We have to make it happen!

The ministry of promoting justice and peace must, therefore, touch the attitudes and actions of every Secular Franciscan. As important as it is, it is not enough merely to pray for social justice to happen. We have to make it happen! “Individually and collectively” the Secular Franciscans are called to be in the front lines in securing rights for the common good.

~  Benet A. Fonck, OFM, Called to Proclaim Christ: Short reflections on the SFO Rule

With gratitude

We [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 Franciscans] have a responsibility to show the temporal world that the gospel and the Franciscan charism can be lived in any age, under all conditions and in every stage of life. It follows that our identity as secular people—people in the world—is indivisible from the other components of our identity, and we should “wear” our secularity with gratitude to the One who bestowed it upon us.

~ Anne Mulqueen OFS, “Our Identity as a Secular Franciscan,” (FUN Manual)

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Altered by the Gospel

We know that St. Francis read and meditated upon the Word of God until it was integrated into his very being. In body and soul, St. Francis was altered by the Gospel. His identity changed as he became conformed to the likeness of Christ. St. Francis went beyond imitation. He became one with the beloved. Francis proved that the Gospel could be lived. It was a process for him. It continues to be a process for us. It is what our Rule calls ongoing conversion. If we wish to be changed in the process, we must become one with the Lord.

~ Anne Mulqueen OFS, “Our Identity as a Secular Franciscan,” (FUN Manual)

The best preparation

This openness to the Spirit in all that we do is itself a gift of the Spirit. It is not something we can attain by ourselves. But it is something that we can ask for and prepare ourselves for. Perhaps the best preparation is making ourselves aware of the reality of the Holy Spirit and of his action in our lives. Along with this awareness we must cultivate a desire to know God’s will. Prayer and recollection are essential for this.

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

This love should be seen

As National Minister, I cannot mandate love or joy, so I will defer to our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. After washing the feet of his disciples, our Lord said: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).

This love should be seen in our joy and our caring, regardless of disagreements or contentious discussions. Without others seeing our love and our joy, how can we ever keep the people we now have or receive from the Lord new membership and life?

Tom Bello OFS , National Minister’s Annual Report to the Order, National Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order of the United States of America October 4, 2015

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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To observe the gospel

What does it mean for Secular Franciscans “to observe the gospel”? Above all it means to know God as Father, to have Jesus Christ as the inspiration, model, and criterion of our every action, and to allow ourselves to be guided by the Spirit of the Lord. It also means to realize in our apostolates the love of others in a spirit of service; to work in a context proper to our secular state, witnessing a life of penance as continual conversion to the gospel; to realize a universal fraternity in Christ; to dedicate ourselves to the works of mercy, to the promotion of justice and peace, and to the safeguarding of creation.

~ Emanuela De Nunzio, OFS, “Twentieth Anniversary of the Rule,” The Cord 48.3 (1998)

This moment changes everything

The moment of Profession is a specific moment. It doesn’t just happen. It is prepared for and is joyfully anticipated. It is specific, so that we know exactly what is happening and why. It is a moment not to be forgotten, whose impact is transformational and dictates all we do and say from the moment of profession on. Fr. Felice [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”][Fr. Felice Cangelosi OFM Cap in Profession in the SFO: Gift and Commitment] says that it is the “foundational moment in the identity of the Professed.” This moment changes everything.

~ Fr. Richard Trezza, O.F.M., “Profession and the Secular Franciscan: Theological and Liturgical Foundations” (FUN Manual)

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You have two choices

There is no doubt here that Profession will be a sacrifice if it is taken seriously. This means that you willingly allow yourself to be “set aside” — all is now ready for the infusion of God’s grace in order for you to be able to fulfill your Profession promises. You have two choices. Seek and cooperate with those graces, or continue living your life for yourself and squander those graces.

~ Fr. Richard Trezza, O.F.M., “Profession and the Secular Franciscan: Theological and Liturgical Foundations” (FUN Manual)

There is no circumstance

At this point, Cangelosi [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”][in Profession in the SFO: Gift and Commitment] makes an astounding statement, “The Brothers and Sisters of Penance are asked to offer, constantly and in all the circumstances of life, the supreme proof of their fidelity to God.” There is no place where the Secular Franciscan is excused from living out the Rule. There is no circumstance where the Secular Franciscan cannot find a way to preach the Gospel by word and deed.

~ Fr. Richard Trezza, O.F.M., “Profession and the Secular Franciscan: Theological and Liturgical Foundations” (FUN Manual)

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