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updated 11:25 PM UTC, Dec 2, 2021

Franciscan Integral Optimism and Resourcefulness (1)

A new gaze with God’s grace

One of the formators recently said, “More than ever today we need to be optimistic.” Integral Optimism is an art, a free gift from God to all, a process and an attitude to attempt to see something good in everything we encounter in life.

With covid 19 and other challenge filled world it is not easy to be an optimist. There is a risk of becoming pessimist and lose faith in life. And optimism doesn’t mean that one will not have challenges and difficulties but it is a continuous effort to see, hear, meditate and do good. One may have to try consciously in the beginning to be optimistic and after certain repetition this integral positivity will start radiating through us. As Suma Varghese puts it, “We have to be passionately positive, refusing to be rusted in selfishness, wearing out for a right cause and shine.”

Under this title “Franciscan Integral Optimism and Resourcefulness,” we thought of writing some articles connecting Franciscan roots with integral optimism school of thought. We hope that it will give you a spring board to start again with passionate optimism. Asking for special prayers from Brother Francis and Sister Clare we start these series of articles on 4th of October of the Feast Day of our integrally optimistic brother Francis.

Much before we reach a place God reaches there

Our spirituality has lots of optimism, creative potentials and goodness. Brother Francis was a passionately optimistic person full of life, universal sensibility and deep spiritual connections with God and humanity. The medieval society in which he lived has some similarity with that of ours although modern technology and social media are high potential influencers of our lives. Knowing his realities he started to live a life of spiritual optimism and simplicity. Integral optimism initiatives inspire us to look at the world with hope and wonder. Brother Francis was full of sense of wonder, aesthetic sensibility and admiration. He was overjoyed when he looked at the creation with a new gaze of gratitude and admiration. It led him to write poems of praise of God and appreciation of creatures. In one of recent dialogues with Br. Mauro Johri our Former General he said the following while talking about taking up of new challenges: Before we go to a new place God already goes there. This is our Franciscan faith that we learn from Brother Francis that we are in the safer hands of God whom we believe and trust. All that we need to do is optimistically do our duties and surrender the rest to God’s loving providence.

Application:

-As we celebrate the Feast of Brother Francis let us enkindle the sense of wonder and creative gaze on the gifts we have within ourselves and in mother nature.

-Attempt to light a candle even in a most difficult situation. Because before we even think of reaching a place God already is at work there. All that we need to do is humbly do what we can and the rest surrender to his will.

Be passionately optimistic and share your joy with a needy neighbour.

- Read and pray with the canticle of the creatures composed by Francis, trying to feel and understand the same feelings of fraternity that led him to compose this beautiful poem (https://www.franciscanos.org/esfa/cant.html)

Happy Feast of our Brother Francis of Assisi.

Fra. Charles Alphonse and Jaime Rey Ofm Cap

General Secretariat for Formation  

Link Italian: https://www.studenti.it/cantico-delle-creature.html

Link English: https://www.laudatosi.org/pope-francis/the-canticle-of-creatures/