The Secular Franciscan Monthly Pledge

We realize the importance of giving glory to God, of striving for holiness and of working for the spiritual and temporal welfare of others.  We see the great value of the Secular Franciscan Way of Life to achieve these all important goals in life.  Therefore, we resolve to observe the teaching and footsteps of Jesus Christ according to the spirit and rule of St. Francis.

With God’s grace, we will participate as fully and as often as possible in the Mass, the Sacraments (especially Reconciliation), and the official prayer of the Church.  We will spend a portion of time each day in personal prayer.  And we will be involved in the monthly meeting as an act of worship and a building of community.

We will contribute according to our means and time and talent and possessions for the charities of our Franciscan Family. And we will uphold the dignity of every person and the worth of all creation.

We will always be loyal to the Commandments of God and to the Church.  We will continually try to turn closer to the Lord.  And we will use what we have in a spirit of justice, moderation, and generosity.

We will be proud to display the emblem of our membership in the Secular Franciscan Order.  By our actions and our speech, we will set a good example and will strive to be peacemakers in our society, especially within our families and toward those who are poor, sick or disadvantaged.

This we resolve through the help of the Virgin Mary and St. Francis, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and in the name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen

Make Jesus present

The only thing people take notice of is living witness … and what makes us living witnesses is the Beatitudes. … When we live the Beatitudes, we make Jesus present and we become signs of contradiction … in the way of the Suffering Servant …

~ Fr. Sergius Wroblewski, OFM, remarks at the 2016 Secular Franciscan Quinquennial Congress, via the Q’s Facebook page. Please join us in praying for Fr. Sergius as he recovers from injuries suffered in a fall after he returned home from the Q.

A vital altitude

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.

~ Fr. Lino Temperini, Penitential Spirituality in the Franciscan Sources

God is not hiding

Franciscan contemplation is about learning to see how God is always already right before us, reflected in all aspects of creation. We need to see the world anew, not because God is hidden and waiting for us to take our turn in a “spiritual hide-and-seek,” but because God is always “it” and at play around us. In other words, God is not hiding; God’s footprints are everywhere. We are usually the ones with our heads in the sand or hands over our eyes.

What God wants us to be

Merton most succinctly identifies what he means by vocation in his book No Man Is an Island, in which we read, Each one of us has some kind of vocation. We are all called by God to share in His life and in His kingdom. Each one of us is called to a special place in the Kingdom. If we find that place we will be happy. If we do not find it, we can never be completely happy. For each one of us, there is only one thing necessary: to fulfill our own destiny, according to God’s will, to be what God wants us to be.

A living example

The Franciscan Rule exhorts us to live the Gospel. The Gospel is Jesus. Jesus reminds us I have come that they may have life more abundantly. (John 10: 10) Thus, to have this life we must “Live Jesus”. This cannot be accomplished if we have other “masters” who attract, seduce, direct, control us … and diminish or even destroy our ability to know, love, and serve the Lord. St. Francis’ radical detachment from things, made him a living example of the joy and freedom of one who is no longer “slave” to his/her wants and even to legitimate needs that he/she has allowed themselves to control their lives.

~ Fr. Francis A. Sariego, O.F.M.Cap., From the Desk of Fr. Francis – August, 2015

In making our formal and public professions

If I pause to think about it, such a declaration is enough to take my breath away. In consecrating ourselves “to service in His Kingdom,” we change our relationship to God’s infinite and eternal creation, which in itself is something that is always changing, always new, always becoming. We are no longer simply along for the ride, as it were. We can no longer live our lives as we have, focused solely on ourselves and our families and our careers and the countless irritations that make up modern life. In making our formal and public professions, we declare that Christ is the center of our lives, the balance point, the focus, the prime mover–our “All.” In consecrating our lives, we make Christ, as He is revealed in the gospels, the measure of all that we do.

The school of Christ

Profession in the Secular Franciscan Order commits a person to study in the school of Christ, who is “the book of Wisdom, written from within the heart of the Father, since He is the art of almighty God; it was written externally, when it became flesh” (St. Bonaventure).

~Fr. Felice Cangelosi OFM Cap, Profession in the SFO: Gift and Commitment

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

 

He reached out with God’s love

Francis was grounded in Christ. Francis identified with Christ. Francis put on the mind of Christ. Nothing and no one could diminish Francis’ ability to recognize his beloved Jesus in robbers and sinful friars and men and women who were dominated by desires contrary to God’s love. From his heart of compassion and love, Francis saw their deep need of God. He reached out with God’s love, which dwelt within his own heart, to touch the unknown yearning in the heart of the other.

~ Lester Bach, OFM Cap, The Franciscan Journey: Embracing the Franciscan Vision