As we commemorate this 800th Anniversary of Francis’ letter to us, may we desire the one thing alone, the working of God at work within us. (TORule 32) The IFC-TOR Council proposes that we celebrate and remember together, and has prepared ways to keep the celebration before us, individually and in our communities.
Letters from Council
We would like the sisters or brothers of your congregation to tell how they are giving witness to the aspects of the Second Letter of St. Francis to the Faithful in light of living the Third Order Charism. We will include a copy of this letter with this letter, as there are many ways the letter has been documented over the years. Copies in all our languages will also be posted on our website. It will be helpful if we all refer to the same version of the Second Letter to the Faithful.
Pope Francis states in Fratelli Tutti (FT) #8, “Let us dream as a single human family, as fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all.”
We would like the sisters or brothers of your congregation to tell how they are giving witness to these aspects in light of living the Third Order Charism. The articles should be submitted electronically to the General Secretary to be translated and prepared for the website.
Second Letter to the Faithful: "Let us love God, therefore, and adore Him with a pure heart and a pure mind... And the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon all those men and women who have done and persevered in these things and [the Spirit] will make a home and dwelling place in them…” In these days of pandemic, Francis would say the same to us. Perhaps we can help our world turn the pandemic of disease into a worldwide venture into newness of life, a pandemia of love, justice and peace.
Looking ahead, we ask ourselves questions about the meaning of the international gathering in light of our Franciscan heritage and our charism of fraternity. We have not answered all these questions yet, however, we feel that it is in the best interests of all the members of IFC-TOR to postpone the 2021 General Assembly until May of 2022. With this letter we come to you for your affirmation of this proposal. We would also like to know your comments, questions and suggestions.
Dear Sisters and Brothers, Let the sisters and brothers always be mindful that they should desire one thing alone, namely, the Spirit of God at work within them. TORule #32 The Spirit of God…ruah…the breath of God… We are Franciscan Sisters and Brothers of the Third Order Regular who follow St. Francis, in whose unique way saw through everything false and divisive.
Please send your contributions about INCARNATION for Propositum to Sr. Margherita Merlino, the General Secretary, at her email: firstname.lastname@example.org by September 1, 2020. At our IFC-TOR Council meeting, we discussed your input from the General Assembly in May, 2017. You have indicated that you like the way Propositum is being done and we thank you for the contributions that have been made: in the past four years, 70 Sisters and Brothers have contributed an article to one of the ten issues. We are grateful for your sharing.
Please send your contributions about conversion for Propositum to Sr. Margherita Merlino, the General Secretary, at her email: email@example.com by March 1, 2020. Please give the name, congregation, country and language of the sister or brother who wrote the article.
As you know, the IFC-TOR Council met in November in Rome. One part of the meeting was dedicated to remote planning of the General Assembly 2021 (postponed 2022) which will be held in Assisi. You had given us good input in the evaluations of the General Assembly 2017 and your ideas were helpful to us.
It was 800 years ago at this time, that Francis was in Damietta, Egypt. He was the self-proclaimed Herald of the Great King! In the summer of 1219, he boarded a ship and left Italy. After a long journey over strong and raging waters, he made his way to see the Sultan Malik al-Kamil, with the dream of changing the course of violence to peace, after the two bloody years of the Fifth Crusade.
We would like the sisters or brothers of their congregations to tell how they are giving witness the Third Order Charism in their lives. The articles should be submitted electronically to the General Secretary to be translated and prepared for the website. We are asking for articles about a half page (500 words), accompanied or not by a photo.
When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” Luke 2:15
At our recent IFC-TOR Council meeting, we discussed your input from the General Assembly in May, 2017. You have indicated that you like the way Propositum is being done and we thank you for the contributions that have been made: in the past four years, 70 Sisters and Brothers have contributed an article to one of the ten issues. We are grateful for your sharing.
Francis … went around the cities and villages, proclaiming the kingdom of God and preaching peace… in the learning and power of the Spirit. At that time,… it surely seemed a new light had been sent from heaven to earth driving away the darkness that had so nearly covered the whole region that hardly anyone knew where to turn.
For the next issue of Propositum, the General Council decided to complete the input from the General Assembly last May with reflections by the participants. You were one of the participants!
And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. John 1.14
May the Lord give you peace! Francis sent his brothers out to preach and to be the Gospel of Jesus Christ, first to Italy, and then to all the world.
During this meeting, the new Council was elected to serve for four years. They represents sisters and brothers from almost every continent which brings much diversity and many gifts to the group.
With great attentiveness, cheerful expectation and renewed hope, we live the time of Advent as people who walk confident in the promises of our God, who is so very good.
On August 1, the 800th Anniversary of the Feast of the Pardon of Assisi began in great jubilation with the celebration of the Eucharist in Santa Maria degli Angeli.
At Greccio, Francis wanted everyone to experience how Jesus came to be God-with-us: the mercy of God poured forth from generation to generation Luke 1.50 . - 5
“God has humbly bent down and lifted the dust of our nature into unity with His own person.” Bonaventure (Sermon II on the Nativity of the Lord). That Francis understood this is certain in Celano’s retelling of the Christmas of 1223 in Greccio.
The LIGHT shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1.5) This light is the light of lights, given to us today. Let us be drawn to the light. Let us make haste.
We come to the close of another calendar year and begin another liturgical year, let us as Franciscans reflect on the situation of the world that we live in. Our thoughts go out especially to the land where the Lord was born ancient Palestine.
“What will we offer you, O Christ, for being seen on earth as a man? Every creature created by you offers you its recognition: the angles, their song, the sky, their stars, the Magi, their gifts, the shepherds, their admiration, the earth, a grotto, the desert, a presepio but us, a Virgin Mother!
Venite adoremus! We read that the Magi, after leaving the city of Jerusalem and their discussion with the doctors of the law and the intrigue of Herod, they took up following the star with great joy and when they found the Infant, they “prostrated and adored” (Mt 2:11) .
For Franciscans the feast of the Incarnation is a special one. Legend has it that Francis was the “originator” of the presepio at Greccio. To help illustrate the Gospel reading of the birth of Christ he recreated in the outdoors a living crèche.
The Gospel accounts highlight the joy and happiness that the Incarnation of the Lord brings with it. Mary is the first one to receive the essage of the angel Gabriel and her Magnificat heralds the joy of all the anawim (the poor).
We want to thank all of the Sisters and Brothers for your generosity in supporting the St. Elizabeth Solidarity Fund. We will be asking for an accounting of how this fund was used by FI for the Jubilee year of St. Elizabeth. May the good Lord be generous with each of you for your generosity.