In addition, some experts today basically equate penance with conversion, and downplay acts of self-sacrifice and mortification. The Secular Franciscan Order is a public association of the faithful in the Catholic Church. 7). Even if modern Franciscans are no longer bound by the original Rule written by his hand, perhaps some advice about how to live today as individuals, and the identity of the Order, can be derived from his original vision. Already, I have mentioned several key words, such as “penance” and “conversion.” It may be useful to distinguish these terms. What does it mean to be a “brother of penance” or “sister of penance”? I am not familiar with the TOR Rule, but I would like to learn about it. It is not punishment, but “spiritual exercise” that unites us to Christ in this world, and wins us the imperishable crown in the next. In contrast, the original Rule is full of detailed lifestyle requirements. One name given by St. Francis to the Third Order was “The Brothers and Sisters of Penance.” I think this name is a good indicator of St. Francis’ intentions, and suggests what kind of spirituality should characterize the Order, even today. The text, which is filtered through Google Translate, may sometimes result in incorrect translations. © Homiletic & Pastoral Review (masthead). B. Vail. From Easter to All Saints Day, Fridays are days of fasting. Jesus says: “ No, I say to you; but except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish.” (Lk 13:5). We can see big differences between the first Rule and today’s version. Our Most Holy Lord Pope Leo XIII by Divine Providence, Misericors Dei Filius Constitution on the Law of the Franciscan Third Order Secular I have been speaking as if acts of penance must arise purely from of a spirit of conversion, but in my experience the opposite is also true: acts of self-denial can encourage conversion. The rule and life of the Secular Franciscans is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of St. Francis of Assisi who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people. The ultimate motive for mortification is something positive: love for Jesus Christ and his commandments. Racism – What’s A Secular Franciscan To Do? The Catechism of the Catholic Church has some helpful paragraphs about the meaning of penance. Br. Further penitential practices listed by the Catechism include penitential liturgies, pilgrimages, voluntary self-denial, such as fasting and almsgiving, and charitable and missionary works. Penance! They name the … The meaning of penance is also revealed in the New Testament. The OFS is governed by the universal law of the Church and by its own Rule, Constitutions, Ritual, and statutes. She made three simple requests—for personal penance, prayer, and devotion to her Immaculate Heart—to strengthen the faithful in these modern times. Privacy. Penance is “a supernatural moral virtue whereby the sinner is disposed to hatred of his sin as an offence against God, and to a firm purpose of amendment and satisfaction. In fact, in the USA, a group has received Church approval to follow the original Rule of 1221. My certainty rests in God. Acts of penance are a sacramental : very interesting and oh so true to live ‘simply’ in this day. God bless you! the St. John Paul II approved edition from 1982? These various fraternities are coordinated and united according to the norm of this rule and of the constitutions. Since 1900. The first Rule has been superseded on a number of occasions, most recently with the “Pauline Rule” of 1978, approved by Pope Paul VI. Race Relations and the Secular Franciscan Order. A new spirit was placed in the hearts of the elect, and a holy anointing has been poured out in their midst.”, Perhaps one lesser known fact about St. Anthony is his great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, on account of the many references to Mary in his sermons and expressive passion with which he speaks of her, he might well be called, like St. Bernard of Clairvaux, whom he so frequently quotes, a second “Marian Doctor.”. Indeed, these days, simply being faithful in the public sphere often involves self-sacrifice, humiliation, and worse. The connection between inner disposition and outward lifestyle can be seen in Ezekiel’s command to the people: Each by his own life you shall be judged, men of Israel, the Lord God says. It is a challenge to follow the way of St. Francis while remaining in the world, especially in the 21st century with so much confusion, both inside and outside the Church. Footnote Citations: St. Francis' Rule of 1221 for the Friars Minor, Ch. We strive to observe the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, and to make present the charism of Saint Francis in the life and mission of the Church. The term originated with St. Paul, who traces an instructive analogy between Christ dying to a mortal life and rising to an immortal life, and His followers who renounce their past life of sin and rise through grace to a new life of holiness. Secular Franciscan Order. Conversion shows itself in outward signs, such as prayer, fasting, and works of mercy. Ultimately, penance is about love: loving God, and loving our neighbor. By profession and urged by the Spirit, we adopt as our program of sanctification the rule of 1883 promulgated by His Holiness Pope Leo XIII for the Franciscan Third Order Secular. The Secular Franciscan Order (Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis, or OFS) is the Third Order founded by St. Francis of Assisi in 1221 for lay men and women, and diocesan clergy, who feel called to the Franciscan way of life, but who remain with their families, and at their jobs rather than joining the First Order (the Friars Minor) or the Second Order (the cloistered Poor Clares). These various fraternities are coordinated and united according to … ‘If you live after the flesh,’ says the apostle, ‘you shall die, but if through the spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.’” (Rom 8:13). I have been developing a thesis similar to yours: that the drop-off in OFS vocations, and the apparent lukewarmness and confusion among the professed about our vocation and mission, is due in part to a vague Rule. It is to Pope Paul VI that we owe this splendid gift, which he bestowed shortly before he left this earth. Contact Us. There may also be some unexpected degradation of the general appearance of translated pages. Certainly we don’t need to serve rotten food to our families but we can get by, especially in America, with a few imperfections. What a gift it is to recognize this trajectory as God’s direction for our Order, even as we await its fulfillment. The American formation book, To Live as Francis Lived: A Guide for Secular Franciscans, explains that for Christians, self-denial: …is not a grim and prideful domineering of their bodies as a matter of personal achievement. In these fraternities the brothers and sisters, led by the Spirit, strive for perfect charity in their own secular state. I have commented on their keynote addresses at the Chapter, which I think are problematic. As I researched my responses to their proposals, I learned about traditional OFS spiritual disciplines and devotions which led me to write a short summary of advices, which you can read here: http://www.sfoireland.com/?p=127. Each one has its own legal personality in the Church. Indeed, Pope Pius XII said that over the centuries, the enduring marks of the OFS have been simple living, mortification, and acts of charity. 1995: Upon the advice of Father Pio Mandato, FPO, the living of the Rule is made known to a Rhode Island, USA, Secular Franciscan fraternity. Clothing must be of “humble quality” and “simple fashion,” and tertiaries “are not to wear silken or dyed veils and ribbons.” The second and third chapters deal with food. The first chapter of the Rule of 1221 defines the kinds of clothing tertiaries can wear. Learn how your comment data is processed. Since there are no issues within the Order in our region, our focus moved to educate ourselves on the Beatitudes of Good Communication amongst all people. Article 7 of the Rule of 1978 calls tertiaries to conversion. The General Chapter of 2014 asked for a “period of serious reflection, involving all members of the Order,” on the future challenges to the Order, from practical management to personal spiritual formation. Staff. It presents the rule of the Secular Franciscan Order on one side of the page with a second column of commentary on the opposite side of the page. State of Order Address OFS-USA 10-16-19 ]. From the feast of St. Martin until Christmas Day, there is daily fasting. The new Rule gave us hope for renewal. For me, hearing the priest-moderator of my fraternity constantly associate acts of penance with mental illness led to my distancing myself from it. The Secular Franciscan Order holds a special place in this family circle. The Secular Franciscan charism can be readily discerned from the Rule of the Order and the words and example of St. Francis. The causality works both ways. Each one has its own moral personality in the Church. It is called the Confraternity of Penitents. These guidelines sound strict and rigorous, but St. Francis allowed flexibility in their observance as needed. St. Francis proposed specific penitential acts that should order the lives of his tertiaries. The way is unfolding before us, and God is with us. 7; St. Francis' Rule … You could say that the current Rule, by encouraging voluntary modesty in only general terms, gives freedom to each individual Secular Franciscan to decide for himself how to live a penitential lifestyle. 1. By their profession The Secular Franciscan Order (Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis, or OFS) is the Third Order founded by St. Francis of Assisi in 1221 for lay men and women, and diocesan clergy, who feel called to the Franciscan way of life, but who remain with their families, and at their jobs rather than joining the First Order (the Friars Minor) or the Second Order (the cloistered Poor Clares). Central to this stage of formation is Article 4 of The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order which states, "The rule and life of the Secular Franciscan is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following Saint Francis of Assisi, who made Christ the inspiration and … There are two ways to explore the archives at HPR: To Live as Francis Lived: A Guide for Secular Franciscans, https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?RecNum=4680, http://www.onepeterfive.com/secular-franciscan-charism/, http://www.onepeterfive.com/secular-franciscan-charism, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9Rpd-KAFZsMS1FLTmxuRGE0OE0/view?usp=sharing, Humanae Vitae and the Law of Gradualism – Rejoice and be Glad, Evangelization: The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Franciscan Friar Benet A. Fonck is the coordinator of communications for the Sacred Heart Province of the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans). This is the penance that I now seek and require. In the last 40 years the essential structures were set in place – and now we see the progression – the trajectory. Fratelli Tutti Resources – and more – now on OFS-USA Website! Basically, penance is a turning away from sin, and turning towards God. Otherwise, there is no explicit call for penance, or specific plan of action for Secular Franciscans to make penance an integral part of life. “The aim of the rule is to help the grace given to the soul at profession to accomplish its work of uniting the tertiary with Jesus. As a TOR friar and student of things Franciscan, I find this much more in keeping with the spirit and original charism of our Holy Father St. Francis that the SFO Rule. You are here: Home / Formation / Reflections on the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order Part 1. The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order The rule and life of the Secular Franciscan Order is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, who made Christ the inspiration and the centre of his life with God and people (Rule #4). “The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order is like a fine and sturdy home. The national OFS fraternity has asked us: to identify and eradicate the structures that perpetuate racism…; to pray for an end to racism…; to identify and confront our own unconscious racial biases. That is an important truth of the spirituality of Lent, and a reason for the traditional Friday discipline of abstinence. Because Google Translate is an external website, SecularFranciscansUSA.org does not control the quality or accuracy of the translated content. The Rule of 1221 suggests that St. Francis wanted his followers to practice a rigorous spirituality of well-defined acts of self-sacrifice in a spirit of trust in God. A new vision through the visioning gatherings for Youth, Formation and JPIC. The principal act in the exercise of this virtue is the detestation of sin, not of sin in general, nor of that which others commit, but of one’s own sin.” Penance is thus an inward virtue of character put into practice through patterns of behavior, with its origins, above all, in the painful realization that we are all sinners. Sister Lucy, the Fatima visionary, wrote: Many persons, feeling that the word ‘penance’ implies great austerities, and not feeling that they have the strength for great sacrifices, become discouraged and continue a life of luke-warmness and sin. The original Rule’s requirement for Secular Franciscans to wear only simple, inexpensive clothes of certain colors was one way they were encouraged to set themselves apart from the worldliness of their times. America's foremost pastoral publication. Conclusion: The Franciscan Penitential Lifestyle Perhaps the OFS would benefit from a new Rule, but when I broached this possibility with an international OFS leader, Benedetto Lino, he basically told me it’s not going to happen. Conversion involves “gestures,” or concrete acts directed towards ourselves, others, and God, including reconciliation, concern for the poor, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, acceptance of suffering, and endurance of persecution. CHAPTER 1: The Secular Franciscan Order. The OFS Rule promulgated by Pope Leo XIII was blessedly short and simple and direct, and prescribed distinctly Franciscan practices. This is why learning and practicing mindful dialogue is so important with all people, because we don’t understand each other and what life is like from the perspective of other cultures. Are you familiar with the Third Order Regular rule, i.e. The sacrifice required of every person is the fulfillment of his duties in life, and the observance of My law. However, not everyone agrees that mortification is a useful addition to our “spiritual toolbox,” or that it should be a part of Secular Franciscan life. Certainly, from the beginning we have always “begun again” and started “something new” – but there is a particularity about this moment. There should not be any shaming of a pious person who wants to do them, as long as it is inspired by the Holy Spirit. The text is short and emphasizes specific practices that, taken together, encourage what can be called a “penitential lifestyle” for Secular Franciscans. The Encyclopedia explains, “In the New Law, therefore, repentance is as necessary as it was in the Old, repentance that includes reformation of life, grief for sin, and willingness to perform satisfaction.” It defines repentance as “heartfelt sorrow with the firm purpose of sinning no more.” Performing satisfaction—doing something for God to show sorrow for your sin—is part of penance. The Catholic Encyclopedia defines penance as a virtue arising from awareness that we have sinned, and need to turn to God. Benjamin J. Vail, OFS, is an American Secular Franciscan living with his family in Brno, Czech Republic. Secular Franciscan Profession. The Secular Franciscan Order is divided into fraternities of various levels — local, regional, national, and international. While the Memorial Propositi to which you refer is surely dated, at least it has ‘teeth’ and challenges one to live a life of penance, metanoia, in a specific way. It is my thesis that one helpful guide to the future is to look back at the original Rule of the Third Order to see what St. Francis himself wanted for his tertiaries. You may be interested to read also my recent article at the blog onepeterfive.com called “In Search of a Secular Franciscan Charism.” You can read it at: http://www.onepeterfive.com/secular-franciscan-charism/. We’ve been on this journey of renewal for some time now. Those who live within this Rule of Life are the Secular Franciscans around the world. In the parable of the prodigal son, not only does the son realize his errors, feel remorse, and seek reconciliation with the father, but there is a concomitant change in his behavior. Year round, meat can be eaten only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. From All Saints Day to Easter, there is fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays. A new unity as we formed a worldwide Order. The original Rule of the Third Order emphasized both private and public aspects of penance. Christ, the gift of the Father's love, is … We have just posted Fratelli Tutti on our OFS-USA website, along with an overview, summary, two study guides and a video reflection by Sr. Margaret Carney OSF. Laudato Si Lesson. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order. The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order (on the new site) General Constitutions (on the new site) NAFRA Statutes (on the new site) NAFRA Guidelines; TAU-USA National Newsletter; Forms and resources (on the new site) Meeting Materials; Secular Franciscan Media - Videos, news, and blogs; Other Franciscan websites (on the new site) NAFRA Database Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Fasting might be classified as a fraternity for on-going Formation but rather offers a menu of ideas seek require! Strict and rigorous, but I ’ ve been wrestling lately with similar... 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