The Franciscan charism has been called “the fruitful ideal”. It keeps fermenting in the minds and hearts of countless “you’s” and “me’s” that have encountered St. Francis of Assisi.
In singleness of mind and heart, St. Francis took the words of the Holy Gospel and made them his own. In few and simple words, the fruit of nights and days of much prayer and reflection, he tells us how he lived as a brother to all creatures, his sisters and brothers in the One Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Once touched by his example we allow the Word of the Lord to speak to us and with or without others we make our path through life, always open to the promptings of the spirit but not compelled or restrained by them. That freedom of the spirit makes us Franciscans unique individuals. By the grace of God we are our own in the Lord and in kindly charity with others, yes, both challenging and being challenged.
I am ever searching. I am reminded of the Gospel parable about the man who finds a treasure buried in a field, then goes and sells all he has to purchase that field. And as I go through life, as I suppose you do, I never seem to know how much that field costs. I just keep cashing in whatever I have, keeping nothing for myself, in the hope that I will one day have that treasure. And how we rejoice for the woman who finds the coin she has lost, and she calls all her neighbors to have them celebrate with her. And so we never give up, but are ever encouraged by one another as we are led on from virtue to virtue, knowing that God is ever faithful, caring for us and strengthening us along the way. As St. Francis was not concerned about founding an Order but looked only for and welcomed brothers and sisters, so too we Franciscans are not that concerned about belonging to an institution, but more interested in searching and finding what we do not yet have. And so we keep running and climbing mountains making straight a path to the Lord. And so I am pleased to invite you on this journey that goes beyond the “REFLECTIONS” to the very heart of God. To Jesus through Mary in the glory of the Most Holy Trinity. Amen.