On the 17th of this month, we celebrated the Feast of the Stigmata of St Francis, as we prepare to commemorate the 800th anniversary of this culmination of the Poverello's evangelical journey. We are still in the midst of the centenary of the Rule and the Greccio Christmas.
During my visits and my various contacts with Friars throughout the world, I note different levels of attention and commitment to the Franciscan Centenary 2023-2026. In some Entities I find a convinced response, in others a more discreet one, and there is no shortage of places where I also register a certain weariness or detachment from the journey.
I understand very well that we are all very busy with so many things and on so many different levels, and we can feel that there is always something extra to do, and this can certainly be tiring and demotivating.
However, when I look for a deeper reason, I am puzzled. In fact, it is not primarily a matter of having a full calendar of events. What is more important is the charismatic itinerary that we have the opportunity and the grace to travel together, helped also by the lines prepared for us by the Conference of the Franciscan Family and by the General Secretariat for Formation and Studies. Let us try to bring the memory of the last years of Francis, so significant, into our formation journeys. Not only among ourselves, but with the whole Franciscan Family and with many people of good will.
Perhaps the openness with which we all participated as a family in the preparation for the centenary will be its most beautiful and lasting fruit.
I hope, therefore, that the celebration of these years will be a blessed occasion to re-read and deepen together the charism of Francis and of our Fraternity in our time. If the General Chapter of 2021 has asked us to return dynamically to our identity as Brothers and Minors today, this is our opportunity. I encourage those who are already on this journey and remind them not to stop after a few celebrations.
I would like to ask everyone not to let the Centenary pass by with that certain distraction or laziness that can seize us at this time, which seems to dull all passion and enthusiasm. I believe that this journey is truly urgent, so that we do not passively experience the great changes that are taking place around us and within us, but that we live them, starting from who we are, who we want to be and how we want to live the Gospel today as contemplative brothers in mission among the poor.