The Prayer Life of the Brothers

(Constitutions) By loving God, the Highest Good, we are earnestly moved by the example and words of our Seraphic Father to direct our hearts to the Father, who "created and formed us in the flesh according to the image of His beloved Son and in the spirit according to His likeness" and to pray to the same Father: "We give You thanks because by Your Holy Will and through Your only Son in the Holy Ghost You created all things, and placed us in paradise. We give you thanks because just as You created us through Your Son, so in that true and holy love with which You have loved us, You caused Him, true God and true man, to be born of the glorious and Most Blessed Holy Mary Ever Virgin, and through His Cross and blood and death You willed to have us captives redeemed." Wherefore, "we should always make a home and dwelling in ourselves for Him who is the Almighty Lord God, Father, Son , and Holy Ghost." Let us have recourse to Our Lord Jesus Christ "as to the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls. For He says: "Know that I am with you always; Yes, to the end of time. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life."

"With wonderful love Saint Francis always carried about and kept in his heart Christ Jesus and Him crucified" and offered a sacrifice of all his members, and receiving the Lamb that was slain would immolate his spirit with the fire that always burned upon the altar of his heart. He therefore begs us, his brothers: "to show the greatest possible reverence and honor for the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in whom everything in heaven and on earth is propitiated and reconciled to Almighty God."

Heavenly Father, because none of us, wretches and sinners, is worthy to mention your name, we humbly beg You that our Lord Jesus Christ together with the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, will give you thanks on behalf of all: In the same Christ Jesus, then, we should render the Divine Praises with the same ardor of soul with which blessed Francis "recited the psalms with such attention of mind and spirit as if he were in God's visible presence."

Blessed Francis always contemplated and honored Mary, the Mother of God, whom our heavenly Father "consecrated with His most holy beloved Son and the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete; Mary, in whom there was and is all the fullness of grace and every good." In union, therefore, with the Immaculate Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, the Queen of the world, and Mediatrix of all graces and, venerating the memory of the saints, we hope to enjoy their company, and, "we await the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, until He, our life, shall appear, and we, too, will appear with Him in glory." Enlightened by a new light, blessed Francis undertook his heart's conversion to Almighty God with great joy and he proposed "to begin to do penance" and from that time to give more heed to "the Good Shepherd who underwent the suffering of the cross to save His sheep." For this reason "... we should hate our body with its vices and sins, because the devil wants to deprive us of the love of our Lord Jesus Christ and of eternal life by having us live according to the flesh." And let us always take care "... in all our offenses ... to punish them interiorly through contrition and exteriorly through confession and works of atonement ... " remembering that "... the sheep of the Lord have followed Him in tribulation and persecution, disgrace and poverty, in weakness and temptation and other such situations. Because of these they received everlasting life from the Lord."

Living this way we manifestly fulfill in our works the exhortation of the Apostle: "Never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus." Likewise, we imitate the spirit and works of faith, hope, and charity of Blessed Francis, who in accord with his principle, "... my God and my all," lived in full communion with the triune God through Jesus Christ.

The Charism and Prayer

(Constitutions) By their religious profession the Brothers are totally subject to God, Who is loved above all else, so as to be related to His service and honor by a new and special title. Therefore, contemplation of things divine and assiduous union with God in prayer is to be the first and foremost duty of the Brothers. Heeding the words of Saint Francis to desire persevering in prayer above all else, the Brothers should gratefully fulfill the command of the Lord who by word and example taught His disciples to pray always.

Throughout their life and work the Brothers should continually persevere in the spirit of prayer and devotion after the example of our Seraphic Father who rather than one praying seemed to have been transformed into prayer. The Brothers should always endeavor to have the spirit of the Lord and His holy behavior and intimately connecting with work, to foster throughout their entire life a deep communion with their heavenly Father by sharing in the mysteries of Christ. Since the Brothers must maintain in their life and conduct what they have received by sharing the mysteries of Christ in the spirit, each one, after communing more intensely with God in prayer, should diligently preserve that union with God the Father in his daily life and perfect it through the practice of virtue.

The Brothers should endeavor to discern all things in the light of faith, to overcome difficulties on the strength of hope while awaiting the future glory and to become more and more united to God in the love of Christ, so that in all their actions they may glorify the Father.

Liturgical Prayer

(Constitutions) The Eucharistic Mystery, the sacrifice of the Holy Mass, is the source and summit of the entire liturgy and life of the Church; its celebration, therefore, should be the center of the spiritual and apostolic life of each convent and congregation.

Following the example of the Seraphic Patriarch we have chosen to live in a special way with Christ Crucified. They should, therefore, participate daily in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, learn to offer themselves in union with the Divine Victim, be nourished at the table of the Lord's Body, and through Christ the Mediator, be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and each other so that, finally, God may be all in all.

In each convent all the Brothers not otherwise legitimately impeded shall celebrate the The Little Office of the Blessed Vergin and in common daily.

The Blessed Virgin Mary

(Constitutions) The Brothers must earnestly strive to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary with filial affection and with the spirit of their consecration in liturgical actions, in popular devotions, and in personal prayer after the example of our Seraphic Father. They should also endeavor the rosary of our Lady or the Crown according to the tradition of the Congregation.

All the Brothers should fervently venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary in the mystery of the Immaculate Conception as the special Protectress of our Community and its Queen. They should celebrate this feast of hers everywhere and with the greatest solemnity possible by also renewing the Consecration of the Congregation to her. Likewise, according to their ability they should encourage and spread devotion to the mystery of the Immaculate Conception. The Annunciation of the Lord, March 25, is to be celebrated as the titular feast of the Congregation with great solemnity. In all that pertains to the performance of sacred actions and popular devotions, the prescriptions of the Church are to be duly observed; popular devotions and private prayers, however, should be imbued with the spirit of the liturgy.

Community Life of the Brothers

(Constitutions) "Our Order is a very large company, a kind of general assembly which has come together from every part of the world under a common form of life." This is what Blessed Francis openly says of his Seraphic Order which he properly calls a fraternity, all of whose members are united among themselves by fraternal bonds and relationships. Although he assigned them different ministries or positions, nonetheless, he considered them all Brothers whether given to preaching, praying or manual labor. Our Seraphic Father clearly perceived his fraternity patterned and wanted it ever to be formed after the image of both the community of the apostles called by the Lord "to be His companions and to be sent out to preach;" and also of the entire Church wherein believers are made members of Christ in the communion of faith and charity as in the early Church, where the multitude of the faithful was of one heart and one mind. Hence, he insistently begged all the Brothers: "Stay awake praying at all times for the strength to ... stand with confidence before the Son of Man. And let us have recourse to Him as to the shepherd and guardian of our souls, who says: 'I am the good Shepherd ... You are all Brothers ... since you have only one Father, and He is in heaven ... You have only one Teacher, the Christ ... For where two or three meet in My name, I shall be there with them.' Therefore let us adhere to the words, examples, and teaching of Him who designed to pray for us: 'Holy Father, keep those you have given me true to Your name so they may be one like us.'" Once Blessed Francis had founded the Brotherhood of the Brothers Minor, "very many, inspired by the ardor of his preaching, bound themselves to observe the new obligations to do penance according to the way adopted by the man of God, which he decided to call the Order of Penance."

Thereafter, the first Order itself, like a luxuriant tree, brought forth the various families of Friars Minor. Hence it is most fitting that all who consider Francis their Seraphic Father constantly cultivate fraternal communion so that always and everywhere the fullness of the charism may flourish.

To the Triune God, Christ the Redeemer and Ruler of all; The Immaculate Virgin Mother of God; Our illustrious Seraphic Father Saint Francis; To all the Saints; Honor, Praise and Glory; To us Peace and Goodwill. Amen.

Home ] Spiritual Introduction ] The Name, Mission and Nature of the Congregation.htm ] Community Apostolate ] [ The Prayer Life of the Brothers ] Mass Intentions ] A Note From the Director of Formation ] What should I do if God is calling me to the religious life ] Continued Formation ] Saint Jude Prayer Line ] Books and Things Available for Sale ]