Franciscan Moments

Our Weekly Devotional from

Saint Miriam!

Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: January 19, 2015

Soon it will be Lent. I know, I know…I am thinking the very same thing as I pen this devotion! Lent? Already?! Yes. Lent begins this year on Wednesday, February 18th with the arrival of Ash Wednesday. And many parishes, including Saint Miriam, will begin to offer the beautiful tradition of a rendition of the Stations of the Cross. A way to deepen our Lenten devotion and enhance the remembrances of Lent in our holy Church.

At Saint Miriam, these devotions happen every Thursday, following the mid-week Mass at 6:00pm. We gather for Mass at 6:00pm and then pray the stations at 6;30pm as a community of faith. This year, we have a brand new way to make this “journey of the stations” even more meaningful! Therefore, by way of having us all turn our attention, even briefly, toward this coming Lenten season, perhaps a reminder of what these stations are will help in today’s devotion and assist us to pray more deeply.

Each Station recalls a moment of when Jesus ‘stopped along the journey toward his death.” The word, ‘station’ means a place of stopping, just as many do with our local SEPTA railway stations! Jesus stops to talk to people, to show compassion, to fall in his exhaustion, to carry his own cross, and to receive help from Simon, and yes, to fall again and yet again. Yes, each of the fourteen stations is a stopping point in the journey of Jesus to Golgotha. It is as if we become living witnesses to Jesus’ journey as we pray these stations together, but we should also be mindful of our own stations, our own places of stopping…

Where are we halted by illness, injury, grief, or hardship? Where have we been stopped in life by our own psychological burdens, our insecurities, or addictions? Where have we been stationed far too long because of our unwillingness to forgive or let go?

Perhaps this week, we can begin to stop and seek the help from the ‘Simons’ in our life? Perhaps we might even ask Jesus to help us carry our burdens, too?

Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: January 12, 2015

Our Franciscan spirituality is communal, emphasizing the “we” over the “I.”  We always remind one another that in our parish, and in our work in the world, we must always focus on ‘the other’ – all the others around us. This is not an easy task, but we are called to care for each other in a way that world has forgotten. While each human is a separate and distinct, each grows and flourishes within community. Franciscan spirituality is based on this recognition of the ‘whole community’ and has the calming insight that we can choose our friends, but never our brothers and sisters! In the larger context, Franciscan spirituality and thought is always lived out in a manner that renders all people as ‘chosen’ in the eyes of God, created in God’s image, and thereby replaces class warfare with class cooperation, respect, and love. Franciscans always care for others.

Franciscan spirituality, then, is lesser, humble, and poor. Hence why we are Friars Minor! It acknowledges that all is a gift from the God that we adore, including our talents, our finances, and our unique abilities. Since Franciscans recognize that they truly never own nothing, they wear greatness well and so are  true and faithful stewards of God’s creation.

Franciscan spirituality is also very practical; not fasting beyond what the Church requires, or overeating of what is set before one, preaching without words, and feeding those who are hungry, caring for those hurting, or in grief. Simply being with the others we meet.
This week, take a few moments and reflect on the ideals of our shared Franciscan heritage. Seek to find your place in the application, “If we are not lesser than those we care for, than we cannot ever truly be ministers of those in need.” 
How will you be of service this week? Will you set aside your own needs to serve others and thereby become richer for the effort?