Today’s 7:15 a.m. Mass was presided over by Friar Teofil PETRISOR, the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Joseph, Spouse of the B.V.M. in Romania. Today we celebrated the commemoration of Mary, Mother of the Church; may we entrust the path of the friars of our Order to our mother Mary.
Friar Jude centered his homily on the Gospel of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Mt 5:8). With regard to our confreres, we are not asked to be perfect functionaries of sacred liturgy, but to be able to meet the Lord together.
Congratulations to Friar Michael ZIELKE, the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Bonaventure in the USA for his thirty years of priesthood, and to Friar Stanisław STÓJ of the Province of St. Anthony and Blessed James of Strepar in Poland (Cracow) for his forty-one years of priesthood.
Work began in the Aula with the presentation of a new Motion by Friar Marian GOŁĄB, the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Anthony and Blessed James of Strepar in Poland (Cracow). The Motion was not part of the Instrumentum Laboris and therefore the Steering Committee titled it Motion No. 15. This Motion called for promoting community initiatives for a life more faithful to our charism. The General Chapter looks to the future of our Order with hope. At the same time, it encourages Provincial and Custodial Chapters and Ministers Provincial and Custodes, together with their Definitors, to seriously discern and support the heartfelt inspirations of the friars in undertaking new initiatives of life and mission, motivated by the desire to live the Gospel in the courageous practice of the Rule and the Constitutions.
The General Exactor, Friar Wojciech KULIG, and former Secretary General, Friar Vincenzo MARCOLI, spoke next. They presented Motion No. 12, which deals with Jurisdictional contributions for economic solidarity in the Order. Point 1 of the Motion, the Tax for the General Curia, will be voted on later; there are alternative texts for it given to the Steering Committee which have yet to be discussed. Point 2 was voted on and approved: the institution of the annual contribution to the new and unique “Fraternal Solidarity Fund”. This fund should cover aid for formation expenses, scholarships, and make up for aid usually given through Mass intentions, which are now in steep decline.
Next, the General Econom, Friar Nicola ROSA, presented Motion No. 13, which concerned setting limits on expenses for the Minister General alone and collectively with his Definitory. After a brief discussion, the text was approved.
The Secretary General for Formation, Friar Louis PANTHIRUVELIL (India) opened the discussion on Franciscan Discipleship. First, there was a presentation by the other members of the General Secretariat for Formation: Vicesecretary Friar Franklin Antonio DURÁN ZAMBRANO (Venezuela), Friar Zbigniew WÓJCIK (Cracow) and Friar Emanuele RIMOLI (Calabria, Italy).
Friar Louis explained that Franciscan Discipleship is not a legal text. Rather, it is a text meant to inspire and instruct the projects of the Order’s formation houses. He then summarized the historical, thirty-five year journey that led to the current text of Franciscan Discipleship. In particular, over the past six years, our formators around the world made suggestions to help redraft the text into a form that more closely met the needs of our friars working in formation.
The floor was then opened up for questions from Capitulars on how the final text was arrived at. Tomorrow the Capitulars will continue their discussion on Franciscan Discipleship.
Friar Aurelio ERCOLI, Chronicler
The Gospel today presents a series of eight beatitudes which are a type of a new law for the new Israel. As Moses received the old law on a mountain, Jesus proclaims this new law in the Sermon on the Mount. But these are not rules as much as goals. This is a very Jewish way of speaking.
Sin, for example, in the Old Testament is seen as shooting an arrow and missing the mark. Conversion is not hitting the mark. It is getting closer to the mark. Conversion tends to take place in slow motion. Very few of us have dramatic conversions such as St. Paul on the road to Damascus. Most of us convert a little at a time. What is important is not necessarily to be perfect, but to be getting better.
I would like to accent only one of the beatitudes. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. The heart in the Bible is where one thinks. If one is pure in one’s thoughts, always thinking of God, then of course we will see God. This reminds me of Phil 4,8. Whatever is true, and right and noble and pure and lovely and admirable, think about those things.
We are all busy, and the first things that get abandoned when we are too busy in spiritual reading and meditation. We need these. The friars we serve need us to do these things so that we might see God clearly, and help them to see him as well.