The Commitment of Profession

Fr. Felice Cangelosi OFM Cap continues his discussion on profession in the Secular Franciscan Order.

The formula of Profession in the Secular Franciscan Order reads:

I, N.N., by the grace of God, renew my baptismal promises and consecrate myself to the service of his kingdom(Ritual II,31).

Prior to that, the Preface to the Ritual states:

The nature of commitment to the gospel life is: the renewal of one’s consecration and promises made at baptism and confirmation. This means dedicating oneself to God through his People with all the consequences flowing from it, up to the present moment, in order to live in union with God and to hold firm to his plan of salvation, by means of a consecration that is to be lived in the world” (14a).

With reference to the texts just quoted, we should note that the concept of consecration has many meanings, of which the Ritual of the Secular Franciscan Order has chosen one, intending to highlight most of all the human effort to dedicate oneself to God. The Ritual uses the verb to consecrate, giving it the meaning of to devote, in other words to dedicate, reserve and destine a thing or a person for God and His exclusive service. It goes without saying that in the specific context of the Ritual of the Secular Franciscan Order it is persons who are involved; consequently, they are the ones who must offer themselves to God with full freedom and awareness.

From this point of view profession is the act by which a person places him/herself into the hands (mancipare = manus capere) of God, enabling God to take hold of him, with the result that from the precise moment of profession, the person no longer belongs to him/herself, but is considered as totally “expropriated” and at God’s entire disposal. By virtue of profession, the person becomes God’s property, and therefore “sacred”

In reality however, the verb consecrate and its corresponding noun consecration, properly indicate the act by which God takes possession of the person (who is enabled to give him/herself totally by the gift of the Spirit who draws him/her), placing His seal upon the person and making him/her His own exclusive property.

In itself the value of consecration lies in its descending dimension: the person is consecrated, receives consecration from God, who draws him/her to Himself and transforms him inwardly so that he/she is able to live the demands of a superior world.

In the Ritual of the Secular Franciscan Order this aspect is hardly absent (we met it in part I when we spoke of Profession as a gift of the Spirit), but, using the words consecrate and consecration in the sense of  “to devote”, the Ritual wants to underline the fact that Profession in the Secular Franciscan Order means to consecrate oneself (reflexive) to a particular task or project, allowing oneself to be totally absorbed by it. .

Obviously, the project to which one dedicates oneself totally by profession in the Secular Franciscan Order, is God’s project, and the consequences deriving from consecration are precisely concerned with union with God, adhering to His saving plan and serving the Kingdom by living in and for the world.

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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”

What to Do?

The following article is by Pat Cetera, OFS. How might you grow during Lent?

Lent: The major penitential season of the Catholic Church in preparation for the celebration of the Sacred Triduum.

Lent: Six weeks of patrons circling an overly filled parking lot at the local Red Lobster, eager to spend more than $50.00 on a meatless meal in “sacrificial abstinence” each Friday evening.

Lent: “Oh, no! … It can’t be! …Not already! But, I just put all the holiday decorations in storage!”

Sound familiar? Those were my own words many times as Lent approached. Why? Maybe because I feared the change I knew was needed in my life. Maybe because it was a time of prayer and sacrifice. Maybe because it demanded extra time each day—something I didn’t have enough of in my self-imposed “busyness” of life. Maybe because my priorities needed adjustment. Maybe for a reason I can’t put my finger on, and never will. Continue reading “What to Do?”

The Holy Name of Jesus

The following message from our minister, Jerry Stecker, is a reminder of who our fraternity is named after.

January 3, Holy Name of Jesus

In a world of fiercely guarded corporate names and logos, it should be easy to understand this feast. The letters IHS are an abbreviation of Jesous, the Greek name for Jesus. 

Although St. Paul might claim credit for promoting devotion to the Holy Name because Paul wrote in Philippians that God the Father gave Christ Jesus “that name that is above every name” (Phil 2:9), this devotion became popular because of 12th-century Cistercian monks and nuns but especially through the preaching of St. Bernardine of Siena, a 15th-century Franciscan.

Bernardine used devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus as a way of overcoming bitter and often bloody class struggles and family rivalries or vendettas in Italian city-states. The devotion grew, partly because of Franciscan and Dominican preachers. It spread even more widely after the Jesuits began promoting it in the 16th century. 

In 1530, Pope Clement V approved an Office of the Holy Name for the Franciscans. In 1721, Pope Innocent XIII extended this feast to the entire Church. 

Please remember we meet this Sunday for our party at Resurrection. Some signed up to bring food while others agreed to clean up. Remember all family members are welcome.