Discernment Recommended Secular Franciscan Vocation

Discerning the Call : join the OFS

Joining an Order of the Church isn’t about making a quick decision, it truly is about feeling a pull from God’s Holy Spirit. Considering whether to join the Secular Franciscan Order is about calling and vocation and making a clear choice to follow the example of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. The OFS is a journey with St Francis, St Clare and God’s Holy Trinity. In Corinthians St Paul writes that it is God who calls us to share in the life of His Son; in our group we each do this in our own way, with the support of the Franciscan family.

Joining the Secular Franciscan Order is a treasure offered to us by the Catholic Church to help our faith form and grow, as we become little sermons to others by the example of our lives.

Secular Franciscans live and work in every-day society, we live within the world – not in monasteries and no matter what our individual calling we try, as Saint Francis did, to live every part of our life by following the Gospel.  In this way, by our very life we aim to be personal Gospel verses or little Sermons proclaiming Christ to those we meet.


If you’d like to meet us and find out more feel free to use the contact page or email hello@franciscanseculars.com – we’d love to hear from you.   Everyone is welcome!   If you would like to discover more about the Franciscan way of life, or if you’d simply like encouragement and support on your spiritual path, we’d be very pleased to see you.

Franciscan Cord


DISCERNMENT:

Have you ever said to God “Here I am” or “I’m Yours” or “I’m here for You – use me for You”? If you’ve said similar words you’re already discerning your faith and God’s call in your life – the seeds of vocation are within you, waiting to flourish.

Have you ever felt you’re one of God’s Created Ones, or sensed the embrace of God’s Holy Spirit?  Have you heard the words of Jesus and wanted to walk in his footsteps of love and justice?  Perhaps you know there’s something missing in your life.  Maybe you’ve said “there has to be more to life than this”. Perhaps you feel an emptiness or an incompleteness within you. Perhaps you’re suffered physical or mental illness and in your vulnerability God’s love has touched you. All these things, and more, are ways God calls you. We’re each individually and uniquely called.  How or whether to respond is not God’s decision but yours – we have free will.  Thinking about and considering the above is what discernment is.


VOCATION:

Vocation is a feeling within yourself to follow God’s call.  And for us that is to follow the example and Rule of St Francis of Assisi in our homes, our work, in the world. To be sacred and secular. We are called to do His work where the world lives – not to be monks or nuns enclosed in priories, friaries or monasteries; but to live at home with family and friends.

Joining the OFS helps your journey of faith and helps you discern your calling.  Discernment for us has a three-fold focus – you, us – the fraternity and God’s Holy Spirit.

Ladywell Retreat Centre, Godalming, Surrey

Exploring your call to the OFS

Helpful Pointers:

  1. You’re a faithful, practising Catholic.
  2. You have a love for God and you know He loves you.
  3. You feel called to follow Jesus and his Gospel – this is the heart of Franciscan Life.
  4. You have a personal relationship with Jesus, not just knowledge learned about him. Franciscans develop a deep love for God-made-present-in-Jesus as well as for people and all of God’s Creation. Wonder is a growing quality in their lives.
  5.  You’re hope-filled and willing and able to deal with life’s concerns, worries and issues.
  6.  You know that we are all sinful and that conversion is something we must focus on daily. Perfect people don’t need the OFS – Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis [the Latin version of our name the “Secular Franciscan Order”].
  7. You have some knowledge of St Francis and St Clare of Assisi.
  8. You are willing and able to commit to the Rule of the OFS.
  9. You understand the need, support and embrace of living in Fraternity.
  10. You have good communication skills to listen and share with our Brothers and Sisters in Fraternity.
  11. You trust in God.  You know and feel He is with you everyday.  You can feel His Holy Spirit within you.  He is important in your life.
  12. You have a reverence for all Creation giving courtesy and respect for all of God’s creativity and us as His Created Ones.
  13. You are willing to embrace a counter-cultural stance that is part of the life in Fraternity.
  14. Your are able to meet regularly with your local Fraternity and willing to share ideas and life with others.

SIGNS SOMEONE MAY NOT HAVE A CALLING TO THE OFS:

  1. A person who already belongs to a religious Order or another “Third Order” may not
    belong to the OFS without a dispensation.
  2. A person who is not a Catholic may not be received into the OFS, although they may
    participate to some extent in fraternity life and we will seek to encourage their spiritual journey.
  3.  A person with interpersonal problems, problems with relationships or someone who
    wants to escape home or family problems is not likely to be a good candidate for the OFS.
    The OFS is NOT a therapy group though we offer our members supportive
    encouragement.
  4. A person who is a professional joiner is NOT a good candidate for the OFS.
  5. A person too individualistic and self-centred is NOT a good candidate for the OFS. Our
    Fraternity is community oriented and selfish folks will not fit in.
  6. A person who forces personal devotions and ideas on others is NOT a good candidate for
    the OFS.
  7. A person whose lifestyle goes counter to the Gospel is NOT a good candidate for the OFS.
  8. A person who continually gossips or criticizes everything and everybody, or is
    irresponsible in family and/or work situations, has addictions and does not change (e.g.,
    by seeking professional help) is NOT a good candidate for the OFS.
  9. A person who is rigid and has unbending opinions and attitudes is NOT a good candidate
    for the OFS. We do not need dictators! We are involved in servant-leadership and
    collaborative ministry.
  10. A person who uses violence, power or prestige to control life and people is NOT suitable
    for a gospel way of life.

 

Text : Original
Except : “Helpful Pointers” and “Signs Someone May Not Have a Calling” adapted and directly from the OFSGB

 

Elizabeth is a member of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and lives on the Isle of Wight where she enjoys walks along the beach with Alfie her Cairn Terrier. She has had an interest in Franciscan Spirituality for over 20 years.