An even greater richness

One’s profession in the Secular Franciscan Order is a special way of intensifying the effect of baptism. Entering a secular or religious order is not another sacrament, like ordination or marriage, precisely because its intent and result is identical to baptism, but on a deeper level. For example, a person may play a simple melody on the piano all by itself; that same melody is played again with harmonics and chords to give it an even greater richness, depth, and fulfillment. So, profession directs, intensifies, and deepens the “melody” of Christian life first played at baptism. 

~ Benet A. Fonck, OFM, Editor, Called to Follow Christ

Lives that are daily immersed

This is the challenge that Pope Francis invites us all to take up. It is to convert the world through Love, not a cowardly sentimentality, but a burning, infinite Love that radiates directly from the Holy Spirit dwelling within us and leaps forth to set fire to the souls of each person we encounter. It is a Love that proceeds from lives lived in holiness, humility, and total dependency on Jesus and surrender to His Holy Will.

If we are to re-evangelize this world that has forgotten the face of Our Savior, we must begin not with catechesis (though that will come), but with charity and holiness of life. This can only come about through lives that are daily immersed in prayer and the sacraments of the Church, lives of continual interior conversion, penance, and true poverty of spirit. We must strive to live, by God’s grace and as near as we are able, in imitation of that of St. Francis of Assisi.

Living without grasping

The Latin words sine proprio in the writings of Francis are usually translated poverty, but that is a quite inadequate translation of them. They refer, rather, to a way of living without grasping (and are thus far more about attitudes and values than about intrinsic wealth or the lack of it).

For Francis the Eucharist is a sign of the sine proprio of Christ – he holds nothing of himself back for himself, but pours himself out totally in saving and redeeming grace to us in the Sacrament. And yet the Sacrament is also the means by which we may return all that we are and have to Christ, appropriating nothing of it to ourselves.

~Gordon Plumb, St. Francis of Assisi and Eucharistic Adoration

This is your home

One morning just before dismissing us, the priest said, “Stay as long as you like. This is your home.”

Oh, this IS my home! I thought, and wandered around for a bit, then went and sat before the Blessed Sacrament myself. Of course the Church is no one building; every Catholic church is my home. But that I could leave my earthly home, drive eight minutes, and sit before Christ is a sacred mystery and gift beyond all imagining.

~Heather King, Shirt of Flame

Souls who can recognize God…

Likewise, souls who can recognize God in the most trivial, the most grievous and the most mortifying things that happen to them in their lives, honor everything equally with delight and rejoicing, and welcome with open arms what others dread and avoid.

~Jean-Pierre de Caussade, The Sacrament of the Present Moment

Thus, only the heart is different.

Just as there was no difference between what the good and the bad thief had to do and suffer in order to become saints, neither is there for souls, some of whom are worldly and others spiritual. Those who damn their souls do so by attempting to achieve through their fantasies what those who save their souls achieve through submitting to your will, and by protesting and grumbling about what those who are saved suffer with resignation. Thus, only the heart is different.

~Jean-Pierre de Caussade, The Sacrament of the Present Moment