August 3, 2008, my wife and I, along with 10 other folks, made our profession into the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO). It was the largest class professing into this regional chapter in quite some time.
You might ask, who are Secular Franciscans?
The Secular Franciscan Order is that branch of the worldwide Franciscan Family and was founded by St. Francis of Assisi in the early 1200s. The Secular Franciscan Order is made up of laity and diocesan clergy.
Its aim is to make present in the life and mission of the Church the charism, or special gift, given to St. Francis and passed on to all his followers - to renew and build up the Body of Christ from within with a simple, straight-forward living of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Prior to the profession ceremony yesterday our formation director read us the following from Adrienne von Speyr (The Magnificat - August 2008 pp 77-78):
With us, the call is always in danger of being relegated to the past. We rest in it instead of growing in it, instead of clinging to the Lord day after day in his word, in his Eucharist and in every other mode of his presence among and for us. We should attach much more importance to the call and its duration. We are ready to believe that the Lord looks down on us from heaven and is present to us in the Host. But we are less ready to believe that, once his call has been heard and answered, it continues to echo in our lives, that it never ceases to do so, that the word must never become a resting-place. The call should be as important to us as the most serious concerns of the Church - both our own call and that of others. We must remain, at any cost, in the number of those who keep the call alive in themselves, and we must pray for the grace to do so. Often we feel that we are safe as long as we pray. "As long as I pray the breviary every day, as long as I pray at all, everything will somehow be all right." But we forget that the call is just as important in our lives as prayer is. Actually, we should hear again in every prayer the words: "You follow me." ... All (we can do is) leave everything to him and follow him as well as we are able ...As he lay dying, Francis told his brothers, “I have done what was mine to do, may Christ now teach you what you are to do.” I don't believe all are called to live within a structure of a religious order, however my question now is, have you heard your calling to participate in building up the Body of Christ through prayer lately?