One day, Francis was devoutly attending Mass. He heard the priest proclaiming the Gospel about how Jesus sent out his disciples to preach: «Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff» (Mt 10:9-10). After listening to it, he was filled with indescribable joy and at once he exclaimed: «This is what I want, this is what I seek, this is what I desire with all my heart! ». He took off the shoes from his feet, put down the staff from his hands, and, satisfied with one tunic, exchanged his leather belt for a simple rope. As for the other things he heard, he set about doing all them with great care and reverence (cf. 1Cel IX, 22).
Called by the Lord to follow Christ in the footsteps of the “Poverello” of Assisi, we try to live out in simplicity and joy the Rule that Jesus Christ Himself dictated to Francis, for him and for his friars.
Our life takes shape:
- As “contemplative-missionaries” and “missionary-contemplatives”;
The rhythm of our day is marked out by prayer, which is the essential nourishment of our missionary life. Mission means for us apostolate, serving the local Church. We also organise activities of evangelisation like the Popular Missions that take place in cities, towns or villages: we are sent in pairs, door-to-door, to announce the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ and to ask for peace, the peace of the Lord for every heart.
- In poverty;
We always try to remember this passage of the Scriptures, so that we can always put our trust in the Father alone: «Look at the birds of heaven: they neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns; yet the Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they? […] Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown in the furnace, will He not do much more for you? » (Mt 6: 26-27.30).
Material and spiritual poverty frees us from greed and encourages us to humility and surrender to God. It disposes us to live relationships that are free-of-charge and evangelically free of constraints. It furthermore offers us wonderful and unexpected surprises of divine Providence.
- In fraternity
Francis regards fraternity as a gift for his life from God Himself. He himself said that that the love which should exist between brothers should be greater than the love of a mother for her natural child (cf. Rb VI, 7), calling to mind the words of Jesus «This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you» (Jn 15: 12). Fraternal warmth is, after God’s grace, what helps us to overcome our daily challenges. However, it is not a brotherly camaraderie that excludes others, but a fraternity that is widened to embrace the whole world.
Each one of these aspects of our life is accompanied by the desire to live a life of being little, always in obedience to the Holy Church and as «servants of everyone», like Christ himself who «being in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped, but he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, becoming as human beings are» (Phil 2: 6-7).
In a world ruled by self-sufficiency and the greed of money and success, our lifestyle seeks to recall to our own and other people’s mind the essential values taught by the Gospel.