May the Lord give you peace. We’re now into the 3rd week of Lent…….nearly half way there!!!! I don’t know about you but I set out with great intentions. I thought that for this year I’d pay particular attention to the Gospel of each day. Unfortunately due to much travel I haven’t been as faithful to the practice as I intended so now at this half way stage I’m taking this opportunity to re-commit.
In the book ‘Francis of Assisi and the Consecrated Life’ Aloysius Kattady, TOR has this to say:
‘The Gospel was always considered the most sacred book in the Christians’ life of faith and worship. It was always given the prime place of honour in Christian liturgy. But the sad part of the story is that the Gospel’s application to every day life situations was neglected. Thus, the Gospel remained just a book of pious reflections, a book which became activated only during the liturgy. Francis changed this approach. His great contribution to the Church is that he took the Gospel to the market place, into the life of every man and woman. In his own personal life, the Gospel became the Form of Life, that is, the Rule Book for his way of consecrated living. For Francis, the Gospel was not a book of knowledge, but the Book of Life.
The uniqueness or novelty of Francis of Assisi does not consist in making Christ’s radical poverty his own, but in opting for the Gospel as his specific programme of consecrated life. In other words, while for other religious institutes the Rule would consist of the gospel and some other directive, for Francis th Rule of the Life of the Lesser Brothers is this: “to observe the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ by living in obedience, without anything of one’s own, and in chastity” (Later Rule, Ch 1,1). The Franciscan Rule is only the Gospel. It is called the marrow of the Gospel, which is eveolved into a formal, approved Rule. In fact, the very First Rule presented by Francis to Pope Innocent III in 1209 and which received His Holiness’ verbal approval consisted only of a few quotations from the Gospel. This rule received papal approbation solely on the grounds that denying its approval would amount to the heresy of saying that the Gospel could not be lived in the concrete, day-to-day situations that we encounter.’ p.47-48
By living the Gospel of each day I’ll only be living the Rule of Life that I profess: “to observe the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ.” I pray that you might reflect on how your Lent is going and if necessary re-commit to what you decided to ‘give up’ or ‘take up’. Perhaps you too might want to reflect on how you put into practice the Gospel of each day.
God bless you. Continue to have a happy Lent.