Dear confreres, Peace and All Good!
At the beginning of this year, we put out some “guidelines,” as members of the Conference of the Franciscan Family, to help us carry out the Franciscan Centenary in the most meaningful way possible. The Centenary will culminate in 2026 with the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Easter of our Seraphic Father St. Francis. We said that this celebratory journey “offers us a valuable opportunity to invigorate the richness of our charism with a prophetic vision toward the future.” The core of our charism is, without a doubt, evangelical fraternity. This ideal is challenged by the current situation of the world, in which “the sense of belonging to a single human family is fading, and the dream of working together for justice and peace seems an outdated utopia” (Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, 30). As we know, wars driven by various interests, often fratricidal wars, are proliferating around the world. Moreover, the power figures of the world persist in extending their domains, in spite of shedding innocent blood. However, it certainly must not be so among us: “whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all” (Mark 10:43-44). The only prophetic choice for us is called the “Gospel,” the Gospel “sine glossa,” but lived in an intelligent way. In celebrating our “Brother from Assisi,” I invite you to discern, in fraternity, how we should live intelligently in a way that is appropriate to our charism and our times. Let us keep in mind, however, that “prophetic vision” and “self-interest” are competitors, one at the expense of the other. The choice is ours. Let us choose to live our charism authentically and not let the logic of the world and of power permeate our hearts!
May St. Francis teach us the way!