The Feast of the Portiuncula and Our Own “Little Portion”
Dear brothers and sisters,
May the Lord give you peace. As we approach another significant Franciscan day, may you each be blessed in the love of God. On August 2, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels of Portiuncula (or Little Portion). Note the full name of the feast day: we – like St. Francis – celebrate not just a place, but a person. It is good to remember that the big city to the north of us is not “LA” or even “the City of Angels.” Its original name was "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula" ("the town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the River Porciúncula."
The friars who named that area may have been remembering the story from their brother, Thomas of Celano:
Why do you think Francis, the man who clung to nothing, felt so strongly about this place, this “little portion”? According to Thomas of Celano, St. Francis said it was because: Here, when we were but a few, the Most High gave us increase; here He enlightened the hearts of His poor ones by the light of His wisdom; here He set our wills afire with the fire of His love.
Do you feel San Luis Rey Fraternity could be your own Portiuncula? Will you keep coming back, as Francis exhorted his brothers to do? Can you help others to feel their hearts enlightened by God’s wisdom and their wills afire with His love? In this month that brings us feasts of the Portiuncula, St. Clare, the Assumption, and St. Louis, may our fraternity grow in holiness to truly become “a dwelling place of God.”
Our Lady Queen of Angels, St. Francis, St. Clare and St. Louis – pray for us!
Donna, OFS, Minister
Image of Our Lady by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, The Virgin with Angels
Detail from 'Mission San Antonio de Padua' © Jen Norton. Used with permission. www.JenNortonArtStudio.com
The Privileged Place
Dear brothers and sisters,
A remarkable description of fraternity life can be found in in our Rule of Life (article 22). It tells us that the local fraternity …
… becomes the basic unit of the whole Order and a visible sign of the Church, the community of love. This should be the privileged place for developing a sense of Church and the Franciscan vocation … (emphasis added)
So, the monthly fraternity gathering is essential to our growth as Franciscans. How might we nurture that growth? One way is through small groups that support our spiritual growth as fraternity. These can be book clubs, service projects, ‘coffee’ meet-ups etc. that happen in between regular fraternity gatherings. They never take the place of those gatherings – but they can help us to grow as one community of love.
Our Constitutions (articles 33 and 34) stipulate only that such groups are "under the guidance of the one council" and remain faithful "to the requirements which arise from membership in the one fraternity." That seems to leave room for a variety of expression.
Do you have an idea for ongoing fraternity life? Bring it to the San Luis Rey Council! Already some of our members support each other in fraternity more than once a month. Remember, “wherever two or three are gathered” in His name …. Just be sure your small group meets the needs of the fraternity and that nothing replaces our privileged place together.
Would you like to build fraternity without starting a small group? It’s simple! At our next meeting, sit next to a sister or brother you don’t know so well. Try sitting next to someone new for the next three months. The Holy Spirit, the Founder of our Order, will do the rest.
Enjoy the privileged place.
Peace and all good,
Minister SLR Fraternity OFS
Secular Franciscan Order
Old Mission San Luis Rey
4050 Mission Avenue
Oceanside, CA 92057
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