ADVENT-TIDE: MESSAGE FROM MINISTER PROVINCIAL – AFRICAN PROVINCE
My Franciscan brothers and sisters, may the peace which the Lord gives and the world cannot give be with you today and forever as you read this message. Once again we enter into another cycle of our liturgical calendar which begins with the first Sunday of Advent on 27 November 2016.
Franciscan spirituality is not selective as it may appear to some Christians and to a large extent the ordained ministry. Love for creation goes beyond climate change, environmentalism and ethics in development. Francis’ love for creation is inclusive. In one of Francis’ writings he said “…What had previously nauseated me became a source of spiritual and physical consolation…. After that I did not wait long before leaving the world.” He made this statement when he stopped, dismounted, kissed the leper, gave alms, seated the leper on the charger and rode him to his destination. This act of love made Francis’ love for creation inclusive; so also is God’s love for the world as seen in Jesus Christ.
Francis’ statement “After that I did not wait long before leaving the world” did not mean physically dying but rather forsaking the world and its pleasures. This realization of Francis shaped his readiness to deeper spiritual life and closeness to God. This made Francis to make many observations from his experience with God and how he saw the babe from Bethlehem. His assertion that “Christmas celebrates when Love came to earth” must constantly remind us to rejoice in this Love and to share it with the people around us. The messiah embodies Love and his journey on earth is well illustrated by Francis’ life that we on earth recognizing and acknowledging our imperfection, we seize the opportunity to depend on God through the babe of Bethlehem; and with determination and perseverance we shall conquer.
Therefore, brothers and sister, until Lent, let us celebrate Christmas and Epiphany as when Love came to earth by rejoicing in it; no matter what challenges through in this world.
Pace e Bene; Vrede en Welwillendheid; Ukuthula Noxolo
Rev. Fr. Dr. Michael Twum-Darko