Franciscan Spirituality and Prayer
A Franciscan seeks to follow the Gospel way of life but with the specific guidance that can be found in the example of Francis of Assisi and through the lives of later Franciscans. There is now an established Franciscan tradition that has developed over the centuries. St Francis lived from 1181-1226. He was always inspired by the immense love of God and reflected deeply on the poverty and humility of Jesus, manifested in the mysteries of His life.
Even eight hundred years after his death, in our day, the spirituality of Francis has a freshness and a modernity that inspires us with its simplicity and humility, with its call to follow Christ with passion. To follow Christ in “the radical, light-filled and joyful style” of Francis (as Felice Cangelosi describes it), to develop a personal experience of a relationship with Jesus Christ, as the way to true life.
These are some of the aspects of Franciscan Spirituality
- The richness and depth of God’s love for all people and creation
- Respect for the dignity and worth of every person
- Living both an active and a contemplative life
- Care for creation
- Praising and Thanking God
- Belonging to a community
- A Spirit of detachment
- A spirit of service
Francis has left some writings although he was not a learned theologian. He knew Scripture well and was engaged in contemporary issues that mattered to Christians. His writings still offer practical guidance that is relevant today.
Among these we find “The Admonitions”, written for the brothers who had joined his movement, designed to teach the brothers how they should treat others, based on their lived experience. These short teachings follow the style of the beatitudes so begin “Blessed is” (sometimes translated as ”Happy is”).
Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and cannot repay him as when he is well and can repay him (Admonition XXIV)
Blessed is the servant who loves and respects his brother as much when he is far away from him as when he is with him. And would not say anything behind his back that he would not say with charity in his presence. (Admonition XXV)
From: Francis of Assisi: Early Documents. Volume 1 The Saint; ed Armstrong, Hellmann and Short.