toward the building of God. He who saves his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for my sake will find it. Your goal can’t be power, property, prestige, security. That’s the goal of our government and we are all witnessing where that leads.
~ Heather King, PEACE IN OUR PERSONAL LIVES
The Holy Father asks none of us to abandon the task of bringing the world to Jesus Christ. Our witness matters. Every unborn child saved, every marriage strengthened, every immigrant helped, every poor person served, matters. God calls on us to help him sanctify every aspect of our shared lives – at home, at work and in the public square.
But if, as the Pope describes her, the Church is a “field hospital” for the wounded in a cruel world, then the goal of our witness is to create a space of beauty and mercy; to accompany those who suffer; to understand the nature of their lives; to care for and heal even those who reject us. We need to speak the truth, and work for the truth, with love. And we need to realize that nothing we do – either as individuals or parish communities — will bear fruit unless we give ourselves to the whole Gospel with our whole heart.
~ Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M.Cap., Pope Francis and ‘The Interview’ – Catholic Philly.
The missionary mandate which the Church received from the Risen Lord (cf. Mk 16:15) has assumed new forms and methods over time, depending on the places and situations where it was realized and various moments in history. Even though proclaiming the Gospel in our day is much more complicated than in the past, the Church’s task is one and the same as from the very beginning. Since the mission has not changed, it can be rightly said that we can make our own, even today, the enthusiasm and courage which characterized the Apostles and early disciples. The Holy Spirit, who moved them to throw open the doors of the Cenacle and sent them forth as evangelizers (cf. Acts 2: 1-4), is the same Spirit who guides the Church today and prompts a renewed proclamation of hope to the people of our time.
~ Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei
The first obstacle on the path towards the Gospel has to be the habit of taking a purely mental, theoretical approach to the subject. The aim of the Gospel is not to satisfy the intellectual demands of an educated person, but to help him step onto the path of spiritual rebirth and renewal. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17).
~ Archpriest Sergius Chetverikov, “Obstacles on the Path to the Gospel“
As a result, his life became a continuous process of allowing the words of the Gospel to enter profoundly into every fiber of his being: their sound, articulation, imagery, and meaning.
~Regis Armstrong, The Franciscan Tradition (Spirituality in History)