What is Franciscan Spirituality?
The Spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi invites us to learn from the Franciscan tradition of living the gospel.
A spirituality is a particular way, or emphasis, in following Christ. There are many things common to all Christians, and these are more important than the interests of any one group: Christlike love and forgiveness, community, personal and communal prayer, celebration of the sacramental life, obedience to legitimate authority, love of Scripture, and concern for justice and peace, to name a few. There is no difference between our goals and our ways and means. But there can be a difference in emphasis.
Differing spiritualities depend largely on the personalities of their founders and the times in which religious communities developed. We speak of a Benedictine spirituality, inspired by the monastic vision of St. Benedict. A Dominican spirituality will be marked by the teaching and preaching fervor of St. Dominic. Francis’s spirituality was simply to “observe the Gospel.” Yet, because he was a unique and attractive personality, the Church gained a unique charism called Franciscan spirituality.
To live the Gospel according to the spirit of Francis means participating:
- in communion with Christ poor and crucified,
- in the love of God,
- in brother/sisterhood with all people and all of creation,
- in the life and mission of the Church,
- in continual conversion,
- in a life of prayer—liturgical, personal, communal,
- as instruments of peace