ST FRANCIS DAY
As we approach the Feast of Saint Francis, our minds will perhaps be turned more than usually to Francis as our model and inspiration. Some of us will be called to preach for the occasion, some will be practising for the Transitus. All of us will, I hope, be reflecting a little on our Franciscan life, our brotherhood, and our call to evangelisation.
The thrust of our recent Chapter was towards authenticity in lifestyle through acceptance of simple, moderate and temperate living; towards effectiveness in apostolic activity through genuine and joyful service where perceived needs are greatest; and towards fidelity in friendship with God through prayer, reflection and humble obedience.
There was an atmosphere at the Chapter that was so tangible that friars rejoiced in it, openly talked of it, and to which they generously contributed. To me, it seems that it could be likened to the joy and goodwill Francis showed when he saw what it was God wanted on that day when the Gospel was explained fully to him after Mass. Celano tells us that when he realised what was being said, he cried out in exaltation: "This is what I wish, this is what I seek. This is what I long to do with all my heart."
The friars who were at the Chapter are in their own way saying this through the Chapter Document. So, while we celebrate Francis in our liturgies and paraliturgies, let our prayer be that the whole Province will say of the Document:
"THIS IS WHAT WE WANT. THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR.
THIS IS WHAT WE WILL TRY TO DO WITH ALL OUR HEARTS."
May the Lord bless us. May the Lord keep us. May he look on us kindly, and give us his peace.