The Franciscan Fraternity
The Lord gave me brothers.
It was revealed to St. Francis that in order to live like Jesus, brothers are indispensable. God created us different and unrepeatable, unique.
Fraternal life in community is therefore an essential element of Franciscan life. Fraternity, however, is not Francis’ idea, but an initiative of God himself, so that together as brothers we may follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. No one is formed alone: we are all formed in fraternity.
The Holy Spirit, the source of different charisms, has granted us the gift of minority, so that we may be creators of authentic human relationships, proclaiming to humanity the fraternal dimension of creatures.
It is intended to reflect the depth and richness of the mystery of communion of the Church, a people brought together by the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (cf. LG 4).
Jesus’ love is such that it makes one love Him and makes one love his brothers and sisters: “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn. 13.34) and “what you did to one of my own you did to Me” (Mt. 25:40). From divine love flows serenity, gladness, a smile. Only in divine love is there the overcoming of self, in order to open oneself and give oneself to one’s brothers and sisters, in communion of life and works.
Following in the footsteps of the poor, humble and crucified Christ, who gathered the disciples around himself and washed their feet, the brothers live in fraternity, in service and mutual gift.
The fraternity is made up of brothers who have not chosen each other, but are God’s gift to each other (cf. Thess. 14); it is the place where the grace of the Holy Spirit makes visible the figure of Christ – of whom each brother bears and expresses a trace (cf. Spec 85); it is the environment of reconciliation and peace in which an encounter with the living and true Christ is possible.
The desire to be and live like Jesus in a fraternity in the midst of our world, in simplicity and gladness, is the greatest gift received. Fraternity and minority are the characters of our identity: to be brothers of all without excluding anyone; to welcome preferentially the minors of our society; to be free in the face of all temptations of power; to be rich in affections and feelings; to live a healthy tension between contemplation (a place where one develops a desire for the Good) and mission (a place where the goods received are shared in solidarity and gratuitously).
Our form of life thus becomes a gift from God to the Church and the world.