We are beginning a penitential season: Lent, in a year in which we commemorate the 800th anniversary of the Later Rule. We are the brothers of penance.

This was something St. Francis wanted. He repeated it almost until the end of his days, especially in his two Rules and certainly in his Testament. In his Testament, he speaks directly about his own penitential journey; he tells of his experience with the lepers and with the brothers that the Lord had given him, meaning, with the fraternity.
Moreover, according to an old study by Kajetan ESSER, the penitential journey of St. Francis corresponds with the saving mystery of Christ, and His redemptive action. Therefore, for us today, doing penance is first of all, learning more about Jesus Christ, entering into His mystery, His person, His actions, the way He lived and proclaimed the Gospel, and above all, of course, his final surrender upon the Cross.
In addition to identifying ourselves more and more with Christ, it is vital that we also identify ourselves with those most in need, with the least of this world, with those with whom Christ also identified himself.
In this time of Lent, let us open our hearts to the mystery of Christ and let us open ourselves to others with love and generosity, emptying ourselves that we may give life to others, as Christ did. Have a blessed Lenten journey.

Friar Carlos A. TROVARELLI, Minister General