“PILGRIMS AND STRANGERS IN THIS WORLD”
(1Pt 2,11; Rb 6,2)
Peaceful and humble
(Cf. Rb 3,11)
As followers of Jesus Christ, “Who humbled himself, even to accepting death”,1 and faithful to their specific calling as Minors, the friars are to go through the world “in joy and gladness”2 as the servants and subjects of all, peaceful and humble of heart.3
Conscious “that what a man is before God that he is and nothing more”,4 the friars are to acknowledge God as their supreme and only good; they are to strive to please him always in all things, and they are to be glad that they are thought of as worthless, simple and despicable.5
§1 In order that they may follow more closely and express more clearly the self-emptying of the Saviour,6 the friars are to have the life and condition of the little ones in society, always living among them as minors. In this social environment they are to work for the coming of the Kingdom.7
§2 By their way of life, as a fraternity and as individuals, the friars are to behave in such a way that no one is kept from them, particularly those who usually are socially and spiritually neglected.
Constantly denying themselves8 and in an uninterrupted conversion to God, the friars are to display a prophetic image by the example of their lives, in order to refute “the false va?lues” of our age.9
§1 The friars are to live in this world as promoters of justice and as messengers and agents of peace,10 overcoming evil and doing good.11
§2 The friars shall proclaim peace by word and cherish it so deep in their hearts that no one is stirred to anger or scandal, but rather that everyone is called back to peace, meekness and kindness through them.12
§1 In protecting the rights of the oppressed, the friars are to renounce violent action and have recourse to means that are otherwise available even to the powerless.13
§2 Conscious also of the terrible dangers that threaten the human race, the friars are to denounce in the strongest terms every kind of warlike action and the arms race as a very serious calamity for the world and a very great injury to the poor;14 they are to spare neither work nor sacrifice to build up God’s kingdom of peace.15
Freed of all fear by the poverty they have chosen and joyfully living in the hope that is based on the promise,16 while also promoting mutual acceptance and benevolence among men and women, the friars are to be instruments of the reconciliation that has been brought about by the cross of Jesus Christ.
Following closely in the footsteps of Saint Francis, the friars are to maintain a reverent attitude towards nature,17 threatened from all sides today, in such a way that they may restore it completely to its condition of brother and to its role of usefulness to all mankind for the glory of God the Creator.18
They shall not acquire anything as their own
(Mt 16,24; RB 6,1)
§1 As pilgrims and strangers in this world, having given up personal property, the friars are to acquire neither house nor place nor any other things for themselves, in accordance with the Rule.19 Therefore they are to dedicate themselves and everything they use for their life and work to the service of the Church and the world in poverty and humility.
§2 The buildings that are constructed for the friars and everything which the friars buy for themselves or which they use are to be in keeping with poverty according to the circumstances of places and times.20
§3 Goods that are given for the use of the friars are to be shared for the benefit of the poor in accordance with what the particular Statutes legitimately prescribe.
The ownership of buildings and goods that the friars need for their lives and work is to remain in reality under the control of those whom the friars serve – benefactors, Church or the Holy See.
§1 If a candidate for the Order has property, he is to dispose of it before temporary profession in such a way that, while he retains ownership for himself, he consigns the administration, usufruct and use of these goods during the time of his temporary vows to whomever he pleases, but not to the Order. This must be done by way of a valid document.21
§2 To change these dispositions for a just reason, and to take any action concerning this property, the permission of the Minister Provincial is required in accordance with the particular Statutes.22
§1 By virtue of the vow of poverty, in accordance with the Rule, each friar who is about to make solemn profession must, before that profession, renounce in writing the ownership of all that he actually possesses or will possess through necessary inheritance. This act of renunciation will come into force on the day of profession.23 The property is to be assigned to a person or persons of his choice, but preferably in favour of the poor. It is not lawful for him to keep back anything for himself in any way.24
§2 No friar, for any motive, should dare to induce a friar about to be professed to leave anything to him or to the Order.25
§3 The particular Statutes shall indicate what is to be done so that a renunciation of property before solemn profession will have force in civil law from the day of profession.26
“They should do their work faithfully and devotedly”
§1 Led by the spirit and example of Saint Francis, the friars, like those who are truly poor, are to consider work and service as a gift of God.27 For this reason they are to present themselves as little ones of whom no one is afraid, because they seek to serve and not to dominate.28
§2 Recognising that work is the ordinary and chief way of providing what is needed, each and every friar should serve and “should work faithfully and devotedly”,29 fleeing idleness which is “the enemy of the soul”.30
§1 The friars are to strive to have the habit of working.31 They can exercise their own craft, “if it is not against the good of the soul and can be performed honestly”.32
§2 The friars are to be attached to no specific work, as if it were their own, even if they have laboured at it for a long time; they are always to be ready to give up places and undertakings and to take on new and necessary tasks.
§1 With the freedom the Rule grants them in choosing work, and with a view to times, regions and needs, the friars are to choose those activities in which their witness of Franciscan life will shine forth.33 In a particular way they are to seek the aspect of solidarity and service to the poor.34
§2 The support of life must be neither the primary purpose nor the sole norm in choosing work.35 Indeed the friars are to be prepared to offer their service without remuneration.
§1 In selecting any work or service, account is to be taken of fraternal life, both at local and provincial level from which no friar may exempt himself. Account is also to be taken of the talents of each friar in such a way that an activity may be taken on and carried out co-responsibly in fraternity, in accordance with the dispositions of the particular Statutes.36
§2 As remuneration for their work the friars are to accept what is necessary, and they are to do this humbly.37 However, whatever they acquire by their personal labour, or on behalf of the Order, or whatever comes to them in any way through a pension, grant or insurance is acquired by the fraternity.38
§1 As far as possible the domestic work in our fraternities is to be done by all the friars themselves.39
§2 When others work for the fraternity, the norms of civil law must be observed with justice.
When the fruits of their work and other means do not suffice for the support of the fraternity, the friars are to have recourse to the table of the Lord40 and they are to “go begging for alms with full trust”,41 in accordance with the norms of the Statutes.42
§1 All the friars are to use money in a way that befits the poor and with a strong sense of responsibility to the fraternity, “as is fitting for servants of God and followers of the most holy poverty”.43
§2 In the use of money the friars are to be wholly depen?dent on the Ministers and Guardians, not only as regards asking permissions, but also in presenting an accurate account of income and expenditures.
§3 The friars, especially the Ministers and Guardians, are to avoid carefully any kind of accumulation, bearing in mind the needs of the poor.44