This Reflection is based on material found on page 3 of 28 ff, in the "JPIC Session 1, Section 2" sections of the F.U.N. Manual
The Chapter on JPIC - Juspice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, is a difficult one to write one or more reflections on, because there are so many different sources involved. One major source of information is emphasis to study the entire Part Three of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Part Three covers a lot of territory, here's a synoptic view taken from the index:
Part Three of the Catechism covers "Catholic Social Teaching" (CST) but this is not the only source. CST may also be found in papal, conciliar, and other official documents of the Church. Another excellent source for this information is found on the website of the Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB.ORG). CST goes hand-in-hand with the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order.
Mission Statement for JPIC
The mission of JPIC is to assist
Professed Secular Franciscans as they reflect on their
relationship with God as manifested in the fruits of conversion in
In Section 2 of the Chapter on JPIC,
emphasis is on Chapter Two of our Rule.
"The Church has much to say about the testimony of our lives and working together courageously to take up the call to service. There are not "optional extras" ... "The call to service is one and the same as fully living the Gospel ..."
Then there are several quotations from Church documents: Justice in the World, 1971; The Church in the Modern World #30; and Economic Justice for all, #8.
Rule, Article 16. Let them esteem work both as a gift and as a sharing in the creation, redemption, and service of the human community.
"This goes beyond work as a job. Everything we do is "work" in the sense used in our Rule. We are called to be active participants in God's plan. Human dignity takes on a new light. the dignity of those we encounter everyday in the marketplace, government, schools, etc., all form the new society built of Christ. Workers have both rights and duties.
Then follows four quotations from Church Documents.
Rule, Article 17. In their family they should cultivate the Franciscan spirit of peace, fidelity, and respect for life, striving to make of it a sign of a world already renewed in Christ.
"By living the grace of matrimony, husbands and wives in particular should joyfully accompany their children on their human and spiritual journeys by providing a simple and open Christian education and being attentive to the vocation of each child. The family is the first and foremost foundation pillar and stands as a key for all else. The blessings of marriage and family, nurturing and educating children for the love of God strengthens all of society.
"Secular Franciscans through their own family honor the Trinity, model of all relationships, and source of all love, inspiration and grace. This article too, goes beyond the immediate family. We are called to be caring and supportive of families everywhere. Family-relationship is extended to all people—as secular Franciscan fraternity, family is at our core.
"Our relationship to everyone is as brother, sister, father, etc.—the family of God-- whether baptized or not—we are children of the same Father. Responsibilities to be family, though not easy, is essential if society is to continue and grow in the Good News. This requires courageous initiatives and being mindful that Secular Franciscans are people of peace...."
Rule, Article 18. Moreover they should respect all creatures, animate and inanimate, which bear the imprint of the Most High, and they should strive to move from the temptation of exploiting creation to the Franciscan concept of universal kinship.
"We are stewards of the good of the earth. They have been donated to us for the manifestation of the glory of God and proper use towards the common good mindful of generations to come...."
Rule, Article 19. Mindful
that they are bearers of peace which must be built up unceasingly,
they should seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through
dialogue, trusting in the presence of the divine seed in everyone and
in the transforming power of love and pardon. Messengers of perfect
joy in every circumstance, they should strive to bring joy and hope to
"This is the summation of living the Rule: transformation in Christ, messengers of peace and hope in the world with ever more violence, marginalization, secularity, and poverty. Our task is enormous, but by the grace of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will continue to be Good News to others as we await the Father's arms."
Re-read Mt. 25: 34-46 and the Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy. Pray and meditate specifically, how are you called to a Eucharistic life and to a greater awareness of other peoples' needs?
On page 25 of 28 is found "Special Assistance I." This is subtitled "Praying with Eyes Open."
I remember in my experiences with religious life, this "eyes open" or "eyes closed" when praying always led to lively debate, but to synopsize, "Praying with eyes open broadens the view of the world around me. Everything is more vibrant, more alive, more real than previously experienced."
"Every decision to respond to the needs of others is sacred and filled with all that is holy. Every decision not to respond is empty of sacredness. Praying with our eyes open transforms us and aids in making present the Kingdom of God.
When we gaze on the Blessed Sacrament, or on a Crucifix – one begins to see with the eyes of Jesus—and become what you gaze upon.
Special Assistance II gives a Theological Reflection, which can be found on page 26 to 28.
Peace and Good,
Fred Schaeffer, OFS