“YOU ARE ALL BROTHERS”
(Mt 23,8; RnB 22,23)
As sons of the heavenly Father and brothers of Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit,1 the friars, following the Gospel way of life revealed by the Lord to St. Francis,2 lead a brotherly life in common,3 and love and support one another more than a mother loves and supports her child according to the flesh.4
Since the love of God that has been poured into their hearts by the Holy Spirit,5 all the friars are to have among themselves, to the highest degree, a family spirit6 and mutual friendship. They are to practise courtesy, cheerfulness and all other virtues in such a way that, united in real fraternity and encouraging one another unceasingly to hope, peace and joy,7 they may achieve full human, Christian and religious maturity.
Every friar is a gift of God to the fraternity.8 Therefore, even though they possess different characters, cultures, customs, talents, abilities and qualities, the friars are to accept one another just as they are and as equals, so that the whole fraternity may become a privileged place of meeting with God.9
All the members of the Order are brothers and minors in name and in fact, although they may exercise different offices, duties and ministries in the Order.
§1 In order to promote fraternal union all the more, the friars are to anticipate one another in mutual love, serve one another with a ready heart, encourage useful undertakings and rejoice when the work of others is successful.
§2 The life of fraternal fellowship demands the following from the friars: a single-minded observance of the Rule and Constitutions; a similar lifestyle; sharing in the activity of the life of the fraternity, especially in common prayer, evangelisation and domestic duties; and the handing over of all financial gains for the use of the fraternity, whatever their source.10
Friars are to refrain from any activity that may harm the fraternal union. If, however, “there should be some brother who wishes to live according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit, the brothers with whom he is [living] should admonish, instruct and correct him humbly and diligently”.11
All the friars must serve the weak, the sick and the elderly among them” as they would wish to be served themselves”.12 Therefore, all the friars, and particularly the Ministers and Guardians, are to show great care for them, visit them, offer appropriate help to them for their personal needs, both spiritual and material, and express to them grateful appreciation.13
§1 In close union with the friars entrusted to them, the Ministers and Guardians are to seek to build up the fraternity “as a family united in Christ”14 in which God is sought above all things. In their practice of virtue and in their observance of the laws and traditions of the Order, they are to be an example to the friars.15
§2 In order to promote responsible and active obedience, the Ministers and Guardians are to listen to the views of the friars either separately as individuals or in meetings; in fact, they are to ask for these views and encourage them, without prejudice, however, to their authority to decide and command what must be done.16
§3 The friars are to offer assistance willingly to the Ministers and Guardians, on whom a heavier burden has been laid; they are to make their views known to them and put their decisions into practice wholeheartedly and in a spirit of faith.
The Guardian, along with the friars in the local chapter, is to arrange the domestic life in a suitable way in the interest of a genuine, real and intimate fraternity.
In order to safeguard the family life of the fraternity, enclosure is to be observed in every House, in accordance with the Statutes, in such a way that a part of the House always remains reserved to the friars alone.17
§1 In accordance with the Rule and the tradition of the Order, the common habit of the Friars Minor consists of a brown tunic with a capuche, and a white cord.18 The friars are to wear it as a sign of their Franciscan life.19
§2 In the use of clothes and footwear the friars are to be attentive to poverty and humility and are to refrain from anything which smacks of vanity.20
The Ministers and Guardians and all the friars are to take great care that the more important events of the Order become known not only to the friars, but to others as well.
Wherever they may be, the friars are to visit and help one another spiritually and attentively.21 In order to carry out this command of St. Francis more easily and more completely, adequate norms regarding the relationships between the various entities of the Order are to be provided in the General Statutes and in particular Statutes.
The friars are to exercise a fitting and gracious hospitality towards everyone, but especially towards their brothers and sisters of the whole Franciscan family.
In order that their fraternal life in Christ Jesus may become the leaven of fellowship among all mankind, the friars are to receive everyone with kindness and be well-disposed to friend and foe alike,22 whether they come to us, or we go to them.23
As a witness to their poverty and charity, the friars are bound to relieve the needs of the Church, offer assistance to those who are in real necessity, and share what they have with the poor, out of the goods destined for the use of the fraternity,24 in accordance with the particular Statutes.
§1 The Ministers and Guardians, as well as the other friars, are to fulfil their family obligations towards the parents, relatives and benefactors of the friars in an appropriate manner, and they are to include them in the prayers of the fraternity.
§2 Assistance is to be given to the parents of friars who are in need, commensurate with their necessity and in accordance with the decision of the Minister and Guardian.
Relations with the entire Franciscan Family
§1 The friars are to bear in mind at all times that the charism granted by God to St. Francis reveals and manifests its manifold fruits not only among the Friars Minor but also among the other members of the Franciscan family.
§2 The friars are to endeavour with all their might to nourish and promote the full development of this Franciscan charism among all those who are imbued with the spirit of St. Francis; they are to seize any opportunity to come together to offer assistance in common undertakings.
§3 Spiritual assistants of every entity and level of the Franciscan family are to be chosen with care, in accordance with universal and proper law.
§1 Fully acknowledging their close relationship with one another, and recognising in them the same charism, the friars are always to have great care and concern for nuns of the Second and Third Order of St. Francis.25
§2 It is the duty of the First Order to maintain and watch over the spiritual union with nuns of the Second and Third Order, as well as to encourage their federations; their autonomy of life, however, particularly that of government, is always to be safeguarded.
§1 The Ministers exercise that authority over monasteries of nuns associated with our Order in accordance with CIC 614 which is set down in the nuns’ own law.
§2 The Ministers Provincial who have the duty of visiting monasteries of nuns in accordance with their law, are to carry out this task at suitable times either personally or through de?legates.26
In order that the contemplative life of the monasteries of nuns may flourish the more perfectly and effectively in the Church and in the world, the spiritual assistants are to help the nuns to form themselves in the spirit of prayer, in a living witness of genuine poverty and in missionary zeal.
Insofar as necessary and possible, the Ministers and Guardians are to strive to offer spiritual support to the brothers and sisters of the Third Order Regular, of Franciscan Secular Institutes and of Franciscan Societies of Apostolic Life; they are also to strive to promote co-operation with them in the works of evangelisation.
§1 The First Order has been entrusted with the care of the Secular Franciscan Order. This displays the spirit of St. Francis in the world; it shares in the life, witness and mission of the Franciscan charism and it makes its own necessary and complementary contribution to the fullness of that charism.27
§2 The Friars Minor are to value the Secular Franciscan Order, assist it with special care, and foster it through reciprocal vitality and mutual assistance, in such a way that it may be imbued all the more with a genuine Franciscan spirit and may be promoted in the world, especially among the young.28
§1 The Minister General and the Minister Provincial, as well as having the power to erect and visit the fraternities, exercise a wide authority in the Secular Franciscan Order, in the manner determined by the Rule and the proper law of the Secu?lar Franciscan Order.29
§2 The friars are to give spiritual and pastoral assistance willingly as is prescribed in the Rule and the proper law of the Secular Franciscan Order.
The spiritual assistants shall take care that all brothers and sisters of the Secular Franciscan Order, faithfully following the footsteps of Saint Francis, spread throughout the world the message of the Gospel and that specific form of Franciscan spirituality regarding fraternity, witness and ministry.
With due regard for the requirements of law, the Ministers Provincial enjoy the faculty of erecting, within the territory of their own Province, modalities of associations of the faithful which are in some way related to the Order. They have the power to delegate this to other friars.30