Why attend a “Q”? Article 7 of the National Statutes of the Secular Franciscan Order in the United States (OFSUSA) states that the “National Fraternity shall celebrate a National Congress at least once every five years.”
Love is the answer to almost all of our problems and failures as Servant Leaders; not our own limited, imperfect human love, but God’s love for us, which never stops and is always there. If we are open to the Lord’s love, that love will flow from the Lord through us to our sisters and brothers before returning to the Lord.
In the Gospel of John ... ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ (John 21:15-17) ... And, what is the Lord trying to teach Peter, the first “minister” of the first “fraternity” of the first “observers” of “the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”? (Secular Franciscan Order Rule 4, http://www.nafra-sfo.org/sforule.html). ... Thus, love is the third great lesson of this Gospel story; love is the answer to the Lord’s expectations of us in lesson one and how we should respond to the Lord’s love in lesson two. Lesson four is how we should manifest our love. “Feed my lambs.” “Tend my sheep.” “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-16).
He (Jesus) makes them (his disciples) see that the Christian journey is about changing hearts. It is about learning to live differently, under a different law, with different rules. It is about turning from the path of selfishness, conflict, division and superiority, and taking instead the path of life, generosity and love. It is about passing from a mentality which domineers, stifles and manipulates to a mentality which welcomes, accepts and cares.
Not to be legalistic, but the last words of the last Canon of the Code of Canon Law offer the primary focus of a vibrant Secular Franciscan Fraternity. Those last words read: “the salvation of souls, which must always be the supreme law in the Church, is to be kept before one’s eyes”
We all know from the Nicene Creed that the four marks of our Church, the Body of Christ, are that the Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.
“And all the friars, no matter where they are or in whatever situation they find themselves, should like spiritually minded men, diligently show reverence and honor to one another without murmuring (1 Peter 4:9). They should let it be seen that they are happy in God, cheerful and courteous, as is expected of them, and be careful not to appear gloomy or depressed like hypocrites.”
Don't you think John the Baptist (pointing the way to the Lord in this painting by Leonardo da Vinci) would have made a great Franciscan?
First, prayer. St. Pio said, "Pray, hope and don´t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer." He also said, "Prayer is the oxygen of the soul." Prayer is the breath of the Spirit; prayer is our communication with God.
The Blessed Mother certainly does not need me to sing her praises! Our Father Saint Francis did a far greater job both in word and in action; in word, by his Praises and Salutations, and in action, by entrusting the whole Order to her protection.