WAY OF LIFE
“It seems to me that the Order of Friars Minor truly was sent into this world for the greater benefit of men and women; but woe to us if we are not what we should be! The Order of Friars Minor seems to me the poorest and the richest in the world. But this seems to me our greatest fault: we want to walk with those who are too high up. They are rich who make themselves resemble the rich; they are wise who make themselves resemble the wise; they are good who make themselves resemble the good; they are beautiful who make themselves resemble the beautiful; they are noble who make themsevles resemble the noble - namely, Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Blessed Giles, Chapter 19 of the Dicta
The vows of religious life consecrate the person to God. To be consecrated to God is to serve Him alone, allowing oneself to be set aside for His exclusive use. As Friars we learn this best from the Liturgy itself.
Liturgy is the public worship of God, which in the first place is the recitation or chanting of the Divine Office, forming a union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Office structures the whole of religious life while preparing the Friar for assisting at or offering Holy Mass, and also helps the Friar to continue in a spirit of thanksgiving for Holy Mass throughout the rest of the day. This is what sets the rhythm of our religious life as it allows the Friars, in some small way, to become extensions or continuations of the liturgy itself so that their very lives become acts of adoration, thanksgiving, petition, and especially reparation offered to God. In this way, the Friary is to be like the house of the Holy Family at Nazareth, a true house of prayer.
To aid in this profound way of life and in imitation of the multitude of Franciscan saints who have gone before us, we strive to follow the constant Franciscan tradition handed down to us.
The schedule or horarium orders the day and directs our actions, giving primacy to the contemplative life. Therefore every action or apostolate is to spring forth from this foundation of contemplation so much loved by St. Francis himself, since through it the fruits of grace are obtained for personal sanctification and the sanctification of others, which we seek in the apostolate.
The apostolate, which is motivated by the love for souls and a fondness for assisting them, can take many forms, such as the preaching of good popular sermons, catechesis, popular devotions, as well as the ministry of confession and spiritual direction. The whole of the life is summed up by the true imitation of Jesus Christ: going up the mountain to pray then coming down again to help lead God's people to heaven. Grace is needed for this work and so we do penance and preach penance. And so this life can be summed up as a joyful life of penance!
“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
I Cor 2:2