Perhaps, you will not be required to pour out your blood as a martyr, but you will certainly be asked to give a coherent and steadfast witness in fulfilling the promises made at your Baptism and Confirmation, which you renewed and confirmed with your profession in the Franciscan Secular Order. By virtue of this profession, the Rule and the General Constitutions must represent for each of you the point of reference for daily living, based on your explicit vocation and special identity (cf. Promulgation of the General Constitutions of the SFO). If you are truly driven by the Spirit to reach the perfection of charity in your secular state, “it would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity” (Novo Millennio ineunte, n. 31). You must be sincerely dedicated to that “high standard of ordinary Christian living” (ibid.), to which I invited all the faithful at the end of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.
A serious life of contemplative prayer is very important for the times in which we live. The traditional structures of support that have made our lives comfortable and easy are presently engulfed in confusion, but transformation is slowly taking place.
God is moving us away from clinging to things, people and institutions. He is calling us to detachment, to the desert, to the journey into the night of naked faith. He is calling us to cling to him, and only him. This journey is difficult, frightening at times, and even risky. But, those who embark upon the journey will be transformed into living witnesses of the God of love.
God still calls us today to bear witness to Jesus through acts of generosity and loving service that are in line with our circumstances. We have to be willing to let God make us uncomfortable!!!! We have to say, “God, here are my plans, take the wheel of my life.” If we truly let God take the wheel and dare to serve others, God won’t leave us in need either.
Our Franciscanism is not just a private affair nor merely a personal road to sanctity. It is more then one’s belonging to an organization that assures spiritual benefits in an easily obtainable way.
Rather, our Franciscan way of life is a precious gift and an involving mission. By committing ourselves to the gospel of Jesus through observing the SFO rule of life, we become a living sacrifice of praise and thanks, and a vibrant witness of the Good News for all to see and hear.
We need to really believe what we say we believe. Then we need to prove it by the witness of our lives. We need to be so convinced of the truths of the Creed that we are on fire to live by these truths, to love by these truths, and to defend these truths, even to the point of our own discomfort and suffering. We are ambassadors of the living God to a world that is on the verge of forgetting him. Our work is to make God real; to be the face of his love.
~ Archbishop Chaput via OH……….. FRANCESCO
Let us all remember this: one cannot proclaim the Gospel of Jesus without the tangible witness of one’s life.
~ Pope Francis, via OH……….. FRANCESCO.
You have to hunger and thirst for righteousness. You have to have faith, you have to have hope that if you live your life by the blueprint of the Gospel, God will take care of the rest. He says Don’t worry what you’re going to eat or what you’re going to wear. But by take care of I don’t mean protect from all harm. He himself was hardly protected from all harm. I mean take care of in the sense that your enemies may kill you but your life will bear fruit. Your life will go toward the building of the Kingdom. That’s the goal for the authentic follower of Christ. To go toward the building of God. He who saves his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for my sake will find it. Your goal can’t be power, property, prestige, security. That’s the goal of our government and we are all witnessing where that leads.
~ Heather King, PEACE IN OUR PERSONAL LIVES
The Holy Father asks none of us to abandon the task of bringing the world to Jesus Christ. Our witness matters. Every unborn child saved, every marriage strengthened, every immigrant helped, every poor person served, matters. God calls on us to help him sanctify every aspect of our shared lives – at home, at work and in the public square.
But if, as the Pope describes her, the Church is a “field hospital” for the wounded in a cruel world, then the goal of our witness is to create a space of beauty and mercy; to accompany those who suffer; to understand the nature of their lives; to care for and heal even those who reject us. We need to speak the truth, and work for the truth, with love. And we need to realize that nothing we do – either as individuals or parish communities — will bear fruit unless we give ourselves to the whole Gospel with our whole heart.
~ Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M.Cap., Pope Francis and ‘The Interview’ – Catholic Philly.
The world today needs people who are in love with God, or rather witnesses who reveal themselves as disciples whom Jesus loves. The only thing that can break through the complexity and the confusion of the people of our time is the simple and holy Love of God.
Joe Reciniello, OH……….. FRANCESCO, “Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us daily”
Faith is not a matter of adding something on to reality; it is a matter of plunging deeper into reality, of aligning oneself with the truth about the human condition. Reality is already enchanted, if you will. As Catholics, as apostolic witnesses, we are not trying to convince our neighbors to recognize something different from everyday reality; we are trying to help them recognize what is true, good, and beautiful in the reality that we all perceive.
Phil Lawler, “To defend marriage, the truth is enchanting enough”