Franciscan Spirituality - God is Love
All powerful, most holy, most high, and supreme God, all good, supreme good, totally good, You Who alone are good. May we give You all praise, all glory, all thanks, all honor, all blessing, and all good things.
So be it! So be it!
A spirituality is a particular way, or emphasis, in following Christ. Obviously many things are common to all Christians, and these are more important than the interests of any one group of Christians: Christlike love and forgiveness, community, personal and communal prayer, celebration of the sacramental life, obedience to legitimate authority, love of Scripture, and concern for justice and peace, to name a few.
There is no difference between our goals and our ways and means. But there can be a difference in emphasis.
Differing spiritualities depend largely on the personalities of their founders and the times in which religious communities developed. We speak of a Benedictine spirituality, inspired by the monastic vision of Saint Benedict. A Dominican spirituality will be marked by the teaching and preaching fervor of Saint Dominic.
Francis’s spirituality was simply to “observe the Gospel.” Yet, because he was a unique and attractive personality, the Church gained a unique charism called Franciscan spirituality.
God is Love
Pius XII described Franciscan spirituality this way: “There is, then, a Franciscan doctrine in accordance with which God is holy, is great, and above all, is good, indeed the supreme Good. For in this doctrine, God is love. He lives by love, creates for love, becomes flesh and redeems, that is, he saves and makes holy, for love. There is also a Franciscan way of contemplating Jesus…in his human love.”
The great emphasis, then, is on the fact that God is love. Every Christian believes this, of course, but some of us choose to emphasize it as Francis did.
To live the Gospel according to the spirit of Francis means participating
in communion with Christ poor and crucified,
in the love of God,
in brother/sisterhood with all people and all of creation,
in the life and mission of the Church,
in continual conversion,
in a life of prayer—liturgical, personal, communal,
as instruments of peace.
Questions for Reflection
Why are there differences between various Christian spiritualities?
What is your image of God?
What is unique about Franciscan spirituality?
Why does Francis’s way attract you?
Application to Daily Life
What might the quote “God is love” imply for your worries, your prayer, your work, your family life, and your relationships with others?
Does the fact that you are attracted to the Franciscan way indicate anything special about your personality?
This week, try to recall, as often as you can, the simple reality that “God is love.”