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: Life in Christ

Section One. Man's Vocation: Life in the Spirit

Chapter One: The Dignity of the Human Person
Chapter Two: The Human Communion
Chapter Three: God's Salvation: Law and Grace

Section Two. The Ten Commandments

Chapter One: "You shall love the Lord Your God with All Your Heart, with All Your Soul, and with All Your Mind"
Chapter Two: "You Shall Love Your Neighbor as Yourself"

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.

JPIC - Juspice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, in the F.U.N. formation texts have been covered by Pat Brandwein-Ball, OFS, who has managed to present us with a great overview of this complex subject.

On page 13 of 28, she reviews JPIC in terms of the Rule:

"Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) "exists to bring about an awareness of the power of the SFO Rule to truly transform the life of the Secular Franciscan thereby having a Gospel effect on the world and our society. In its broadly based goals, it looks at the whole Rule in terms of peace making and bringing about a just society through the everyday experience of Secular Franciscans who, by right of the sacrament of Baptism. are called to create a more "fraternal and evangelical world." (Guidelines for JPIC Committee)

"Through the integration of our Profession—permanent commitment to Gospel living, The SFO Rule---our way of life, and the General Constitution---defines our identity as secular Franciscans, Candidates reflect upon the manner in which they respond to the vocation, "united more intimately with the Church . . . Go forth as witnesses and instruments of her mission among all people, proclaiming Christ by their life and words." (ref. Rule, Article 6)...

These "FUN Reflections" only cover the highlights of each chapter of the FUN Formation Manual - it is strongly recommended that the original work be read, used for formation of others, and for ongoing formation of the Professed. /Fred Schaeffer, OFS

"Our Rule, our penitential life, and our whole way of living are now more than ever hinged on the Catholic Social Teaching concerning the Dignity of the Human Person. The dignity of every human person comes from God. In the Genesis story of creation, God specifically created humankind. We were not created with the other animals. We were created out of the dust of the earth . . . an already created thing, not nothingness. Once formed, we are breathed into life by God; His very breath quickened us. No other creature has this distinction.

"We are created in the image and likeness of God, image of the Son Jesus Christ, body and soul. Our soul is given specific faculties: intellect, memory, and will. These remain forever with us. Created by the same Father we are of one and the same human family."

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 their lives.
This with special regard to the daily choices made in the
areas of justice, peace making and respect for all created things and people;
as brothers and sisters of penance,
bringing life to the Gospel and the Gospel to life.

In Section 2 of the Chapter on JPIC, emphasis is on Chapter Two of our Rule.

Let us look at Article 15. Let them individually and collectively be in the forefront in promoting justice by the testimony of their human lives and their courageous initiatives. Especially in the field of public life, they should make definite choices in harmony with their faith.

"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 others.

Since they are immersed in the resurrection of Christ, which gives true meaning to Sister Death, let them serenely tend toward the ultimate encounter with the Father.

"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
July 17, 2012