Dear Franciscan Brothers and Sisters

Dear Franciscan Brothers and Sisters

Written Meditation May 2017

Dear Franciscan Brothers and Sisters,

In the book “My God and My All” by Elizabeth Goudge, she writes:

The “place” of the Portiuncula has such charm that it is a temptation to think of Francis and the brothers chiefly in its setting. Actually they were never there for long. They were ever on the road, traveling to distances that seem incredible when we remember that they went there barefoot, confronting dangers and difficulties that were sometimes even greater than those which met St. Paul on his missionary journey…. Though in their own country the missionary journeys of the brothers were increasingly successful, beyond it they frequently ended in what the world calls failure. … Christ had said, “Go ye into all the world,” and so they went, whether they knew the language or whether they did not, in childlike faith and obedience.

I have chosen this excerpt from the book because it describes, or should describe, our own lives. We might be tempted to stay in the comfort of our own homes, helping our sons and daughters or catering to our own bodily desires for rest, etc. But that is not totally Franciscan. We must go “out of ourselves” and “out of our comfort zone” in order to meet others… especially our own secular Franciscan Brothers and Sisters. We are a very large order! There are over 700 of us in just our one region alone. 700! How many of them do you know? Ten or twenty? I suspect they are in your own fraternity. If your knowledge is limited to only your own fraternity, that is a very tiny amount. Please… broaden your Franciscan spirit and expand your knowledge and love for all your Franciscan Brothers and Sisters. Fear not! God loves you and cares for you even more than you love yourself! Surrender yourself entirely to His providence!

But, you say, I can’t go to San Pedro or travel to another fraternity gathering because prayer must come first! This is true! Francis had often said that without prayer “no good could be wrought in the service of God.” But he also explained that prayer is not only for the hours of contemplation in some quiet, secluded place, or when they gathered for common prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours, but for always. He insisted that they must pray always “whether walking or sitting, within doors or without, in toil or in leisure.” He would remind those who would be traveling to “Meditate as much while on this journey as if you were shut up in a hermitage or in your cell, for wherever we are, whenever we go, we carry our cell with us; brother body is our cell, and the soul is the hermit who dwells in it, there to pray to the Lord and to meditate.”

My dear Franciscan Brothers and Sisters, I am quoting these words of St. Francis at this particular time because I want to remind you that you are called to SERVE. God is dwelling in you and He has given you a gift. He gave you this gift so that you may share it with others. He did not make you artistic so that you can fill your home with your art work. He did not make you a good cook so that you would grow fat on your own cooking. He gave you a gift so that you would SHARE it with others.

Therefore, if someone believes you have a gift that will benefit others and nominates you for an office, say YES! You may not even realize the wonderful gift you have andGod does not call you to failure. Say yes. God will reward you by bringing you into a more intimate relationship with Himself. Isn’t this why you joined the order? Only you need do is say YES and remain open to His inspirations. He will do the rest.

The material for this audio was inspired by the book, “My God and My All” written by Elizabeth Goudge. We hope this brief meditation helps us all reach our most important goal ~ the reason we entered the Franciscan Order in the first place… to grow into a more intimate relationship with God so as to become one with Him in mind, heart, and actions.

The speaker in this audio is Marie Thomas, Regional Minister of the Five Franciscan Martyrs Region and the technical support was provided by G. Lamar Thomas.