Thursday, January 04, 2007

Come and See

Today the homily at mass touched on the journey of faith, how it is not something that happens overnight and how the apostles and even St. Elizabeth Ann Seton had to overcome difficulties.

Of course this has been a recurrent theme in my life recently. Both what my friend wrote to me the other day about how we do not become saints overnight and the reflection on the parable fo the merciful father and how the Father runs to the son while he was still a good way off have this theme as their basis. Again, the fervorino I heard from Vatican radio one morning comes to mind... today beter than yesterday, tomorrow better than today. And isn't that just another way of saying "step by step." Or, if you know that sappy movie "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" (not at all historically accurate but still entertaining), the song by Donavan is appropriate too

"If you want your dream to be,
take your time go slowly.
Small beginnings, greater ends,
heartfelt work grows purely.

If you want to live life free,
take your time, go slowly.
Do few things but do them well,
simple joys are holy.

Day by day, stone by stone,
build your secret slowly.
Day by day you'll grow too.
You'll know heaven's glory."

I told you it was a sappy song, but actually kind of deep, huh?

Well I must off. Lord, give us the patience we need to let you make us into saints. Help us to live your truth day by day, step by step, not looking for successes but faithfulness to your call. Amen. Doxa su Kyrie! Doxa su!


forget me not said...

Hi, I found your blog through Friar Minor- So you live in Rome? I live in Abruzzo, just a couple of hours away. I was recently in Rome and had lunch at the University near EUR, run by the Franciscans, but I don't remember what it's called. Maybe we passed each other in the corridor?

Br. Chris Gaffrey, ofm said...

No, purtroppo non ci siamo visiti. Sono un frate minore e quella università è dei padri francescani conventuali. Non sono stato mai lì, ma solamente l'ho passato andando a Tre Fontane. Abito vicino il Vaticano e frequento la Pontificia Università Antonianum.

forget me not said...

Ah, scusami, la tua tonaca nella foto sembra nera e non ho fatto caso che mancava "conv." sulla firma. Complimenti, il tuo italiano è perfetto!
A proposito, come si chiama quell'università? Non riesco a ricordarlo.

Br. Chris Gaffrey, ofm said...

Quella università si chiamo il Seraphicum.

Sì, ha ragoine Lei... sembra nera la tonaca mentre infatti è marone scuro. Spesso si confunde l'abito della mia provincia (Immaculate Conception con la sede a New York - Parrochia di Sant' Antonio di Padua) con quello conventuale. Anche alcuni padri conventuali mi hanno chiesto se sono conventuale perché portavo una maglia e non si poteva vedere quanto grande è il capuccio. Ecco il codice per decifrare gli abiti francescani... (Forse Lei già sa tutto questo) grandezza o meno del capuccio. Se il capuccio oltrepassa le spalle fino quasi ai gomiti, è un abito conventuale o di un gruppo formato dai conventuali (per esempio i frati francescani dell'Immaculata - FFI - che sono a Santa Maria Maggiore qui a Roma portano un'abito tipo griggio-azzuro, ma si riconosce che sono una riforma conventuale perché il loro capuccio è quanto grande come i capucci conventuali). Se invece il capuccio ferme più o meno alle spalle, è un abito "minore" o di un gruppo proveniente dai minori o "osservanti." Se invece il capuccio è grande e attaccato alla tonaca, è un abito tipo Capuccino come nostro amico Padre Pio. A proposito Friar Minor, anche detto Charles of New Haven, è capuccino. L'ho incontrato a Boston a Saint Francis House. Pace e Bene e Buona Festa dell'Epifania!

forget me not said...

You know, your Italian really IS good! Bravo!

I thought the Franciscans were divided into 3 families, frati minori, frati minori conventuali and cappuccini. I didn't realize there were also osservanti. I did always have a feeling the grey robed friars were franciscan, and this confirms to me that they are.
I think I need to read a brief history of the Franciscans. I'm curious to find out why there are so many different families.

I often go to the church of the Eucharistic Miracle in Lanciano, close to where I live. My confessor is a conventuale, and he used to be the prior there. Have you ever been there? It's worth a visit!

Grazie per gli auguri. Ti auguro di passare una bellissima festività e un sereno anno nuovo!

Br. Chris Gaffrey, ofm said...

Actually, you're right. We are in three major families, Frati Minori, Conventuali and Capuccini. Back in the day when the order was still one, there were reforms of the order generally called the Observant Reform, hence the name "osservanti." The other friars, not a part of the reform became known as "conventuali." In 1517, Pope Leo X, called a general chapter of all the friars minor, suppressed any reforms, placing them under the Observants, and then declared the General Minister of the Observants the General Minister of the entire Order of Friars Minor, making the conventuals an independent group.

Now, to make things even more confusing, the capuchins broke off from the Observants but were later placed under the governance of the conventuals until they were made a separate group. In the mean time many different reforms of the Observants sprang up, riformati, discalzati, recollecti, etc (all still under the Observant Minister General), but in 1897 Leo XIII, a Franciscan Pope, reunified all these reforms under the Observants and establishing the designation OFM after the name (before it was all sorts of different things). So the Conventuals and Capuchins at times like to joke that we're just the "Friars of the Leonine Union" and not the true descendants of the order established by St. Francis. Interesting enough is that in Italy it took some time for the Leonine Union to be completely carried out. Up to right after WWII there were still two or provinces for the same geographic area (one osservanti and one riformati). I've heard stories about some of the older friars and how they used to be able to tell the difference between the habits (which maybe meant a different hem or a certain stitching that showed on one habit and not on the other kind). My province was founded by Italian friars (riformati... actually the founder is Panfilo Da Magliano from Abruzzi) and so even today our habit has a stitch on the capuccio, which more astute Italian friars pick up on and ask us why we have it.

For a short history of the Franciscan Order, check out the Catholic Encyclopedia's article on Order of Friars Minor.

No, I have yet to visit Lanciano. I hope to go there some day.
Grazie per i complementi. Abbiamo avuto un buon professore d'italiano. Poi devo studiare in italiano anche. Pace e bene

forget me not said...

Wow! Thanks for the info. I will certainly have a look at that link. Wouldn't it be a great thing if there were another Franciscan pope some day?
If you ever do come to Lanciano, let me know. We can meet there and then go for some gelato. Ciao!

Br. Chris Gaffrey, ofm said...

Sounds good. Will do.