Life calls out to life


logoHello my friends:

After a month in the hospital, I’m finally home.  My old pastor said that I had used up another of my nine lives.  He’s known me since I was a teen.  Now he’s retired and living nearby.

Some people would say that I’m “confined” to a wheelchair.  I don’t know if that’s the term that I would use.  I am certainly in a wheelchair.  I can no longer feel my legs.  However, there is an inner joy that comes with this.  I eucharist in crecheremember being at the hospital and receiving the sacraments of Penance, Eucharist and Anointing of the sick.  Anointing of the sick is a sacrament that many of us know about, but we rarely speak about it.  Not too many people report anything extraordinary after receiving it.

The day that I was anointed, I felt that it was my last day on earth.  I was sure that by the next morning I would be pushing daisies.  That night, I went to sleep as usual, still in the hospital.  After a few hours of sleep I awoke.  Without thinking I grabbed a sock and put it on.  I suddenly realized that I was putting on a sock and enjoying the challenge.  When your legs no longer work as they did before, you have to plan how to put on your socks, pants, shoes and so forth.  Activities that the brain would plan, coordinate and execute in nanoseconds now become projects that you have to figure out and plan before you begin. “If I put this there and pull my leg that way, then I can slide this over here,” and so forth.  In my line of work we call this motor planning.  You literally plan every movement before you engage.  We all do it, but we don’t pay much attention to the brain.  The brain does it so quickly that we don’t notice.

BOOKS ON HEAD

I’ve found out that all of the things I did before were not just random actions.  There are physical laws that the body must follow or you can get hurt.  The more I analyze and problems solve, the happier I feel.  I’m finally finding out the beauty and harmony that God created when he created man.  We function like a miracle.  We can dance and hold a conversation at the same time or get dressed and plan tomorrow’s dinner.

I am more convinced than ever before that there is a God.  This well-orchestrated body of ours cannot be a random accident. The fact that we can compensate when we lose a function, means that someone created laws that allow the physical world to function either on high speed using the brain body alone or on a slower speed using the brain, body and adaptive devices.  Because these things work each and every time, they can be considered laws.

However, I have discovered that where there is a law, there is also a law giver.  Whenever I have to face a new challenge these days, I begin to dying womananalyze the laws of physics and body movements.  This way I can execute whatever it is with a certain degree of confidence and order.  This knowledge that there is a law giver brings me a great sense of peace and gratitude.

It also brings me a little shame, because I have taken so many little things for granted.  I used to think that putting on a pair of shoes was not a big deal.  Now I know what the brain has to do in fractions of a second just to meet our demands.  This understanding increases my awe in the presence of God.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski celebrates Mass for Nascent Life

I don’t know how much of my legs I’m going to recover.  But I do know one thing.  Nothing is an accident. Everything is part of a divine plan.  The more I see myself as part of this plan, the happier and more peaceful I feel, even though my body seems twice my age.  LOL

I need to get back to rest.  Please keep me in your prayers and let us not forget to pray for those who take God’s gifts for granted,  as if they were random accidents.  Nothing is random.  Everything is a sign of life calling out to life.

VISITATION

“Life calls out to life”


A couple of months ago we mentioned that there would be some upcoming articles focusing on Project Joseph and on our family, the Franciscans of Life. The former we addressed in April. Today we continue this “mini series” by answering the question…

Who Are The Franciscans Of Life?

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   The Franciscans of Life is a private association of Catholic laymen who are celibate, singler, or married.  It is the hope of the society to become a public association of the faithful someday, maybe an institute of mixed life, where regular and secular meet.

   We exist with the permission and blessing of the Archbishop of Miami, the Most Reverend Thomas Wenski. Men from six countries, four language groups and three generations make up the fraternity.

   We attempt to replicate that brotherhood that grew up around Saint Francis of Assisi in the thirteenth century, where there were friars, nuns, married men and women, diocesan priests, widows and single people who followed the Gospel according to the Rule of Penance written by Saint Francis.  Today, our fraternity is comprised of men only.  There are “regular” brothers who live the evangelical counsels in private vows and “extern” brothers who live the evangelical counsels as single or married men.

Our Way of Life

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The Franciscans of Life make a covenant to live the Gospel according to the Rule of Penance and the constitutions of the society.  Every brother, celibate, single, or married is a full member of the fraternity.  Therefore, each one binds himself to observe obedience to the Church and the superior of the fraternity, to live a life of detachment from material things and temporal honors, and to persevere in chastity in the celibate, single, or married life.

While all of the brothers in Franciscans of Life are lay and secular, we use the term “extern” to identify those brothers who are married or single and hoping to marry, and the term “regular” to identify those brothers who live in community, are in private vows and are celibate.

 Eucharist, Liturgy of the Hours, private prayer, fasting and abstinence are the guiding lights for the brothers.  Fraternity is a hallmark of Franciscan tradition.  Therefore, the brothers look to Christ and the apostles and endeavor to follow that model of fraternal life and service.

Common prayer, sharing, openness to each other, our families, and support for each other along the journey toward the perfection of charity are the means by which the brothers sanctify their lives and the lives of those they touch.  The brothers are faithful and obedient to the Catholic Church as she speaks to us through the successor of Peter and the local bishop.

Our Mission

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The mission of the fraternity is to proclaim the Gospel of Life through service to the voiceless, in particular the preborn child and his family, the terminally ill and the elderly, the immigrant poor who feels hopeless, and the person living with disabilities.

The brothers engage in a variety of apostolic activities in the Archdiocese of Miami. These include catechesis, campus ministry, Respect Life, prayer vigils at abortion mills, and serving fathers in crisis pregnancies through Project Joseph. Other apostolates are hospice and linking immigrant poor with community resources.

The invisible dimension of the brothers’ mission is a life of atonement for those who embrace the culture of death.

Extern Brothers

 

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The extern brothers live in the secular world, but are not of the world.  They are husbands, fathers, and single men.  The fraternity is also open to deacons and diocesan priests who have the permission of their bishop to join.

   These brothers hold typical jobs in the world and belong to different parishes in the Archdiocese.  However, they come together with each other and the regular brothers at the weekly family meeting, liturgical functions, prayer, and apostolic activities.

   Those who are husbands and fathers include their spouses and children in as many of the fraternal activities as possible.  In this way, the Franciscan spirit is carried into the family and the family is embraced by the fraternity.

   The extern brothers and their families engage in the proclamation of the Gospel of Life through participation in activities that promote the sanctity of life.

Regular Brothers

 

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These brothers live in community under the leadership of a superior.  They make private vows of obedience, poverty and chastity and are celibate for life.

None of the brothers owns anything individually or in common.  They rent their home, share their material resources, and work to provide for their material needs as prescribed by Saint Francis in his Testament.  When the income is not enough, the brothers beg as did the early Franciscans.

The daily life of these brothers is comprised of prayer, apostolic service to the voiceless, study, and labor that generates enough income to support the brothers and their work for the poor.

Under the guidance and encouragement of a superior also known as a guardian, the brothers strive to live as a family where brother serves brother as Christ served the apostles when he washed their feet at the Last Supper.  These brothers spend a great deal of time together at prayer, work, ministry, study, recreation and rest.

 

Trinitarian

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Like Saint Francis and the first generation Franciscans, the Franciscans of Life look to the Trinity for guidance and example in community, intimacy, love, unity and holiness.

 

Marian

 

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Saint Maximilian Kolbe and Saint John Paul II are the patrons of the Franciscans of Life.  From these saints we learn to live under the mantle  of the Immaculate and to protect the sanctity of life from conception to death.

Vita ad vitam vocat…”

Prayerfully consider whether the Lord is inviting you to walk the way with us. In doing so, bear in mind the sayings of our patron saints: “Do not be afraid…forget not love!”

We look forward to hearing from you!

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