Thursday, December 31, 2020

Now is a Very Good Time to be a Secular Franciscan

(This blog post was originally published on August 21, 2019. During 2020, I decided to pin this blog post to the top of the blog. The only way to do that in Blogger is change the date to some time in the future. So, that is why this blog post says it was published on December 31, 2020. The blog posts below this one are in chronological order.)

This is a very good time to be a member of the Secular Franciscan Order. A lot has happened since the Second Vatican Council. Here are what I believe are the major milestones for the Secular Franciscan Order. All are very positive developments and bode well for the Order.

The Second Vatican Council encouraged religious communities to explore the founder's charism. The Degree on The Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life Perfectae Caritatis Proclaimed by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on October 28, 1965 is the first major milestone in the renewal of the Franciscan Movement. It said "The spirit and aims of each founder should be faithfully accepted and retained." As a result, among Franciscans there was a renewed interest in Sts. Francis and Clare and their earlier followers.

After Perfectae Caritatis, the next major milestone is the publishing of St. Francis of Assisi: Writing and Early Biographies: English Omnibus of the Sources for the Life of St. Francis in 1972 by Marion A. Habig and Raphael Brown, et al. In its day, the Omnibus, as it was affectionately referred to, was the "gold standard" of sources for information about the life of St. Francis. The Omnibus gave Franciscans and scholars access to the early Franciscan sources.

The next important milestone is the development and approval of new SFO Rule in 1978. Amazingly, the new rule for Secular Franciscans incorporates Francis of Assisi's "First Letter to the Faithful," which had been misplaced for 750 years. The 1978 rule is perfect for our time. Secular Franciscans are encouraged to devote themselves to careful reading of the gospel, going from gospel to life and life to gospel.

The next important milestone is the publishing of Studying The Life of Saint Francis of Assisi - A Beginner's Workbook (1st Edition) in 1996 by William R. Hugo, OFM Cap.  I highly recommend Hugo's method for studying Franciscan documents. Simply put, you have a mind and Hugo shows you how to use it.

The 2nd Edition of Hugo's book is coordinated with the Francis of Assisi: Early Documents Volume I, II and III, which is the next important milestone. The three volume set, published in 1999, is in widespread use by scholars, academics, and the laity.

The next important milestone occurred in 2001. That is when "The Commission on the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition (CFIT) was established in 2001 by the English-Speaking Conference of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) to promote a contemporary retrieval of the distinctive theological and spiritual vision that animates the Franciscan movement." Around 2007, CFIT established an internet presence allowing scholars, academics and laity to have access to an array of digital documents, including the three volume set of Franciscan documents published in 1999.

The Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) published For Up to Now: Foundational Topics for Initial Formation in 2011, which is the next important milestone for the Order. The FUN Manual is an absolutely outstanding resource that is widely available on the internet as a digital document.

Finally, following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in February 2013, a papal conclave elected Jorge Mario Bergoglio as his successor in March 2013. He chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. The first pope to do so.

Yes, this is a very good time to be a member of the Secular Franciscan Order.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

My View ...

My view regarding others before reading The Franciscan View of the Human Person:
Lv 19:18
Lv 19:34
Mt 7:12
Lk 6:31
Francis (Golden Rule related references)
- FA:ED 1, p 48 
- FA:ED 1, p 66 
- FA:ED 1. p 68
- FA:ED 1. p 71
- FA:ED 1. p 98
- FA:ED 1. p 103
- FA:ED 1, p 134
Clare (Golden Rule related reference)
- CA:ED, p. 120
Catholic Social Teaching 

My view after reading The Franciscan View of the Human Person:
Gn 1:26
Lv 19:18
Lv 19:34
Mt 7:12
Lk 6:31
Francis (Golden Rule)
Clare (Golden Rule)

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Exploring the Franciscan View of the Human Person

I am reading The Franciscan View of the Human Person - Some Central Elements by Dawn M. Nortwehr, OSF. It is the third volume in the The Franciscan Heritage Series. It is a available from the Franciscan Institute. It explores the subject from the perspectives of Francis and Clare of Assisi, St. Bonaventure and Blessed John Duns Scotus. There is a lot to think about and I am looking forward to slowly reading her book. Below are some preliminary thoughts on what I have read so far.

Sister Dawn's foundation is Gn1:26. Everything is built on Gn 1:26. She references that passage several times. Since each human being bear's Gods very image and likeness, each human being has an "inviolable dignity" because God created each person through love and for love.

The inviolable dignity of the individual is clearly proclaimed by the Catholic Church. In The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992), in Section 357 it states, "Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person...." In Section 1700 it states, "The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image of God." I found the term "inviolable dignity" in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (2004).

The Franciscan connection comes with Francis' Admonition V: "Consider, O human being, in what great excellence the Lord God has placed you, for He created and formed you to the image of His beloved Son according to the body and to His likeness according to the Spirit." (FA:ED, vol. 1, 131)

Sister Dawn explores this in much more depth. I hope to present what she offers in an upcoming blog post.

Right now, my view is that when interacting with others we can rely on The Golden Rule. I like The Golden Rule because it is easy to understand and is accepted by secular society and other faith traditions.

In the New Testament, Jesus says the following: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets." (Mt 7:12) And,  "Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Lk 6:31).

There is a Franciscan connection. St. Francis uses Golden Rule phraseology on several occasions, e.g., "Let them behave among themselves according to what the Lord says: Do to others what you would have them do to you; and Do not do to another what you would not have done to you." (FA:ED, vol.1, 66) For more on this see my blog post Connecting the Golden Rule and St. Francis of Assisi. It deals with the technical issues of relying on The Golden Rule as a guide for treating others.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Custodians of the Tradition

I found this and decided to post a link because I wanted to share it with everyone and I wanted to remember that I found it. Ha! Custodians of the Tradition is a great resource.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Saint Clare of Assisi

The Franciscan family celebrates the Feast of Saint Clare of Assisi during the month of August. Her feast day is on August 12. She is the founder of the second order of the Franciscan family.  She was the first woman to have a Rule of Life approved by the Church. Today, there are over 20,000 Poor Clare nuns in 75 countries throughout the world. Their way of life is dedicated to contemplation, poverty, and community.