David and Vincent, centre, with Kieran Cronin (Vicar Provincial) and Caoimhin O Laoide (Novice Master)

I was in our friary in Ennis on Saturday as we celebrated the First Profession of our two brothers – Vincent Finnegan and David Connolly. Having completed their novitiate year they took this major step on the path of their Franciscan formation. 

This coming Sunday the friars gathered again, this time in Dublin. We have the joy of celebrating the Solemn Profession of David Collins. David will make a final, life-long commitment to live out his Christian discipleship as a Friar Minor within the Irish Province.

Witnessing the profession of a brother is a particular grace. The actual profession of vows, made ‘into the hands’ of our Provincial Minister, is a very radical statement. Listening to it the friar cannot but challenged.

On Saturday I realised that I need, even more than ever, to lean on, indeed to fall back on the grace of God. Any fidelity to this life flows from the action of the Spirit.

As St Francis unceasingly experienced and taught – All is Grace!

The words of Theodore Jennings are striking: ‘If grace is to be real, then it must have real effects. And these effects must be palpable, visible. When the divine enters the world, it produces changes everyone can see, not invisible craters, but manifest “monuments of mercy”.’

May the lives of our young brothers and all our lives be monuments of mercy!

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