12 Weeks of Franciscan Peace 12 Weeks of Franciscan Peace October 3 – October 3 –December 25
Week 1, October 3 - 9: The thought for this week is Prayer. Article 8 of the OFS Rule begins: “As Jesus was the true worshipper of the Father, so let prayer and contemplation be the soul of all they are and do.” Prayer is first and foremost in our lives as followers of Jesus. Everything we do and say must be embodied in a spirit of prayer. Author Henri Nouwen wrote, “When we sit down to pray, we enter the presence of the God of peace who disarms our hearts, he said. We make our peace with God, and God gives us the gift of peace.” In the life of prayer, our wills and God’s grace act together. When we pray, we must surrender to the will of God and not our own wills and wants. This can be difficult especially when we want our own way. Yet, we must remember that God wants what is best for us and His ways are greater than our ways. Only God can see the big picture.
The Spirituality of the Chapter by Fr. André Comtois, ofm
St. Francis early established the custom of holding chapters. They were held at the Portiuncula and were the occasion for Francis to see his first companions, to become acquainted with friars who had recently entered the Order, to give to all paternal advice, and to make adaptations to their way of life he deemed necessary. The most famous of all was the "Chapter of Mats" at which were present five thousand friars. They were entirely occupied in prayer and in rendering one another charitable service or in talking of spiritual things. The temporary shelters set up in the fields, some of rush mats, gave its name to this famous chapter. Since then the Chapter has always been most important in the Franciscan family. History shows that Chapters have brought about complete renewal in several Institutes and Provinces. The time for our regional chapter is fast approaching.
SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI, FOUNDER OF THE FRIARS MINOR, CONFESSOR—1181-1226 ... Feast: October 4
We know more of St. Francis than of any other medieval saint. Not only have we his own words, his Rule, Testament, letters, poems, and liturgical writings, but also the intimate accounts of several of his disciples, written down within twenty years after his death. These first biographies, by Brothers Thomas of Celano, Leo, Angelo, and Rufino, were soon revised and added to by other friars who wanted to call attention to one phase or another of Francis' work and teachings. From this great store of authentic material a clear picture of the man emerges. St. Francis is one saint whom both Catholics and non-Catholics have united in honoring. Certainly no other has so appealed to Protestants and even to non-Christians. And the appeal is timeless: Francis captured the imagination of his contemporaries as well as that of modern men by his unique simplicity and a pure grace of spirit. A classic collection of popular legends, the <Little Flowers of St. Francis>, first printed in 1476, contains charming and beautiful stories of Francis' love of the poor, of animals, of all nature. In action he was original, in speech picturesque and poetic, yet he was a man utterly inspired by faith in and devotion to the risen Christ.