Little has changed
Twenty four years of age. admired and surrounded bymany friends, he enjoys astounding popularity. He is king of Assisi's youth.Son of a rich merchant, he wears beautiful clothing; his future holds greatpromise.
However, unsatisfied, he searches for something else.
One day, through a reading of the Gospel, he discovers an irresistiblecall: the call to total love. He changes his life. Chosing poverty, he willhenceforth concern himself solely with the proclamation of the Good Newsof Jesus-Christ, and the promotion of peace for all humankind.
His name: Francis of Assisi.
Born in Assisi, Italy, in 1181, Francis abandons everything in 1206and follows in the footsteps of Jesus to live out the Gospel message. Companionsjoin him in 1209. During twenty-two years he lives a pilgrim lifestyle, focussingon prayer and proclamation of Jesus' message.
Feeling unworthy to be ordained to priesthood, he remains a deaconall his life. Living poorly amongst the poor, he considers himself more ofa leper than the lepers he meets.
During the two last years of his life, the visible wounds of thepassion of Christ are inscribed into his hands, his feet, and his side.
Beginning of a spiritual family.
Here is how it all began.
As soon as they had formed a group of twelve, Francis suggestedto his brothers that they adopt a very simple lifestyle: they would be menprofoundly united to the Lord by their faith, full of life, and sharing acommon desire to do God's will.
They would be humble, modest, and peaceful men, witnessing primarilyby their example, and also by their words. They would earn their own living,and at the same time would help the people they meet to find the joy andthe love of life described in the Gospel.
These ''Troubadours of the Lord'' would radiate profound joy, makethemselves available for the service of others, and would cultivate an attitudeof kindness and respect towards all humans.
Francis did not wish to be considered a ''great man''. He wantedpoverty for himself and his brothers, humble obedience to God, and respecttowards all individuals and towards the whole of Creation.
Here I am, Lord.
If you're looking for an easy and comfortable lifestyle, reapingadmiration and honours along the way, you're probably not called to the Franciacainlife. Trying to be true to the Gospel message, we are ordinary men searchingfor God, finding Him, and opening up our ears and our hearts to the poor.
There are Franciscan friars in most parts of the country, servingneedy families, getting involved in social solidarity movements, supportingpastoral or social initiatives, working in parishes...
Others spread the Gospel message by way of preaching, or throughthe media and other means of communication and education.
Other Franciscan friars spend their lives working alongside thesick and the prisoners, or amongst youth in secondary schools, college oruniversities.
Some Franciscans are called to work towards obtaining greater justicein the world, promote social reform, or enter the fields of education andhealth. Many are professors, handymen, shoemakers, electricians, carpenters,mechanics, writers, philosophers, theologians, psychologists etc... In short,Franciscans are to be found in any trade, handycraft or profession whichcan serve the men and women of today.
The Community of Franciscan Friar Minors is always very happy towelcome new friars. We are proud to have an opportunity to share the wayof life which was revealed to Saint Francis of Assisi.
This ''way of life'', as Francis called it, is all at once a livingreality and an ongoing project. The outline of this project is describedin our Rule of life, as well as in our General Constitutions. It has beentranslated into many versions, relating to the needs of today: it can beThe Order's Vocation in Today's World (1967), or Called to Live Outthe Gospel Message (Bahia, 1983).
In practice, the project of Franciscan living is carried out bythe friars according to different models, which depend on the area, the age,the surrounding needs, etc. However, the project is always grounded in solidfaith and supported by prayer, which is considered to be an essential requirementof Franciscan living. We call this the contemplative aspect of our lives.There are other dimensions to the Franciscan project (fraternity, preferentialoption for the poor, evangelization through mission) which all take rootin what Francis believed was the cornerstone of his Rule:living out the Gospelof our Lord Jesus-Christ.
The spirit of the Lord.
The spirit of the Lord, which is one of joy, peace,mercy and love, is also characterized by a capacity to welcome reality. Oneis able to recognize the authentic spirit of the Lord by the fruit it bears:love of God and of thy neighbour.
"Proclaim the greatness of the Lord," wrote Francis. "Glorify Himby your works." Franciscan friars must not be cut off from the realitiesof the world outside, but should be a central part of the building of a newworld.
They see the extent of the work to be done, and are eager to dotheir share to achieve a common goal of greater justice. They are availablefor the service of the Church and for all initiatives towards a better world.
The friars live in fraternity, loving, respecting and helping outeach other. They are instruments of peace, eager to follow the path set outby Saint Francis.