“This is the life of the Capuchin Franciscan Friars: the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
The whole nature of being a friar is to live the Gospel as simply and straightforwardly as possible. Our first Brother is Jesus. We look to him to find our bearings in what we do and say.
In the very different times in which we live we can feel that, on the surface, there is not much that the Gospel can say to our contemporary world. If we reflect, ponder, contemplate what it is Jesus is saying to us in the Scriptures day by day, the relevance becomes clear and the challenge palpable.
He calls us to serve each of our neighbours without judging them and without prejudice. This challenges us from whatever background we have come from. He calls us to true brotherhood with poor and rich, with disabled and able people, searching for ways in which each one can play their part for the good of all. Nobody is rejected. Each is welcome as themselves and as God is making them.
Saint Francis told us that everything should come second to the spirit of prayer and devotion and, in fact that everything should be imbued by it.
Each of us needs to be helped to recognise our relationship to God as a loving Father and of his Son as our brother, who takes us to his Father with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is a growth in loving intimacy and familiarity appropriate to a creature to his creator.
As friars this necessarily flavours our approach to each other and to all other people whom we meet. We are their brothers too and so we can honestly and realistically work with and for them.
In prayer too Saint Francis wanted us to share the public prayer of the Church, even when there is only one other there to do so. “I will always have a brother to say the Office with me” he said.
For him all prayer was a personal meeting with God through his Son whether it was done in privacy or in public. We are invited to take seriously the statement of Jesus, our brother: "Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
“And wherever any of the friars may be and shall meet other friars, let them all treat each other as members of one family, and confidently make known to each other their needs.”
- St Francis
The local Capuchin Fraternity is normally about four to six friars living together, dependent on each other to pray together, to eat and recreate together and to cater for the various duties of each place.
On a regular basis they meet formally so as to face better the demands on each of them of the local places where they are and as they change. Being brothers necessarily includes the concern for the ability of each to cope with the present situation and to find possible ways of making it more peaceful and just.
The Guardian, as for all those who are given the service of oversight as ministers, is the one, who having consulted first with all of those who are effected by any decision, has the ultimate say for the good of the whole fraternity and its peaceful living.
God gives us everything: all that we are and all that we use. He calls us to be a member of His family and he calls each person to be the same. He gives each of us special gifts for the greater unity and peace of all around us. None of us can be written off as useless.
We also need to have our gifts trained to be of use to the needs of today and the place where we are to serve. We have to use our wits to discern the needs, to select those who are capable of learning the skills needed, and the support and promotion of those chosen, so that they can do the maximum possible for the assuaging of the needs and for their own satisfaction.
As Saint Francis said: “When the friars go out in the world they should neither quarrel nor dispute nor judge others; but let them be meek, peaceful, modest, gentle and humble: speaking courteously to everyone.”
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