Under the direction of Br. Nick Romeo, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of the Angels Province Secretary and Vocation Director), the lay staff of the province ministries on the Ellicott City, MD campus [including The Provincial House, The Shrine of St. Anthony, The Companions of St. Anthony, Mission Advancement, and Little Portion Farm] were joined by Fr. Gary Johnson, OFM Conv. (Vicar Provincial) and guest speaker, Fr. Michael Zielke, OFM Conv. (below: Guardian and Director of the St. Bonaventure Friary Post-Novitiate) for a Lent Morning Reflection, on Wednesday, March 29, 2023.
The group gathered in The Shrine of St. Anthony Papal Dining Room and then Glass Room for a small group discussion before moving onto our province’s Carrollton Hall Historic Site, for a reflection from Friar Michael on Franciscan humility. Friar Michael shared his take on how the concept of humility compares in the world view, scriptural view, Pope Francis’ view and finally defined Franciscan humility. As a part of his talk, Friar Michael read to the group, Chapter X of The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337). Excerpt – [… Said Friar Masseo: “I say, why doth all the world follow after thee, and why doth every man seem to desire to see thee and to hear thee and to obey thee? Thou art not a man beautiful of body, thou art not greatly learned, thou art not noble: wherefore then should all the world follow after thee?” Hearing this St. Francis rejoiced greatly in spirit, and raising his face to heaven, stood for a long time with his mind uplifted in God, and thereafter, returning to himself, kneeled down and gave praise and thanks to God, and then with great fervour of spirit turned to Friar Masseo and said: “Wouldst know why after me? wouldst know why after me? why all the world follows after me? This have I from those eyes of the most high God, which in every place behold the good and the wicked: because those most holy eyes have not seen among sinners any more vile, or more insufficient, or a greater sinner than I am; and since to do that marvellous work which He meaneth to do, He hath not found a viler creature upon earth; therefore hath He chosen me to confound the nobility and the pride and the strength and the beauty and wisdom of the world, to the end that it may know that every virtue and every good thing is of Him and not of the creature, and that no one may be able to glory in His sight; but whosoever shall glory, let him glory in the Lord, to whom is all honour and glory for ever.” Then Friar Masseo, at so lowly an answer, spoken with so much fervour, was afraid and knew of a surety that St. Francis was stablished in humility.]
Friar Michael closed his talk with the final words, “Let God be God in your lives.”
Those attending split into groups for personal reflection time, a group discussion on a time God gifted humility, and a chance to pray together while walking the Outdoor Stations of the Cross on the grounds of The Shrine. The groups rejoined as one to close in celebration of The Liturgy of Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent, together with those assembled for The Shrine of St. Anthony’s Noon Daily Mass. Fr. Richard-Jacob Forcier, OFM Conv. (Director/Rector of The Shrine of St. Anthony), celebrated the Mass, closing his Homily with: “…hope does not disappoint… [Romans 5:5] I simply can hope.” The Mass was also concelebrated by Friar Gary and Friar Michael (see below), who, after Mass continued on with the group for a fraternal meal in the Shrine’s Papal Dining Room.
This peace filled second Day of Reflection for the staff members since Friar Nick began as Province Secretary was greatly appreciated by all in attendance, who look forward to this new fraternal tradition.