FS #21: Soul of Franciscan Spirituality, Part 1 – Apr 24 – Homily – Fr Terrance

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Fr Terrance gives the homily at Bloomington, IN, on Apr 24, 2023, where he continues his series on Franciscan Spirituality, focusing on how the soul of this spirituality is love and that friars should love as much as the Seraphic angels do, who are the highest creatures in creation. We need to move from a self-centered love to a God-centered love, and this involves renouncing self and building the virtue of humility.

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The heart and soul of Franciscanism is charity or love. Franciscans see love as the synthesis of everything in natural and supernatural life. Every divine manifestation and action has love as its source and goal. Love is the alpha and omega, as referenced in Revelation 1: 8 - "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty" - https://bible.usccb.org/bible/revelation/1?8. All creatures have the imprint of God's love, and our return to God is accomplished through love. Love is active, not passive, and resides in the will.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux and William of St. Thierry see love as egocentric, turned inwards towards the self. Through God's grace, this love is transformed, leading us to love God for who He is. St. Francis, however, followed the paths of St. John the Apostle and St. Paul, who knew that love comes from God as a gift (1 John 4: 8 - Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love - https://bible.usccb.org/bible/1john/4?8 and 1 John 4: 19 - We love because he first loved us - https://bible.usccb.org/bible/1john/4?19). Love inside us is an impulse towards the infinite, reaching out to embrace the infinite good that is God.

Renunciation is necessary in the spiritual life, but only for the love of God. Humility can be the foundation of the spiritual life, but without love, it can lead to discouragement and despair. Love comes from God, is given to us through grace, and is meant to bring us back to God. St. Francis said, "we must love very much the love of the one who has very much loved us."

The love of God should guide Franciscans' actions revealed in Christ. St. Francis emphasizes finding delight only in our Creator, Redeemer, and Savior (First Rule, Chapter 23 - https://www.capdox.capuchin.org.au/legislation/the-unconfirmed-first-rule-of-st-francis/#.-(Prayer-and-thanksgiving.)). Let's ask for the grace to understand love more from God's point of view as we continue with our series.

This is a continuation of his series of homilies on Franciscan Spirituality - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNN151zTIO4&list=PLejh_e0-LN4xgMllKrzSasL2Hljd5BHom

Ave Maria!

Mass: St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen (Rev 3) - Feast

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