Wednesday, April 14, 2010
FRANCISCAN CHARITY (Part I)
Now we shall speak of Franciscan charity that embraces all creatures, especially our fellow men. The very first place in our Franciscan hearts should be occupied by ‘those who are of the household of faith,'' our own brethren who, with us, constitute one family, an intimate unity. What a marvelous example of charity and unity we can find in the first Franciscans and the first Christian communities! Their only law was the new commandment of Our Lord: ‘Love one another as I have loved you!’
Thomas of Celano tells us: ‘A noble structure was built on the foundation of a true and constant charity. Upon it the living stones, gathered from all parts of the world, were fashioned into a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. How the ardor of charity glowed in the new disciples of Christ! How great was their love for their holy community, and how this love continued to grow in them! When they chanced to come together or met somewhere on the road, there was always evidence of spiritual affection, which also sowed in the hearts of others the seed of true affection. This love was based upon a complete dedication to true love.