Tuesday, June 8, 2010
CONTEMPLATION AND ACTIVITY Part I
As we continue our discussion of Franciscan prayer, the question arises: ‘Exactly what effect does prayer have on the Franciscan life?’ The answer is simple. As we have already seen, Saint Francis desired that his sons should practice continuous prayer, with the result that the Franciscan life is eminently contemplative. But the love of our brethren in Christ, Who desires the perfection and completion of His Mystical Body, makes our life also an active form of religious life. This activity finds its outlet in the exercise of the Apostolate. The life of the Franciscan, therefore, is not first of all active and then contemplative; but rather, our activity is the result of the abundance of our contemplation.
Contemplation is the source of love, and love inflames souls with zeal for the Apostolate. Thus contemplation and prayer occupy the first place in Franciscan spirituality. This is so because our way of life is entirely supernatural and we must look to God for all things, trusting neither in our own strength, nor in mere human means. Moreover, there is a mutual reciprocity between the Franciscan contemplative life and apostolic works. For, just as the former leads to the active ministry, so also does the Apostolate lead to contemplation; which should bring the Franciscan into a closer union with God.