The Franciscan Calling

The following reflection comes from Richard Rohr, OFM. You can read more about the Franciscan calling and read more of Fr. Richard’s reflections at www.cac.org.

Francis did not wish for himself or his followers to be priests, to take higher places on the Church’s hierarchical ladder of education, prestige, and power. Francis was apparently ordained a deacon, likely under pressure, because he never talks or writes about it. The sign of a true Franciscan heart is devotion to the Gospel, regardless of title, group, or official status. These hallmarks of the Secular Franciscan Order (from the formation manual For Up To Now) can be claimed and practiced by anyone:

  • Simplicity (A spirituality that is genuine; without pretense)
  • Poverty (Love of Gospel poverty develops confidence in the Father and creates internal freedom)
  • Humility (The truth of what and who we really are in the eyes of God; freedom from pride and arrogance)
  • A genuine sense of minority (The recognition that we are servants, not superior to anyone)
  • A complete and active abandonment to God (Trusting in God’s unconditional love)
  • Conversion (Daily we begin again the process of changing to be more like Jesus)
  • Transformation (What God does for us, when we are open and willing)
  • Peacemaking (We are messengers of peace as Francis was) [1]

Re-read these qualities of a Franciscan and discern if you are called to live in such a way, making the Gospel the very core of your day-to-day doings and being. What is yours to do?

The Rule of the Gospel

In a recent daily meditations, Richard Rohr, OFM, speaks about what it means to follow the Franciscan vocation:

To be a Franciscan is nothing other than always searching for “the marrow of the Gospel” as [Francis] called it. Francis said the purpose and goal of our life is to live the marrow or core of the Gospel. Honestly, the core is so simple that it’s hard to live.

You can read the entire meditation here.

The Feast of Corpus Christi

On June 18, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). Pat Cetera, OFS, offers this brief reflection, illustrating how we might live “the faith of Saint Francis, who often said, ‘I see nothing bodily of the Most High Son of God in this world except his most holy body and blood.'” (OFS Rule #5)

Our Lord instituted the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper on Holy Thursday. The minds and hearts of those present were overcome with fear and uncertainty, as they focused on Good Friday. The love, joy, and gratitude for the Gift of the Blessed Sacrament was not expressed.

In her great wisdom, Holy Mother Church established the Feast of Corpus Christi (Body and Blood of Christ) in the Diocese of Liege, in Belgium in the year 1246. The reigning Holy Father, Urban IV, declared that the Feast be celebrated throughout the world in 1264, on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday. There was to be a Eucharistic Procession as part of the celebration either on that Thursday or the following Sunday. Thus,the Feast of Corpus Christi would allow public adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in joy, with gratitude. Continue reading “The Feast of Corpus Christi”

The Walk to Emmaus

At our last gathering, we invited Julie Berggren, OFS to lead us in an afternoon of reflection. The heart of this reflection centered on the Walk to Emmaus. (Luke 24:13-35) For our brothers and sisters who were unable to attend, the reflection is provided here so that, while you might not have been with us physically, you can still share in this experience that helped bring our fraternity together in fellowship and love. Continue reading “The Walk to Emmaus”

Recycled Orchestra

Trusting in the Father, Christ chose for himself and his mother a poor and humble life, even though he valued created things attentively and lovingly. Let the Secular Franciscans seek a proper spirit of detachment from temporal goods by simplifying their material needs. Let them be mindful that according to the gospel they are stewards of the goods received fore the benefit of God’s children. (OFS Rule, #11)

Phyllis Sadowski shared this video that offers us an opportunity to remind us that we are called to live simply; even in simplicity, God gives us the means to find beauty in the world, and make treasures out of trash.

The Prologue

The minister of the St. Bernardine of Siena Fraternity, Jerry Stecker, OFS, offers a reflection of the Prologue to the OFS Rule. This talk was given at our general gathering in April, and can be downloaded from the Formation page of this site.

After I professed as a Secular Franciscan I thought I knew enough to continue on in my vocation. Yet as time went on I realized I had just scratched the surface in understanding my calling. What does it mean to be a secular in today’s world? How do I live my vocation each day? Continue reading “The Prologue”

A Few Prayerful Thoughts

The following article is by the secretary of the St. Bernardine of Siena Fraternity, Pat Cetera, OFS.

A hundred years ago on May 13, 1917, as three poor shepherd children (Jacinta, Francisco, Lucia) worked the fields, Our Lady of the Rosary appeared the first time in Fatima, Portugal. During the sixth and final apparition on October 13, 1917, the “Messenger” and the message was authenticated when the sun danced across the sky, and seemed to plummet to earth before returning to its natural home. Unbelievers became believers.

The message was similar to all other messages reaching the world from Our Lord and Our Mother: pray for the conversion of sinners and world peace, perform acts of sacrifice and reparation, be repentant and change our lives.This time, secrets were entrusted and promises were made. Those who embrace the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (as requested by Jesus) in reparation for all the outrages and blasphemies wounding her deeply, were promised salvation. The daily recitation of the rosary for peace and the conversion of sinners, the Consecration of Russia, and the Five First Saturdays were requested. Unless people honored these requests, there would be punishment because Our Lady could “no longer hold back the arm of her Beloved Son”.

As with our own children, we choose not to hear or obey. Conflicts are still present in distant lands as well as in our own, and extend into our lives and communities. Sin runs rampant everywhere. Morality is difficult to find, or “adjusted” by what we think it should be. Many do pray the rosary daily for peace and the conversion of sinners, yet for the rest of us, “more important things” often keep us from doing what we need to do.

When we participate in the many celebrations to honor Our Blessed Mother during the next few months, let us open our hearts and lives to her, and the message she has given. Pray that all her children obey and heed the warnings. After all, a Mother speaks out of love to teach and protect the children entrusted to her. Our Lady, the Perfect Mother, out of love, is constantly leading us directly to her Son.