Category Archives: Franciscan Seculars

You are called to become a saint

Whether you Like it or not. (Editor’s comment)

Canon Law Made Easy
COMMENTARY: 
by FATHER DWIGHT LONGENECKER 10/30/2013

One of the reasons we celebrate ‘All Saints Day’ and ‘All Souls Day’ one day after the other is a reminder that all souls are called to be saints.
 
In ministering as a Catholic priest, I sometimes get the impression that Catholics are more interested in the minimum than the maximum.

What I mean is that too many Catholics seem to have heard that what is required to be a good Catholic is to go to Mass once a week and confession once a year. That’s it.

Therefore, they do their duty. They check the boxes. They complete the test. They reckon they’ve done just enough to stay out of hell, that God will forgive them the rest, and they’ll coast into heaven having done what’s required.

They seem, to me, like the high-school kid who was told by his teacher that his term paper needed to be five pages long with footnotes, so he turns in a mediocre effort that is five pages of mush with a few footnotes.

This isn’t what a term paper is for. The term paper is a set part of the coursework so the student will not just learn how to write a five-page paper, but also learn something in the process. The term paper was a means to an end. It was not an end in itself. 

So it is with the practice of the Catholic faith. The rules and regulations of the Catholic faith — going to Mass each Sunday and confession once a year, the precepts of the Church and the Ten Commandments — these strictures and structures are a means to an end, not an end in themselves.

They are the rules for the game of sainthood. They are the map for the journey.

The game and the journey are far greater. The destination of the journey and the goal of the game is sanctity. To put it plainly: All of us are supposed to become saints.
Our hearts should burn with the words of St. Thérèse of Lisieux: “You must be a whole saint or no saint at all!”

Once we have entered into the body of Christ through baptism, our destiny is total sanctity. In the Eastern Church, they call this theosis. It means becoming transformed into the full image of Christ.

In St. Paul’s words to the Ephesians, it means “growing up into the full humanity of Jesus.” A saint is not simply a person who is more pious than anyone else. A saint is a person who has become more himself than anyone else.

A saint is an ordinary person who has been made complete and whole and has become the fully alive person God created him to be.

I get the feeling, however, that most Catholics find such an idea to be excessive or extreme. It is as if they are saying to God, “You know, I’m not such a great person. I’m not ambitious. I know you are preparing all those mansions in heaven. Well, I’ll be content with a little shed down in the lower gardens. That’s all right for me. Just as long as I squeeze through the pearly gates, I’ll be fine.”

God has much greater things prepared for us than we can ever dare to hope or imagine. He wants nothing less than our total transformation. He created us to be shining stars in the heavens — brilliant examples of his complete, creative love. He wants us to enjoy the fullness of life in Christ, and many seem content with just getting by.
One of the reasons we celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day one day after the other is a reminder that all souls are called to be saints. We pray for the repose of the souls of our loved ones on All Souls’ Day, but why do we do this?

Saying that we pray “for their repose” makes it sounds passive. Are we simply praying that they will rest in peace? There is more to it than that. We are also praying that God will continue his work of grace in their lives and bring them to the full state of holiness and sanctity for which they were created.

Purgatory is not simply a place of rest. When we die, if we are not in mortal sin, we do not simply go to a retirement home in the sky. Purgatory is not a place of hammocks on the beach, where we can finally put up our feet and have a well-deserved rest.

Purgatory is the place where we finish the work we have left undone on this earth. In purgatory, our remaining weakness, cowardice, lust, greed and selfishness are burned away. Purgatory is a place of progress, not simply a place of peace.

When we pray for our loved ones on All Souls’ Day and throughout the month of November, we should be praying in an active way, not only that they will find peace, but that they will grow up into the full stature of Christ Jesus and rapidly rid themselves of every weight that holds them back — so they might become the radiant images of Christ they were created to be.

As for ourselves, there is a beautiful prayer in the funeral service: “That God might help us to use aright the time that is left to us here on earth.”

The work of becoming a saint is easier here than it is in purgatory. All of us still have plenty of work to do as we cooperate with God’s grace in the great adventure of sanctity. This work requires a courageous and joyful spirit. It requires discipline and the spirit of the warrior.

Again, we hear the call of little St. Thérèse, who said to her novices, “Sanctity: It must be won at the point of a sword!”

Father Dwight Longenecker’s latest book, The Romance of Religion, will be published in February 2014 by Thomas Nelson. Visit his blog, browse his books and be in touch at DwightLongenecker.com.

Franciscan Seculars

St. Francis of Assisi

 


St. Francis’ words: to all Magistrates and Consuls


Climate Change Another version



For Reflections of a Secular Franciscan you can order here   —  —  ,

The Words of our Holy father, Pope Francis
Spiritual Endeavors, and other colloquies.
Pope Francis says, “Jesus cannot be understood without his mother”
 




Bret Thoman, OFS, who has a certificate in Franciscan studies offers fraternities Ongoing Formation Articles



The Words of Saint Mother Teresa
Her words: The Greatest Poverty

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Seek the Gospel Life

THE SECULAR FRANCISCANS INVITE YOU TO FOLLOW THE GOSPEL AS ST. FRANCIS DID.


Francis of Assisi is known as Everybody’s Saint. In fact, many men and women love him so much that they make a lifetime commitment to follow his way of life. Is God calling you to follow Francis?

Questions a prospective member might ask…
What’s the main difference between a practicing Catholic and a Secular Franciscan?
The difference is that in addition to following all the guidelines and fulfilling the obligations of the Church, we make a permanent commitment to live a life of penance, sacrifice and service to God and others as we try to spread the Gospel in the way of Saint Francis of Assisi.

What are some of the qualifications that a person must have to become a Franciscan?
You must be a practicing Catholic in full agreement with all the teachings of the Church, and other laws and not belong to any Religious or other Third Order. You must have a joyful, peaceful disposition with the desire to help and serve others. .

Do I have to attend a lot of meetings? I’m already bogged down with too many.
We have Fraternity meetings once a month. These meetings must have top priority over all your other meetings. This is our special place and time for sharing the spirit of St. Francis with our Franciscan brothers and sisters.

What about dues? How much is it a month?
Members are expected to give to a Common Fund which supports the fraternity and their charities. They are also expected to give to a Regional Fund which supports the Secular Franciscan Order in the Region and Nationally.

Those who cannot pay into the Common and Regional funds as outlined, due to financial hardship, are not required to do so. They will only be asked to contribute according to their means. No one is turned away from the Secular Franciscan Order because of financial difficulty. All are expected to willingly do penance and make sacrifices to give proof of their love for God. The money they give should represent the sacrifices they make for God during the year.

Is the Secular Franciscan Order part of any other Franciscan organization?
We are united in a worldwide Franciscan Order founded by Saint Francis of Assisi over 750 years ago. Our Franciscan family consists of Priests, Religious Brothers and Sisters and lay Franciscans…which we Seculars are. There are, worldwide, about one and a half million lay Franciscans. Here in the USA we have over 25,000 members.

If you’re united into such a worldwide Order, what means are used to guide you?
The Rule, Constitutions and particular Statutes are the guidelines for all of us. It unites us to work as one family for the same spiritual goals and lead us away from the materialistic way of life. We are committed by our vocation to center our life on Christ and to build the Kingdom of God in temporal situations and activities. We live our membership in the Church and in society as an inseparable reality. We allow God to be in charge of our life.

What do you do at your meetings?
 We begin with Mass — Socialize — Say our Franciscan Office, the “Liturgy of the Hours” — Discuss “On- Going-Formation” in which we discuss some aspect of Francis’ life and apply it to our own way of living in the world — Share Scripture, ideas and apostolates — And we have a short business meeting.

Are there any set prayers that must be said everyday? 
Members are required to say a daily office; usually morning and evening prayer of the “Liturgy of the Hours”

Would I wear any kind of a habit or distinctive sign to identify me as a Secular Franciscan?
 You wouldn’t wear any habit as the members did in the 1200s and for many years afterward. To show that you’re a member, you would now wear a “Tau Cross” or a pin, ring, medal, etc. that displays the “Tau Cross.”

What kind of works do you do? 
There are no obligatory works; but, we do have works that we call “apostolates” — these are works that everyone can do. Each Secular Franciscan fraternity tries to fill the needs in their own area and parish. We have individual personal apostolates as well as those where many of the members work together. For example, we work as volunteers in soup kitchens, food and clothing collection centers, hospitals, nursing homes, or act as Eucharistic Ministers, etc. We try to give dignity and courtesy in the face of neglect and degradation. You may choose to work on whatever apostolates that would suit your ability and time.

What kind of spiritual activities do you have? 
We have Retreats, Days of Recollection, Holy Hours, Rosary and other spiritual activities in conjunction with our Region brothers and sisters.

If you want to know more about the Franciscans or find a fraternity contact the editor on our home page.

Secular Franciscan Wake Service

SECULAR FRANCISCAN WAKE SERVICE
INTRODUCTION:
We, the ____________Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order, are here to offer our prayers for _____________OFS.
______________ was a member of the _______________Fraternity. ________ made his Rite of Profession as a Secular Franciscan on______________ at ___ years old. He died on _________________
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Leader: In the name of the Father. . .May the God of hope give you the fullness of peace and may the Lord of life be always with you.
All: And also with you.
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THE CANTICLE OF BROTHER SUN

Leader: ( to be read slowly) St. Francis, in writing the Canticle, wanted to teach us that we are connected with all of creation and with one another.

Leader: Most High, all powerful, good Lord. Yours are the praises, the glory, the honor, and all blessing. To you alone, Most High, do they belong, and no one is worthy to mention your name. Praised be you, my Lord, with all your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun.
All: Who is the day and through whom you give us light, and he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor; and bears a likeness of you, Most High One.

Leader: Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
All: in heaven, you formed them clear and precious and beautiful.

Leader: Praised be you, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
All: and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather—through which you give sustenance to your creatures.

Leader: Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Water,
All: which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

Leader: Praised be you, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
All: and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

Leader: Praised be you, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth,
All: who sustains and governs us, and who produces varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Leader: Praised be you, my Lord, through those who give pardon for your love,
All: And bear infirmity and tribulation.

Leader: Praised be you, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
All: from whom no living person can escape.

Leader: Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
All: Blessed are those whom death will find in your most holy will, for the second death shall do them no harm.

Leader: Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks,
All: and serve Him with great humility.
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Leader: ___________ was united more closely with the Lord and with us through the observance of our way of life. As he strove to follow this Rule of Life, may he be with our Lord and placed among His saints in glory.

Sing: “Peace Prayer”

MAKE ME A CHANNEL OF YOUR PEACE. WHERE IS, HATRED, LET ME BRING YOUR LOVE. WHERE THERE IS INJURY YOUR PARDON, LORD. AND WHERE THERE’S DOUBT, TRUE FAITH IN YOU.

MAKE ME A CHANNEL OF YOUR PEACE. WHERE THERE’S DESPAIR IN LIFE, LET ME BRING HOPE. WHERE THERE IS DARKNESS, ONLY LIGHT, AND WHERE THERE’S SADNESS, EVER JOY.

OH, MASTER, GRANT THAT I MAY NEVER SEEK, SO MUCH TO BE CONSOLED AS TO CONSOLE. TO BE UNDERSTOOD AS TO UNDERSTAND, TO BE LOVED AS TO LOVE WITH ALL MY SOUL.

MAKE ME A CHANNEL OF YOUR PEACE. IT IS IN PARDONING THAT WE ARE PARDONED. IN GIVING OF OURSELVES THAT WE RECEIVE, AND IN DYING THAT WE ARE BORN TO ETERNAL LIFE.

(Reading by Professed Member) Reading: Romans 6:3-9. Short silence.

Leader: As the moment of his death drew near Francis told them to bring a book of the Gospels and asked to have the passage of St. John read.

(Reading by Professed Member) Reading: John 13:1-17. A short period of silent reflection after the reading.

General Intercessions:
Leader: Christ Jesus, give comfort to the family and friends of ____________.

All: Lord, you are our life and resurrection.

Leader: Our brother was united with us in the Franciscan family. Grant him all that was promised by our Father Francis.

All: Lord, you are our life and resurrection.

Leader: Our brother was fed with your Body and Blood. May he find a place at table with you at the heavenly banquet.

All: Lord, have mercy.

Leader: May eternal rest be granted unto him, O Lord.

All: And let perpetual light shine upon him.

Leader: May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

All: (join hands) Our Father…

Sing: “Amazing Grace”
AMAZING GRACE HOW SWEET THE SOUND THAT SAVED AND SET ME FREE. I ONCE WAS LOST, BUT NOW AM FOUND, WAS BLIND BUT NOW I SEE.
YES, WHEN THIS FLESH AND HEART SHALL FAIL AND MORTAL LIFE SHALL CEASE, AMAZING GRACE SHALL THEN PREVAIL IN HEAVEN’S JOY AND PEACE.

Leader: Before we close this service of our brother, let us bless him with the blessing of Saint Francis. All raise their right hand toward ___________ or picture of ______________ and pray:

MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU. MAY HE SHOW HIS FACE TO YOU AND BE MERCIFUL TO YOU.
MAY HE TURN HIS COUNTENANCE TO YOU AND GIVE YOU PEACE. MAY GOD BLESS YOU, _____________.

Leader: Our prayer for our brother has ended. Let us go now, and until that time when the Lord shall gather us all into His Kingdom, let us live in His peace.

All: Thanks be to God.

Leader: In the name of the Father…

Franciscan Spirituality—12 Elements

Clare: meditate—contemplate—Imitate

1. Love: Love of the Incarnation, Love of the Passion, The birth of Christ, The Crèche, Birth, suffering and Death.
2. Poverty and Simplicity: Christ was born in poverty, the more things you have the more you have to dust. Total dependence on God.
3. Humility: both feet on the ground.
4. Communal Life: There were 5000 before he died. Believers supported each other. They were family.
5. Solidarity with all creation: Ecology Respect what God has made.
6. The word of God – Scripture: Random reading. Preach without words. Read Scripture certain times in the day.
7. The Eucharist: Reverence of all priests and the care where the Eucharist was and is.
8. The Holy Spirit: Trust and pray to the Holy Spirit. It inspires us and gives us confidence.
9. Mary Mother of God: brought the savior into the world and is our intercessor and companion.
10. Dedication to prayer.
11. Silence and meditation.
12. Joy: A joyful spirit; joy is there even in suffering.