Mission in the Franciscan Tradition

Mission in the Franciscan Tradition

Mission in the Franciscan Tradition

Mission in the Franciscan Tradition

Excerpt

The Church on earth, by its very nature, is missionary: “She has a vivid awareness of the fact that Christ’s words: ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God,’ apply in all truth to herself. And with St. Paul she freely declares: ‘If I preach the gospel, that gives me no cause for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel’” (Evangelii Nuntiandi 14).

Evangelization is the Church at its deepest identity. The missio Dei is the missio Christi; it is timeless. Christ and the Church are always in mission, and the drive toward evangelization remains the measure of Christian maturity in every generation. The Church cannot compromise its missionary task without ceasing to be Church.

St. Francis of Assisi is considered one of the great missionary pioneers in the history of evangelization. Not only was Francis the first founder to include a separate chapter on the missions in his Rule, but he himself was a missionary at home and abroad. As Francis sent his brothers out beyond the confines of Italy and within the borders of Christian Europe, he urged them to live spiritually amongst peoples of other faiths and peoples of no faith at all.

Francis believed the task of the friar minor is to make the divine quality of the gospel visible and credible by living an authentic Christian life. The 16th chapter of the Rule of 1221 has preserved for us the original missionary spirit and approach of Francis:

The brothers who go among the Saracens and other
unbelievers can conduct themselves among them spir
itually in two ways. One way is to avoid quarrels or
disputes, and be subject to every human creature for God’s
sake, so bearing witness to the fact that they are Christians.
Another way is to proclaim the word of God openly, when
they see that is God’s will, calling on their hearers to
believe in God almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the
Creator of all, and in the Son, the Redeemer and Saviour,
that they may be baptized and become Christians, because
unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he
cannot enter into the Kingdom of God (5–7).

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.