Tonight our Secular Franciscan Fraternity hosted a dinner for the friars at Mt. Irenaeus. The core community at Mt. Irenaeus are five Friars of Holy Name of Jesus Province who live and work at Mt. Irenaeus. Without their presence in our lives I doubt few of us would have become seculars. But, with their animation and encouragement we have grown from a dream to a reality and tonight was a chance to honor them with a dinner at the House of Peace at Mt. Irenaeus.

It was dinner attended by four of the five friars, our spouses, seven professed seculars and our inquirers and candidates for profession. The table was full of food. We had turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, baked beans, salads, rolls and delicious breads. It was truly a feast and I believe the friars were delighted to be our guests and hosts all at once. We came to Mt. Irenaeus each of us on our own journey and each in his or her own time and since then we have journeyed together as seculars. We are called like other Franciscans to follow the gospel. We are called to live the gospel each day and like our seraphic father, St. Francis, we are to use words only when necessary.

After sumptuous desserts and coffee, we ended our evening with prayers from the Psalms and a reading from Phillippians followed by a time for reflection. As I sat with my back warmed by the fire I heard several of our fraternity share what was on their heart and why they were glad to be on this journey. It was a great night and we were all blessed to be a part of it.  These simple men have loved us all and shown us all how to love ourselves and each other and to accept all men as they are not as we would have them be. They are our models and animators of a blessed life. The friars have shown us how to be holy by being wholly ourselves. That is truly a gift of great price because we cannot love others well until we love ourselves fully.

Most High, glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me
true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge, Lord, that I may carry out
Your holy and true command. Amen.