Saturday, May 19, 2018

Prayer for Secular Franciscan Vocations

O Good and Gracious God,
God of mercy, compassion, generosity,
and love,
As we live our lives today
in the model of St. Francis,
choosing daily to live
the Gospel life,
Help us to help others
hear Your call.
Help us to help others
to recognize their vocation
as a Secular Franciscan
that You have already
planted in their heart.
Help us, so that together
we all may work
to bring the Gospel to life.

Marian R. Crosby, SFO

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Franciscan retreat - April 14 2018

Brother Vittorio and Father Anthony led a wonderful retreat day

Pax et bonum

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Helping the Order to Grow

The Secular Franciscans, like many religious orders, have concerns about aging and numbers. Many of our members are getting older, and they are not being replaced enough by new members.

Of course, being a Secular Franciscan is a vocation to which we are called. But we can still help people to respond to that calling and to follow that vocation.

1. Pray for an increase in the number of people responding to the call.

2. Teach others about what it means to be a Franciscan. Do this in speech, in writing, in the arts, on social media, wherever and however we can. 

3. Invite others. Maybe they sense a call, but an actual invitation might be just what they need to respond. This can be done in small ways, such as in conversations with others at church or at work or in social situations. We can write brief pieces for our parish bulletins. We can write to the diocesan newspaper.

4. Make it look attractive to others. Make it look joyful, alive, something to which they would like to belong. Don't be glum, overly serious, out of touch.

5. Talk it up. Don't be afraid to discuss your own vocation. Wear public signs of it - the Tau - and be ready to talk about it. If on social media, post about it. Place posters, brochures, cards, whatever in places where others can see them. 

6. Live out the vocation. We need to keep in mind that in everything we say and do we are witnessing to that vocation. That includes everything: The jokes we tell, the way we drive, social and entertainment activities in which we engage, and so on.

Those are just a few ideas. There are probably many other ways.

Keep in mind: Part of our calling is to help rebuild the Church - including the order.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Minister's Message for Lent 2018

As Lent Begins -

Beloved National Family,

It’s our season. Time to redouble our efforts.
Lent is upon us, beckoning us.

We seek a meaningful Lent. A fruitful Lent. So, what will we "do" for Lent?
Where is the Lord leading me? Will I really hear his voice in the desert?

I’m stressed. Worrying too much about too many things.
"Therefore… let us be very much on our guard that, under the guise of some reward or assistance, we do not lose or take our mind away from God." (Francis, the Earlier Rule)

You mean, just sit here and pray? When so much needs to be done?
"Trust in the Lord … and he will direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

"Oh, let all who thirst, come to the water…  Why should you spend your life… except for the Lord?" (Isaiah 55)

As I sought meaning, the meaningful way opened. I heard His voice in the desert.
"A voice of one calling in the wilderness…" (Mark 1:3)

It was in the desert that "meaning" found me. I know now what I need to do. Peace overflows.
"You prepare a feast for me …. My cup overflows with blessings. (Psalm 23)

A feast? Yes, right here in the desert! Fasting from worry. Feasting on trust.
The joy of the Lord is my strength! (Nehemiah 8:10)

My Lenten journey has begun. I’m on my way. But I did not get here on my own. I am blessed to share this journey with you, my brothers and sisters who mean so much to me.
May the grace of the Holy Spirit, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and our holy father St. Francis, and the fraternal bonds of community always be my help, so that I may reach my goal of perfect Christian love. (From the Rite of Profession in the Secular Franciscan Oder)


When I sat down to write this message, I had a very different one in mind. But this is the message that got written. What a blessing it is to be on this Lenten journey with you! Honestly, I would not be where I am at without you. Thank you for being my brothers and sisters in Christ, Francis and Clare.

Peace, love and Lenten joy,

Pax et bonum

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Franciscan Spirituality



Franciscan Spirituality is an incarnational, earthy spirituality. God is close to creation, not far away, “up there.” As St. Bonaventure put it, God bends down to us, lifting us up. Franciscan spirituality reveres the Eucharist as the humility of God for us.

Faithful to the Gospel and the Church

Franciscan Spirituality includes as a fundamental component obedience and loyalty to the Church and magisterium. Franciscan spirituality has an engaging, inviting stance toward the world encouraging dialogue along with a healthy and prophetic critique of modern secular culture and its values.

Rooted in Prayer, Contemplation, and Service

Franciscan spirituality hinges on the synthesis of action and contemplation; prayer leads to work and ministry; work and ministry bring us back to prayer. Contemplation is the impetus for mission. Franciscan spirituality understands authority and obedience in terms of mutual service, not submission or domination. It embraces and supports the growth and development of the arts and sciences in dialogue with revelation and faith.

Committed to Upholding the Dignity of All of Creation

Franciscan spirituality manifests a profound reverence for the human person as one made in the image and likeness of God and values and esteems creation as brother and sister, reflections of God’s goodness and glory. It understands that Creation and the world, despite the impact of sin, remain fundamentally good as gifts from God. In its witness to fraternity has an appreciation of and reverence for the individual within the global community. Franciscan spirituality acknowledges the necessity of human work and strives to uphold the value of human labor and the dignity of workers. It insists on a commitment to social justice by striving for solidarity with the poor and marginalized, the powerless and the voiceless as images of Christ Crucified. It seeks to give concrete expression of and commitment to global and local peacemaking by seeking and initiating the process of reconciliation.

Source: Mount Saint Francis Center for Spirituality, Mt. St. Francis, Indiana.
Pax et bonum

Monday, February 12, 2018

Questions for Chapters 15 and 16

Padre Pio: The True Story          Chapters 15-16

Padre Pio could not understand what about others’ spiritual lives?

As his fame grew, what one material thing that came his way posed a problem. What was it?
       How did this problem cause him additional problems in Chapter 16?

Padre Pio was not involved in politics per se, yet how did the politics affect him and the monastery?

What kind of suggestions did he offer to political leaders?

Why might the people have become so violent?

Who was emerging as a major foe of Padre Pio in Chapter 15 - and will cause him serious problems in Chapter 16?

What were the charges leveled against Padre Pio in Chapter 16?

How are they “typical” charges leveled in situations like this?

Can you recall other situations where holy people faced such charges?

In the end, what saves Padre Pio?

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

St. Angela of Foligno: Pray

No one can be saved without divine light. Divine light causes us to begin and to make progress, and it leads us to the summit of perfection. Therefore if you want to begin and to receive this divine light, pray. If you have begun to make progress and want this light to be intensified within you, pray. And if you have reached the summit of perfection, and want to be superillumined so as to remain in that state, pray.

- St. Angela of Foligno

Pax et bonum