Friday, July 30, 2010
A night with the Franciscans of the Primitve Observance
On Thursday evening God gave me another amazing opportunity to spend a day with the Franciscans of the Primitive Observance. Arguably, the strictest order of Franciscans in the Western world, I was a bit nervous before arriving because I had no idea what to expect. I have been following this group and reading about them for about a year and I was super excited to spend a day of recollection amongst their midst. However, there are a lot rumors in the blog world that these men are radical, crazy, misguided and are perverting the St. Francis spirituality. Well if you look at these men the way the "world" looks at them: radical and crazy indeed. But true followers of Jesus Christ in the manner of St. Francis of Assisi? Absolutely.( Pardon me, I did not take as many pictures for the sake of maintaining the Grand Silent that was being observed during my stay)
As Br. Lawrence led me to my room I looked around....and looked for my bed....and looked for a lamp....and nothing.
I never felt so excited entering a room, because I had a sleeping bag waiting for me on the floor. Yes, these men are the real deal. They sleep on the floor! Matter of fact, they own no radios, televisions, I-pods, computers, or other worldly possessions. They own no bus pass, subway tickets or cars, they travel by feet. They also have no budget! So I spent the evening reading....After I finished Augustine's confessions for armchair theologians (a good follow up if you have read confessions)we had evening prayer and adoration for an hr. No chairs, or pews, just your knees. Also no shoes or socks allowed on holy ground-bare feet. As I watched them walk into the chapel, they bowed, kissed the floor and spread their arms as they begged God for his pardon and peace. WOW, such reverence and respect for Jesus in His home.
A day at the Friary looks like this: 1:30-2:00 AM Office readings,6:00 morning prayer, 6:30-7:30 adoration, 7:30-8:00 Daily Mass; then study work, noon, midday prayer and recollection, pickup lunch; 4:45 p.m., evening prayer in common, followed by one hour of silent Eucharistic adoration; 6 p.m.,evening prayer), the rosary and, finally, the Grand Silence (close of the day, normally around 9 p.m.) On Wednesday and Fridays are their fast days: Bread and water only! I only got to experience the night prayer, office readings and morning prayer, adoration and mass. But well worth the experience. Because of other obligations my opportunity was cut short but these hours I spent in silence with the Lord was truly a remarkable experience.
I ended my experience with mass by Fr. Pio
Lets Pray that these men may continue to prosper in vocations!