10. A Missionary Orientation of Life

Although the Seraphic Father’ s first attempts to preach the Gospel to non-believers might have been unsuccessful, the “orientation of life”  that characterized him, and that he managed to instill in his friars, was profoundly missionary.

Francis looked at missionary life through a life immersed in the Gospel, clothed in minority and poverty, drawing strength from the adoration of the Lord and witnessing to the Good News by means of fraternity. He accepted Jesus’ words as the guidelines of his life. He had no material security. He was full of spiritual joy. Looking to the Master, he wanted to mirror the mission of the Lord as faithfully as possible in his own life. The contemplation of Christ incarnate and crucified laid the foundation for Francis’ understanding of mission. He urged the friars to see their vocation primarily as a gift for the salvation of others: “God has mercifully called us, not only for our own good, but for the salvation of many. We are to go throughout the world, encouraging everyone, more by deed than by word, to do penance for their sins and to recall the commandments of God”  (3Comp 10:36).

From the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection, a supreme truth emerged which Francis wanted to embrace by winning souls for Jesus so that He could grant them salvation. This truth inspired his prayer, his preaching and his witness. He wanted to instill the same desire in his brothers, because he wanted them to go forth, like him, to fight for souls which the Devil, too, was fighting to claim.

Through this attitude, the Seraphic Father showed the world the maternal face of the Church. Missionary activity prompted by the desire to love people, the way a mother loves her children, must, in the end, bear fruit in the form of individuals who have been converted. Through the prayers, preaching and penance of the Church, they are born to eternal life.

Friar Dariusz MAZUREK, General Delegate for Missionary Animation

Based upon:
Esser K., Temas espirituales, Oñate (Guipúzcoa) 1980.
Hubaut M., Francisco y sus hermanos, un nuevo rostro de la misión, SelFr 34 (1983) 9-21.
Mazurek D., Św. Franciszek z Asyżu a misje wśród niewiernych, in: W Nurcie Franciszkańskim, 8 (1999), 109-119.
Wczesne źródła franciszkańskie, t. I-II, Warsaw 1981.
Wiśniowski G., Działalność misyjna Zakonu Braci Mniejszych, [b.m. i r.wyd.; druk powiel.].

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