We have to make it happen!

The ministry of promoting justice and peace must, therefore, touch the attitudes and actions of every Secular Franciscan. As important as it is, it is not enough merely to pray for social justice to happen. We have to make it happen! “Individually and collectively” the Secular Franciscans are called to be in the front lines in securing rights for the common good.

~  Benet A. Fonck, OFM, Called to Proclaim Christ: Short reflections on the SFO Rule

We have no right

Christian social action is first of all action that discovers religion in politics, religion in work, religion in social programs for better wages, Social Security, etc., not at all to “win the worker for the Church,” but because God became man, because every man is potentially Christ, because Christ is our brother, and because we have no right to let our brother live in want, or in degradation, or in any form of squalor whether physical or spiritual. In a word, if we really understood the meaning of Christianity in social life we would see it as part of the redemptive work of Christ, liberating man from misery, squalor, subhuman living conditions, economic or political slavery, ignorance, alienation.

We are the Church

One of the most common complaints I hear on a regular basis begins with the phrase, “The Church isn’t doing enough for…” and you can fill in the blank a million ways. The Church isn’t doing enough for engaged couples preparing for marriage. The Church isn’t doing enough for the poor. The Church isn’t doing enough for married couples who are struggling, and of course, the one I hear the most is, “The Church isn’t doing enough for divorced Catholics.” So, I just have one question in response… who do you think the Church is?

We are the Church. We, alongside Pope Francis and the cardinals and bishops, the priests and deacons and religious, are the Church – the everyday Catholics in the pew. Why isn’t the Church reaching a strong and powerful hand out to the niche groups we all see are suffering? Well, the hierarchy is. You may have noticed a little Synod on the Family going on in Rome these past weeks. But for complaints and cries and calls for action that are heard, what are we complainers doing to help?

~ Lisa Duffy

We Have Failed at Christianity

The priest went on to say that we’re comfortable with Christianity and even with helping others as long as it doesn’t affect us directly. But anytime we have to get within the margins—leave our comfortable homes, or do anything more than write a check, we’re unable to act. We fail as Christians. Powerful words that had folks in the pews clapping by the end, but as I sat there I wondered whether or not anyone on Capitol Hill would heed these wise words?

We live as he did, we take on his mission

Every Secular Franciscan should become “Francis all over again” in this respect, contemplating and living the humanness of Christ, the man, and his words. This lived experience of Christ within us is shown in what we do, what we say, what we are, and, therefore, in what we believe. In a word, it is that full-circle cycle from “reading” the gospel with all our being to living it with all our potential,  for Jesus, our “Way” is vividly portrayed on every page of the gospel. If in the ordinary things of life we are motivated to purposeful action by visualizing our goals, by developing a burning desire to attain them and having confidence that we will, then encountering Jesus in the gospel as our model, as our source of energy and as the pledge of our hope, makes a truly gospel-oriented life possible. We live as he did, we take on his mission. We share his Good News with others.

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

They should act as a leaven

Christians ought to fulfill their temporal obligations with fidelity and competence. They should act as a leaven in the world, in their family, professional, social, cultural and political life. They must accept their responsibilities in this entire area under the influence of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church. In this way they testify to the power of the Holy Spirit through their action in the service of people in those things which are decisive for the existence and the future of humanity.

~ Justice in the World, World Synod of Catholic Bishops, 1971

Shows us new paths

29. In the face of the present-day situation of the world, marked as it is by the grave sin of injustice, we recognize both our responsibility and our inability to overcome it by our own strength. Such a situation urges us to listen with a humble and open heart to the word of God, as he shows us new paths towards action in the cause of justice in the world.

~ Justice in the World, World Synod of Catholic Bishops, 1971

Jesus prayed

The bedrock of the Secular Franciscan life is prayer, stemming from the example Jesus has given us in the Gospels. Jesus prayed before, after and during each encounter of his day. He never moved into action without first being present to and communicating with his Father. It is this example that we are to follow. All that Secular Franciscans are and do stems from this communication with God.

~ Teresa V. Baker, OFS, “The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order” (Chapter 12 of the FUN Manual)