Trust in God... He has something in store for you. He has for each of us a plan, a plan for our life. He allowed you to become Secular Franciscans... That's a plan. Maybe that wasn't the plan you originally thought He had, but now you know. Now you need to stick with it, to get better at it. To please the Lord more and more each passing day. Take each day as a new gift from God. Don't worry about what happened yesterday... you cannot change that anymore. Offer any and all cares to Him and ask Him to guide you through every hour of the day. Think and act spontaneously in your daily actions, your experiences, because Jesus is right there with us. You have nothing to fear.
Enjoy each moment of the day and thank God for the blessing He has given you this day. Just as Jesus lives with us, cushioning the "falls" in our lives, extend the same grace in your dealings with others. Appreciate other people. Don't get into conflicts, especially over trivial matters. Don't judge people... leave the judging to God... accept people as they are!
The Father created the earth. He created all that is in it, from the tiniest speck of dust to the biggest elephant He created us, and he continues to do so each day, for each day new life is emerging, brand new babies are born. Albert Einstein was a brilliant scientist, but we so easily forget that all wisdom comes from God. Therefore, all new architectural wonders come from God, and are thus part of his continued Creation. God is involved in everything we do, we think, we make, the puzzles we solve, because He created us, and continues to make us grow. Everything God does is perfection. Our suffering and that of our neighbors is caused by us, people, not God.
Let us work together with others to preserve His
creation. God creates nothing that is harsh or evil; He creates only things and people who reflect His love. Let us be happy toward one another, not only smiling with your faces, but in what you say,
what you write, and in what you do.
The Franciscan spirit is a caring spirit, a gentle spirit. As Franciscans we bring peace and compassion to our neighbors, not only to people we know, but to those who are strangers to us. We bring peace to everyone, regardless of their faith (or lack thereof), regardless of their cultural background, their social background, their ethnic or racial background. Evangelization is bringing God's living Word, and His love to all, as St. Francis did, St. Francis ministered to everyone, poor and rich alike; so must we. There are too many people in this world whose first concern is to ask what's in it for me. Let us be refreshingly different and worry about others more than about ourselves. And as you go about Vero Beach, or anywhere, let's be cheerful and happy because we're trying to do God's work.
Let us enthusiastically reciprocate the love extended
to us by others and feel inclined to pass it on. Let us spread His peace and His laughter to all we meet. For all of us, He has made a plan! A plan to give us a future full of hope!
Hope... let us talk about the meaning of 'hope'. A future full of hope can be many things. For some it's a new house, for others a new car... for me it is a future as an instrument of God's peace, compassion and joy, Material things aren't what we should hope for, they eventually turn to dust. Hope for something substantial, something lasting. We should hope to be with Jesus for everlasting time. Let's continue to work at being good Franciscans. One of God's most wonderful plans for us is the Rule of St Francis. As we're nearing the feast of God's love, Pentecost, let us pray for His help. With His grace, how could we fail?
Fred Schaeffer, OFS, June 1995
This is the first Spiritual Reflection I ever wrote, 24 years ago. Recently updated.
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