The form of life of the Brothers and Sisters is this: to observe the Holy Gospel
of Our Lord Jesus Christ, living in obedience, in poverty and in chastity. Following Jesus
Christ after the example of St. Francis, let them recognize that they are called to make
greater efforts in their observance of the precepts and counsels of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let them deny themselves (cf. Mt. 16.24) as each has promised the Lord.
With all in the holy Catholic and apostolic Church who wish to serve the Lord, the
brothers and sisters of this order are to persevere in true faith and penance. They wish
to live this evangelical conversion of life in a spirit of prayer, of poverty, and of
humility. Therefore, let them abstain from all evil and persevere to the end in doing good
because God the Son himself will come again in glory and will say to all who acknowledge,
adore and serve him in sincere repentance: "Come blessed of my Father, take
possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. " (Mt.
The sisters and brothers promise obedience and reverence to the Pope and the Holy
Catholic Church. In this same spirit they are to obey those called to be ministers and
servants of their own fraternity. And wherever they are, or in whatever situation they are
in, they should diligently and fervently show reverence and honor to one another. They
should also foster unity and communion with all the members of the Franciscan family.
and adapted by Fr. Seraphin Conley, TOR
from La Regla de la Tercera Orden de San Francisco,
P. Louis Cuesta, TC, Pastor Bonus, no. 83, Curia General T.C., Roma, 1990
1. This Chapter
begins with the classic formula of the Regula Bullata, the Rule of St. Clare, and
is very similar to that of the Regula Non-Bullata. It presents our "Form of
Life", emphasizing the spiritual dimension, of the members of the Third Order Regular
within the Franciscan Family. We profess the canonical vows of obedience, poverty (the
original and traditional formula of "sine proprio" was changed to avoid civil
problems), and chastity meaning consecrated celibacy.
Our following of
Christ is to be after the manner proposed by St. Francis, the history of religious life
and the recent instructions of the Church. The four values of penance, poverty, prayer and
humility appear explicitly.
Our following of
Christ is proposed according to the form lived by St. Francis. It constitutes the note of
identity with respect to other forms of religious life. We are Franciscans living a
community form of life.
Some phrases are
taken directly from Francis' 2nd Letter to the Faithful. They "are called to
make greater efforts" in their observance of "the precepts and counsels of Our
Lord Jesus Christ", and let them "deny themselves as each has promised the
In this first
chapter, one can already notice that in the composition of the Rule, care was taken to
remain faithful to the original texts while weaving them together.
2. The article on
penance or evangelical conversion begins with the solemn declaration that to be a
Franciscan TOR means to persevere in the faith and in the life of penance. The article
gives a special emphasis to our basic charism of penance/ metanoia/ conversion. Three
times the text will underline this value.
The way we are to
live and express this conversion passes through prayer, poverty, and humility. This states
the inter-relation of these four basic values.
consists in abstaining from evil but, above all, persevering in doing good.
We are to know the
Lord: in Scripture, in Creation, in the Sacraments, in Jesus Christ, and in recognizing
our condition as sinners.
We are to adore the
Lord with pure minds and heart: to be able to adore the Lord with pure minds and heart we
need to confess our sins to a priest.
We are to serve the
Lord: (in penance) in other words to serve Him in our neighbor by works of charity. For
Francis bringing forth fruits of penance means to love our neighbor and to do him good.
3. Fraternity is the
inheritance we have received from St. Francis, the "Universal Brother", and it
is the environment in which the four basic values must grow and develop. The Franciscan
life cannot be understood apart from Fraternity. This factor of fraternity exceeds the
purely legal, canonical categories of obedience to the Church, to the Pope, and to the
Ministers of the fraternity.
Franciscan style promotes our sense of belonging to the Church, the Order, and the
wide-spread Franciscan Family. We see in these institutions something near, cherished,
The superiors of the
Order are designated as "ministers" of the fraternity. They are called"
i.e. they have received a "mission".
The relations between the brothers and
sisters should be characterized by respect, courtesy, tolerance, devotion, admiration,
veneration, in other words, by the virtues which strengthen the sense of fraternity.
We are to
"foster", or to work together with the whole Franciscan Family. In so doing, we
construct unity and express our communion as children of the same Father, St. Francis of
| Top of Page |
Acceptance Into This Life
4. Those who through the Lord's inspiration come to us desiring to accept
this way of life are to be received kindly. At the appropriate time, they are to be
presented to the ministers of the fraternity who hold responsibility to admit them.
5. The ministers shall ascertain that the aspirants truly adhere to the
catholic faith and the Church's sacramental life. If they are found to have a
vocation they are to be initiated into the life of the fraternity. Let everything
pertaining to this gospel way of life be explained to them, especially these words of the
Lord: "If you wish to be perfect (Mt. 19:21), go and sell all your possessions (cf.
Lk. 18:22) and give to the poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow
me." And "if anyone wishes to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his
cross, and follow me " (Mt. 16:24).
6. Led by the Lord, let them begin a life of penance, conscious that all
of us must be continuously and totally converted to the Lord. As a sign of their
conversion and consecration to gospel life, they are to clothe themselves plainly and to
live in simplicity.
7. When their initial formation is completed, they are to be received
into obedience promising to observe this life and rule always. Let them put aside all
attachment as well as every care and worry. Let them only be concerned to serve, love,
adore, and honor the Lord God, as best they can, with singleheartedness and purity of
8. Within themselves, let them always make a dwelling place and home for
the Lord God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so that, with undivided hearts, they
may increase in universal love by continually turning to God and to neighbor. (Jn. 14:23).
Acceptance into this Life
This chapter is
concerned with the admission of candidates to our way of life and with their initial and
considered, above all, as the longing for evangelical life, a living in an attitude of
quality of the TOR, penance or conversion, is highlighted in this chapter where it is
cited four times.
4. Extending a
welcome to our way of life. A vocation is a gift of God and to Him belongs the initiative.
Our task is to help in discerning the vocation of the candidate and to accept this gift of
God beginning with receiving him or her in a Franciscan way, that is, "kindly".
The entire fraternity has the responsibility of collaborating in vocational promotion.
Each of us can give the witness of our own vocation.
The Ministers have
the responsibility to discern and to decide the suitability of the candidates.
conditions for admission into the Fraternity:
- Spiritual: That the
candidate have faith in the Church and Sacraments.
Human Maturity: That the candidate has the ability to live this way of life.
Provincial has the responsibility to give the final word on the reception of the new
member. However, other words, including the next to the last, belong to the Fraternity!
It is advantageous
that there be a gradual process until the definite admission. It begins with a period of
probation "Let them be initiated.." into this life which is again defined as a
fraternity. The criteria for admission are drawn from the Gospel. Franciscan religious
life is presented as "an evangelical life" lived at an intense and radical level
as presumed from the texts of Matt. 19,21; 16,24.
6. Initial Formation
is the second step in this process. The Lord is the first Director and the principal One
in charge! There must be an openness to let oneself be led by Him. The beginning of
formation is declared to be a process of conversion. This uninterrupted conversion is the
objective of what is called Continual or Permanent Formation. Our simple and humble style
of life and even our religious habit and clothing, besides signifying the embrace of a
penitential life is an element in the process of formation. The theological concept of
"consecration to Gospel life" may be understood in a passive (consecrated BY
God) and an active (consecrated FOR God) sense. Penance/conversion is stressed three
Profession/Consecration or "being received into obedience" is the third step in
this process of formation. The phrase means a promise to live in fraternity in a way of
life which is not monastic. "To observe this rule and life always" denotes the
perpetuity of the consecration. "This life and this rule" means that the
consecration of one's whole life is not totally expressed the three counsels of obedience,
poverty and chastity but is an offering or consecration of one's whole being. "To put
aside cares and worries" is to observe poverty and minority while "To serve,
love, honor and adore" is the expression of continuous conversion to God from a
contemplative dimensions The phrase "With a single heartedness and purity of
intention" is a way of expressing the evangelical value of chastity in a way similar
to that of Vatican II (PC. 12) It underlines the idea of an unrestricted abandonment of
all so as to give oneself exclusively to God's service.
Formation is developed further from the previous article. The love of God and our love for
Him finishes by making or converting us into the dwelling place of the Blessed Trinity.
Our love becomes increasingly all-embracing and we enter into the spirituality which is
expressed in the Catiticle of the Creatures.
"increase" is a call to continual conversion, one which is never finished. Love
unifies and allows us to offer ourselves completely and undivided to the service of God
and our neighbor (chastity). It makes it possible for us to be more available for the
works of mercy. The fundamental concept of this article is expressed in the words
"continually turning to God".
| Top of Page |
The Spirit of Prayer
9. Everywhere and in each place, and in every season and each day, the
brothers and sisters are to have a true and humble faith. From the depths of their inner
life let them love, honor, adore, serve, praise, bless and glorify our most high and
eternal God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. With all that they are, let them adore Him
because "We should pray always and not lose heart" (Lk. 18:1): this is what the
Father desires. In this same spirit let them also celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours in
union with the whole Church.
The sisters and brothers whom the Lord has called to the life of contemplation (Mt. 6.31)
with a daily renewed joy, should manifest their special dedication to God and celebrate
the Father's love for the world. It was He who created and redeemed us, and by His mercy
alone shall save us.
10. The brothers and sisters are to praise the Lord, the king of heaven
and earth, (cf. Mt. 11:25) with all his creatures and to give him thanks because, by his
own holy will and through his only Son with the Holy Spirit, He has created all things
spiritual and material and made us in his own image and likeness.
11. Since the sisters and brothers are to be totally conformed to the
Gospel, they should reflect and keep in their hearts the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ
who is the word of the Father as well as the words of the Holy Spirit which are spirit and
life (Jn. 6:63).
12. Let them participate in the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ and
receive His Body and Blood with great humility and reverence remembering the words of the
Lord: "He who eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life. (Jn. 6:54)
"Moreover, they are to show the greatest possible reverence and honor for the most
sacred name, written words and most holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ through
whom all things in heaven and on earth have been brought to peace and reconciliation with
Almighty God (Col.1:20).
13. Whenever they commit sin the brothers and sisters, without delay, are
to do penance interiorly by sincere sorrow and exteriorly by confessing their sins to a
priest. They should also do worthy deeds that manifest their repentance. They should fast
and always strive to be simple and humble, especially before God. They should desire
nothing else but our Savior who offered himself in his own Blood as a sacrifice on the
altar of the Cross for our sins, giving us example so that we might follow in his
The Spirit of Prayer
presents a synthesis of the characteristics of Franciscan prayer: Trinitarian (9-11),
praise (9-10), ecclesial (9), contemplative (9), cosmic (10) biblical (11), eucharistic
(12), penitential (13), christocentric (13).
9. This article
emphasizes the prayer of adoration and praise - blessing in the repetition of the words:
"let them adore" (3X) and "let them praise" (4X). We are to unite
ourselves in prayer with the whole Church in the Liturgy of the Hours with those same
sentiments of praise and adoration. Francis desired that in the prayer of the Divine
Office "the voice unites with the mind and the mind is united with God". We
fulfill this ministry of prayer as humble believers. The second paragraph of this article
is dedicated to those cloistered nuns who profess the TOR Rule.
10. In our prayer of
praise of the Lord, as befits sons and daughters of Francis, we include all creation. We
pray in, for and with all creatures and recognize our brotherhood with them. Our prayer is
one of thanksgiving for His Holy Will, for His Son with the Holy Spirit, for all created
things both spiritual and material, and for ourselves who have been created in the image
and likeness of God. "May You be praised, My Lord, with all Your creatures. "
11. The absolutely
essential means of coming to "be conformed" to Christ and His Gospel is
meditation on the Word of God. After the example of Francis, our following of Jesus, is
learned and is reached through adhesion to the Scriptures which we meditate and preserve
in our hearts. Creation and events are illuminated by the Word of God. Before making any
important decision, Francis always turned to the Scriptures and recommended to his
followers "the perfumed words of Our Lord Jesus Christ".
12. The great esteem
of Francis for the Eucharist is reflected in this article. We are to participate fully in
the Eucharistic Sacrifice with great humility and great veneration. We are to give all
reverence and honor to Jesus present in the Eucharist by our visits and adoration of the
Blessed Sacrament. Further, we are to reverence His Holy Name and be respectful even of
the written words which consecrate His Body and Blood. In the Eucharist, the Lord reveals
and makes peace between all creatures and God. The Eucharist is the sign and cause of our
13. A sincere
recognition of our sins and the need to confess them before receiving Holy Communion.
Fasting and deeds of mercy are means to encourage a spirit of sorrow and humility.
| Top of Page |
The Life of
for the sake of the Kingdom
14. Let the brothers and the sisters keep in mind how great a dignity the
Lord God has given them, because He created them and formed them in the image of His
beloved Son according to the flesh and in His own likeness according to the Spirit. (Col.
1:16) Since they are created through Christ and in Christ, they have chosen this form of
life which is founded on the words and deeds of our Redeemer.
15. Professing chastity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, they are
to care for the things of the Lord and they have nothing else to do except to follow the
will of the Lord and to please Him. (1 Cor 7:32) In all of their works the love of God and
all people should shine forth.
16. They are to remember that they have been called by a special gift of
grace to manifest in their lives that wonderful mystery by which the Church is joined to
Christ her spouse. (cf. Eph. 5:23-6)
17. Let the brothers and the sisters keep the example of the blessed
Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, ever before their eyes. Let
them do this according to the exhortation of St. Francis who held Holy Mary, Lady and
Queen, in highest veneration, since she is the virgin made church. Let them also remember
that the immaculate Virgin Mary, whose example they are to follow, called herself the
handmaid of the Lord.
Life in Chastity for the
Sake of the Kingdom
14, Chastity is a
both a gift of God and a response of man. It is a gift and work of God who formed us in
His Image and created us through and in Christ. We accept this way of life in chastity
based on the words and example of Christ, our Redeemer.
profession of chastity is for the Kingdom. This demands that we " be careful in what
concerns the Lord" and seek His Will and to please Him. In this way, our behavior
will express love for God and love for all His children. Any insistence on the dimension
of availability ( chastity FOR the Kingdom = purpose) should be balanced by a focus on the
presence of the Kingdom as a reason for consecrated chastity (chastity FOR the Kingdom's
16. By our life, we
should be signs of the Mystery of the Church expressing the Union of Christ with His
Spouse, the Church. Our witness to this love and spiritual marriage is a gift of grace.
17, In imitation of
Francis, we look to Mary, the Handmaid of the Lord. Our fraternal and filial relationship
with Mary is not just an attitude of devotion. She is the perfect Model of the Lord's
disciple and our inspiration for a total commitment of service to God. She shows us how to
listen to God's Word in the Scripture and events of life, to believe in it in all
circumstances and to live all its demands. Even when we do not understand, like her, we
are to keep it in our hearts (Lk 2, 19, 50-51) until light comes. We confide in her
maternal concern and protection.
| Top of Page |
The Way to Serve and Work
As poor people, the brothers and sisters to whom the Lord has given the grace of serving
or working with their hands, should do so faithfully and conscientiously. Let them avoid
that idleness which is the enemy of the soul. But they should not be so busy that the
spirit of holy prayer and devotion, which all earthly goods should foster is extinguished.
In exchange for their service or work, they may accept anything necessary for their own
temporal needs and for that of their sisters or brothers. Let them accept it humbly as is
expected of those who are servants of God and seekers of most holy poverty. Whatever they
may have over and above their needs, they are to give to the poor. And let them never want
to be over others. Instead they should be servants and subjects to every human creature
for the Lord's sake (1 Pet. 2:13).
Let the sisters and brothers be gentle, peaceful and unassuming, mild and humble, speaking
respectfully to all in accord with their vocation. Wherever they are, or wherever they go
throughout the world they should not be quarrelsome, contentious, or judgmental towards
others. Rather it should be obvious that they are joyful, (cf. Phil. 4:4) good-humored,
and happy in the Lord as they ought to be. And in greeting others, let them say, "The
Lord give you peace."
The Way to Serve and Work
This is the chapter
which is dedicated to Minority or Humility. It is expressed in our way of life and moving
through the world. Therefore, any Service or Work should reflect our Franciscan spirit and
identify us. To "live in conversion" not only supposes service to God but also
to serve as "minors" in working for a better world.
his idea of minority on the person of Jesus:
- who came to serve and
not to be served.
- who chose to announce
the Good News and peace to the poor.
- who adopted an
attitude of humility and meekness..
This chapter gathers
together the views of Francis about work and its purpose:
- to work so as to give
- to avoid idleness.
- to provide for the
needs of the Fraternity.
- to share the
situation of ordinary people.
- to serve others.
18. Therefore, in
deciding to say "yes" to a work or occupation, we see being able to work is a
gift of God, to be done with fidelity and devotion, as a way of avoiding idleness and
providing a service and a means of expressing our condition as poor people.
We are to refuse any
work which smothers the spirit of prayer and devotion by not allowing space for prayer,
which ends up in activism, and which does not reflect spiritual values or which is not in
accord with our status as poor brothers and sisters.
19. We reflect and
"preach" the value of minority or humility:
- in humbly accepting
wages for the work done.
- in being satisfied
with having the necessities of life.
- in remembering that
we are servants of God and followers of holy poverty.
- in sharing with the
poor what is not needed.
- in seeking to avoid
power and authority and prosperity.
- in being servants (
repeated 5X in nos. 18 & 19 ).
- in being submissive
to every human creature for the sake of God.
This vision of
Francis agrees very well with the criteria expressed in Perfectae Caritatis 13 and in
the new Code of Canon Law.
20. This article
begins with a list of qualities, attitudes and behavior which makes those who practice
them living witnesses of humility and thus believable witnesses of Franciscan peace.
Francis wants his followers to be meek, modest and humble and proposes that they speak to
all respectfully and speak whatever may seem useful. Wherever they go they are to avoid
arguments, involvement in litigations, or in judging others.
To carry on a
program of peace, they should be happy in the Lord, joyful, suitably gracious and
| Top of Page |
The Life of Poverty
21. All the sisters
and brothers zealously follow the poverty and humility of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Though
rich beyond measure (Cor. 8:9), He emptied Himself for our sake (Phil. 2:7)
and with the holy virgin, His mother Mary, He chose poverty in this world. Let them be
mindful that they should have only those goods of this world which, as the Apostle says,
"Provide enough food and sufficient clothing; with these we are content" (1
Tim. 6:8). Let them particularly beware of money. And let them be happy to live among
the outcast and despised, among the poor, the weak, the sick, the unwanted, the oppressed,
and the destitute.
22. The truly
poor in spirit, following the example of the Lord, live in this world as pilgrims and
strangers (Mt. 10.27:29). They neither appropriate nor defend anything as their
own. So excellent is this most high poverty that it makes us heirs and rulers of the
kingdom of heaven. It makes us materially poor, but rich in virtue (Jn. 2:5). Let
this poverty alone be our portion because it leads to the land of the living (cf. Ps
141:6). Clinging completely to it let us, for the sake of Our Lord Jesus Christ, never
want anything else under heaven.
Life in Poverty
In this chapter,
poverty is presented as an ideal of life. The specific forms of expressing poverty are
left to the Constitutions and General Statutes. The inspiration of Francis overcomes
merely juridical concepts such as speculative divisions into vow and virtue which are not
in his radical concept of poverty.
Poverty for Francis
is total renunciation:
- of one's will.
- of pride in one's
talents and abilities.
- of oneself.
They are truly poor:
- who restore to God
all His words.
- who keep nothing back
but give all to God.
- who desire to be at
the feet of others.
- who love those who
- who do not rush to
21. We are to be
poor with and for the poor:
A. With Jesus who
chose a life of poverty and who emptied Himself (kenosis).
- the christological
and scriptural motivation for our poverty.
- with Mary, under the
aspect of the poor handmaid, so dear to St. Francis.
- Some consequences of
- that it rests not on
a sociological but a theological base.
- that a personal and
community austerity be accepted if we are to be content with only the necessary in regards
to food, clothing, trips, the use of money.
- that we have a real
trust in Providence.
- unity and
complimentarily between poverty and humility.
B. With the weak and
lowly of society.
- This is to be the
motive for our pastoral charity and our works of mercy and for our choice of apostolates.
22. Poor pilgrims, they are truly poor in spirit
- try to follow and
- do not
- are not
- are-free and
available as travellers and foreigners.
The greatness and
value of poverty is that:
- it makes us heirs of
more important goods.
- it makes us kings in
the Kingdom of heaven.
- it frees us from
- it inspires us to
and service are our true riches and we should want to possess nothing else under heaven.
| Top of Page |
God loves us, the brothers and sisters should love each other, for the Lord says,
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you". (Jn.
15:12). Let them manifest their love in deeds (cf. Jn. 8:18).
Also whenever they
meet each other, they should show that they are members of the same family. Let them make
known their needs to one another. Blessed are they who love another who is sick and
seemingly useless, as much as when that brother or sister is well and of service to them.
Whether in sickness or in health, they should only want what God wishes for them. For all
that happens to them let them give thanks to our Creator.
discord caused by word or deed should occur among them, they should immediately (Mt.
18:35) and humbly ask forgiveness of one another even before offering their gift of
prayer before the Lord (cf. Mt 5:24). And if anyone seriously neglects the
form of life all profess, the minister, or others who may know of it, are to admonish that
person. Those giving the admonition should neither embarrass nor speak evil of the other.
but show great kindness. Let all be careful of self righteousness, which causes anger and
annoyance because of another's sin. These in oneself or in another hinder living lovingly.
The Fraternal Life
The fraternal life
is the heart and the composition of the Franciscan experience. The papal letter of John
Paul II "Franciscanum vitae propositum" reminds us that the following of Jesus
Christ is "living in fraternity". The Fraternity is where the fundamental values
of penance, prayer, poverty and minority are expressed and develop. In one or another form
the idea of fraternity appears throughout all the chapters of the Rule.
The concept of
fraternity is not exclusive but inclusive and embraces:
- the religious
community (local, provincial, congregational)
- The Franciscan Family
(other TOR religious institutes, the SFO, and the Ist & 2nd Orders).
- All of creation.
23. The Franciscan
community is inspired by the Word of God.
- The brothers and
sisters shall love another as Jesus loved; it is a privileged way of proclaiming Jesus
- Love is translated
into deeds; shown in our works.
fraternity expresses its love:
- by explaining to
others its needs. by asking for help.
- living unaffectedly
this interdependent life.
- allowing others to
live in atmosphere of freedom and trust.
- being personally
concerned to attend to others' needs (trust, charity, poverty, humility, freedom)
A community may be
considered truly blessed when it is:
- sincerely unselfish.
- looks out for the
- is grateful to God
for all that happens.
- loves a brother for
himself and not for his "usefulness".
- wants to be what God
wants it to be.
24. The weak in the
A. Each of us is
weak in some way. We often offend others and feel offended by others therefore the Rule
asks for mutual pardon:
- whenever there has
been any reason for irritation.
- if there have been
any uncharitable words.
- for any action which
has offended charity.
B. Anyone who has
failed in our way of life through weakness:
- is to be corrected by
the Minister or other brothers or sisters but never by shaming or speaking badly about the
- is to be treated with
mercy without getting excited about sin nor behaving in a way that inhibits an attitude of
C. We need to
clearly recognize that our fraternity is made up of human beings and thus there will
always be faults such as discourtesy, inconsiderate words or actions, carelessness,
uncharitable judgement, bad taste, violent reactions, sin.
D. Each of us is
sustained and helped by everyone else. Because of our status as penitents,
"minors", we always need to count on the compassion and pardon of our brothers
| Top of Page |
Obedience of Love
the example of Our Lord Jesus Christ who made his own will one with the Father's, the
sisters and brothers are to remember that, for God, they should give up their own wills.
Therefore, in every kind of Chapter they have let them "seek first the kingdom
of God and its justice," (Mt. 6.33) and exhort one another to observe this
rule which all have professed more exactly, as well as how they might more faithfully
follow in the footprints of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let them neither dominate nor seek
power over one another but let them willingly serve and obey each other with that genuine
love which comes from each one's heart (cf. Gal. 5:15). This is the true and holy
obedience of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
26. They are
always to have one of their number as minister and servant of the fraternity whom they are
strictly obliged to obey in all that they have promised the Lord to observe, and which is
not contrary to conscience or this rule.
27. Those who
are ministers and servants of the others should visit, admonish and encourage them with
humility and love. Should there be brothers or sisters anywhere who know and acknowledge
that they cannot observe the rule according to it's spirit, it is their right and duty to
have recourse to their ministers. The ministers are to receive them with such love,
kindness, and sympathy that the sisters or brothers can speak and act towards them just as
an employer would with a worker. This is how it should be. The ministers are to be
servants of all.
28. No one is
to appropriate any office or ministry whatsoever as if it were a personal right; rather
each should willingly relinquish it when the time comes.
The Obedience of Love
34. As was the
case of the other evangelical counsels, here the following concepts are underlined:
- the christological
motive behind our obedience.
- the dimension of love
which goes further than merely canonical or organizational regulations.
- the spiritual
foundation, inspirational rather than a juridic theology .
demands a self-emptying, a self-denial which should be understood in very close relation
to poverty and humility. For Francis, it is an "Obedience of Love" when a friar
or sister sees something better or more spiritually useful that what the superior commands
and yet makes the sacrifice of one's own will to God and tries to carry out the superior's
command. It is an "obedience of love" because it gives to God and our neighbor
that which belongs to them.
25. "let them
- obey like Jesus Who
seeks and fulfills the will of the Father.
- to seek in our
Chapters and meetings the will of God
- to encourage one
another to fulfill the Rule.
- to encourage oneself
to follow the Christ.
- to serve and obey
- to renounce one's own
- to forego any power
or dominion over our brothers.
- to refuse any
profession which encourages prerogative and preeminence.
Three times in this
article there is a reference to Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Model of loving obedience.
26. The one
- the minister
and servant of the Fraternity. The very titles describe how a Franciscan superior is to
exercise this role and authority.
- the friars and
sisters are to faithfully obey their ministers according to the Rule.
27. Rights and
responsibilities in the Fraternity:
A. The duties
and responsibilities of the ministers:
- to be the Minister
and Servant of the fraternity. to visit the friars and sisters.
- to admonish them (but
humbly and kindly).
- to encourage and
B. The rights
of the friars and sisters:
- to go to their
ministers when they can't fulfill the Rule.
- to be welcomed by the
ministers with charity and kindness so that they can treat them with ease ... as employers
with their subordinates.
- to feel the freedom
to speak about their problems.
28. No one is
The poor and the
ordinary people of society do not consider themselves indispensable or essential. If,
theoretically and practically, the office of superior is considered as a service then
this attitude will not be a serious problem for the fraternity.
| Top of Page |
brothers and sisters are to love the Lord with their whole heart, their whole soul and
mind and with all their strength, and to love their neighbor as themselves. Let them
glorify the Lord in all they do. For He has sent them into the world so that they might
give witness by word and work to His voice and to make known to all the Lord alone is God
(cf. Mk.12:30, Mt. 22:30).
30. As they
announce peace with their lips, let them be careful to have it even more within their own
hearts. No one should be roused to wrath or insult on their account, rather all should be
moved to peace, goodwill and mercy because of their gentleness. The sisters and brothers
are called to heal the wounded, to bind up those who are bruised, and to reclaim the
erring. Wherever they are, they should recall that they have given themselves up
completely and handed themselves to every enemy, visible and invisible, for love of Him
because the Lord says: "Blessed are they who suffer persecution for the sake of
justice, theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Mt. 5.10)
31. In that
love which is God (1 Jn.4:6) all the brothers and sisters, whether they are
engaged in prayer, or in announcing the Word of God, or in serving or doing manual labor
should strive to be humble in everything. They should not seek glory, or be
self-satisfied, or interiorly proud because of a good work or word God does or speaks in
or through them. Rather in every place and circumstance, let them acknowledge that all
good belongs to the most high Lord and Ruler of all things. Let them always give thanks to
Him from whom we receive all good.
The Apostolic Life
This chapter deals
with one of the most characteristic aspects of the Third Order Regular. The apostolate
understood, above all, as the exercise of the works of mercy is essential to our
consecrated life. This final chapter of the Rule is the natural development of our
fraternal life of penance lived according to the evangelical counsels. It seeks to be
something like an existential expression of our identity translated into a life of service
to the poor and those in need. It presents the mission which grows out of the inner life
of the fraternity and is adorned with kindness, humility, joy, mercy .... in other words
with Franciscan qualities.
29. The soul of
every apostolate is. Love:
Let them love: God
with all their heart and soul and their neighbor as themselves.
Let them praise: the
Lord in all His works (for this have they been sent) by their witness (in word and deeds)
making known that there is no other God.
Love is translated
into Mission. It is the "fruit(s) worthy of penance". There is no divorce
between contemplation and action. Every conversion results in charitable service to the
30. The wounded and
A. They are to
be Messengers of Peace:
- having it first of
all in their own hearts.
- then announce it with
- being instruments of
reconciliation by their conduct, by their meekness and kindness, and by their efforts
B. They are to
be Apostles of Mercy:
- to cure the wounded.
- to bind up the
- to lead back to God
and His Church those who have strayed.
The explicit and
implicit references are to all the works of charity and mercy carried out by the many
congregations of the TOR Family.
C. The demands
- to dedicate
- to abandon one's body
to the Lord.
- to expose oneself to
visible and invisible enemies.
- to suffer
persecution, misunderstanding or ridicule.
31. Humility in
doing works of charity:
In any work of
charity (praying, serving, working) we are to act without showing off, without trying to
please ourselves, and without interior vanity in the words, deeds or whatever God does
in every situation:
- recognize that all
goods belong to God.
- thank God for all
goods that have come from Him.
- make a serious effort
to possess "The Spirit of God and His holy workings".
- be faithful to the
Church and firm in our Catholic faith
- be faithful to the
three Franciscan ideals: the holy gospel, humility, and poverty.
St. Francis desired
that his disciples should have a copy of the Rule and to know it well, to speak of it
often in their i-neetings, to recall the vows. The brothers and sisters are to observe it
faithfully as each one has promised to do until death.
He asks no more of
us than that we should live as each one has promised ... in true faith and conversion of
heart. In us, even after seven centuries, his vision lives on in the Threefold Family of
brothers and sisters which God raised up through him.
To those who were,
who are, and who will be his followers, St. Francis gave his special blessing which are
the closing words of the Rule. This Blessing is taken from the Testament of St.
Francis to conclude this new Rule as it concluded the Rule of 1927, It serves as a link to
the past versions of the Rule and the traditions upon which the present one is built and
whose authentic Franciscan spirit it hopes to preserve and renew in our times.
translated and adapted by
Fr. Seraphin Conley,TOR from La Regla de la Tercera Orden de San Francisco, P.
Luis Cuesta Nozal, TC, Pastor Bonus, no. 83, Curia General T.C., Roma, 1990 pp. 209-235.
| Top of Page |