Sign of our openness

Poverty invites us to go beyond ourselves, by taking from us everything on which we might tend to lean. It is not a matter of simply being poor but of having nothing that can prevent us from being wholly open to the grace of God. The practice of poverty, therefore, is the condition and sign of our openness to the mystery of God.

~ Ilia Delio, Franciscan Prayer

To be receptive and adaptable

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.

~ Benet A. Fonck, OFM, Called to Follow Christ: Commentary on the Secular Franciscan Rule (SFO Resource Library, Vol. 1)

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Laudato Si: The language of fraternity and beauty

His [St. Francis] response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him each and every creature was a sister united to him by bonds of affection. That is why he felt called to care for all that exists. His disciple Saint Bonaventure tells us that, “from a reflection on the primary source of all things, filled with even more abundant piety, he would call creatures, no matter how small, by the name of ‘brother’ or ‘sister’”. Such a conviction cannot be written off as naive romanticism, for it affects the choices which determine our behaviour. If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously.

~ Pope Francis, Laudato Si (Praise be to you – On Care For Our Common Home), Paragraph 11

Laudato Si: The heart of what it is to be human.

[St.] Francis helps us to see that an integral ecology calls for openness to categories which transcend the language of mathematics and biology, and take us to the heart of what it is to be human. Just as happens when we fall in love with someone, whenever he would gaze at the sun, the moon or the smallest of animals, he burst into song, drawing all other creatures into his praise. He communed with all creation, even preaching to the flowers, inviting them “to praise the Lord, just as if they were endowed with reason”.

~ Pope Francis, Laudato Si (Praise be to you – On Care For Our Common Home), Paragraph 11

Penitential life

The fundamental value of penitential spirituality is integral to the continued development of Franciscan life and spirituality. The penitential life is not a matter of “doing penance” or accomplishing penitential acts, rather it is the openness to grow, to be shaped, and formed in a life that reflects the dynamic movement and presence of Christ within. Metanoia is not something we do; it is God’s gracious gift. Our participation in metanoia depends on our capacity to be receptive, bent low in prayerful and contemplative love, to dwell in Christ, and with Christ live in bountiful love and service to others.

~ Margaret Magee, O.S.F, “Reclaiming Penitential Spirituality for the 21st Century,” The Cord 57, No. 2 (April/June 2007), 152.

Your actions will be clear

The state of spacious heart openness is known in spiritual traditions as surrender. Not what you usually think about when you hear the word “surrender,” is it? We usually equate the word with capitulation and consider it a sign of weakness. But surrender, spiritually understood, has nothing to do with outer capitulation, with rolling over and playing dead. It has to do with keeping the right alignment inwardly that allows you to stay in the flow of your deeper sustaining wisdom—to “feel the force,” in those legendary words from the first Star Wars movie. In that state of openness you then decide what you’re going to do about the outer situation. whatever you do, whether you acquiesce or vigorously resist, your actions will be clear. 

Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Jesus via The Mercy Blog

A life of lived prayer

A Franciscan approach to ministry must always be rooted in a life of lived prayer. Those who adopt a Franciscan approach to ministry are not just people who pray, but people whose whole life serves as a prayer by their words and actions. Lived prayer is the openness to ongoing conversion that allows God to enter one’s life and transform it from the preoccupations of worldly concerns and triviality to an expression of authentic Gospel living – following Christ’s footsteps and working as God’s instrument of peace today.

~Francis of Assisi and the Future of Faith by Daniel Horan OFM