For St. Francis of Assisi, the life of union with God was the foundation and raison d’être of fraternity. Francis constantly asked his brothers to strive “to have the Spirit of the Lord and Its holy activity, to pray always to Him with a pure heart” (Later Rule 10:8-9; FF 104).

In response to this exhortation of the Seraphic Father, on January 16-20, 2023, the friars of the Provincial Custody of Mary, Mother of Mercy in Central America gathered at the Sagrado Corazón Retreat Center in Ayagualo, El Salvador to conduct their annual spiritual retreat.
The retreat was led by our confrere, the Most Reverend Gabriel Enrique MONTERO UMAÑA, OFM Conv., Bishop Emeritus of San Isidro de El General, Costa Rica. The meditations revolved around the following theme: “The Franciscan life plan in the light of the plan of the Kingdom of God.” Bishop UMAÑA invited the friars to reflect, most of all, upon the essential and configuring elements of what we call “the plan of the Kingdom of God.” He exhorted the friars to learn more about the concrete contents of this plan in the light of the Beatitudes. Finally, Bishop UMAÑA offered some insights into how Francis of Assisi embodied the plan of the Kingdom of God in his own life.
We thank God for the time of grace that we shared together. It was “quality time” and provided space to foster an encounter with God, with our brothers and sisters, and with creation. Now, our task is to take what we meditated on and translate it into our daily lives, so that our fraternities and apostolates may be an ever clearer reflection of the Kingdom of God.

May the Lord grant us peace!