Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Am I Keeper of my Brothers?

The ministers and guardians shall do their best to sustain the brothers on their journey towards holiness by providing the brothers and fraternities with quality time for prayer and ensuring their daily fidelity to it. Therefore, they have a duty to
minister the Word of God to the brothers and to take care to provide them with appropriate instruction and religious formation. They shall endeavor to promote knowledge of our charism and encourage the brothers to observe the Rule and the consitution faithfully, and to keep alive their sense of faith and ecclesial communion, and to promote the good of the People of God everywhere. They shall not neglect spiritual conversations, whether with individuals or in the local chapter, or homilies to the brothers during the celebration of the eucharist or of the Word of God. (Const. 161). It is the task of the local chapter, under the guidance of the guardian, to strengthen the spirit of brotherhood, to promote an awareness of the common good among all brothers and conduct a dialogue about every aspect of fraternal life, especially with regard to fostering prayer, observing poverty, promoting formation and supporting apostolic activity, in a common search for the will of God.

The ministers and guardians are to guide the brothers as sons of God, respecting their human personality so that they may give their obedience of their own free will. They shall not impose commands in virtue of the vow of obedience unless charity and necessity demand it, and do so with great prudence, in writing, or in the presence of two witnesses. (Const. 162).
The ministers and guardians are to do their best to ensure that their fraternities are molded by the gospel teaching on mercy. In accordance with the responsibility, which the Rule imposes on them, the ministers shall firmly, yet kindly and charitably, admonish, encourage and, when necessary, correct the brothers privately through fraternal discussion, taking into account the person and the circumstances. They shall talk about the shortcomings or ommissions of the fraternity with the brothers themselves, particularly in a local chapter, and together seek and apply effective remedies. (Const. 163)

The ministers shall apply themselves to the pastoral visitation prescribed by the Rule and universal law, either personally or through others. During the visitation, the ministers or other brothers delegated to conduct it shall have a sincere conversation

with the brothers, both individually and communally, about everything, whether spiritual or temporal, that protects and fosters their life. Let them not neglect the visitation of the houses. (Const. 164). Let ministers and guardians outshine the brothers in the life of our brotherhood and in the observance of the Rule and Constitution, and encourage the brothers to observe them as a daring adventure of love.
Let them act with great understanding and prudence, adapting themselves to the times and conditions of different regions, so that the brothers may express their opinions trustfully, freely and sincerely, and together seek whatever leads to the continuing renewal of our life and the enrichment of all that we do. It is the responsibility of the ministers, after willingly considering everything with the brothers, to decide and direct what must be done.

If a brother is guilty of an offense against a person or an ecclesiastical or social institution, by the same law of charity which requires justice and respect for the rights and dignity of all, especially the most vulnerable, ministers shall help him to assume his responsibilities, make good the harm he has done and accept the canonical and civil consequences of his behavior. If a brother commits an offense, or there is a danger of its being repeated, the minister shall take all possible suitable measures, including cooperation with the civil authorities, to prevent it. Indeed, responsibility for an offense rests with the the brother who commits it. 
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