February 12, 2009

The Hardest Part of the Rule

The Franciscan rule is famous for its spiritual seductiveness and elegant simplicity. It is easy to desire but hard to put into practice without making glosses and concessions.

Over the years since professing and promising this rule of life, I have surprised myself in what has turned out to be the hardest precepts to observe. What has been the most difficult observance on a practical level? Violations to which precepts do I find myself most often accusing myself in confession? Without a doubt, it is this admonition from the middle of chapter X:

"And wherever there are brothers, who know and become aware that they cannot observe the rule spiritually, the should and can have recourse to their ministers."

It sounds great, but it takes a lot of trust and humility in practice to go to another friar--one who has fraternal and canonical authority over you--and say that you need help in observing the life you have promised.

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