Advent , the Vocational Blossom

December 5, 2021

Isaiah 11:1-2

“A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,

and from his roots a bud shall blossom.

The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him:

a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,

A spirit of counsel and of strength,

a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord,

and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.”

( https://bible.usccb.org/bible/isaiah/11)

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters,

We must now enter into the Advent Season of our liturgical year, but also of our vocational lives.

You have all read of the decline in the clergy, and the indeed the decline in the people who are attending at Holy Mass. Further, we find reports of some 40% of people who attend Holy Mass, do not believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

At the Institution of the Last Supper, we at first find Jesus, having full knowledge of what has been set before Him, at first as High Priest, offering a Sacrifice. At the same time Jesus himself, explains and BECOMES the sacrifice that he is giving.

First lesson was the offer the sacrifice, second lesson BECOME the sacrifice.

This process is not just a historical re-presentation, or telling of an old story where we going through these processes as a placation to tradition or an analgesic to alleviate pains we are forced to carry today.

In truth I say to you that this process is reflected every hour of every day across the entire world, where the Body of Christ, taking the place of the apostles, and the Priest or Bishop taking the place of Christ, offers the sacrifice of the Holy Mass. In return we still follow, that we are called to become what we have received, We are called to become and sacrifice ourselves.

By virtue of our baptism we are called to be “ Priest, Prophet , and King” and become the sacrifice, and offer sacrifice so that our brothers and sisters can then receive and then become sacrifice themselves.

This reading reminds us of the telling of the coming of the Christ :

“ A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,

and from his roots a bud shall blossom. “

From this reading we can see the root of our own Franciscan vocations.

We as Franciscans spring forth from the Root …

Jesus sprang forth form the root of Jesse… So do we as Franciscans share in the same root. Why ? Because it is from the salvific sacrifice of the Paschal Mystery, that we have become sharers in the Body of Christ, sharers of the Love of the Father, Sharers in the Divine seed and brothers and sisters of Christ.

Since we share in the Root of Jesse, we were called forth from the Body of Christ to share more closely and more intimately in the Royal Priesthood, by Christ to follow Him in the Franciscan Vocation, the Franciscan way of life, and to share more intimately the call to love and serve others and particularly the poor and marginalized.

In The Didascalia Apostolorum, no. 13 We are reminded to not be absent from Holy Mass, because it is a denial not only to ourselves, but to the Body of Christ of one of its members. The very same is true in our community. Being absent from meetings is not only forbidden by our rule without serious reason, but it is also in the same way a denial of the Body of Christ in the sacrifice to our brothers and sisters. It is a denial of your own vocational growth and fulfillment of our call to be live in our community and serve the poor, who can be and often are our own brothers and sisters. A denial of the opportunity to be testament, and witness of our Franciscan Journey and to be encouragement and love to those in need.

In short, we need to fulfill our call to serve the poor and marginalized. To provide the food and water, sustenance for the journey of our brothers and sister so that they too can go out and serve the poor and marginalized.

From this root…. Your vocational blossom shall come forth in beauty for the world to see, so that God can be given the Glory and Honor that is His Name.

This is the Calling

This is the sacrifice,

This is your call,

…”and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon you :

a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, that comes from fully living your vocation

A spirit of counsel and of strength, that comes from knowing you are a child of the Most High and have Brothers and Sisters who love you and walk with you on this journey…”

Saint Francis often said, “ Let us begin to do good… for up to now we have done nothing”.

So let us begin again, starting again in this Advent Season, to do good,

To study, to learn, to grow, to strive together. To begin daily to rebuild

… Our Brothers and Sisters,

… Our Community,

… and our world. To the Glory of God . +Amen+

The Secular Franciscan Way of the Cross

June 2, 2021

Just a quick note to let you all know that ” The Secular Franciscan Way of the Cross” is now available through Amazon here :

Secular Franciscan Way of the Cross – Conclusion

April 2, 2021

By Praying the Secular Franciscan Way of the Cross, it is an extension of a simple examination of conscience to really look at where we are in our vocation and resolve to not only appreciate our vocation but to fall back in love with our vocation, to take ownership of our vocation, and use our vocation to both work out our own sanctification, and to help and love others through it.

Conclusion :We are an Order of the Church. Equal in stature, meaning and dignity of every other Order within her realm. It is about time we began to act like it. If we do not claim the dignity of our vocation, and begin to act like other Orders, we will never “take our place at the table” with the others. This ownership begins by standing on our two “feet”. The first “foot” is the work we do on fixing the state of our vocation, (study, meetings, formation) and the work we do to improve at being good Franciscans. The second “foot” is how we take our vocation and apply it to loving for and caring for others both inside and outside of our communities.

To live our vocation to its fullest, is the greatest gift we have been given, and the greatest gift we can offer.

Pax et Bonum!

Secular Franciscan Way of the Cross – Station 14 – Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

April 2, 2021
Church of Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Avranches, Manche, Normandie, France. Fourteen enamel paintings, technique from Limoges, representing the Stations of the Cross Tango7174, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

M: We love you, O Lord

A: Because by your Holy Cross, and resurrection You have redeemed the world.

M: The Fourteenth Station – Jesus is laid in the tomb.

“When it was evening, there came a rich man of Arimathea, called Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate thereupon ordered it to be handed over. So Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean shroud and put it in his own new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock. He then tolled a large stone across the entrance of the tomb and went away. “ ( Matthew 27:57-60)

A: Help us Lord, to fully live our vocation.

Reflection :

Have I taken my vocation, seemingly lifeless, from lack of care, from lack of attention, from lack of feeding and love, and laid it in a tomb ?

Did I take it wrap it in a burial shroud and no longer to be part of the living of my faith ?

Have I ignored the weeping of my brothers and sisters, longing to be with me and hear my testimony ?

Do I not share my life with my brothers and sisters, while choosing to do other things instead, robbing them of my time, talents, and treasure ?

Have I rolled my stone heart over the front of it, and walked away ?

Am I like the reason my vocation has not flourished and grown and been set ablaze for love of God, and my Franciscan family ?

Secular Franciscan Way of the Cross – Station13 – Jesus’ Body is Removed from the Cross

March 27, 2021
”The Deposition of Christ”, painting by Benedetto Caliari, c. 1577 via WikiCommons

13th Station – Jesus’ body is removed from the cross

M: We love you, O Lord

A: Because by your Holy Cross, and resurrection You have redeemed the world.

M: The Thirtieenth Station – Jesus’ body is removed from the cross.

“After this, Joseph of Arimathaea , who was a disciple of Jesus – Though a secret one because he was afraid of the Jews – asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave his permission , so they came and took it away. “ (John 19: 38-40 )

“ I am like water draining away,

My bones are all disjointed,

My heart is like wax,

Melting inside me;

My palate is drier than a potsherd,

And my tongue is stuck to my jaw” ( Psalms 22:14-15)

A: Help us Lord, to fully live our vocation.

Reflection:

Am I afraid of living my vocation fully, standing in fear of the opinion of others within my world ?

Have I taken down the lifeless vocation, from the cross I have put it on, and carried it away to be buried ?

Is my vocation dry, like the desert, has it become weak from lack of life giving spirit ?

Am I waiting for someone’s permission to take it down, and give it the care and attention it has been without ?

Do I hold myself to the higher standard of Franciscan life, not in pride, but in humility and poverty ?

Do I love my vocation and weep at its loss of life ? Can I change ? Will I change ?

Secular Franciscan Way of the Cross – 12th Station – Jesus Dies on the Cross

March 25, 2021
Tango7174, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

12th Station – Jesus dies on the cross

M: We love you, O Lord

A: Because by your Holy Cross, and resurrection You have redeemed the world.

M: The Twelfth Station – Jesus is nailed to the Cross.

“ It was now about the sixth hour and, with the sun eclipsed , a darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. The veil of the Temple was torn right down the middle ; and when Jesus had cried out in a loud voice he said “ Father , into your hands I commend my spirit” With these words be breathed his last. “ ( Luke 23:44-46 )

A: Help us Lord, to fully live our vocation.

Reflection:

Have I nailed my vocation to the cross, and left it there for others to watch it die ?

Have I given up on my vocation having allowed it to be sourced , mocked and pierced by the thorns of this world ?

Do view my own community as preparing to breathe its last ?

Do I commend my vocation to God as something worthy to be offered ?

Do I allow my vocation to call out to the Father in a loud voice through my Franciscan life ?

Secular Franciscan Way of the Cross – Station 11 – Jesus is Nailed to the Tree.

March 24, 2021
Calvary of Karl I of Austria and Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross, Stations of the Cross. Made by Lőrinc Siklódy, Zsolt Hernádi (bronze casting), Zoltán Varga (conservator) in 2013 (originally 1927). Listed ID 16465. – Visszhang street, Tihany, Veszprém County, Hungary

M: We love you, O Lord

A: Because by your Holy Cross, and resurrection You have redeemed the world.

M: The Eleventh Station – Jesus is nailed to the Cross.

“When they reached the place called “The Skull”, they crucified him there and the two criminals also, one on the right, the other on the left. Jesus said “ Father, forgive them, the do not know what they are doing “. (Luke 23:33-34)

A: Help us Lord, to fully live our vocation.

Reflection :

Have I , in my journey, taken my gift of vocation, pronounced it proudly, and dragged it through the street ?

Have I taken the place of Barabbas, proclaimed my own innocence, and fallen in my work to follow the Rule ?

Am I the soldier, nailing my vocation to the cross like a sign of all to see, and then walking away ?

Do I put my vocation on the cross, like a trophy, something to be viewed as an accomplishment and looked back on with fondness ?

Do I break the legs of my vocation to insure it does not follow me back out into the world ?

Do I pierce its side, so as to not stand in the storms of life ?

Can I pray to the Father, to forgive our brothers and sisters and bless them, when they don’t really know what they are doing ?

Secular Franciscan Way of the Cross – Station 10 Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

March 23, 2021

10th Station – Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

This Photo by Wolfgang Moroder.

M: We love you, O Lord

A: Because by your Holy Cross, and resurrection You have redeemed the world.

M: The Tenth Station – Jesus is stripped of His Garments.

“ … they took His clothing and divided it into 4 shares, one for each soldier. His garment was seamless woven into one piece from neck to hem, so they said to one another “ Instead of tearing it, lets throw dice to decide who is to have it “. In this way the words of the scripture were fulfilled”.

(John 19:23-24)

A: Help us Lord, to fully live our vocation.

Reflection:

On the day of my Profession into the order, I was given the spiritual garment, vested with my Tau, and entered fully into my life as a Franciscan. This garment was seamless, as new as my Profession, and as old as Francis himself. This garment infused in my body, and wraps my soul. I am responsible for carrying my Franciscan vocation until Sister Death, introduces me to Our Lord.

Am I in my Franciscan life like the soldiers, tearing at the garment of my brothers and sisters? Am I trying to pick apart the garment of my community? My Region? My Order?

Do I look at gaining status, or to hold on to status or perceived power? Can I easily let my positions go and find joy in helping others to do the work they are given?

Have I in my Franciscan vocation, worn my garment in humility instead of pride? Do I readily accept the poverty of self, so that my brothers and sisters may grow in their vocation? Do I truly own and take charge of my vocation and spiritual growth and understanding, in order to be better than I was in serving others? Do I push onward towards and through the crosses I am given in my vocation?

Secular Franciscan Way of the Cross – Station 9 – Jesus Falls the Third Time

March 22, 2021

The 9th Station – Jesus falls the third time

M: We love you, O Lord

A: Because by your Holy Cross, and resurrection You have redeemed the world.

M: The Nineth Station – Jesus falls the third time.

“Yahweh guides a man’s steps,

they are sure, and he takes pleasure in his progress,

he may fall, but never fatally,

since Yahweh supports him by the hand. “ ( Psalm 37: 23-24)

A: Help us Lord, to fully live our vocation.

Reflection :

In the first fall, I look at myself in order to know in my heart and be ready to confess where I have fallen in my vocation, where I have not lived , not loved and not cared, and not loved as I should.

In the second fall I look at my brothers and sisters, and their fall, their pain, their woundedness and my response to it.

In this third fall Lord, I look at my own failure to forgive, or to love.

Have I in my vocation failed to love beyond my own pain, beyond my own judgment.

Am I the reason, that one of my brothers or sisters carry the wounds of their sin, or mine ?

Have I not shown the care and concern for my brother or sister, or sought out the opportunity to allow them to feel their own worth as a child of God ?

Did I fail in my vocation to be the Christ-bearer, and allow them to see Jesus and not see me?

Have I allowed them to feel loved and forgiven, even when I did not agree ? In my journey, knowing that I am human, and that I fall and fail, have I not only forgiven my brothers and sisters, but have I forgiven myself ? Knowing that I am imperfect, and that I have flaws that I know, can I love myself, while I strive to love my brothers and sisters as well ?

I must acknowledge that I am weak, carrying my own cross, but Jesus carried His cross, and gave me the example that in my vocation I too can pick up my own cross, and carry it through into God’s glory !In the first fall, I look at myself in order to know in my heart and be ready to confess where I have fallen in my vocation, where I have not lived , not loved and not cared, and not loved as I should.

In the second fall I look at my brothers and sisters, and their fall, their pain, their woundedness and my response to it.

In this third fall Lord, I look at my own failure to forgive, or to love.

Have I in my vocation failed to love beyond my own pain, beyond my own judgment.

Am I the reason, that one of my brothers or sisters carry the wounds of their sin, or mine ?

Have I not shown the care and concern for my brother or sister, or sought out the opportunity to allow them to feel their own worth as a child of God ?

Did I fail in my vocation to be the Christ-bearer, and allow them to see Jesus and not see me?

Have I allowed them to feel loved and forgiven, even when I did not agree ? In my journey, knowing that I am human, and that I fall and fail, have I not only forgiven my brothers and sisters, but have I forgiven myself ? Knowing that I am imperfect, and that I have flaws that I know, can I love myself, while I strive to love my brothers and sisters as well ?

I must acknowledge that I am weak, carrying my own cross, but Jesus carried His cross, and gave me the example that in my vocation I too can pick up my own cross, and carry it through into God’s glory !

Secular Franciscan Way of the Cross – Station 8 – Jesus Meets the Daughters of Jerusalem

March 20, 2021
By Fr. Pfettishem, Pethrus

8th Station – Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem

M: We love you, O Lord

A: Because by your Holy Cross, and resurrection You have redeemed the world.

M: The Eighth Station – Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem

“Large numbers of people followed Him, and of women too who mourned and lamented for Him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘ Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, weep rather for yourselves and for your children. For the days will surely come when people will say. Happy are those who are barren, the wombs that have never borne, the breasts that have never suckled ! Then they will begin to say to the mountain, Fall on us ! , to the hill Cover us ! , for if men use the green wood like this , what will happen when it is dry ?”. Luke 23:27-31)

A: Help us Lord, to fully live our vocation.

Reflection:

In the course of my vocation as a Franciscan, do I lament things that are, and do nothing to change what it ? Will I look back at things that no longer are and cry over the loss wishing not to have had the experience or having been given the opportunity and done nothing ? Do I shrink from the responsibility my vocation gives me finding it easier to pass it on to others ? Have I complained, and not brought solutions to offer ways to solve the challenge ? Am I failing in my vocation to be peacekeeper and bridge builder in either my community or in other areas of my life ? Am I the user of the green wood or of the seasoned wood of Peace ?


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