Friday, January 3, 2014

The Gospel & Faithfulness

Should the Franciscan tradition teach people to recreate the experience of a Francis or Clare? 
Certainly not!  The attempt would be fruitless and frustrating. Franciscans always lean toward a decision that reflects the Gospel (bringing light and life). Our focus is always on how closely Francis’ vision reflects the Gospel. Francis tried to call our attention to the standards found in the Gospel of Christ. We don’t begin our conversion with people out there, but with the person within! Putting the Gospel into action requires dedication.

A dedicated Franciscan:
1.      Reads the Gospels each day.
2.      Is faithful to liturgical and personal prayer.
3.      Has a healthy loyalty to the Church and it members.
4.      Constantly asks, “How do I express love in this situation?”
5.      Has a love for the Blessed Virgin Mary.
6.      Fulfills his/her vocational duties each day.
7.      Attends as many monthly fraternities gathering as possible.
8.      Participates in fraternity outreach projects whenever possible.
9.      Lives simply and humbly.
10.  Accepts all peoples.
11.  Supports justice whenever necessary.
12.  Focuses on peace.
13.  Has a deep reverence for creation.
14.  Grows in faith.
15.  Welcomes Sister Death when she comes.

1.         As I read the signs of the times, positive and negative, where might I be most competent to insert gospel values and actions? – Participation in any Bible or Liturgical Study.

2.         If Franciscans lean to Gospel solutions, what personal perspectives might I have to change to lean to Gospel ways?
            1.         A call to a penitential life-style.
            2.         Affirmation of the Franciscan ideal of universal brotherhood, or family.
            3.         Dedication to justice.
            4.         Dedication to being a joyful peacemaker.
            5.         Pledge to serve the poor and oppressed.
            6.         Willingness to embrace a simple life-style after the manner of Christ and his Mother Mary.
            7.         Offer up prayer for the deceased brothers and sisters.
            8.         Give funds (according to my means) to cover the expenses necessary for the life of the
                         fraternity, the needs of worship, the apostolate, and charity.

3.         What personal contributions are most important for Secular Franciscans at Fraternity gatherings?
The council should organize regular and frequent meetings of the community as well as meeting with other Franciscan groups, especially with youth groups.   It should adopt appropriate means for growth in Franciscan and ecclesial life and encourage everyone to a life of fraternity.
The fraternity is to become:
1.      The basic unit of the whole Order
2.      A visible sign of the Church,
3.      A community of love.
This foundation becomes the privileged place for developing:
1.      A sense of Church
2.      The Franciscan vocation
3.      The apostolic life of its members.

4.         If we are to recreate the experiences of Francis and Clare, how do we have a Franciscan impact in today’s world? – Evangelize

I prayed, and understanding was given me; I called on God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepters and thrones, and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her. Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem, because all gold is but a little sand in her sight, and silver will be accounted as clay before her. I loved her more than health and beauty, and I chose to have her rather than light, because her radiance never ceases. All good things came to me along with her, and in her hands uncounted wealth. I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom leads them; but I did not know that she was their mother. I learned without guile and I impart without grudging; I do not hide her wealth, for it is an unfailing treasure for mortals; those who get it obtain friendship with God, commended for the gifts that come from instruction.
May God grant me to speak with judgment, and to have thoughts worthy of what I have received; for he is the guide even of wisdom and the corrector of the wise. For both we and our words are in his hand, as are all understanding and skill in crafts. For it is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists, to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements; the beginning and end and middle of times, the alternations of the solstices and the changes of the seasons, the cycles of the year and the constellations of the stars, the natures of animals and the tempers of wild animals, the powers of spirits and the thoughts of human beings, the varieties of plants and the virtues of roots; I learned both what is secret and what is manifest, for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me.
There is in her a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent, pure, and altogether subtle. For wisdom is more mobile than any motion; because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light,
a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness. Although she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets; for God loves nothing so much as the person who lives with wisdom.
She is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night, but against wisdom evil does not prevail. She reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and she orders all things well. I loved her and sought her from my youth; I desired to take her for my bride, and became enamored of her beauty. She glorifies her noble birth by living with God, and the Lord of all loves her. For she is an initiate in the knowledge of God, and an associate in his works. If riches are a desirable possession in life,
what is richer than wisdom, the active cause of all things? And if understanding is effective, who more than she is fashioner of what exists? And if anyone loves righteousness, her labors are virtues; for she teaches self-control and prudence, justice and courage; nothing in life is more profitable for mortals than these. And if anyone longs for wide experience, she knows the things of old, and infers the things to come;
she understands turns of speech and the solutions of riddles; she has foreknowledge of signs and wonders
and of the outcome of seasons and times. Therefore I determined to take her to live with me, knowing that she would give me good counsel and encouragement in cares and grief.  (Wisdom 7:7-30,8:1-9)

  1. What relationship do you see between the gift of Wisdom and the gift of the Holy Spirit?
I do not hide her wealth, for it is an unfailing treasure for mortals; those who get it obtain friendship with God.
In every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God. 
I desired to take her for my bride. 
I determined to take her to live with me, knowing that she would give me good counsel and encouragement in cares and grief.
She teaches self-control and prudence, justice and courage. 
Against wisdom evil does not prevail. 
Wisdom is the fashioner of all things.
Because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. 
She is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty. 
She is an image of God’s goodness

  1. How can the gift of Wisdom help Franciscans follow the SFO Rule of 1978?
            St. Francis stated “I have done what was mine to do, may Christ now show you what is yours.”  Wisdom will reveal what God’s will is in the circumstances of our lives.

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