Random Reflections on the Secular Franciscan Rule

Moreover they should respect all creatures, animate and inanimate, which “bear the imprint of the Most High,” and they should strive to move from the temptation of exploiting creation to the Franciscan concept of universal kinship. Article 18, Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order

Morning weather reports speaks of drought conditions, of various degrees, existing in Massachusetts, and the rest of New England. A story on a morning news program shows drought conditions in Italy, and it’s affects on the Italian agriculture. And I have seen the pictures of the American West, forest fires burning up dried forests. The famous Lake Meade, slowly became a puddle. Yellowstone National Park, which I love with all my heart, damaged by floods, started by premature melting mountain snows.

All this confirms, for me anyway, that we are at a serious stage of global warming; that the window of opportunity to stop the effects is growing smaller. Special interests, who have a financial stake in keeping things as they are, are keeping the pressure up on civic leaders to leave things alone. And let’s be honest, we enjoy the comfort of our present lifestyle, and really do not want to change anything. But that may not be a choice we can maintain much longer.

It now that we followers of Saint Francis of Assisi need to act more forcefully, and take the implications of what it means love and respect God’s creation as St. Francis did. We are all created by God; we all share in the responsibility of maintaining life on this good Earth. All our actions, whether big or small, will have an effect. All our words, our political activity in defense of the environment can have an effect.

The work of a Franciscan is conversion, of ourself, of our society, of our world never ends. The time of taking it easy is past. The time of being silent is past. It is now time to roll up our shelves, and get to it.

Random Thoughts

“The Rule and life of the Secular Franciscan is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people.” SFO Rule: Article 4

I have ten minutes to create a post for this blog, so here goes!

The Franciscan way of life, both religious and lay, has taken many different forms over the centuries. Different lifestyles, different ways of prayer, different emphasis of mission. But it must all remain rooted in this, the Gospel and the way Francis strove to faithfully live the Gospel!

For a lay Franciscan, this can prove to be a challenge. But in accepting this challenge, he or she enters a blessed way of living. The will be high moments, and low. There will be times of satisfaction, and frustration. But we are not alone in this journey; we will have brothers and sisters here on this earth; and others in heaven, who will encourage us on! The challenge is to get off our duffs and do it.

Saints Francis and Clare, and all Franciscan Saints, pray for us!

Happy Independence Day!!

Today, we are called to celebrate the birth of the United States of America! There will be parades, displays of fireworks, and of course speeches. I wonder what tone these speeches will take; either a call for all peoples to come together; or will politics takeover. There are times when, after hearing the speeches, the interviews, the commentaries; that I want to shout out “A pox on both your houses!”

To paraphrase, these words from the Declaration of Independence continue to move me; “ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all persons are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights., that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” These words have inspired many, both in this country and abroad to work for their fulfillment here and now. It is also true that the interpretation of these words has lead to fierce debate, arguments, strife, and a Civil War. There continues be fierce debate over how these rights are to be implemented, with little effort to seek common ground.

We are entering, I believe, a time of strife, both nationally, and internationally, where words like “discussion,” and “compromise” are considered weak, equal to “surrender!” There is little respect for the views of others, no addressing what might be causing the fears that drive people to radical beliefs and actions.

Perhaps the world needs to learn the concept of “synodality” as the Catholic Church is beginning to learn about it now. One definition of it is “listening.” Listening to the hopes and desires, the joys and the fears, what they want this country to be; and not be judgmental, but learn about the other. And in learning, finding common ground.

What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.” The Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue.

“Where Is The Love?” Homily For The Fifth Sunday of Easter

“I give you a new commandment; love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


“…all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


I will be honest with you, when I look out at this commonwealth; this country, this world. I wonder how many would recognize individuals as disciples of Jesus. In some of our major cities, and in some of our smaller one’s, there is more violence in our streets than I seen in awhile. War, disease, gang violence, domestic violence, it is out there. We see it on our screens; the wars and the conflicts, the intensity of which really frightens me. And I see also a hate among all peoples, white, black, Hispanic, and Asian; It is hate I have never seen before; and that frightens me also. And what comes to my mind is a question, actually a demand, where is the love?


I have heard that question asked before, but I could not remember where; so I turned to that source of all knowledge, ….Wikipedia. There were two songs issued under the title,”Where is the Love?” one song was written by the rap group The Black Eye Peas, released in 2003; re-released in 2016. They felt the question still needed to be asked; where is the Love? …..(pointing to the Crucifix). There is the Love. For God so loved the world that He sent His Son, Jesus. Jesus Christ, loved us so much, that He was willing to suffer death, death on a cross, so that we might be saved from sin and death; that by His Resurrection, we are freed from death, and will have eternal life. He calls on us to share this Good News, not just by words, but by example. Within our own families; towards people we will meet on the street, in the office, the factories, the stores; if we treat both friends and strangers with real respect and charity, we are showing where God’s love is. If we stand with the poor, the infirm, the crippled, the refugee; meeting their needs, an arm around a shoulder, letting them know they not alone; that is showing where the love is. If in any discussions, or debates we might be a party to; if we recognize that the other person is a brother or sister in Christ; we respect that person, even if we cannot accept the positions they hold.


The world is out there, a wounded world, inflicted by hate, war, despair. How well we love one another, how well we respect and love our neighbors, our city, our country, will give the answer to the question; an answer that everyone longing for, “Where is the love?”

Palm Sunday ~ 2022

St. Peter Church, Plymouth MA

We are at the beginning of Holy Week; where we bring to mind the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, his agony in the garden, his arrest by Temple authorities and the Sanhedrin, his abandonment by his disciples, his trials by the members of the Sanhedrin; by the Romans; and his crucifixion!

We begin with the procession of the palms, where a crowd of people are following Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. We do not know exactly the real size of this procession, but it appears to be large enough to concern the Sanhedrin; that it may concern the Roman occupiers and bring about a forceful, violent response. And what follows is the events of our Lord’s Passion; His suffering, His death!


But I would like to look now, at a different definition of the word “passion;” with a small “p.” Merriam-Webster dictionary has as one of the definition of “passion;” “a strong liking or desire for devotion to some activity, object, or concept.” What is our everyday passions; sports, both as player and spectator; reading books, paper or digital; collecting, etc., etc., One can definitely say that Jesus had a deep passion to fulfill the will of the Father; to proclaim the Good News to the poor and those who have lost hope in world; to heal the sick, to break the power of sin in the world. He had a passion so great, that He was willing to suffer the most humiliating death.


The question I have for us this morning, do we have a passion for the Gospel life; do we have a passion to follow Jesus? How passionate is our commitment to reach out to the poor, the stranger? How is our passion as a follower of Jesus Christ Crucified?

St. Patrick’s Feast Day

This day celebrates the memory of Saint Patrick, missionary and bishop to the people of Ireland, centuries ago! Sadly, in this country, among others, this day has become a day for excess. An excuse to suspend the requirements of Lent; and indulge in an excess consumption of food and alcohol; shamrocks, and leprechauns!

It is time to remember again what Patrick’s life was truly about; proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, by word and deed. He helped bring about the conversion of a nation!

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate (Abridged)

I arise today
Through a mighty strength,the invocation of the Trinity.
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His Baptism.
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial.
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgement of doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward…
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today.
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.

Saint Patrick, pray for us, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

Second Sunday of Lent Homily – 2022

St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church

Genesis 15: 5-12, 17-18; Philippians 3: 17-4:1; Luke 9: 28b-36

A long, long, loooong time ago, I had an opportunity to spend a fall and winter season, working in a National Park, Big Bend National Park, to be precise, in southern Texas. I was assigned to the Lodge and Cabin area that was located in the Chisos Basin. I was to be a night watchman, needed because part of the lodging was made up of wooden cabins, built during the Great Depression, by WPA workers (Works Progress Administration). I was there to raise the alarm, in case there should be (God forbid) a fire; because those cabins would burn real fast. So it was important to get the word out quickly. I began making the nightly patrols. Now on my first night, I went out and saw for the first time a full night sky, without city lights obscuring the view. It was spectacular, the star field immense, and I was in awe.

Today’s Gospel, is St. Luke’s version of the Transfiguration. Jesus brings Peter, James and John, with him, up the mountain to pray. There, Jesus is transfigured, becoming like light, and Moses and Elijah appearing next to Him! And his three disciples were witnessing all this; and they were in awe at the sight. So much so that they were not sure what to say! They were so affected by the experience, that they did not, perhaps could not, tell any of the other disciples what had happened! At least not“at that time;” Luke writes.


Now after the death of Jesus, at the hands of the Romans, it was expected that his followers would disperse. Many probably did, but the Twelve remained in Jerusalem. I would like to think that at that moment, Peter, James, and John, revealed what they had seen, what they had experienced on the mountain with Jesus, to the rest of the apostles. Maybe this helped them to have the courage, the hope, to remain in Jerusalem. And on Easter morning, when the Resurrected Jesus appeared their midst, their hearts, their eyes were opened, and they were in awe!

Now we are all gathered here, in this place, around this altar. We are about to participate in something wondrous; witness something awesome. Now there are times when we gather, that we bring with us not only our joys, our blessings; but also our sorrows, our burdens, our worries. And Jesus invites us to lay them all down, here at the foot of the altar, and be to present to what is soon about happen! For Father will pick up the Host, take up the Cup of Wine, say the words of consecration, and they will become the Body and Blood of Christ; and I pray that we all will watch in awe!


But! We cannot remain silent as Peter, James, and John did, at first. We need to go out share this experience with the rest of our families , friends, acquaintances, and even strangers; by our words, by how we live our lives of faith! If we strive to that, then I know we will encourage others to join with us; to witness the glories of God as we do; and we will all be in awe!