May the Lord give you His peace brothers!
As a province of Capuchin Friars, we have entered Lent- a time that was cherished by our inspired founder: St. Francis. As a friar in 20221, I am made to reflect on my religious life and how often I do not measure up in my observance of the Franciscan Spirituality. For whatever reason, I fail. I cannot blame others, just myself.
When I read about some of our saints and blesseds, I have often been struck by what has been written about them: They tried to make regular observance happen in the friaries; this was a hallmark of their time in leadership. Now, I am neither a Saint or a Blessed, but like each one of you, I can reflect on our life. Often when a married couple may be struggling, we council them to go on a marriage retreat – can we make this Lenten season a retreat time for ourselves as followers of St. Francis? Therefore, this Lent, I propose that each of us read a biography of Saint Francis and read and meditate on His writings – especially our rule. If we are to lead a Gospel life as St. Francis envisioned it (incarnated into 2022 of course), we, in the Our Lady of Angels Province, need to immerse ourselves in the Marrow of the Gospel: our rule, our way of living our Catholic faith. This can only make us more effective in our Life of prayer, fraternity, and ministry.
I just ask each one of you to consider this proposal. As it is said: You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink if he does not wish to. I close with the words of our Holy Father St. Francis:
… I confess all my sins to die Lord God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to the blessed ever Virgin Mary, all the saints in heaven and on earth, to Brother H., the Minister of our Order and all my other blessed brothers. I have offended the Lord in many ways through my grevious especially in not having kept the Rule which I promised the Lord and in not saying the Office as the Rule prescribes either out of negligence or on account of my sickness or because I am ignorant and stupid. Therefore, I beg by all means, as best I can, Brother H., the General Minister, my Lord, to have the Rule observed inviolably by everyone …
Joseph Seraphin, OFM Cap