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Stella Matutina » 2005 » September » 27, the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis blog
The Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis
Stella Matutina

September 27, 2005

Led and pushed secular to be…

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 7:23 am

Led and pushed secular to be,
“We are not monks you know”,
on every day need we pray,
and refuse a lusty show?

The thrust of the modern Secular Franciscan Order, and perhaps many of the modern Third Orders, is just that. The laity are told to be secular. In the case of the SFO that seems to be why the Order changed its name even, from The Third Order of St. Francis to The Secular Franciscan Order. The Order seeks to be more worldly. Of the world even as it is in the world. That is not the mission the people of God have been given. They are called to be in the world as lay people. That is true. But, and this is most important, not “of the world??. Everything in and of this world will pass away or perish.

Our hopes are not in this world. The work we must do as lay people is. We are not monks, it is true. However, as laity we are to live with the same focus on Christ as priests and religious do, and no one should ever tell us ‘You are not religious??, though it happens often. We NEED to be religious in our focus, and do all we can in our spare time to forget the world, to pray and fast and prepare ourselves for the work we must do in the world. That is why the Rule of 1221, that St. Francis gave us is so helpful. It shows us in an easy way how we are to live to prepare daily for the life and work God has given us in the world. We live the Rule all the time, and especially in the depths of our heart. We work in the world and return to the Rule to stay focused as we must on Christ. We must ‘become the Rule’. Why else would St. Francis give us such a demanding Rule? Every day we do need to pray, to deny ourselves, and take up our crosses. In time, we find refreshment in the demands of the Rule of 1221, the Rule of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis in these modern times.

And if we don’t live that Rule, which calls us away from sinful things including entertainment, we might get trapped by the things of the world. These things include many distractions which we must refuse. Anything that keeps us from focusing on Christ is sinful and must be refused. Some things are inherently sinful in and of themselves, like lusty shows. We need to avoid both the things that keep us from Christ, and the things that are inherently sinful. May the Lord give us all the grace, strength, and wisdom to see this, and to do it.