This is what we might call the missionary vocation of the Franciscan way of life. Emerging from a commitment to follow in “the teaching and footprints of Jesus Christ,” this is a disposition that orients the believer outward and toward others as opposed to inward and focused on the self. Like Jesus in the Gospels, Francis saw an inherent value in not acquiring the security and comfort afforded by the appropriation of property, resources, and status.
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.
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.
If there is a word which does complete justice to Franciscan theology and spirituality, it is ‘Christocentric,’ and they have this as their distinguishing feature, because the faith and holiness of St. Francis were totally centered on Christ. In Jesus Christ the revelation is made to us of what the world, as a whole and in all its parts, means to God.
Easter is a time to see and a time to join the general dance of creation. To remember not only that which has been fulfilled in Christ’s death and resurrection, but to recall also what St. Francis said in recalling that in the Incarnation we have the promise that salvation is at hand. For, as Merton writes, “The Lord made the world and made humanity in order the He Himself might descend into the world, that He Himself might become human. When He regarded the world He was about to make He say His wisdom, as a man-child, ‘playing in the world, playing before Him at all times.’ And He reflected, ‘My delights are to be with the children of humanity.’”
God has entered our world as one of us, drawn close to us out of a self-emptying desire and love, assumed all of our reality, and consecrates it completely in the Resurrection, where now creation and divinity exist eternally as one. Merton continues: “For in becoming human, God became not only Jesus Christ but also potentially every man and woman that ever existed. In Christ, God became not only ‘this’ man, but also, in a broader and more mystical sense, yet no less truly, ‘every man.’”
~ Daniel P. Horan, OFM, Easter is about the General Dance | Dating God.
We adore you and we bless you, Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all the churches which are in the whole world, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
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.
Only prayer can transform us into what we desire, that is, if we truly desire God. Prayer is to make real the Word made flesh—in our lives and in our world. Prayer is the Spirit of the Word that transforms our flesh into the body of Christ. It is an awakening to who we are in Christ and to the fact that we are the path to peace. The Franciscan path of prayer leads one to proclaim by example and deed: Jesus Christ.
~ Ilia Delio, Franciscan Prayer
When a person truly knows Jesus Christ and believes in him, he experiences his presence in life and the power of his Resurrection and he cannot do anything but communicate this experience. And if this person meets with misunderstanding or adversity, he conducts himself as Jesus did in his Passion: he responds with love and with the power of truth.
~ Pope Francis, April 15, 2013, via Little Portion Hermitage
Christian joy is not rooted in the circumstances and struggles of our daily lives. Sometimes the travails we experience are the bad fruit of the disorder and brokenness caused by sin, our wrong choices. However, even then, they need not rob us of this kind of Gospel joy.
Christian Joy finds its root in the relationship we now have in and through Jesus Christ, with the Father, in the Holy Spirit. That relationship not only survives struggle, it thrives in struggle. That is, for those who have living faith. We can learn to rejoice because the Lord is always near.
~ Joe Reciniello, OH……….. FRANCESCO