To die to themselves

What does Francis’ experience say to us today? What can we all imitate of him right now? Be it those that God calls to reform the Church by the way of holiness, be it those who feel called to renew her by way of criticism, be it those who he himself calls to reform her by way of the office that they hold? The same thing from which Francis’ spiritual adventure began: his conversion from the I to God, his denial of self. It is thus that true reformers are born, those who really change something in the Church, people who are dead to themselves. Better still, those who decide seriously to die to themselves, because it is an enterprise that lasts the whole of life and also beyond, if, as Saint Teresa of Avila said jokingly, our self-love dies 20 minutes after us.

~ Father Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap (preacher of the pontifical household), 1st Advent Homily 2013: “To prepare ourselves for Christmas in the company of Francis of Assisi” via ZENIT 

On the fifth anniversary of my profession (thanks be to God)…

Profession of Commitment to the Gospel Life

 

I, N.N.,
by the grace of God,
renew my baptismal promises
and consecrate myself to the service of His Kingdom.

Therefore,
in my secular state,
I promise to live
all the days of my life
the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
in the Secular Franciscan Order
by observing its Rule of life.

May the grace of the Holy Spirit,
the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary
and our holy father Saint Francis,
and the fraternal bonds of community
always be my help,
so that I may reach the goal
of perfect Christian love.

~ The Ritual of the Secular Franciscan Order

The first obstacle

 The first obstacle on the path towards the Gospel has to be the habit of taking a purely mental, theoretical approach to the subject. The aim of the Gospel is not to satisfy the intellectual demands of an educated person, but to help him step onto the path of spiritual rebirth and renewal. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17).

~ Archpriest Sergius Chetverikov,  “Obstacles on the Path to the Gospel