if there are any Franciscans reading, could you please give an insight into Franciscan spirituality and what a Franciscan vocation entails?
And anyone who knows a thing or two, feel free to chip in aswell - I'm trying to get as much information as I can!
I'm not a Franciscan, but if you do an online search for "franciscan spirituality" you get a lot of hits. One discussion of Franciscan spirituality that looked good to me was:
There are also some good books out there on Francis and the Franciscans. The ones listed below are widely available (all available from Amazon.com, for example). Book (1) is a well-known modern biography of St. Francis. Books (2) and (3) are books about Franciscan spirituality. Book 4 is a collection of writings by St. Francis and his closest follower, St. Clare. Book 5 is a famous collection of stories by an early follower of Francis. If I had to start somewhere, I'd probably start with a biography. Happy reading, and God bless your efforts!
(1) St. Francis of Assissi: A Biography, by Omer Englebert (Servant Ministries, 1979).
(2) To Life as Francis Lived: A Guide for Secular Franciscans, by Leonard Foley, Jovian Weigel, and Patty Normille (Saint Anthony Messenger Press, 2000).
(3) The Way of St. Francis: The Challenge of Franciscan Spirituality for Everyone, by Murray Bodo (Saint Anthony Messenger Press, 1995).
(4) Francis and Clare: The Complete Works, ed. Regis Armstrong and Ignatius Brady (Classics of Western Spirituality) (Paulist Press, 1986).
(5) The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assissi (Vintage Spiritual Classics, 1998).
Thanks for that Alan!
It seems from the link that Penance and Charity are the main charisms of the Franciscans.
It might take me a while to get through that reading list!
Go to the documents page and you'll find all kinds of neat stuff on Franciscan spirituality.
Br. JR, OSF :)
The essence of Franciscan spirituality are:
Franciscan prayer in Trinitarian. It focusses on the Incarnate Son of the Father made present to us through the Holy Spirit. The goal of Franciscan prayer is to praise and thank God.
St. Francis made his brotherhood is primary ministry. His brothers were the love of his life. He taught us to love each other and care for each other before any other ministry or service outside of the community. Therefore, the brothers live, work, pray, play, eat and minister together.
Francis called all men to conversion. His call was to love Love. Penance, for Francis was letting go of everything that hindered one's conversion. This means that you must let go of everything that you do not need. What you don't need, is only an object of your affections.
Poverty is about embracing the poverty of Christ on the cross. On the cross, Christ owns nothing, not even his life. He has surrendered his life to Pilate according to the will of the Father. Franciscan poverty is very literal. "Take nothing for your journey."
The Franciscans follow the lead of St. Benedict in the area of obedience. Francis learned a great deal from the Benedictines. The Francican ideal of obedience is that you submit to authority, even when authority is wrong. This kind of submission is pleassing to God and man. To please God and man is an act of charity. Therefore, Franciscans are the only religious order that I know where the friars obey each other, not only their superiors and where the superiors must obey their subordinates. Franciscan obedience is about living as a family of brothers always listening to the voice of Christ through each other.
Franciscan ministry is not limited to one kind of service. However, it is limited to those who are poor. Therefore, friars will often leave parishes, schools and even neighborhoods, if they become middle class. Franciscan ministry is collegial. This means that a friar priest and a non clerical friar are equals. They are both involved in ministry. Ministry is not limited to those who are priests. We have many friars who are not priests. But they are also involved in ministries, including running parishes. The priesthood may never be the central ministry of the order. The central ministry of the order is to preach conversion. Ministry must always take last place after prayer, community life, poverty and obedience.
Br. JR, OSF :)