To make bread or love, to dig in the earth, to feed an animal or cook for a stranger—these activities require no extensive commentary, no lucid theology. All they require is someone willing to bend, reach, chop, stir. Most of these tasks are so full of pleasure that there is no need to complicate things by calling them holy. And yet these are the same activities that change lives, sometimes all at once and sometimes more slowly, the way dripping water changes stone. In a world where faith is often construed as a way of thinking, bodily practices remind the willing that faith is a way of life.
Just as the root feeds the tree, so humility feeds the soul. The spirit of humility is sweeter than honey, and whoever is fed by this sweetness produces fruit.
Liberty born of poverty and humility, the happy fruit of minoritas, becomes in turn the root and source of Franciscan joy. In the heart of him who lives for God and whose desires are always in accord with the Will of God there arises such joy that nothing in the world, whether men or circumstances, can destroy or lessen it. For him there can be no reason for sadness save abandonment of this attachment to God and that is sin. The gloomy friar finds no sympathy in St. Francis: “Let the friars take care not to show themselves outwardly as gloomy and sad hypocrites, but let them show themselves joyful in the Lord, and gladsome and becomingly courteous.” Only the true “minor” possessed of the Spirit of the Lord attains the true and deepest source of perfect joy , for only to him is revealed the secret of this joy which comes down to all Friars Minor not only as the heritage but also as the challenge of St. Francis.
~ Cajetan Esser OFM, “Franciscan Poverty, Liberty and Joy“
In reality, sin is part of the human terrain and a daily challenge to our discipleship. And if our hearts are cold, if our minds are closed, if our spirits are fat and acquisitive, curled up on a pile of our possessions, then the Church in this country will wither. It’s happened before in other times and places, and it can happen here. We can’t change the world by ourselves. And we can’t reinvent the Church. But we can help God change us. We can live our faith with zeal and conviction – and then God will take care of the rest.
~ Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
1. The Apostle says: The letter kills, but the spirit gives life (2 Cor 3:6). 2. Those are killed by the letter who merely wish to know the words alone, so that they may be esteemed as wiser than others and be able to acquire great riches to give to [their] relatives and friends. 3. In a similar way, those religious are killed by the letter who do not wish to follow the spirit of Sacred Scripture, but only wish to know [what] the words [are] and [how to] interpret them to others. 4. And those are given life by the spirit of Sacred Scripture who do not refer to themselves any text which they know or seek to know, but, by word and example, return everything to the most high Lord God to Whom every good belongs.
~ St. Francis, The Admonitions, Number 7: ” Good works must follow knowledge”
You are called to give your own contribution, inspired by the person and message of St. Francis of Assisi, in speeding up the advent of a civilization in which the dignity of the human person, co-responsibility and love will be a living reality. You must deepen the true foundations of the world-wide fraternity and create everywhere the spirit of welcome and the atmosphere of brotherliness. Commit yourselves firmly against all forms of exploitation, discrimination, and marginalization and against all attitudes of indifference towards others.
~ Pope John Paul II, Address to SFO 10th General Chapter, November 22, 2002
The harsh statements of Bonaventure refer not to God’s creation as such but to distorted forms of human relations to the world of created things. These texts are concerned with the ways in which we give more weight to created goods than they can bear. To appreciate them as creatures of God that awaken us to a sense of the divine is one thing. To allow them to replace God in our spiritual journey is quite another thing. Created things are good and true, but theirs is a limited goodness and truth, had only by reason of participation in the divine goodness and truth.
~ Zachary Hayes OFM, Bonaventure: Mystical Writings
Open your eyes therefore, prick up your spiritual ears, open your lips, and apply your heart, that you may see your God in all creatures, may hear Him, praise Him, love and adore Him, magnify and honor Him, lest the whole world rise against you.
~ St. Bonaventure, The Mind’s Road to God
I hear from a lot of people who, as soon as I mention peace, want to know, But can’t we use violence here, and here and here? Aren’t we obligated to use violence in this situation and that situation? Aren’t you interested in in carving out the exception? And I’m like No. I am not. We live in a culture that worships violence. That cadre hardly needs another spokesperson. What an incredible notion! Why on God’s green earth would a follower of the Prince of Peace waste his or her time trying to figure out how to be “legitimately” violent? Why, in a world of flowers, trees, birds, books, music, wonder, would I be looking for an excuse, a loophole that “allowed” me to harm the flesh, spirit, mind and heart of another human being?
Heather King, PEACE IN OUR PERSONAL LIVES
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