June 2004

At our May fraternity meeting we talked about obedience in the context of Article 6 of the Rule, "living in full communion with the pope, bishops, and priests." This month we will continue with Article 7 and our need to "conform [our] thoughts and deeds to those of Christ." For my part, we move this month from considering the Holy Fatherís words to our Order to his message to the whole Church at the end of the Holy Year of 2000 and the start of the third millennium (the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte). This Apostolic Letter is 36 pages long, and I have only read bits and pieces of it so far; the more I read, the more I understand how much of our call to be Secular Franciscans is "simply" taking our call to follow Christ seriously, as Francis did. What follows are some excerpts from Novo Millennio Ineunte and how I see them reflected in our Rule or in Franciscan spirituality in general.

There is much more we could talk about from

Novo Millenio Ineunte

, but I think this is plenty to think about for a while. One last thought from the letter which suggests the place of our Franciscan community:

[O]ur Christian communities must become genuine "schools" of prayer, where the meeting with Christ is expressed not just in imploring help but also in thanksgiving, praise, adoration, contemplation, listening and ardent devotion, until the heart truly "falls in love". Intense prayer, yes, but it does not distract us from our commitment to history: by opening our heart to the love of God it also opens it to the love of our brothers and sisters, and makes us capable of shaping history according to God's plan.

May Godís peace and blessing be with you and your families this month and always! Vickie