The following is from Our Lady’s Fraternity April Newsletter, which in turn is excerpted from Tau-USA (The newsletter of the National Fraternity):
Article # 14 of our Rule of Life in structs us that we Secular Franciscans are to go about our God-given task of “building a more fraternal and evangelical world” not just for ourselves, & not just for the community of other Christians. Rather, we are to work “together with all people of goodwill” in a common endeavor to “build a more fraternal and evangelical world”. Some of us must say to ourselves, “surely this attitude of radical, open-armed inclusiveness has got to be some kind of mistake!” What about those people who don’t look & think & act the way we do? What do those people who don’t have the same set of values & beliefs that we do, who don’t pray the way we do? Do we have to include them, too, in this equation? The answer is YES! Our rules does not give us the option of choosing to work with just a few people of goodwill or just some people of goodwill or even just most people of good will. The challenge for us as well as the hope & the promise is to be willing to find common or at least complementary initiatives with all people of goodwill.
Such awareness also serves to help free us from the very human tendency to associate ourselves only with those who are very much like ourselves. It also saves us from lapsing too easily into the pietistic phrase we have so often heard (& perhaps have used ourselves) that we are called to be in the world but not of the world. At the heart of any authentically Franciscan spirituality is a profound appreciation for the mystery of the incarnation. When at a particular moment in human history, in obedience to the Father’s will, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the eternal Word of God came into the world & became part of that world. While losing nothing in his divinity, Jesus became fully human, even to the point of experiencing the effects of sin although He himself remained sinless. So, like or not, we are very much of the world as well as being in the world. Though we strive always to be effective countercultural witnesses of Christ’s Gospel of life & love, stench of the sin we encounter. Otherwise, how can we truly embrace the world & its people with both arms wide open? And if we fail to embrace the world as Jesus did, how can we become instruments the Lord can use its redemption? After all, the whole purpose of our efforts “to build a more fraternal & evangelical world” is not for the sake of the world as an end in itself, but rather “so that the kingdom of God may be brought about more effectively” (cf. SFO Rule, article #14).
In the Our Father which the Church prays many times each day, we find the plea, Adveniat regnum tuum! Thy Kingdom come! Amen! Come Lord Jesus! May God give us peace.