“Sing praise to our God, all you who fear God, both small and great.”

posted May 27, 2016, 10:38 AM by Colleen Moran   [ updated May 27, 2016, 10:38 AM by Friar Suppliers ]

God bless you always.Most of us come from a family, are a member of a family, or trying to raise a family. Family is the most important unit of society, because it is within a family that we cared for and look out for each other. It’s where we learn how to relate to others and and the world around us.  Our Holy Father Francis knows well from listening to the Synod Fathers and his own observations, that the families of today are facing many challenges.

In Chapter two of “Amoris Letitia” (The Joy of Love), Pope Francis looks at the “The Experiences and Challenges of Families.”  I would like to paraphrase some of what Pope Francis sees as growing dangers in our society.  He points to “individualism” which weakens family bonds and isolates its members.  An individual in an  individualistic culture sees the world as if it revolves around them.  We are caught up in consumerism, possessions and self indulgence.  A fast pace of life, stress, fear of commitment, self-centeredness and arrogance leads to intolerance and hostility in families. Relationships within families break down as individual “rights” are asserted.  People are confused because on one hand there is a fear of loneliness and a desire for stability and fidelity.  On the other hand, there is a fear of entrapment in a relationship that could hamper the achievement of one’s personal goals.  Pope Francis says:  “What we need is a more responsible and generous effort to present the reasons and motivations for choosing marriage and the family, and in this way to help men and women better to respond to the grace that God offers them.” (paragraph 35)  

He says:  “The way we (the church) present our Christian beliefs and treat other people has helped contribute to today’s problematic situation.  WE NEED A HEALTHY DOSE OF SELF-CRITICISM.” (paragraph 36)

Pope Francis wants the church to present marriage not as a lifelong burden but as a path to personal development and fulfilment.  He states: “The church is there to form consciences not to replace them.” (paragraph 37)

Narcisistic is another word Our Holy Father uses to describe our present culture. We treat people the way we treat material objects and the environment: everything is disposable.  Here in the US and in many cultures we pressure young people not to start a family, because they will lack possibilities for the future.  Yet in these same cultures the young are presented with so many options that they too are dissuaded.  Pope Francis goes on to discuss many more reasons why young people today are not choosing marriage and family life. He hits it right on the head!  The church, he says, needs to find the right language to witness to the young to take up the challenge of marriage with enthusiasm and courage. ( paragraph 40)

Pope Francis covers every ailment affecting today’s families: pornography, internet, forced prostitution, human trafficing, bio-technology, contraception, sterilization, abortion, unemployment, and economic constraints, insufficient housing, illness, divorce, single parent families, sexual abuse in families, war, terrorism, organized crime, migration, families of persons with special needs or the elderly, drug abuse, alcoholism, violence, abuse, same-sex unions, male chauvinism, exploitation of women, the absence of a father in the family, gender ideology, weakening of faith,and lack of religious practice.

Then he asks an important question:  “but nowadays, who is making an effort to strengthen marriages, to help married couples overcome their problems, to assist them in the work of raising children and, in general, to encourage the stability of the marriage bond?” (paragraph 52)  Good question, Holy Father!!!

Our Holy Father answers his own question with a challenge for all of us. We need to seek new forms of “missionary creativity.”  Whatever the problems, we should “revive our hope and make it the source of prophetic visions, transformative actions and creative forms of charity.”(paragraph 57)  That doesn’t sound like it offers much to go on.  But that’s only chapter two.  Just wait till next month when we look at Chapter three: “ Looking to Jesus:  The Vocation of the Family.”

I would say Friar Suppliers is a new form of “missionary creativity.”  Our prophetic vision is to revitalized the Church by supporting the Franciscan Friars and Sisters in their vocations and their work with the poor.  Friar Suppliers is transforming families and individuals by joining together with us both spiritually in prayer and also in the work we do.  There are many, many people reaching out to help rebuild our church, family and society through Friar Suppliers.  Friar Suppliers is a creative form of charity.  I know of none other like it.  Our Haiti Mission is love in action.  Friar Suppliers has touched many, many lives and we have been touched as well.

Eileen and Richie, Charlie and I never dreamed that Friar Suppliers would become what it has.  We owe it all to the Holy Spirit and the many people who out of love have joined in to help.

We are so thankful that God has used us to do this work and so thankful for all of you. Thank you for your monthly donations for the Friars and Sisters food and for our Haiti mission.  Thank you for all the donated items you send us; kitchen supplies, sneakers, clothing, medical supplies, school supplies, etc.  Thank you Girls Scouts for the food drives you run to collect non-perishable foods. Every month we are able to ship out a minimum of ten barrels to Haiti.

I would especially like to thank Meg Hanley for editing hours and hours of Haiti film to make a new CD about Haiti.  It will be sent out to all of you in the fall.  It’s beautifully well done. You will be very inspired. Thank you Meg!

Thank you Ed Johnson for making all the copies of CD’s for us free of charge.  Ed has copied thousands of CD for us in the past and will be doing the newest one when it is ready.  Friar Suppliers only has to pay for the postage to mail them to all of you.  Thank you Ed!

Four of our Franciscan Sisters will profess Perpetual Vows on June 6th.  They are: Sr. John Paul Marie, Sr. Chiara Rose, Sr. Guadalupe Magdalena and Sr. Kelly Francis.  Congratulations Sisters!   We will be praying for you.  We thank you for answering the call.