On November 11, 2022, the student friars at the St. Maximilian Major Seminary of the Provincial Custody of the Immaculate Conception and Bl. Bonaventure of Potenza in the Philippines were blessed to take part in a fraternal discussion about Franciscan Discipleship with Friar Maximilianus SEMBIRING, OFM Conv.
During his discussion with the student friars, Friar Maximilianus mentioned that “our human weaknesses can become a place of encounter with Christ.” They can provide us with an opportune moment to encounter God’s forgiveness, leading us along the path to our ultimate vocation, our salvation. The intense experience of God’s mercy and forgiveness empowers a person to respond, in humility, to the call of Christ. Friar Maximilianus highlighted the purpose of Franciscan formation; that it is not about adopting a particular behavioral system or doctrinal perspective. It is about thinking, reasoning, making judgements and performing actions in a manner that is in keeping with Christ. It is a process of conforming one’s lifestyle to the following of Christ, which is the cornerstone of Franciscan Discipleship. Friar Maximilianus also pointed out some important dimensions of formation, including Human Formation, Formation in the Apostolate, Formation in Manual Work, Personal Prayer, and Discernment.
In addition, he stated that the 1983 Franciscan Discipleship document, which served as the Directory for Formation of the Conventual Franciscans, was adopted ad experimentum almost thirty-six years ago. Therefore, he was excited to announce the 2022 edition of Franciscan Discipleship. This new Formation Directory accentuates the indispensable role of the Holy Spirit in the formation of the friars. Thus, we discover that our True Formator, the One who calls us and offers us direction, is God Himself. Friar Maximilianus also mentioned that it is crucial for every student-friar to have a companion (a formator) along the journey. It is not an optional accessory. A fruitful formation process requires collaboration between the formator and the one progressing along his formation journey, in response to the invitations and movements of the Holy Spirit.
Friar Martin Maria GABITO