Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are present this week at the National Franciscan Federation Conference in Milwaukee, WI to focus on the Johnine Praxis of Franciscan Life: “Holding on to the Words, the Life, the Teaching and the Holy Gospel of Jesus”.
As St. Francis and St. Clare connected Gospel and life as penitents in their world, keynote speakers Father Michael Blastic OFM and Sister Nancy Schreck, OSF, called us sisters and brothers living the Third Order Regular Rule of St. Francis to do the same in our world. Francis’s meditation on John’s Chapter 17 reinforced and nurtured Francis’ own experience of mission calling him to have mercy with lepers and to begin a life of penance by following the footsteps of Jesus.
In the writings of Francis more than half the expressions and images that refer to Christ are derived from John: the Servant who washes feet, the Lamb, the Good Shepherd, the Word of the Father, Light, the Way, Truth and Life.
The following of Christ for Francis and Clare consisted in living a life that is always guided by the Spirit of the Lord. In his Letter to the Entire Order Francis emphasized that we cannot follow Christ unless we are “…inwardly cleansed, enlightened, and inflamed by the fire of the Holy Spirit.” After listening to the Word, we become the Word by being awake to God’s presence in and around us. We are moved to action bringing the flame of God’s love to others.
Conference theme–Becoming a Sacred Flame: Francis, Clare and John’s Gospel!