Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph 4:29-32 (RSVCE).
... "and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you" (v.32). When one sees a humongous mob of people raising their fists, throwing stones, shooting rifles and machine guns, tenderhearted thoughts and forgiveness rarely will be part of that picture. People who live that way are oppressed, for them love may not even be possible. I hope I am wrong, but we see scenes like that on television in the Middle East and sometimes also in the Americas. Some people talk about "the past" when things were better, but in my life's experience there has been one conflict after the other. It began with World War II, and soon after that we were embroiled in Korea, Viet Nam, and other places. Can a people who have seen nothing but violence and hurt even know what it is to have peace?
Many young people have experienced much hurt and frustration while they grew up. Many came from marriages and dysfunctional relationships. That is a different experience of violence but many of these teens and young adults were hurt for a long time, maybe forever. Let us pray for all people who were hurt through no fault of their own, that they may find solace in the Lord, and peace in their souls by getting to know Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Then there are people in different circumstances, those who are seniors often all alone. They need our prayers too. Prayers for right judgment, so that they take care of themselves when the time is right. No person can live without friends. We all need someone we can talk to when things aren't so hot in our lives. We also have friends in Heaven, all of us! Jesus is our friend, our brother, and He wishes only what is good for us. And we should not forget His Mother, our Mother, the Virgin Mary - she is our best intercessor and when you ask her for favors, she will not let you down as she has her Son's ear. Franciscans have loads of friends, sisters and brothers, on earth and in Heaven.
Some folks need to experience that special healing at least once in their lives so that they can begin to understand what Jesus wants for them, and that they can make a commitment to do likewise to other people. The least we can do is pray for others, and we don't even have to announce it. We just do it, when they ask us for prayer. Some people are prayer warriors, with parish prayer groups, and/or parish outreach departments. Others participate in a daily Rosary.
Franciscans have the "Franciscan Crown Rosary", this Rosary is indulgenced and consists of seven decades. The 5-decade Rosary, promoted originally through the Dominicans, is what many pray. Doesn't matter which you pray, but DO PRAY! The Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, are prayers that are in Holy Scripture. Jesus gave us the "Our Father" a prayer He used toward God the Father. The Hail Mary is part of the announcement given to Mary by the Angel who announced the coming birth of the Lord. And, the "Glory Be" doxology comes from the 7th Century, although similar texts can be found in Scripture. Suffice it to say that these prayers, part of our Catholic Tradition, have been around for thousands of years and because they are treasured prayers should be on the lips of all Catholics and many other Christians.
Even if your "religion" prescribes other prayers, please do pray! Prayer is a conversation with God, and without God's help we cannot stay close to Him. And even if we lapse from our relationship with God, He reaches out to us, for He loves us all, even sinners. He just doesn't appreciate sin itself, and we should all try to eliminate sin from our lives.
Be kind to one another! Calm down whatever obstructs us from this kindness. It starts with two or three people because kindness needs reciprocation. Could you imagine a very large group of people who love each other as neighbors, acquaintances, relatives, sisters and brothers, parents... let us pray that these hordes of people walking to Jesus all show signs of love, for you have love within you. The Holy Spirit gave us love and continues to provide this great Gift.
Let us often spend time with God and listen to His voice as He speaks to us in our hearts!
Fred S. Schaeffer, OFS
October 2, 2019
Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis
Divine Mercy Fraternity
Vero Beach, FL
Term expires: 2/10/2022
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Helen Caldarone, OFS
Mary "Jean" McGovern, OFS
Jack Reddy, OFS
Donna Haro, OFS
Joanne Giordano, OFS
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Five Franciscan Martyrs