Thoughts from your Regional Formation Director, February, 2015

sfotauDear Brothers and Sisters

Greetings of love and peace to you!

Looking ahead to the season of Lent which will be upon us shortly, I think Chapter 6 in the text Franciscan Prayer, “The Heart Turned Toward God,” by Ilia Delio OSF, would be very appropriate for Ongoing Formation although it was not written specifically for lent. While I cannot physically include the whole content of this chapter, I would like to at least point out a few excerpts which can be used for discussion. If you already have the text, go for it. You may approach the chapter differently. If I can be of any help to you I am always available.

The heart is the center of the whole personal life of the human person. If we tend to clutter our hearts with those things that really do not matter, we will not be able to encounter God, this is where God reveals himself to us. As Jesus tells us in the Gospel “where you treasure is, there will be your heart be also (Luke 12:34). Francis believed that the heart is the seat of the will, the root of sin, and the place of conversion.

Francis in his Admonitions indicated that the heart must not turn away from God under “pretexts” of occupations. We too often complain we do not have enough time to pray or we are too busy to pray. When we are too busy, Francis’ admonition calls to mind that our hearts may turn away from God.

Francis placed a great emphasis on the Word of God, as a living Word, the Word of life. This is the Word that took flesh in Jesus, the Word that comes to us in the Scriptures and in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and the Word that fulfills our lives when it dwells in our hearts. As a life-giving Word, Francis made every effort to ensure that the Word became his life, and he called his followers to do the same.

For Bonaventure, the heart is the place of knowledge and rest, as well as the place of love. It is the place where one enters into solitude and fosters the desire for God. “Be sure always to guard your heart well” he writes.

Clare of Assisi had a clear focus on the crucified Christ as the spouse of transforming love and only in union with Him can we be transformed to the beauty of God’s image in our lives.

So how can we as Franciscans apply the above during our Lenten journey? Everyday?

Article VII of our Rule gives us some direction – United by their vocation as “brothers and sisters of penance,” and motivated by the dynamic power of the gospel, let them conform their thoughts and deeds to those of Christ by means of radical interior change which the gospel itself calls “conversion.” Human frailty makes it necessary that this conversion be carried out daily. On this road to renewal the sacrament of reconciliation is the privileged sign of the Father’s mercy and the source of grace.



Comments are closed.