I know, I should have started writing/talking about getting into action a long time ago. The article by Bob Stronach, OFS (NAFRA PR Co-Chair) on page 17 of the recently mailed TAU-USA (issue 72), reminded me to start writing on this subject. Also, about a month ago, I joined, here at St. Helen Parish in Vero Beach, FL, a "Men's Discipleship Group" that meets at 6:30 AM every Monday Morning (the Holy Spirit helps me out of bed at this very early hour!) in addition to my fervent participation in the Charismatic movement. What I am driving at is that NOW with Pentecost upon us, I am really "on fire," spiritually speaking. And the Holy Spirit is also telling me to stop sitting on that proverbial Fence!
I asked Jesus this afternoon (at Adoration) if He would just tell me what to do next. I am open to His Call. People tell me, never ask that, because He'll give you a ton of work. That's not so - Jesus never gives one more to do than he/she can handle, right? Nevertheless, I feel I must do something to move off that center-point I've been at for so long. We all do. Jesus wants people who excel, who go the extra mile (I know, I've said that many times before), but really, now is the time because if we don't excel now, then when? As an Order, Secular Franciscans (acc. to our General Minister) are, "to be builders of a civilization of love." She also said "It is a mission which is urgent and demanding."
So how do we accomplish that? Well, not without the help of the Holy Spirit, and therefore the first thing to do, as we mull this over in our minds, is TO PRAY! Because in order to "get up and go" to get fully into this, we need to make sure we are LISTENING to the Holy Spirit as He makes His wishes known to us, right?
With about 653 SFO fraternities in the USA, we are a large organization, and so progress is probably slower than desired. We have just gotten the new FUN formation materials (hopefully all fraternities have received a copy by now), so we have lots of reading to do. I think it's wonderful to have a world-wide foundational minimum to the topics that must be covered. That will breathe more unity into the Order. If only we could all get onto the same page.
I have not exactly been sitting still since 2002 - I have written a ton of articles, mostly all about God's love and our Franciscan vocation - but website statistics tell me that more than half of those articles aren't being read except by a few, very few, local fans and these aren't even Franciscans necessarily!
I feel that a few well-placed words PERSON-TO-PERSON could do more than all the writing in the world, but my reason for all the writing is that you can refer to it again! Also, because most who visit this website come from all over the globe!
This Pentecost, let us make a firm commitment, a personal commitment to Our Lord, to do something to bring God's love to others, those in your fraternity, your neighborhood, your Parish Church, your work place or fraternal organization, in short, everyone you meet long enough to exchange a few words. Be strong in your Faith. Excel in all you do. Pray daily, several times a day. Attend Holy Mass as much as you can. Smile more, because Jesus is with us and we trust in Him! Show others how much you love the Lord! With the help of the Holy Spirit, there is nothing we cannot accomplish for Him! All that must be done is to BEGIN. And as St. Francis said, "Let us begin again, for until now we have done nothing!"
Peace and Good!
Fred Schaeffer, OFS