"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

Thursday 26 February 2009

Friars of the Renewal

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Francis of Assisi left everything to seek the "one thing necessary", to live a life that was completely in accordance with the Gospel. That is what monasticism is about. That is what monks do or are supposed to do. All his pastoral and apostolic work sprang from this basic commitment to live the Gospel without compromise. Whatever the canonical status of the order he founded,however different may have been the motives of many of his followers, Francis was a monk; and his monastic strain has been alive and well in the Franciscan Order ever since. Padre Pio was a model Capuchin, but he could be seen as a model monk too, a
staretz like St Seraphim of Sarov. Franciscans were called something else because western Canon Law takes for granted that monks follow the Rule of St Benedict, and nobody is saying that Francis was a Benedictine.

One piece of evidence that the monastic element is still active among Franciscans is the tendency to form new communities, make new attempts to follow the Franciscan ideal. This has happened throughout Franciscan history. Just as soon as a pope has managed to unify the Franciscans, so new groups are formed. It shows the fecundity of Francis's vision and spirituality. It is best explained by the three elements or dimensions that make up the Christian life according to the Camaldolese tradition. (There is a special link between the Camaldolese monks of Monte Corona and the Capuchins.) They say that there are three essential elements in Christian life: solitude,or a one-to-one relationship with Christ; community, in which we find Christ in the context of fraternal love; and, finally, the forward thrust of unrestricted love. Finding a balance between the first two is a constant pre-occupation. The third is a maverick element and takes many forms and works at
different levels. It is what happens when the unrestricted divine Love meets and transforms unrestricted human love. It happens in contemplation. It happens in ever-renewed attempts to follow an ideal, in this case, the ideal of St Francis. It ia also the secret behind the great variety of observances in monasticism. I hope these videos will introduce you to a new community within the Franciscan family.

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