Dear sisters and brothers,
On April 28, we celebrate the Feast of Blessed Luchesio and Buenadonna, the first Secular Franciscan family. Tradition holds that they received the habit from St. Francis himself. While we really cannot know the origins of our Order, we do know that Luchesio and Buenadonna were renowned for their Christian example and charity.
This year, beginning on April 28, the Consilium Internationale Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis asks that each of us reflect on and act for families. (Yes, we have a council and minister for all of us all over world!)
Our General Constitutions say:
“The spirituality of the family and of marriage and the Christian attitude towards family problems should be a theme for dialogue and for the sharing of experiences; they should share the important moments of the family life of their Franciscan brothers and sisters and they should give fraternal attention to those - single, widows, single parents, separated, divorced - who are living difficult situations …” (Constitutions, 24:2)
As the international leadership of our Order suggests, I invite you to reflect on these questions:
Before we try to answer these questions, perhaps we should ponder the words of Pope Francis about struggling families. In The Joy of Love, he reminds us to remember the omnipotence of God, especially His mercy:
This offers us a framework and a setting which help us avoid a cold bureaucratic morality in dealing with more sensitive issues. Instead, it sets us in the context of a pastoral discernment filled with merciful love, which is ever ready to understand, forgive, accompany, hope, and above all integrate. That is the mindset which should prevail in the Church and lead us to “open our hearts to those living on the outermost fringes of society”. (Amoris Laetitia, 312)
As we remember good Luchesio and Buenadonna, let us open our hearts to all families!
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