Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Unity and Equality among the Friars........

We know the history, how people longed and desired for equality, for which they fought and sacrificed their lives. Equality in any sphere of life makes one to feel accepted and respected. It is something, which gives a sense to our being human. It uplifts our human spirit. It brings about development and progress in any society. Where there has been quality among the people there we see prosperity and tranquility. The opposite, we see war and constant fighting among those have and have not. Total and full equality constitutes a fundamental value on which the societies are built upon.

Equality in our Capuchin Franciscan family is appreciated and honored, respected and exercised. It has been the mandate and command of our Father Francis to exercise equality among the brothers. Everyone should feel equal. We sons of St. Francis, having given up everything and surrendered to the will of the Father, we live among those who have nothing of their own. We become equal in profession and commitment. In the eyes of the world we are poor and unworthy. Celano writes: What a holy teaching! What is more necessary, for someone returning from the land of unlikeness, then to scrape and wash away, by humble exercises, worldly feelings stamped and grounded in for a long time? Whoever enters the school of perfection will soon reach perfection. (2C 194)

Our Father Francis worked and encouraged all of the friars to maintain the ties of unity between each other. His teachings and writings were geared towards unity and equality among the brotherhood. The early brothers also remained faithful to the founders desires for unity and equality: Thomas of Celano writes following:

His constant wish and watchful concern was to foster among his sons the bond of unity so that those drawn by the same Spirit and begotten by the same father should be held peacefully on the lap of the same mother. He wanted to unite the greater to the lesser, to join the wise to the simple in brotherly affection, and to hold together those far from each other with the glue of love. (2C 191)

Today we are experiencing difficulties to create a fraternity where there is unity and equality. We experience differences based on caste and classes, regions and families, there are discriminations based on languages, cultures and even education. If there has to be a deep and solid unity and equality we need to do away these differences. The Superiors should contantly try their best to promote unity and equality among the brothers. One should not break into pieces this climate by dividing the brothers based on groups and class, education and caste. The Rule that St. Francis left for us insists on the fact that the superiors are those who minister and serve the other friars, they are to assist the brothers to be spiritually fulfilled in living out their vocations. The ministers must show understanding and compassion to their brothers in their service to them.

Speaking of the brothers who founded difficulty in the spiritual observance of the Rule Francis states: Wherever the brothers may be who know and feel they cannot observe the Rule spiritually, they can and should have recourse to their ministers. But the ministers, moreover, receive them it charitably and kindly and have such familiarity with them that these same brothers may speak and deal with them as masters with their servants, for so it must be that the ministers are the servants of all the brothers. (LR X: 4-6)

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