Dear Associates and Members of the Order of Franciscan Hermits... HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Each January I write to give us a spiritual theme to concentrate on throughout the year. The theme for 2022 was to have "Patience" within the "Silence of Solitude" which was definitely challenging for many who have shared their stories with me this past year. It seems that many people put their happiness and satisfaction somewhere out into the future, waiting on the Lord for desired outcomes. Meaning, if the Lord isn't answering their prayers the way they want today, then they won't be happy or fulfilled until their prayers are answered. They feel a sense of "lack" or abandonment... All self-imposed. Can you see the problem with this?
There are three very important things to know, understand, and be Patient about when it comes to prayer... the Lord hears our prayers the first time we ask... He always answers our prayers the way HE wants... and He always answers when HE wants. It is our responsibility to work within HIS timeframe and "cooperate with the process" of RECEIVING the Grace (the "Gift") that the Lord is giving us. He absolutely told us to, "Ask and you shall Receive"... but, what isn't in that quote, is "when" we will receive. So, this leaves many impatient people unsatisfied and discouraged.
So, in hopes of providing a remedy for impatience, for 2023, I feel that we should now shift our focus to "Gratitude," which then takes our attention off of the perceived "lack" in our lives, and now allows us to see the Abundance the Lord has already given us. It is impossible to feel lack or disappointment when we focus on Gratitude and Abundance.
As Franciscans, when we read the "Peace Prayer" (attributed to, but not written by St. Francis), we are to be sources of Peace, Love, Pardon, Faith, Hope, Light and Joy... NOT Hatred, Injury, Doubt, Despair, Darkness and Sadness. Can you feel the difference between these??? When we live these virtues, we, and the people we Serve, gain the Strength to persevere in everything. ALL of this points us to the Lord's Prayer that says, "Thy Will be done on EARTH, as it is in Heaven"... Today... right now... not someday when we feel that the Lord is finally answering our prayers the way we want.
So, in Gratitude, We do HIS Will Today, Living the Gospels and all they require of us, on Earth as it is in Heaven, which will never allow us to lose Hope.
PEACE and LOVE in Gratitude to you Always...
Br. Paul, OFH
Founder & Guardian of the Order of Franciscan Hermits