Clothing must be of “humble quality” and “simple fashion,” and tertiaries “are not to wear silken or dyed veils and ribbons.” The second and third chapters deal with food. This app includes the rule of the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO), basic prayers of Catholic, and today's Gospel. From the feast of St. Martin until Christmas Day, there is daily fasting. My prayer is that we get to the other side with a new vision, a deeper understanding, more compassion, and a fervent commitment to do all that we can individually, fraternally, and through our Order to care for the world and all within it. This is a great copy of the SFO Rule to be given at an Inquirer's Admission to the Secular Franciscan Order. Lino and a Capuchin priest named Fr. St. Francis never wanted his followers to masochistically pursue self-punishment as if this could compensate God for sin. From: THE RULE OF THE SECULAR FRANCISCAN ORDER (1978) Article 16: Let them esteem work as a gift and a sharing in the creation, redemption and service of the human community. As I researched my responses to their proposals, I learned about traditional OFS spiritual disciplines and devotions which led me to write a short summary of advices, which you can read here: http://www.sfoireland.com/?p=127. I have been speaking as if acts of penance must arise purely from of a spirit of conversion, but in my experience the opposite is also true: acts of self-denial can encourage conversion. Reflections on the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order Part 1. The regulations for dress are very precise, limiting the cost, materials, and colors to be worn. Sister Lucy, the Fatima visionary, wrote: Many persons, feeling that the word ‘penance’ implies great austerities, and not feeling that they have the strength for great sacrifices, become discouraged and continue a life of luke-warmness and sin. The original Rule may not be a precise roadmap for Franciscans today, but St. Francis’ call to penance echoes through the ages, and provides just as trustworthy a signpost toward holiness as it did in the past. The rule and life of the Secular Franciscans is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of St. Francis of Assisi who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people. … The return of the sinner to a life of virtue is also called a conversion.” The current OFS Rule points out, helpfully, that due to human weakness, this is a daily task (Rule no. Laudato Si Lesson. Why is the Catholic population decreasing in numbers? I hope this article provides some resources for each of these actions that you can use individually or as a fraternity for on-going formation. I have been developing a thesis similar to yours: that the drop-off in OFS vocations, and the apparent lukewarmness and confusion among the professed about our vocation and mission, is due in part to a vague Rule. Our Most Holy Lord Pope Leo XIII by Divine Providence, Misericors Dei Filius Constitution on the Law of the Franciscan Third Order Secular Conversion shows itself in outward signs, such as prayer, fasting, and works of mercy. This penance is … saying ‘no’ when we need not so that we can courageously say it when we must.”. The causality works both ways. I remember the days when they first came out - they were a dollar. This was great! These guidelines sound strict and rigorous, but St. Francis allowed flexibility in their observance as needed. The national OFS fraternity has asked us: to identify and eradicate the structures that perpetuate racism…; to pray for an end to racism…; to identify and confront our own unconscious racial biases. We strive to observe the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, and to make present the charism of Saint Francis in the life and mission of the Church. Privacy. Ultimately, penance is about love: loving God, and loving our neighbor. Certainly we don’t need to serve rotten food to our families but we can get by, especially in America, with a few imperfections. CHAPTER 1: The Secular Franciscan Order. Christ, the gift of the Father's love, is … Penance is “a supernatural moral virtue whereby the sinner is disposed to hatred of his sin as an offence against God, and to a firm purpose of amendment and satisfaction. Rather it is the commonsense insurance against anything that threatens—and many dangers do threaten—their relationship with Christ. Articles of the Rule. There may also be some unexpected degradation of the general appearance of translated pages. Franciscan Friar Benet A. Fonck is the coordinator of communications for the Sacred Heart Province of the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans). In the Catechism (§1430-39), we read that penance “does not aim first at outward works,” but rather “interior conversion.” The Catechism states that this interior conversion will produce fruits. The Secular Franciscan Order is an Order within the Roman Catholic Church, and was founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Clearly, St. Francis thought that particular acts of self-denial would be spiritually beneficial for his followers. Frankly, from a purely natural psychological perspective, I think people are motivated by a challenge and inspired by difficult demands. Many feel unable to move forward, stifled by current world problems that seem insurmountable. I have commented on their keynote addresses at the Chapter, which I think are problematic. Each one has its own moral personality in the Church. There are two ways to explore the archives at HPR: To Live as Francis Lived: A Guide for Secular Franciscans, https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?RecNum=4680, http://www.onepeterfive.com/secular-franciscan-charism/, http://www.onepeterfive.com/secular-franciscan-charism, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9Rpd-KAFZsMS1FLTmxuRGE0OE0/view?usp=sharing, Humanae Vitae and the Law of Gradualism – Rejoice and be Glad, Evangelization: The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Each one has its own moral personality in the Church. To be blunt, I find it to be so watered-down that I believe a new rule should be written. The Secular Franciscan charism can be readily discerned from the Rule of the Order and the words and example of St. Francis. “The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order is like a fine and sturdy home. Let us, like Francis, be tireless as we pursue holy newness. The General Chapter of 2014 asked for a “period of serious reflection, involving all members of the Order,” on the future challenges to the Order, from practical management to personal spiritual formation. Somewhere I read where someone suggested buying the ‘not so perfect fruit or vegetable’. Penance! I know that’s a lot of links to follow, but I’ve been wrestling lately with questions similar to yours. This involves acts of self-denial that are linked to the sacrifice of the cross. Year round, meat can be eaten only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. I am not familiar with the TOR Rule, but I would like to learn about it. The ultimate motive for mortification is something positive: love for Jesus Christ and his commandments. The current  Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order (see below) is the third Rule that the OFS has had over the past 800 years This Rule was approved and confirmed in 1978 by Pope Paul VI and the four Ministers General of the Franciscan family. “The aim of the rule is to help the grace given to the soul at profession to accomplish its work of uniting the tertiary with Jesus. In the parable of the prodigal son, not only does the son realize his errors, feel remorse, and seek reconciliation with the father, but there is a concomitant change in his behavior. Each one has its own legal personality in the Church. Dear Debbie, I am so glad you got something out of the article. Fratelli Tutti Resources – and more – now on OFS-USA Website! The term originated with St. Paul, who traces an instructive analogy between Christ dying to a mortal life and rising to an immortal life, and His followers who renounce their past life of sin and rise through grace to a new life of holiness. Because Google Translate is an external website, SecularFranciscansUSA.org does not control the quality or accuracy of the translated content. It is a challenge to follow the way of St. Francis while remaining in the world, especially in the 21st century with so much confusion, both inside and outside the Church. In fact, in the USA, a group has received Church approval to follow the original Rule of 1221. There are no upcoming events at this time. My certainty rests in God. We have just posted Fratelli Tutti on our OFS-USA website, along with an overview, summary, two study guides and a video reflection by Sr. Margaret Carney OSF. The Secular Franciscan Order (Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis, or OFS) is the Third Order founded by St. Francis of Assisi in 1221 for lay men and women, and diocesan clergy, who feel called to the Franciscan way of life, but who remain with their families, and at their jobs rather than joining the First Order (the Friars Minor) or the Second Order (the cloistered Poor Clares). ‘If you live after the flesh,’ says the apostle, ‘you shall die, but if through the spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.’” (Rom 8:13). It is my thesis that one helpful guide to the future is to look back at the original Rule of the Third Order to see what St. Francis himself wanted for his tertiaries. Dear Reverend Father, thank you for your comment. very interesting and oh so true to live ‘simply’ in this day. It presents the rule of the Secular Franciscan Order on one side of the page with a second column of commentary on the opposite side of the page. Those who live within this Rule of Life are the Secular Franciscans around the world. From All Saints Day to Easter, there is fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays. © Homiletic & Pastoral Review (masthead). Chris' Examination of Conscience. It is divided into fraternities at various levels: local, regional, national, and international. Let us recall that Our Lady appearing at Lourdes, as well as the angel in the vision of the third secret of Fatima, emphatically beseech the faithful with the words, “Penance! Why this emphasis on penance? The Secular Franciscan Order (Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis, or OFS) is the Third Order founded by St. Francis of Assisi in 1221 for lay men and women, and diocesan clergy, who feel called to the Franciscan way of life, but who remain with their families, and at their jobs rather than joining the First Order (the Friars Minor) or the Second Order (the cloistered Poor Clares). You may be interested to read also my recent article at the blog onepeterfive.com called “In Search of a Secular Franciscan Charism.” You can read it at: http://www.onepeterfive.com/secular-franciscan-charism/. The first Rule imposed strict requirements that St. Francis obviously thought would help Secular Franciscans grow in holiness. It is not punishment, but “spiritual exercise” that unites us to Christ in this world, and wins us the imperishable crown in the next. The new Rule gave us hope for renewal. St. Francis proposed specific penitential acts that should order the lives of his tertiaries. By their profession [This is the final excerpt of an article that originally appeared in the Winter 2019 Issue 99 of the TAU-USA. Here is a very festive video that makes me so happy! For me, hearing the priest-moderator of my fraternity constantly associate acts of penance with mental illness led to my distancing myself from it. It is called the Confraternity of Penitents. Copyright 1995-2019 OFS-USA | All Rights Reserved, Conference of National Spiritual Assistants (CNSA), Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), Sources for Secular Franciscan Books and Supplies, New Rule, new unity, new vision. What a gift it is to recognize this trajectory as God’s direction for our Order, even as we await its fulfillment. While the Memorial Propositi to which you refer is surely dated, at least it has ‘teeth’ and challenges one to live a life of penance, metanoia, in a specific way. The OFS Rule promulgated by Pope Leo XIII was blessedly short and simple and direct, and prescribed distinctly Franciscan practices. The text is short and emphasizes specific practices that, taken together, encourage what can be called a “penitential lifestyle” for Secular Franciscans. From what has been already said, it may be gathered that St. Francis successively developed his rule, adapting it to the circumstances. The first Rule has been superseded on a number of occasions, most recently with the “Pauline Rule” of 1978, approved by Pope Paul VI. We’ve been on this journey of renewal for some time now. The Secular Franciscan Order holds a special place in this family circle. About the Secular Franciscan Order. As a TOR friar and student of things Franciscan, I find this much more in keeping with the spirit and original charism of our Holy Father St. Francis that the SFO Rule. One of our deceased members used to say ‘when you go looking for something you need to buy..a tv, car, etc., you may look for the very best, but then buy the 2nd or 3rd best”. It is an organic union of all Catholic fraternities scattered throughout the world and open to every group of the faithful. Conversion is expressed “in many and various ways,” especially fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. Article 7 of the Rule of 1978 calls tertiaries to conversion. Acts of mortification can promote growth in the love of God and neighbor. Fr. While the word “mortification” can conjure harsh images of self-flagellation, or the wearing of a hair shirt, seemingly small acts like forgoing sugar in coffee, or patiently waiting in line or a traffic jam, without complaining, can also be considered mortification. It will be tough to renew the SFO with such an ambiguous text. God bless you! Finally, it is useful to get a clear understanding of mortification, a word that has negative connotations for many today. Already, I have mentioned several key words, such as “penance” and “conversion.” It may be useful to distinguish these terms. It is named by Franciscan authors "Regula bullata" or "Regula secunda." The rule of 1223 is the Franciscan Rule properly so called, the rule which the Friars Minor still observe. The Secular Franciscan Order is a public association of the faithful in the Catholic Church. For example, exceptions to the food rules include feast days; times of illness, pregnancy, weakness, travel, and fatiguing work; and permission to eat whatever is served to you by others. This is the penance that I now seek and require. The delivery of our new Rule was a ‘decisive and powerful moment,’ and this ‘moment’ of grace has been prolonged into a ‘season.’. A new spirit was placed in the hearts of the elect, and a holy anointing has been poured out in their midst.”, Perhaps one lesser known fact about St. Anthony is his great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, on account of the many references to Mary in his sermons and expressive passion with which he speaks of her, he might well be called, like St. Bernard of Clairvaux, whom he so frequently quotes, a second “Marian Doctor.”. Even if modern Franciscans are no longer bound by the original Rule written by his hand, perhaps some advice about how to live today as individuals, and the identity of the Order, can be derived from his original vision. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Jesus says: “ No, I say to you; but except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish.” (Lk 13:5). Each one has its own moral personality in the Church. Certainly, from the beginning we have always “begun again” and started “something new” – but there is a particularity about this moment. You are here: Home / Formation / Reflections on the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order Part 1. Please respond. These various fraternities are coordinated and united according to the norm of this rule and of the constitutions. They have gone up in price for sure. The Original Rule of the Franciscan Third Order One name given by St. Francis to the Third Order was “The Brothers and Sisters of Penance.” I think this name is a good indicator of St. Francis’ intentions, and suggests what kind of spirituality should characterize the Order, even today. These various fraternities are coordinated and united according to the norm of this rule and of the constitutions. He wanted them to be set apart from the world in some visible ways. There should not be any shaming of a pious person who wants to do them, as long as it is inspired by the Holy Spirit. The principal act in the exercise of this virtue is the detestation of sin, not of sin in general, nor of that which others commit, but of one’s own sin.” Penance is thus an inward virtue of character put into practice through patterns of behavior, with its origins, above all, in the painful realization that we are all sinners. Such practices of self-denial and acceptance of suffering may be part of our “spiritual toolbox” as a means to growing in our relationships with God, and with others. Should Catholics Receive a COVID-19 Vaccine? The Franciscan family, as one among many spiritual families raised up by the Holy Spirit in the Church, unites all mem bers of the people of God -- laity, religious, and priests - who recognize that they are called to follow Christ in the footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. In addition, some experts today basically equate penance with conversion, and downplay acts of self-sacrifice and mortification. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. While with prayer we may do well to retreat to a room where only our Lord in heaven will see us (Mt 6:6), and our fasting should not be obvious to others (Mt 6:18), and with alms-giving one hand should not know what the other is doing (Mt 6:3), the choice of clothing is something that is not hidden, and indeed can be an external expression or living out of the commitment to follow St. Francis. These various fraternities are coordinated and united according to the standards of this Rule and of the constitutions. A new vision through the visioning gatherings for Youth, Formation and JPIC. “Brothers and Sisters of Penance” The OFS is governed by the universal law of the Church and by its own Rule, Constitutions, Ritual, and statutes. In the last 40 years the essential structures were set in place – and now we see the progression – the trajectory. It is not comprehensive, but rather offers a menu of ideas. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order. Other requirements include tithing, drawing up a legal will, a prohibition on use of lethal weapons, the avoidance of formal oaths, and a rule against attending shows or dances. Benjamin J. Vail, OFS, is an American Secular Franciscan living with his family in Brno, Czech Republic. Secular Franciscans have a choice: either to hide from troubles or, with the help of our Rule and Gospel, to seek ways of moving forward in spite of difficulties. This book examines the impact of that new rule while looking at the Franciscan lay movement … One of my commentaries is online here: http://www.onepeterfive.com/secular-franciscan-charism, and the other you can read here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9Rpd-KAFZsMS1FLTmxuRGE0OE0/view?usp=sharing. Of abstinence of translated pages his family in Brno, Czech Republic glad got... 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