In the Footsteps of all the Franciscan Saints
A message to all the members of the Secular Franciscan Order
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Peace and joy to you in Christ Jesus!
I thought of you, each member of our Order, as I pondered these readings (from Franciscan Morning and Evening Praise) for the Feast of All the Saints of the Franciscan Order (Nov. 29):
Reading: Ephesians 1:15-18, 2:10,22 (with comments)
“I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and of your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you, as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you (all of us!) a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you (we!) come to know …what is the hope (the great hope!) to which God has called you (to which God has called us!), what are the riches of God’s glorious inheritance among saints…(Think of it! This is our inheritance!) For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them…. and you also (all of us!) are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
Reading: Bonaventure, The Evening Sermon on Saint Francis (emphasis added)
“The heavens encompass everything, they contain all things, yet they are contained by nothing… There is no star however small whose immensity would not fill the earth and give it light. Though the lights and rays of each star coalesce in the atmosphere, they are found to be distinct when we look up at the stars themselves. It is something similar with devout souls whom the Holy Spirit enlightens with divine radiance. These are the posterity of the Holy Spirit and this posterity is as the stars of heaven, for the Holy Spirit brings forth devout souls in an altogether wondrous way.” (FAED II, 729)
In my prayer this morning I asked God to continue to guide each professed member of our Order, to grant each of you the wisdom and strength and perseverance that you need. I am honored to be your minister. You are the devout souls spoken of in this passage above; and I do not cease to give thanks for you, as I remember you in my prayers. Thank you, my sister and brother devout souls! Thank you for being such shining stars, as we are being built up into a dwelling place of God. This truly is wondrous!
May God’s grace help us as we do what is ours to do, as we have been called. And, “let us not take our minds off of God, but rather with a pure heart and mind, and in whatever way we are best able, let us serve, love, honor and adore the Lord God, for that is what God wants above all else.” (Cf. Earlier Rule 22:25-26)
With love, prayers, and a grateful heart,
P.S. Happy New Year! Let us look back in gratitude, and look forward in hope, as we journey together in love and compassion.