The Rule requires Secular Franciscans to approach people with gentleness, care, and compassion – recognizing in them the image of God. We recognize our personal need for radical conversion and seek it with a willing spirit. By our lives we show how it looks to live a kingdom/gospel life. It must be attractive rather than boring; inviting rather than separating; welcoming instead of excluding; forgiving rather than vengeful; prayerful rather than domineering; with a passion for justice rather than allowing injustice to grow; seeking ways of peace rather than planning for war and violence; developing a spirit of community rather than individualism; recognizing a need for God rather than arrogant independence; finding hope and guidance in the Bible rather than dependence merely on human knowledge.
Currently the literature is awash with accounts of why Christians are more aligned with Republicans, or why Christians are more aligned with Democrats, but I must admit that I find both suggestions equally worrisome. To say that a Christian must be a Republican rather than Democrat, or a Democrat rather than Republican — while having some intellectual cogency with respect to the hierarchy of moral truths under consideration — seems also to be a sign of a very deep confusion worthy of reflection. It should signal a warning: the deepest commitments of Christians are being parceled out for other purposes, deformed and divided for political ends which undermine Christian faith.
~ C. C. Pecknold, Ph.D., “Thinking Well About Things (Other Than Politics),” Radically Catholic In the Age of Francis: An Anthology of Visions for the Future
We commit ourselves to proclaiming our firm conviction that violence and terrorism are incompatible with the authentic spirit of religion, and, as we condemn every recourse to violence and war in the name of God or of religion, we commit ourselves to doing everything possible to eliminate the root causes of terrorism.
Simple living in littleness and openness further takes shape by identifying with Christ and following his example in such a way that we reduce material needs, curb a thirst for possessions and the domineering power that comes from ownership, and use all God’s gifts in a spirit of generosity, justice, and moderation. Gospel poverty for Secular Franciscans, then, consists in acquiring possessions justly, keeping needs to a minimum, and using what we have as custodians for the generous benefit of others. In this way we achieve the wealth of the kingdom and do not get enslaved by the wealth of the world according to the charter for happiness given in the beatitudes.
Everything I do, reading, study, writing, etc., simply must be done in such a way that it is prayer and preparation for prayer. That means first of all not doing it to satisfy my voracious appetite to know, to enjoy, to achieve things, to get tangible results and taste the immediate reward of my own efforts because, if that is what leads me, everything turns to ashes as soon as I touch it.
The term Penance in Franciscanism is equivalent to the biblical meaning of metanoia, understood as an intimate conversion of the heart to God, as a vital altitude, a continuous state of being. It is not a question of doing penance but of being penitent.
We know that St. Francis read and meditated upon the Word of God until it was integrated into his very being. In body and soul, St. Francis was altered by the Gospel. His identity changed as he became conformed to the likeness of Christ. St. Francis went beyond imitation. He became one with the beloved. Francis proved that the Gospel could be lived. It was a process for him. It continues to be a process for us. It is what our Rule calls ongoing conversion. If we wish to be changed in the process, we must become one with the Lord.
Scripture tells us that those who are wise say little but communicate much. Those who talk too much often relay little. We experience this phenomenon in a new way through the Internet. This medium can be a great blessing. But it is sometimes used for messaging and emailing too much while communicating very little. The Internet makes the wisdom of the ages available with the click of a mouse or the tapping of touch pad. But with all this knowledge available, few actually learn wisdom. With all these words, we don’t communicate.