Today Fr. Lou McCormick’s homily at Mt. Irenaeus was about the hope offered by the resurrection. He knew well that we had all been through a week marred by the massacre at Virginia Tech and the endless cycle of violence in Iraq and elsewhere in the world. Add to that there were nearly seventy people in the chapel today at the Mountain. Some of that number were young people there on a pre-Confirmation retreat from two different parishes. Are we living as believers in the risen Lord? Do we really believe and live resurrected lives?
After Mass there was the usual large brunch at the House of Peace and then today was our monthly Secular Franciscan gathering. My friend Terry rode to the Mountain with me today. He’s an inquirer into our Secular Franciscan way of life and he was sharing me some of the material that he’d been reading in our formation texts and his thoughts on that material. In some of his reading he’d come across a Franciscan writer who had stated that the Beatitudes are really our mission statement as Franciscans. I told him I’d never heard it put that way, but that I agreed that the Beatitudes were the “boiler plate” for me. We had a great fraternity meeting today as we discussed the second chapter of the Secular Franciscan Rule of Life. We are called to be Gospel people in the Rule. Fr. Lou, put it succinctly as he likened it all to a large circle that went Life-Gospel-Life-Gospel etc. There was a lot of meaning there for all of us and especially me.
Living as Gospel people we’re called to be peacemakers. How do I live with antagonistic people. Is it right to seek retribution when harmed. Are my foes forgiven? Do I really “forgive others as I expect to be forgiven.” Romans 12:17-21 has come to be a part of the rule for me.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, on your part, live at peace with all. Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Rather, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.”