In a couple of months I’ll be stepping down as fraternity minister for our St. Irenaeus Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order. I really enjoy being a Secular Franciscan and lately I’ve been a bit more active in wearing my Tau. I’ve been challenged in that regard by my friend Br. Kevin Kriso, OFM. I’ve enjoyed being the minister of our fraternity at times and not enjoyed it at other times. I’m unorthodox and that is one of my strengths, but I sometimes find myself at odds with those around me a bit more tied to orthodoxy than I. I guess living the way I do, by the seat of my pants at times is unsettling to those folks.
One person in particular took issue with my use of Google Apps to facilitate communication amongst our fraternity and more than once in the last few years I’ve thought of how using technology like Moodle we’d be able to form individuals wanting to be Franciscans, but unable either by distance or family requirements to make our meetings. There is precedent for such activities as St. Clare formed Agnes of Prague by writing letters to her.
It was the website of the monastery of Christ in the Desert that reached out to me almost fifteen years ago and brought me slowly back to the church and eventually the Secular Franciscan Order. Being a web developer, a Blackberry user, a tweeter on Twitter and a blogger on WordPress much of this just seems to flow, but there are some folks that this sort of activity is either threatening or frightening to. A couple of years ago while spending time at St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia I noted that Fr. Michael Duffy, OFM was actually sending and receiving text messages in the middle of the dining room there. To some technology use seems un-godly I suppose and to others like me it’s just one more way of carrying a message of hope and reaching out to those around us.
In a couple of months I’ll return to being just another member of the Secular Franciscan Order. I’ve been a minister for three years and a secretary for three years before that. It’s time for a break. My plate is going to be very full this year doing varied tasks including graduate school. Quiet contemplative time continues to grow in my life and it’s something I crave more and more.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven: — Ecclesiastes 3:1