Remaining in His love . . .


Everyday I love my brothers more and more. I have never had the privilege of sharing my journey with such a great group of brothers. They’re holy, joyful, intelligent, helpful, prayerful, compassionate, respectful, and faithful to the Holy Father and the Church.

Would you like to meet some of them? Let’s do some this week and later we do more. I’ll introduce you.

Before introducing you, allow me to remind the readers that I’m their superior. You’ll see why this is important as we go through the introductions.

Aspirant Alberto, FFV

Aspirant Alberto, FFV

Alberto is one of the most mature young men that I have ever met. Alberto has taught me to laugh at my human limitations, including my neurosis. Don’t try to shy away, we all have a few of those around. But with Albert, I’ve learned to laugh about them. He has taught me to accept them, because they’re a part of what makes me unique.  Most important, he has taught me to love God more.  His love of God is awe inspiring.  Alberto is American of Cuban ancestry and has just begun his first year of aspirancy with us or as his Mom calls it, his year of Ibuprofen.  🙂

Postulant Eduardo, FFV

Postulant Eduardo, FFV

Eduardo is a postulant as a secular brother. He is originally from Peru and now lives in Florida. He’s brilliant. Eduardo has written some of the best papers that I’ve read on the heresies of the early Church. He’s concise and clear.

You can always count on Eduardo when you need a favor. I have never seen him without a smile. The greatest thing that I’ve learned from Eduardo is to be gentle. I acknowledge the I can be rough around the edges. During the time that I have been with Eduardo, I’ve discovered that a smile is contagious and probably the best way to spread the Gospel of Life.

Br. Christopher Thomas, FFV

Br. Christopher Thomas, FFV

Br. Chris is our first professed secular brother. He came to us from Jamaica, via NY. I think that his GPS may need some attention. He is still in formation. Even after profession, you remain in formation for three years until we agree that you’re ready to fly. Brother loves the founding fathers of the USA. I’m not particularly impressed with any of them, because they were all so anti-Catholic. Be that as it may, Br Chris loves them. Had I been more familiar with this, I would have given him the name, Br. George Benjamin Thomas.

What have I learned from Chris? There are so many things, but the most important of all is Chris is always smiling and has a wonderful self deprecating humor, but don’t tell him. He’ll deny both. Chris’ desire to understand the faith and his dedication to the fathers in Project Joseph make him a model Franciscan of Life.

Postulant Luis, FFV

Postulant Luis, FFV

Luis comes to us from Colombia. If you ever want to learn to pray, watch this man. Luis has taught me many things about prayer, Our Lady, the Holy Rosary, but most importantly, he has taught me the miracle that can happen when we remain open to life. He comes from a large family. I’ve met 8/10 and they are beautiful people.  Luis has also taught me a great deal about fidelity.  He is often very tired when he has to drive to our mother house for a three hour formation meeting.  He never leaves without smiling.

Br. Leo Gerard, FFV

Br. Leo Gerard, FFV

Brother Leo comes to us from Boston. He is a registered nurse and ministers to the terminally ill and their families. Brother has taught me to be generous with my time and with my resources. When I’m not feeling well, the first person who texts me or calls me is Br. Leo. When we need prayer, we can count on Leo. Brother Leo has been a living example of gentility and obedience.

Br. Jay, FFV & Aspirant Raul, FFV

Br. Jay, FFV & Aspirant Raul, FFV

No, we’re not a comedy routine like Laurel and Hardy or El Gordo y El Flaco. I took this picture together for a very special reason.

Raul and I share an interesting background. I’m of Hispanic and Israeli extraction and he’s of Cuban and Italian extraction. There is a story here. Raul and I first met on Catholic Answers Forum. Very often we’d get into some prolonged discussion on Traditionalism. I have to admit here that I dislike the expression “Traditionalist Catholic.”   There are 23 Catholic Churches that make up the Catholic Church and none of them is called the Traditionalist Catholic Church.  So we used to have these little encounters on line.

Last year, I worked on the Archdiocesan Synod for Miami.  While standing in the garage, a young man came running behind me and asked, “Are you JReducation?”   The JR is from my religious name and education is what I’ve done most of my life.  We introduced and from there a wonderful friendship has evolved.

I attended the liturgy for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in the extraordinary form with Raul and many mutual friends and some new ones that I made that day.  I’m learning many things from Raul.  I think I’m learning that I can be a traditional Franciscan without being a radical traditionalist.  I can also be a very forward looking Franciscan, without being a Modernist.

In simple language, Raul has taught me that being a Franciscan and a brother to all is the most important tradition in my life.  He is a  model of love, generosity, fidelity, obedience, prayer, patience and penance.  I’m learning a great deal about Franciscan life through my dialogues with Raul.

That’s it for now.  I’m very tired.  Next time, I’ll do  more profiles as I get them.  For now, let’s stop here.  I must say that I feel that I have so little to do and so much to learn when I’m around my brothers.  I’m the superior, but they seem to be my teachers.

To tell the truth,

MY LIFE WOULD BE INCOMPLETE WITHOUT MY BROTHERS.

Brothers keep their superior company as he catches his breadth.

Brothers keep their superior company as he catches his breadth.

A note to my brothers:

When I leave this world, remember that there was one superior who loved you as a mother loves the child inscribed in the palm of her hand. and I will be watching over you from heaven.  If the Lord allows it, I would like to be your patron saint during your darkest hours, to guide you through the night into the dawn.

I love you guys and appreciate everything that you have given to me.  Remember, Franciscan fraternity is not about belonging to the same outfit.  You can get that in the US Army. Franciscan fraternity is about loving your brothers as Christ loved his apostles.

Receive my blessing as your superior and spiritual father and my fraternal love as your little and worthless brother.  Don’t forget to pray for me, a sinner.

Always your brother,

Brother Jay, FFV, Superior General

 

Published in: on September 16, 2014 at 6:09 AM  Comments (1)  

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  1. Brother Jay you’re a real inspiration to all of us, I thank God for allowing me to be part on the Franciscans of Life and for getting to know you. We are here to walk toward the Lord and listen to Him and He chose you to be His Voice, and our guide. Thank you for your Kind words. May our Lord Jesus bless you now and forever.
    Br. Luis.


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