Peace! The following is an extract from ‘Francis of Assisi and the consecrated Life’ by Aloysius Kattady, TOR published by St Pauls:
The Novelty of St Francis
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 llife 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 the 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 evolved 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.
How would you like to join the Franciscans to live this RULE OF LIFE? If you are interested in knowing more please contact me at: [email protected]
God bless you.