Friars told: ‘Your calling is a daily event’

Friars told: ‘Your calling is a daily event’
Franciscans at the 1st Continental Congress in Asia of OFM Formators, July 7, 2017. FR. NEIL BADILLO, OFM

JAKARTA, Indonesia – A friar’s calling “does not happen once, because Jesus calls us everyday.”

This was the message of Fr. Cesare Vaiani, General Secretary for Formation and Studies, to some 48 Franciscan formators at the 1st Continental Congress in Asia of OFM Formators’ concluding Mass on July 7.

The priest reminded the friars of their own calling, noting that: “Ongoing formation is about our ordinary life, rather than extraordinary initiatives. Even Matthew, sitting at the customs post, was doing his ordinary job.”

Authority, gentleness

He noted how in the apostle Matthew’s ordinary life, Jesus came in, “with authority and gentleness.”

The priest added: “All Francis’ life is marked by his will to respond again to the challenging calls of the Lord. Like Francis, we too want to welcome the call of the Lord that today repeats ‘Follow me’.”

“We can remember his call to go East, among the Saracens and other non-believers… We find the difficult call of the fraternal relationship, which challenges Francis with the arrival of many brothers proposing important changes…  to which he replied with his resignation from Minister General”, Vaiani recalled, referring to the movements in the Order when in 1219 St. Francis went to Egypt in an attempt to convert the Sultan and put an end to the bloody Crusades.

Current state of vocations

Vaiani added: “In the last two years of his life, we can recognize another call, to which he responds in the Canticle of Creatures, expressing a new look on creation and his own life. And finally, we can mention the last and supreme call of “our Sister Bodily Death, from whom no one living can escape”.”

After a week of intense work in the conference, the friars have produced a unified statement entitled, “Accompaniment in Fraternal Life”.

Badillo, one of the five Filipino Franciscans who attended the congress, reported on the current state of vocations in OFM entities in  Myanmar, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, West Papua, Timor Leste, and the Philippines. CBCPNews    

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