On 26 November in the historic and beautiful College Chapel of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Archbishop Dermot Farrell of Dublin addressed the Franciscan community to mark 8th centenary of the approval of Franciscan Rule. The ceremony (pictured) was attended by Franciscans from all the foundations: Capuchins, OFM and Female branches.
Archbishop Farrell said, “my friends, as we celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Franciscan Rule by Pope Honorius III in late November 1223, I would like to give the first word to Minister General, Massimo Fusarelli OFM, who prays that, ‘this centenary may nourish a generous recommitment to walk in the footsteps of Christ so we [Franciscans] rediscover the form of the gospel lived as brothers and sisters … We must learn to always start anew, like Francis, who at the end of his life said to the friars: ‘I have done my part, may Christ teach you yours.’ Let’s start again, brothers and sisters.’
“Where did Francis’ journey after Christ begin? Perhaps it began when he began to see that there were those with greater needs than his. You know the story of his running after the beggar. Something cracked, something gave way, something new broke through. You know how it unfolded … So began his circuitous journey of ‘keeping the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, of living in obedience, without anything of his own, and in chastity’ as it says in the “extreme synthesis” at the beginning of the Rule.
“So overflowing with the gospel was his first Rule, that when Francis brought it to Pope Innocent III for approval (in 1209), the Pope looked at it and said, ‘This is no Rule. This is just the gospel.’ History does not record Francis’ reply. But, for Francis, we do not need any other Rule except the gospel. This centrality of the gospel in the life of Francis cannot be overstated. In the words of Pope Francis, ‘Saint Francis is in love with Jesus Christ and, in order to follow him, he is not afraid to make a fool of himself but goes forward. The source of his whole experience is gospel faith’ (31 October 2022). Francis radically follows the example of Christ by his abandoning of everything, and embracing the poorest and the abandoned. Because the ‘marrow of the gospel’ had entered his life, Francis could see Christ in the sick and the poverty-stricken who were ostracised from society. His love for God in working for God. His life was love in action. His was a faith that did justice. Generations of Franciscan women and men have breathed new life into Francis’s way.”
For the full text of Archbishop Farrell’s homily click here