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.
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.
This [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Secular Franciscan] life-style is basically typified by littleness and openness on a personal level (obedience, poverty, and purity of heart), together with others (community), and in an out-reach of service after the example of Jesus Christ the “Man for Others.” “Littleness” is the quality which expresses the Secular Franciscans’ desire to be conformed to Christ in his self-emptying and to follow the Lord in humility and meekness, at the service of everyone, even to the point of taking the lowest place, not vying for power or prestige, and out of boldness risking ‘misunderstanding and non-acceptance for the sake of the gospel. “Openness” is the quality which expresses the Secular Franciscans’ desire to be receptive and adaptable to the creative, inspiring, and transforming power of God’s presence revealed to us in the word and sacraments, the Church and the Social situation, other people and all of nature.
His [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][St. Francis] assiduous meditation urged him to give her an astonishing title; he would recall how Mary lived on alms for many periods of her life, so he named her the “little poor one,” the “Poverella.” If we remember the real conditions of her life, her frequent traveling and moving, we will realize to what extent her life was poor, itinerant, suffering. Though queen in the eyes of God, she was the Wife of a humble carpenter and lived in a remote and despised village. By this example she teaches us to put our values not in a place or in a function, but in inner dispositions.
~ Benet A. Fonck, OFM, Called to Follow Christ: Commentary on the Secular Franciscan Rule (SFO Resource Library, Vol. 1)[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]
Article Eight of the rule directs all Secular Franciscans to stress the primacy of worship in their lives — the interior prayer of contemplation as well as the exterior liturgical prayer of the Church. The article also urges Secular Franciscans to have an active participation in the sacramental life of the Church, above all the Eucharist, and in the Liturgy of the Hours. When this article is lived fully, each Secular Franciscan will be a true worshiper, always involved with Christ and conscious of his presence in oneself and in others.
Since the Secular Franciscan Order is part of a special spiritual family raised up by the Holy Spirit within the Church, it is a representative piece of the whole Church and an expression of the entire Church in miniature. Just as the traditions of the Church and Holy Scripture are inspired by the Holy Spirit and just as this inspiration is given concrete explanation by the official leadership of the Church, so the authentic meaning and direction of the rule for Secular Franciscans comes ultimately from the leaders of the Church!
Motivated by the power of the gospel, Secular Franciscans are called to unfold the living Christ and bring his message to all people regardless of age, race, creed, economic status, or the like. Especially worthy of consideration are the displaced persons and the unchurched and others in situations which make it difficult for them to appreciate what the Church is trying to do to reveal the presence of Christ and safeguard their God-given rights and dignity.
The Lord gives us the grace to fulfill any task he puts before us. If he has called us to be Franciscans for the Church and the world by observing the gospel, we are certain that he provides the means to accomplish this vocation. One of the primary ways that his grace is manifested to us is through his own presence which is always present in various forms for us to encounter and respond to. Through such interaction with the living and active person of Christ, our relationship with him becomes more intense, our commitment to the gospel is deepened, and our three-fold task of change of heart, community-building, and evangelization become more firmly our way of life.
Jesus Christ is the center and inspiration of our lives as Franciscans. He is the way, the truth, and the life. In him we live and move and have our being. He clarifies our thinking with his teaching. He directs our actions with his value system. He moves our hearts with the power of his presence in our lives.
Therefore, to observe the gospel means that we live Jesus, that we make his life and teachings and values our own, just as Francis of Assisi did.
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.