As friars, we are brothers to one another. We are brothers to ALL of God’s children, our sisters and brothers who are united in praise and thanksgiving with our Brother Jesus. We are brothers to ALL of creation. Working for the poor and the abandoned with love as brothers to them unites us to our Brother Jesus Christ who loves the poor and the abandoned as sisters and brothers too. Friars are committed to the integrity of creation because creation belongs to God. We have so often heard a mother and/or father say to their oldest children,
“Watch out for your brothers and sisters.”
“Take care of your brothers and sisters.”
“Help your sisters and brothers.”
God our Father says the same things to us in every moment of our lives. God our Father tells us all of the time,
“Take care of you brother who is a friar struggling with his vocation.”
“Take care of that friar who had a hard day.”
“Help that friar who is elderly and needs help getting his dinner.”
“Take care of that sister who is fleeing an abusive relationship.”
“Help your sister who is poor and does not have enough to provide for her children.”
“Take care of your brother who is drunk again or high or out causing trouble.”
“Take care of your sister water so that she is clean, safe, and available for your other sisters and brothers to drink and bathe.”
“Address the issues of climate change so that all sisters and brothers can work well together for the common good.”
We friars, we your brothers, live with joy the Gospel of our Brother Lord Jesus Christ. As your brothers, we strive to proclaim God’s love by word and deed, to the Church and to the whole world; the Love of God made humble and poor for Love’s sake, who in Jesus Christ gratuitously gave and gives the whole of Himself, inviting the Church (and humankind as a whole) to conversion and penance, so that all men and women, in humility of heart and life, may gratefully give themselves to the One who infinitely loved and loves them still.
As sisters and brothers, we express our kinship in the Lord in a profound manner when we gather for the celebration of Eucharist. Every Easter, friars minor conventual gather with our sisters and brothers in the church for the holy liturgy of Easter Vigil. During that profound celebration of liturgy, we hear the deacon or presbyter sing the Easter Proclamation, the Exultet.
Standing there in a dark church with the Paschal Candle burning along with the light emanating from the candles in our hands, we listen to those beautiful lines of the Exultet.
Exult, all creation, around God’s throne!
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
Radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes forever!
Standing there in the candlelight with our sisters and brothers assembled in the church, we ask our sisters and brothers of all creation to rejoice with us in proclaiming Christ Jesus risen from the dead. We are singing to the Earth. The risen Christ embodies the hope of all creation. With Christ risen from the dead and empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, we sisters and brothers freely give ourselves to God our Father who infinitely loved and loves us still.
– friar Michael Lorentsen OFM Conv.