In our journey through life with thoughts of Francis at our side we learn to read of the love of Jesus Christ. Jesus becomes our “book”, his Gospel becomes our path. We aim to not just imitate Christ-like qualities but to become those Christ-like qualities as Francis did. We start to see God’s Creation and our individual place within Creation as Francis did. We start to see with Christ-like eyes and learn the purpose of living, loving, sharing and suffering. “With Him, [we] can accept the will of the Father even under the most difficult circumstances and live the Franciscan spirit of peace, rejecting every doctrine contrary to human dignity.1”
OFS Rule 10:
Let them also follow the poor and crucified Christ, witness to Him even in difficulties and persecutions.
With the Rule as our guide we are called to daily conversion, to align our self with God and what is true and right. We are called to;
- prayer and contemplation
- frequent reception of the Eucharist
- to seek reconciliation and the sacrament of confession
- and in imitation of Mary we aim to be less of ourselves, and more of our Brother, Jesus Christ.
What do we need for our journey?
- We take as our ― book ― the poor, crucified Christ
- our ―inspiration ― the writings of Francis, Clare, and Bonaventure
- our ―guide ― the Holy Spirit,
- our ―model ― Mary,
- our ―core ― the Gospel,
- our ―focus ― the life of penance we profess to live as Secular Franciscans
- our ―sustenance ―the Eucharist, sacraments and prayer.
Our Rule tells us to follow the poor and crucified Christ, always, in difficult times and in times of great joy. Saint Bonaventure reminds us:
“There is no other path but through the burning love of the Crucified.2”
Christ on the Cross
bows His head,
waiting for you,
that He may kiss you;
He stretches out His arms,
that He may embrace you;
His hands are open,
that He may enrich you;
His body is spread out,
that He may give
His feet are nailed,
that He may stay there;
His side is open for you,
that He may let you enter there3.
1 OFS Article 10
2St Bonaventure : The Soul’s Journey into God
3Soliloquy on the Four Spiritual Exercises
Text Original and adapted/quoted from
Teresa V baker OFS – The Rule of the SFO – 23 March-2011
Photo: Martin Sercombe