When St. Francis of Assisi wrote about “How the Brothers Should Go through the World” in chapter fourteen of the Earlier Rule, it was not surprising that he turned to the Gospel passage in which the Lord sends forth the seventy-two disciples. This passage was significant in the Saint’s conversion[1].
Francis echoed Jesus’ own words: “Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.” (Lk 10:5). Thus, the Poverello of Assisi wrote:

Whatever house they enter, let them first say: Peace to this house. They may eat and drink what is placed before them for as long as they stay in that house. Let them not resist anyone evil, but whoever strikes them on one cheek, let them offer him the other as well. Whoever takes their cloak, let them not withhold their tunic. Let them give to all who ask of them and whoever takes what is theirs, let them not seek to take it back [2].

Of course, St. Francis echoed these words from the Gospel in order to show his brothers that they must not only proclaim peace, they must also spread it with their own life and example. Eight hundred years later, the Earlier Rule reminds us, now more than ever, that we are invited to spread peace, not only with words, but with our lives as men and women of peace.
We live in a violent world. If you watch the news for five minutes, you realize that an eye for an eye and the law of the jungle make up our daily bread. Unfortunately, it seems that the call to peace has not been heeded in some of our fraternities. There are fights between friars, envy, gossip, jealousy, etc. For those suffering in the midst of all this, our fraternities can become hell on earth. There are “saints” who make martyrs of those who have to live with them.
How can we proclaim peace and forgiveness to a wounded world if we are unable to live in peace among ourselves? We are children of the Saint of Peace, and this peace must flow in our spiritual veins!
How do we relate with others today? Are we true messengers of peace for the world and for our brothers, or do we live by the law of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?[3] St. Francis wrote:

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Mt 5:9).Those people are truly peacemakers who, regardless of what they suffer in this world, preserve peace of spirit and body out of love of our Lord Jesus Christ [4].

If, despite being children of Francis, we cannot live in peace in our fraternities, what can we expect from a world that does not know the love of God?
Until the next reflection, dear brother reader.

Friar Elio J. ROJAS

[1] Cf. O. Schmucki, San Francesco d’Assisi messaggero di pace nel suo tempo, in Studi e ricerche francescane 5, (1976) p. 215-232.
[2] Earlier Rule XIV, 2-6; FF 40.
[3] Cf. Mt. 5:38-48.
[4] Admonitions XV; FF 164.