Is anyone here a consecrated lay individual with Secular Franciscans, Regnum Christi or any other Catholic order??? I am looking at becoming a consecrated lay individual. It just simply isn’t enough be a lay man and I am looking for something to enhance my spirituality after I complete Christ Renews His Parish this year. I have already read the Bible and the Catechism and plan on reading other Catholic spiritual books. I just wanted to know a person who is a consecrated individual and how it changed your life what led you there. I feel like I am being led there, but I wish not to pursue vocation like priest or deacon.
I’m a Secular Franciscan Brother in vows. Not all Secular Franciscans make vows, except for one, to live the Gospel according the manner of St. Francis. But some of us do make vows of celibate chastity, poverty and obedience. We live according to Rule of St. Francis. The difference between us and our other Secular Franciscan brothers and sisters is in emphasis.
We promise obedience to the Church, to Francis, to his canonically elected successors and to the fraternity. Obedience is our primary and greatest vocation. Like our father Francis, we avoid all conflict with the Church, the Franciscan Order, our Ministers, and all legitimate authority. We attempt to practice obedience as Francis practiced it, without murmuring, always loving those above us. Our rule demands an unquestioning obedience as long as we are not ordered to act contrary to the good of our soul. We do understand that those above us can make mistakes. However, like our father Francis, we believe that giving up our will to see and do things our way is tied into perfect and humble poverty. The greatest thing that a man has to offer God is his will, as Christ offered it.
We promise to live without property. Francis’ formula for profession never uses the word poverty. Instead he wrote, “to live without property”. We own nothing, not even the home in which we live, the car we drive or other material things. Those of us who have family, especially dependent, surrender everything that we have for the benefit of our family. Those who do not have dependants will give to the poor what they do not need for health or work. We consider what we keep to belong to those who need us. We are only stewards, not owners. We are ready to surrender material things when they no longer serve the purpose that they were meant to serve or when they interfere with our life of prayer and service to others.
Finally, we promise to live a chaste life according to our state in life. Those of us who are single can promise to remain celibate. We give to the Lord our bodies, minds and the good things that they can do. We give up the right to have a spouse and family, not because it is bad, but because we have discovered something. We have discovered that Christ can fulfill our every need. We hope to love him with the same intensity and fidelity as the Immaculate Heart of Mary, total dedication to his love.
Our life is composed of prayer, work, ministry, silence, lectio divina, fraternity and ministry. For example, I have been to the missions twice. First to the Caribbean and later to the Amazon. I run a school for teens with neurological disorders and a parish ministry to parents and relatives of disabled persons. We do not take care of the person with disabilities. We take care of the spiritual needs of the family and help them find the path to Christ within their circumstances.
Am I happy? I have never been happier. I was married and was very happy. Suddenly, an auto accident took my wife, oldest son and my father. I was left a widower with two young children, nine and four. Today they are 24 and 19. They have been with me everyday of my journey, even in the missions. Today they are my greatest supporters.
My Franciscan brothes and sisters are my greatest love. Our holy father Francis insisted that we should love our brothers and sisters in the Order even more than we love our biological families. Our brothers and sisters are given to us by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Francis taught us to see them as part of a covenant that we make with the Lord.
Our prayer life is modeled on that of religious who live in friaries and monasteries: Eucharist, Liturgy of the Hours, silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, spiritual reading, scripture and meditation.
We are also invovled in the secular world, but are not secularized. We avoid all conflicts, without denying truth and always making use of every opportunity to promote the faith, especially in areas that affect all of society such as abortion, war and peace, justice toward the poor and the immigrant, and services toward those whom society will not or cannot serve.
It is not a life for everyone. One has to be called by Christ. It is a response to a call to live in a relationship with Christ that tries to emulate the relationship between Francis and Christ.
We look at our holy father Francis as a true disciple who complied with Christ’s command to be meek and humble of heart. We imitate his fidelity to Christ’s invitation to meekness and humility.
I hope this helps.
Thank you for some insight.
JR… Thank you so much for this incredible witness to the life of a consecrated Lay Brother (and to your own personal experiences). I had tears in my eyes, reading it.
Please pray for me… as I too, have felt called on more than one occasion. But the circumstances of my life… at present… are preventing me from taking steps. God’s Holy and Perfect Will be done.
Your story has greatly inspired me. May Our Lord bless you abundantly.
I have just started the process of consecrating myself fully to the single life vocation, even though I have been single of my life, and had no intention of getting married. My new associate pastor (who I knew prior to his assignment at my parish) is helping me.
good luck with your process of consecration on single life.
I am in the process of becoming an Oblate of St. Benedict. I am currently in the inquiry phase but I will become a candidate in April or May. The best thing that has come out of it so far is learning to live the Rule in everyday life. Through study of the Rule I am noticing that my attitude toward things are changing. It is unfortunate however, that the monastery I will be associated with is about an hour and a half away in another state (it is the closest Benedictine monastary to me) so going to meetings is a half day affair - not to mention the traffic driving home.
Congrats on your process of becoming an Oblate of St. Benedict. I hope you find it very beneficial and spiritual
I didn’t know there was a ceremony on commiting myself until my assoc pastor mentioned it last weekend. I was discerning the single lifealready with another priest who at the time was a seminarian or transitonal deacon at my previous parish and have remained singe since.