Reflections on the Wisdom from St. Francis
by Fr. Bobby
"Praised be You, my Lord, for our sister bodily death!" (Canticle of the Creatures)
During the month of November we are asked to pray in a special way for all the departed, beginning with All Souls' Day. Throughout the ages, death has usually been portrayed as a terrifying figure, a "grim reaper," a skeleton dressed in black with sickle in hand. Yet, at the end of his life, St. Francis was able to call death a sister. For him death had been transformed from something to be feared into a sister to be embraced. He saw death as giving him the occasion to let go of everything into God's hands. But Francis did not come to this realization easily or all at once. He had to struggle with his daily experiences of death, whether through his bodily weaknesses or his disappointments and sufferings. Through these, Francis was invited him to trust in the central truth of our faith: that Jesus Christ suffered death along with us, and invites us to rise from the dead along with Him. This faith helped Francis embrace the day of his death as another day to answer the Lord's invitation, "Follow me."
Fr. Robert Barbato, OFM Cap, is the Vicar and Student Director at St. Conrad Friary–Capuchin House of Studies in Berkeley.
As Capuchin Franciscans we follow St. Francis of Assisi as brothers, living the Gospel in prayer, fraternity and ministry, witnessing simply to Jesus Christ and the Church as a joyful presence of hope and salvation to all, especially to those most in need.
PRAYER - Rooted in our Capuchin contemplative tradition and expressed in many forms
As followers of St. Francis, desiring to be conformed more perfectly to the crucified and risen Christ
- We affirm that our prayer is rooted in our Capuchin contemplative tradition and is expressed in many forms.
- We seek to witness both personally and communally to affective prayer.
- We seek to become a living prayer and joyful presence to draw others to Christ.
FRATERNITY - Rooted in mutual love, humble reverence and respect for one another and for all people
We Capuchins are friars minor, rooted in mutual love, humble reverence and respect for one another and for all people.
- Individually and communally, we commit ourselves to be in greater solidarity with the poor.
- We manifest a compassionate caring attitude toward one another as brothers.
- We affirm, animate, support and encourage the building of community.
MINORITY - Following the meek and humble Christ and sharing our joy as lesser brothers by walking with people of every social condition
As brothers of St. Francis, we faithfully follow the meek and humble Christ.
- We cultivate a disposition of humility and respect of the dignity of others.
- We share our joy as lesser brothers by walking with people of every social condition and by being instruments of reconciliation.
- We commit ourselves to the evaluation of our lifestyle, both individually and communally.