The rule and life of the Secular Franciscans is this: to observe the gospel
of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi,
who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and
Christ, the gift of the Father's love, is the way to him, the truth
into which the Holy Spirit leads us, and the life which he has come to
Secular Franciscans should devote themselves especially to careful reading
of the gospel, going from gospel to life and life to the gospel.
Secular Franciscans, therefore, should seek to encounter the living and
active person of Christ in their brothers and sisters, in Sacred Scripture,
in the Church, and in liturgical activity. The faith of Saint Francis,
who often said "I see nothing bodily of the Most High Son of God in
this world except his most holy body and blood," should be the inspiration
and pattern of their eucharistic life.
They have been made living members of the Church by being buried and raised
with Christ in baptism; they have been united more intimately with the
Church by profession. Therefore, they should go forth as witnesses and
instruments of her mission among all people, proclaiming Christ by their
life and words.
Called like Saint Francis to rebuild the Church and inspired by his
example, let them devote themselves energetically to living in full communion
with the pope, bishops, and priests, fostering an open and trusting dialogue
of apostolic effectiveness and creativity.
United by their vocation as brothers and sisters of penance, and
motivated by the dynamic power of the gospel, let them conform their thoughts
and deeds to those of Christ by means of that radical interior change which
the gospel itself callsconversion. Human frailty makes it necessary
that this conversion be carried out daily.
On this road to renewal the sacrament of reconciliation is the privileged
sign of the Father's mercy and the source of grace.
As Jesus was the true worshipper of the Father, so let prayer and contemplation
be the soul of all they are and do.
Let them participate in the sacramental life of the Church, above all the
Eucharist. Let them join in liturgical prayer in one of the forms proposed
by the Church, reliving the mysteries of the life of Christ.
The Virgin Mary, humble servant of the Lord, was open to his every word
and call. She was embraced by Francis with indescribable love and declared
the protectress and advocate of his family. The Secular Franciscans should
express their ardent love for her by imitating her complete self-giving
and by praying earnestly and confidently.
United themselves to the redemptive obedience of Jesus, who placed his
will into the Father's hands, let them faithfully fulfill the duties proper
to their various circumstances of life. Let them also follow the poor and
crucified Christ, witness to him even in difficulties and persecutions.
Trusting in the Father, Christ chose for himself and his mother a poor
and humble life, even though he valued created things attentively and lovingly.
Let the Secular Franciscans seek a proper spirit of detachment from temporal
goods by simplifying their own material needs. Let them be mindful that
according to the gospel they are stewards of the goods received for the
benefit of God's children.
Thus, in the spirit of the Beatitudes, and as pilgrims and strangers
on their way to the home of the Father, they should strive to purify their
hearts from every tendency and yearning for possession and power.
Witnessing to the good yet to come and obliged to acquire purity of heart
because of the vocation they have embraced, they should set themselves
free to love God and their brothers and sisters.
As the Father sees in every person the features of his Son, the firstborn
of many brothers and sisters, so the Secular Franciscans with a gentle
and courteous spirit accept all people as a gift of the Lord and an image
A sense of community will make them joyful and ready to place themselves
on an equal basis with all people, especially with the lowly for whom they
shall strive to create conditions of life worthy of people redeemed by
Secular Franciscans, together with all people of good will, are called
to build a more fraternal and evangelical world so that the kingdom of
God may be brought about more effectively. Mindful that anyone who follows
Christ, the perfect man, becomes more of a man himself, let them exercise
their responsibilities competently in Christian spirit of service.
Let them individually and collectively be in the forefront in promoting
justice by the testimony of their human lives and their courageous initiatives.
Especially in the field of public life, they should make definite choices
in harmony with their faith.
Let them esteem work both as a gift and as a sharing in the creation, redemption,
and service of the human community.
In their family they should cultivate the Franciscan spirit of peace, fidelity,
and respect for life, striving to make of it a sign of a world already
renewed in Christ.
By living the grace of matrimony, husbands and wives in particular should
bear witness in the world to the love of Christ for his Church. They should
joyfully accompany their children on their human and spiritual journey
by providing a simple and open Christian education and being attentive
to the vocation of each child.
Moreover they should respect all creatures, animate and inanimate, which
bear the imprint of the Most High, and they should strive to move
from the temptation of exploiting creation to the Franciscan concept of
Mindful that they are bearers of peace which must be built up unceasingly,
they should seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through dialogue,
trusting in the presence of the divine seed in everyone and in the transforming
power of love and pardon.
Messengers of perfect joy in every circumstance, they should strive
to bring joy and hope to others.
Since they are immersed in the resurrection of Christ, which gives true
meaning to Sister Death, let them serenely tend toward the ultimate encounter
with the Father.