All those who follow Christ inspired by the life of of Francis are asked to reflect on what that means to us in our own lives. Pope Francis shares in his letter Evangelii Gaudium that 'The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.' We are invited to reflect on what living the joy of the Gospel means in each of our lives with questions such as:
How does my devotion to the birth of Christ and his Incarnation lead me to the defense of life at all stages, from conception to natural death?
Where do I see the Passion and Death of Christ in the suffering and death of others?
Does my meditation on the passion lead me to the joy of the Resurrection or do I focus only on the suffering?
How is the Eucharist a source of strength and joy for me?
How is the Sacrament of Reconciliation a source of strength and joy for me?
How do I acknowledge the rights of others to sit at the table of the Lord and enjoy their daily bread in the Eucharist?
Do I read the Gospel daily and measure my life against it? For example, do I read and live the Beatitudes, forgiveness, and care for my brothers and sisters in need?
Am I truly living as a lesser brother or sister, or am I striving for position, money or status?
How do I show concern for the poor, sick, migrants, outcasts and those whom I find difficult?
How do I practice justice in my home, in the workplace, in play, and in society?
Am I ready to take a stand, speak out and act on unpopular issues? How?
Am I aware of what is happening in other parts of the world and pray for those situations?
How do I defend Mother Nature in my daily life? Do I participate in activities to help our environment?
What do I need to do to “polish’ the mirror and “reflect” Christ to others?
As Franciscans, what challenges you the most as you strive to live the Gospel way of life?
Sr. Madeline Fitzgerald, OSC, is a Poor Clare Sister and the Spiritual Assistant for the San Luis Rey Fraternity of the Secular Franciscans. For nearly 15 years, Sr. Madeline has shared her deep and abiding love of Francis and Clare with our Secular Franciscans community.