JReducation -- need your spiritual support


#1

I’m not sure if this is the right place to post this. If not, I ask the moderator to place it in the proper sub-forum. Thanks.

My dearest brothers and sisters, once again I appeal to all of you for your prayers. If possible during the next nine days in honor of our Lady Mother of the Incarnate Word. I will try to explain as well as I can and I beg your forgiveness for my poor ability to express myself and communicate properly.

For a year now, my Franciscan community has been praying for the opportunity to devote itself solely to the care of the unborn child and his/her parents, as well as ministering to those who have had abortions and those who perform them, in the hope that through the grace of almighty God we can save both life and souls. As a result, the idea of the Franciscan Brothers of Life was born. We began with a small cell (group) of brothers, while still members of the larger Franciscan family.

After much prayer and dialogue with our Franciscan family, spiritual directors and confessors, it was decided that I should present before His Excellency, the bishop, the proposal for the establishment of an independent congregation of Franciscan religious brothers who would take on the ministry of life in our diocese.

At first I was frightened of the prospect, so I prayed all the more. Then I returned to my confessor and spiritual director with the same concerns and questions. I had never been directly involved in the pro-life movement, though I was always a supporter through prayer and other means.

As time passed, the idea took hold of me. Again I approached my superior and my spiritual director for guidance. At my last meeting with my spiritual director he told me that I should go ahead with this plan, because God needed more “knights to protect the life of the unborn” As fate or grace would have it, my spiritual director and I meet at a parish named St. Maximilian Kolbe, the patron of Respect Life and a fellow Franciscan.

One Sunday I went back to my regional superior. He patted me on the back and said, “I want you to do this, not just for the Franciscan family, but for God and his little ones. Go, talk to the bishop.” I then went to visit the Director of Respect Life in our diocese, a lay woman of great faith and zeal for the unborn and their parents. While there I mentioned to her that my fraternity had been speaking about this plan and it had evolved from greater involvement in Respect Life to the foundation of a new religious community for men and that I had been advised to lead the project. I told her of my fears and of my concerns. She responded, “We need the Brothers of Life. Don’t worry about money. Talk to the bishop.”

I wrote up a draft on the spirituality of the new community and a cover letter to the bishop. But before sending it, I went to confession, received the Eucharist, spent more time praying over it. I rewrote the cover letter six times before sending it. I also called His Excellency’s secretary and asked for an appointment. I informed her that I was sending a letter about the matter to be discussed at our meeting so that he could prepare himself. The appointment was set. The day before the meeting I received a letter from the bishop. He acknowledged that he had received my letter and the proposal for the new congregation of religious brothers. He indicated that he would like a week to pray over it and to consult on this. He will call me next week.

I want to leave it all in God’s hands and yet, the more I say “Thy will be done,“ the stronger my conviction to move in this direction. Respect Life and a new congregation were never my goals when I become a religious. I have served the disabled, taught theology done mission work, preached retreats, done spiritual direction and worked on our formation team and have been happy doing this.

One day I heard a Franciscan sister exclaim that she didn’t know what else to do about abortion, she was just going to pray and hope that someone would pick up the cause. Something hit me in the gut. I spontaneously turned around and said to her, “You pray, God and I will do the rest.“ I had no idea what I was getting into; but that’s what came to my mouth.

Our work and life in our small cell of Franciscan Brothers of Life is happy and it is safe, because we remain attached to the larger Franciscan family. The idea of going out alone would have sounded like insanity a year ago. Now, I am motivated by Bl. Mother Teresa, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Maximilian Kolbe and our holy Father St. Francis who went out alone with only one guarantee, that God loved them, never sure what the next step would be, not knowing what to do or how to do it. As much as I pray to have this idea stripped from my desire, if it is not God’s will, it only becomes stronger.

I have no idea where the money or the brothers for this new foundation are going to come from. I don’t even know how many of our current brothers would want to become an independent congregation and suffer the insecurity that comes when one does not have a larger organization behind you. But I am sure God has plenty of money. If this is God’s work, he will send the brothers. God has to go with me. He knows that I have no one else to go along. Right now I feel alone, but not abandoned.

As I write this there are some tears. There is some fear, but there is more security that God will make this happen, because how can he not want to save us from the horrors of abortion and the culture of death. I feel God very close at these dark hours of the night when I lay awake in prayer. Even though I think of the cries of the unborn, my peace is still with me. I know that Mary’s motherhood is my salvation. It’s a very strange feeling. But her motherhood is the motherhood of God and he is our salvation. Right now, I have to cling to her. What else can I do?

And now, my brothers and sisters, I cling to you for your prayers.

  1. Pray that God may forgive my sins. For they are too many to bear and to count. Without the gift of his passion and death, there is no way that I can make it. Praise him with me and pray that his grace may flow from the cross and wash away my sins. With my sinfulness, I am only an obstacle to this project.

  2. Pray that I may continue to avoid the temptations of sin and that I may do penance for those who offend him by destroying life and that I may do penance for my own sins. I need your prayers to continue.

  3. Pray that the Lord show the bishop and me how to bring about the Franciscan Brothers of Life, if it is the Lord’s desire – and if it is not his wish, that this idea will disappear so that we may do his work without distraction.

Thank you for your kindness, for taking the time to read this, and please forgive me for bothering you.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#2

Peace be with you, Brother JR. You’ve been a rock for us discerners on the Vocations forum, and it’s an honour to pray for you now: I’ll start a novena for your intentions tonight. It’s a wonderful (and deeply necessary) cause, and I wish you all the very best!


#3

You’ll never know how much I appreciate your response. Please pray that God will forgive my sins and that I not be an obstacle in his work. I, on the other hand, will remember your intentions at mass later this morning.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#4

JR, my prayers are with you, your community, your Bishop and those you are called to serve. May God bless your ministry.


#5

Thank you. I too will pray for you that our holy Father Francis will be your constant companion.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#6

Thank you, Brother J.R!


#7

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth, as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of our death. Amen.

I’ll keep you in prayer, and will especially ask the help of our first beatified Australian saint whose feastday is this weekend. She began an Order which assisted the poorest of children, and her Order aslo offered assistance to girls in need, unmarried mothers. She’s a relative of mine. I’ll ask her to pray for your Order and work which is dear to her heart.
God bless and strengthen you, and dear God, please nsure all the necessary help for this work for the protection and care of Your little ones.


#8

I will pray for you. :gopray: Thank you for your willingness to do this work, JR!


#9

I thank all of you for your prayers and ask that you pray with us during this next week while the bishop discerns.

The Franciscan Brothers of Life are currently a small group within the larger Franciscan family. The idea of creating an autonomous group comes from the strong feeling of the Franciscans framily that this ministry requires consecrated religious men and in the future women, who will live completely dedicated to the cause of life.

The proposal is not an easy life. As we life right now we pray the Liturgy of the Hours five times a day, the rosary and we spend an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament in atonement for the attacks on human life.

We have no property of our own, but live on what Divine Providence provides. Our living arrangements are very simple, a cell, a common area, an oratory and nothing else. We have no cars, but travel on bus and foot. Maybe someone will donate a car.

Everyday we go to the pregnancy centers wheer we provide counseling to the parents who want to abort. We teach parenting. When mothers give birth, we care for their children and provide training so they can go into the workforce.

Some of our brothers have PhDs and Masters. They work at their usual positions and make money to bring to the ministry. This would continue, if we were to get more men who had the skills to bring in the money. Otherwise, we trust in God’s mercy to provide what we need and what the ministry needs.

Our poverty is very radical. We have a habit that we wear everywhere and a set of work clothes. A brother who works in a setting that has a dress code of course complies with that. Obedience is a must. We practice obedience to the Gospel, the Church and the Holy Father. We obey our superiors as the legitimate successors of St. Francis and we live according to the primitive rule that St. Franci wrote for the Brothers and Sisters of Penance.

We believe that through Mary and penance, we can convert ourselves and the world for Jesus. Along with that, community life is important. We live as brothers to one another, anticipating the needs of each brother, just as Francis antcipated the needs of the arly brothers.

We need both the bishop’s approval to separate from the larger order and men who want to live this kind of life of prayer, poverty, obedience, charity, celibacy, and service.

There are other Franciscan communities growing around the world that have broken off the larger family for the sole purpose of adopting one apostolate. We have found that when a community has a common apostolate, rather than many apostolates, it binds the brothers together under a common goal. Francis never wanted his brothers to become an unmanageable corporation, but to remain a family made up of smaller families, like the biological family. We hope to remain part of the great Franciscan family, but living in our own charism and responding to God’s call to protect the unborn. Most important is evangelization of youth who do not understand the proper expression of love and often find themselves in these situations.

Again, thank you for your prayers and be assured of mine. I will keep you up to date with information as it comes my way. On that note, I’ll add that the parish director of youth ministry asked me to come to visit the youth and speak to them abou the Brothers of Life. There are over 700 youth in our parish ministry between the ages of 15 and 25. It’s never too early to begin to promote the calling to be a brother.

Pray for me and be assured of my prayers, fasts, and abstinences for your intentions as well. PM me or email me if you want more information.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#10

When I go to Adoration tonight, I will say a Rosary for your community. That’s about all I can do!


#11

Your story is eerily like that of Mother Teresa when she made the decision, guided by the Holy Spirit, to leave her Loreto sisters and move out into the community to serve the poor. When she started her possessions were three saris, the familiar one of white with the blue bands. She had to wait months to get an answer to her request to begin her new calling. She had nothing and no one to help her.

That is not exactly true. She had faith and the Holy Spirit. She taught her first students under a tree. She literally begged for food, money and material donations and help came from Christians, Hindus and Muslims. She opened a dispensary to treat the sick, again begging for supplies from hospitals and others. When she saw someone dying on the street with no one to even be with them in their last minutes on earth, she knew she had to serve them as well.

She answered God’s call, agonized over it, overcame resistance to it. And the whole world knows the result. She was a mustard seed which, as Jesus said in Mark 4:

“when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”

You are responding to a call as well, you and your brothers are a mustard seed, and I pray that the Bishop and anyone else who can help you will see that. While I understand your concerns about how it can all be done starting from nothing, you must be like Mother Teresa and trust in the Lord. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:

“If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or 'What are we to wear?'
All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.”

And don’t forget that you have many friends here who will do what they can to help. Call on them.

Many, many blessings to you and the Brothers in your work.


#12

What do you mean that’s all you can do? Do you realize how powerful a rosary is? Thank you so very much.

I will pray one for your intentions as well.

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#13

I will keep you in my prayers and I will ask our dear Blessed Mother, St. Francis, and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to intercede on your behalf. It if is God’s will, it will be done. God bless you!!


#14

I will pray for you, your bishop and the community you’re trying to develop, JReducation, in the intentions of my daily Rosary this week.


#15

Erg . . . this week is almost over. Into next week, then ;).


#16

Praying for you and your community, Br. JR. :gopray:


#17

I will be praying for you! What a wonderful charism.


#18

I’ll be praying for your intentions! God bless you!


#19

The spirit of St Francis is alive and well. Reading all you have written, I believe that you will have the full support of this great and humble saint, and all the saints and Saints and Blesseds of the Franciscan Order, including those inspired by St Clare.
I entreat you all to give your full support to these genuine gospel endeavours.
And above all, Yours, Jesus.

Pax et bonum,

Trishie


#20

I pray that God will bless you and the Holy Spirit will guide you in discerning the way God wants you to travel, Brother JR. I belong to a Franciscan parish that supports pro-life ministry, especially through its Knights of Columbus council, and in October we pray a “Prayer for Life” after every Mass each weekend. I have a strong opposition to abortion and artificial birth control, as they prevent the formation of a new life in a woman’s body.

I will offer up all my work, whether at my full-time job or for a freelance project I was offered recently (and on which I am currently working), in hopes that your apostolate will be able to go forward and the Franciscan Brothers of Life will grow and flourish.

God bless you. :gopray:


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