The Minister General wrote a letter to the entire Franciscan Family for the Solemnity of Saint Francis 2023.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, May the Lord give you His peace!
We are close to celebrating the feast of our father and brother Francis, which on this occasion coincides with the beginning of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will have as its theme “For a synodal church: communion, participation, mission” (First session).
The theme, method and process proposed by Pope Francis for the Synod refer to topics such as: fidelity to the Spirit, walking together, listening, dialogue, discernment.
Discernment, through listening and dialogue, is not foreign to our spiritual tradition and our origins, as St. Bonaventure testifies who describes Francis as the one who «had learned from the Supreme Master the great things», but who, not for this reason, «had the humility to ask the little things of those smaller than him. He used to seek – adds the Seraphic Doctor – with singular zeal the way and the way to serve God more perfectly, as He pleases best.
This was his supreme philosophy, this was his supreme desire, as long as he lived: to ask the wise and the simple, the perfect and the imperfect, the young and the old, what was the way in which he could most virtuously reach the summit of perfection».
On this occasion we would like to deepen the theme of listening, so important in our life and mission. Our charism, in fact, was born from the Gospel heard by Francis at the Porziuncola, listening to the Gospel that immediately became also listening to the Church, represented in the priest who explained to the young Francis the meaning of those words. In the course of almost fifteen years, the original forma vitae, which began with this happy encounter with the Gospel, has been adapted through listening to the brethren and the signs of the times, carried out above all in the Chapters.
In this way, through a fraternal discernment carried out by Francis and his brothers, the Franciscan charism gradually acquired its textual configuration that received definitive approval eight hundred years ago in the Regula Bollata.
A very topical dimension of listening, which we would like to deepen in a particular way, is mutual openness within our fraternities, acceptance of the gift of our brothers and sisters, of their words, of their needs, of their riches and fragilities, which make our fraternal relations a journey of communion in fidelity to the Gospel.
Read the full letter here.