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?

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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”

Stars and Shadows

Note: The following reflection was written by Sr. Marie Lucey, director of advocacy of the Franciscan Action Network.

It is hard to let go of the Advent and Christmas Seasons and move into Ordinary Time, especially since we expect 2017 to be anything but “ordinary” in political and geo-political terms. We have been nourished by prophetic visions and nativity stories of angels, dreams, and stars centered on the Child, Emmanuel, hope for the world.Epiphany closes the Season with the manifestation of the Christ Child to the Gentiles, with magi from the East bringing rich gifts and bowing in homage to the Child.

Continue reading “Stars and Shadows”

Restoring Dignity to the Excluded

The following article is a weekly reflection from the Franciscan Action Network on the reading of the 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time.

The encyclical Laudato Si describes many of the crises regarding God’s creation, a creation which is depicted by the author of the book of Wisdom as “loved by God and embracing God’s imperishable spirit.” (Wis. 11:24, 12:1) However, in the encyclical the Pope adds “We are faced …with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.”(Laudato Si, 139)

In our Gospel, Saint Luke tells of Jesus “restoring dignity to the excluded.” Continue reading “Restoring Dignity to the Excluded”

12 Weeks of Franciscan Peace

Carolyn D. Townes, OFS, the Animator for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) for the National Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order, has provided a set of reflections for us to consider each of the next 12 weeks.

You can download the complete set of reflections here.

Let us always remain mindful of the Gospel call to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). As Franciscans, we are called to be “bearers of peace” and always “seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through dialogue, trusting in the presence of the divine seed in everyone and in the transforming power of love and pardon.” (OFS Rule #19)

I invite everyone to share there thoughts and comments on these reflections below. How are you a peacemaker in your life? How do these reflections comfort or challenge you to be a peacemaker?

Gratitude to Sylvia Hood Washington and Lauren Washington for bringing this resource to the attention of the fraternity!