Throughout the month of October I am reflecting on the life and message of St Francis. As I wrote in the last post this is not an exercise in nostalgia. Yes, we look back with gratitude but we look forward with hope. The purposes of God, the faithfulness of Christ and the presence of the Spirit have not changed.
Pope John Paul was definite that the particular Franciscan experience and understanding of Christ and the Gospel are still more than relevant. Speaking to a Chapter gathering he said: “Franciscanism has much to say to contemporary civilisation, especially to those who are seized by consumerism and neglect the suffering of millions who die in hunger, to those, who, instead of building peace, are preparing for war, and to those who, rather than defending nature, of which Francis sung so wonderfully, contaminate it. It falls to you Franciscans, in the first place and because of who you are, to give an answer to the people of today, educating them to a correct vision and a proper use of things. You are the best interpreters of the message given by Francis to the people of his age, a message which is still relevant because of its capacity to renew consciences and society. It is up to you to proclaim it once again with Franciscan courage and daring.”
When we Franciscans celebrate the gift of Francis - it means rejoicing in the Gospel calling that has blessed our lives, responding to that call ever-more deeply, and recommitting ourselves to share joyfully this Christ-centred vision with others.