Companions for the Journey


Just as food is required for human life, so companions are required for our spiritual journey. Indeed, the word, companions, comes from two Latin words: com, meaning "with" and panis, meaning, "bread". Companions nourish our heart, mind, body and spirit. They are also the people with whom we can celebrate the sharing of the bread.


Perhaps the most touching stories in the Bible are about companionship: the Last Supper, the wedding feast at Cana, the sharing of the loaves and the fishes, and Jesus breaking bread with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Each incident of companionship with Jesus revealed more about his mercy, love, wisdom, suffering and hope. When Jesus went to pray in the Garden of Olives, he craved the companionship of the Apostles. They let him down. But God sent the Holy Spirit to inflame the hearts of the Apostles, and they became faithful companions to Jesus and to one another.


Throughout history, other faithful companions have followed Jesus and the Apostles. Saint Francis was one of these. He called companions to himself and together they took the journey from conversion, through suffering, to resurrection. Just as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit to journey with Francis, may we find new companions with whom to journey and who will go on gathering others to walk the spiritual journey on which Francis continues to lead us.


Our Rule tells us that our Franciscan life is lived in fraternity with sisters and brothers who have also made the commitment to journey through life living the Gospel of Jesus. Our General Constitutions remind us too that the promotion of vocations to the Order is a duty of every brother and sister. Therefore, each one of us is responsible for gathering new companions for the journey.


Let us act. The hour is late but our journey is one of extraordinary promise.



Adapted from Praying with Francis of Assisi,

by Joseph M. Stoutzenberger and John D. Bohrer.

Winona, MN: Saint Mary's Press, 1989