Originally Posted by JReducation
Good questions Tee.
Secular Orders and Lay Orders are not clubs. They are different from each other.
For example: The Secular Franciscans and Lay Dominicans have a three to five year formation period. You go through different stages. In the end you make a commitment to live this way until death. So it's not a club. You can't join today and leave tomorrow, once you have made your profession.
The Secular Franciscans, as I have described in my previous thread are highly structured. We have a Rule that St. Francis wrote for us. We make a commitment until death to live the Gospel the same way that St. Francis lived it.
We get together very frequently for support and community life. Some of us live in the same house. Those who have children and families live within their families, but join us on a regular basis. By regular I mean REGULAR, not randomly. The Rule says that every Secular Franciscan must report to the community at least once a month or more.
We go to work like every other person, but we also engage in ministry, contemplative prayer and in penance. Besides that we have the daily mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.
Some communities have a habit and some wear a simple symbol. This depends on the council. We have a general council in Rome that governs the Secular Franciscan Order around the world. We are one million brothers and sisters. Some married, some celibate, some are clerics.
The Brothers and Sisters of Penance (Secular Franciscans) are married, single, celibate, clerics who live a live of obedience, penance, poverty, service to the Church, silence, and bring the Gospel to the secular places where the rest of the Franciscan family can't reach, such as the office or other secular places. But we do not engage in trying to change the world by preaching to anyone. We preach by our silence and by the way that we live and the way we serve others while at work, play, or in our apostolates.
Some Secular Franciscans, like some priests and religoius of other groups are very lax about their commitment. If you live it the way Francis wrote it and the way the Church expects it, it is very demanding and is a 24/7 job. Even taking care of your family, children, parents, spouse can be a form of penance, because you must assume the lowest place at all times, just as Francis did.
I hope this helps.
Thank you very much for your post as I am discerning the Secular Franciscan religious order.
I was wondering if you or someone could help me by answering the following questions:
1. How do we discern God's will for us in our spiritual life? Do we make an accout of our current situations, past encounters with God and where we are headed by listening to God speak to us thru His Word?
I feel like God is speaking to me to learn more about this religious order but I also feel like there are so many obstacles to overcome in my personal life, which brings me to the next question:
2. Has anyone who joined a Secular Religious Order had opposition from their spouses? And if so what was the outcome?
I feel like my husband and I are so spiritually mismatched right now and that my added increase in my faith would offend him. Why am I so concerned that my love for God is going to offend my husband? And why is he so offended by my increase in faith? I think because it forces him to look at where he is in his spiritual walk with God and he doesn't want to change and he does tell me alot to just keep Jesus to myself.
I couldn't help but noticing the part in your post about how as members of a religious order, you engage in trying to change the world not by preaching to anyone but intead by preaching by your silence and by the way that we live and the way we serve others while at work, play, or in our apostolates.
I can't help but think how my preaching has made some people angry, like my husband, which was not my intention at all and couldn't help but notice the Mass readings from Thursday and Friday and I opened the Bible randomly in James about "taming the tongue" and how God was speaking to me that its ok to increase my faith but show the deep love that I have for Him silently by my actions and to learn a better way to communicate.
I just keep stumbling and feel like this has all been God's will along as He is offering me a way to learn more about my faith and a better way to share it without offending anyone. I have been told that my increase in faith is excess and that people who help out with church things are 20 years or more older than me. So do I have to wait to commit to Jesus and serve His Church? Suppose I die tomorrow and never have the opportunity to know the joy and peace that comes in knowing Him?
I also feel like God is calling me to somehow teach people about repentance and conversions as I had a dramatic conversion of heart last year , I had stumbled upon Padre Pio and didn't know anything about him so found out about him so I decided to pray intercessory prayer to Padre Pio to deliver my prayer for a family member directly to God and how God knew exactly what I needed and how my prayer was not answered the way I had intended, but instead I was led over the course of 5 months, with the help of his faithful servant, the great confessor and mystic Padre Pio, right into the middle of the confessional to restore my relationship with God which had been injured by my sin in the past.
So i can't help but also think that perhaps the devil is attacking me with disharmony in my family and this internal struggle of feeling discouraged is the work of the devil by trying to prevent me from sharing the great secret of repentance, conversion and restoring our relatonship with God by celebrating the beautiful Sacrament of Reconcilliation?
Any helpful answers in discernment of God's will for us?