Transforming Power of Love and Pardon

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 divine seed in everyone and in the transforming power of love and pardon. [Beginning of Article XIX - SFO Rule]


The article highlighted above has been for me, one of the most inspiring yet challenging demands contained in the entire Rule. Inspiring, in that it tells us what is to be done, how to do it, and supplies the power that brings it about. The desired goal is to 'build peace'. The work or activity is to 'seek unity and harmony through dialogue'. The power to bring it about is in the 'love and pardon' we bestow upon others.

Now the challenge. Since this is so clearly stated, then why, at times, do we have difficulty in embracing the task and obtaining the wondrous results? Let's examine some of the elements and see what could be lacking.

Are we mindful that we are bearers of peace? Do we have sufficient awareness of the mantle of peace that is bestowed upon our spiritual family? What saint is more universally associated with the charism of peace, than Francis?

Do we really want peace? The fruitfulness of our desire is somehow tied to the purity of our intentions. Building peace always involves a sacrifice: it requires relinquishing power, shunning privileges and sharing resources. Do we trust in the providence of God and reject a competitive mindset in which everything is limited and fought over?

Are we willing to do the work or activity? Some training might be involved such as obtaining better social and communication skills. Can we dialogue with someone without rushing headlong into an argument? Learning to listen is ever in demand. Will we find the time and exert the effort needed?

Do we trust that the divine seed is in everyone? Certainly no medical X-ray will find this seed. Many are simply unwilling to consent to this faith demand. And yet without it there is no basis for peace. We live in a world that descends not only to denying the divine seed, but even further, falsely describing enemies as less than human. Do we provide a response?

Will we unleash the transforming power of love and pardon? Or imprison it in never-ending justifications of why we don't have to forgive? Excuses abound: 'the other side is beyond forgiveness'…'doesn't deserve forgiveness'…'hasn't asked for forgiveness'…'won't accept forgiveness'…and so on. But wait: the point of receiving the 'transforming power of love and forgiveness' to use it. We don't need to ask permission to give 'love and pardon'. In fact, we will be held accountable if we don't give it.

Brothers and Sisters, the Lord himself says…"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" [Matt. 5:9]. We're empowered as peacemakers by our profession of the Rule. If the results aren't evident it's most likely due to the challenges mentioned above. We must desire peace. We must do the work for peace. We must rely upon the transforming power of love and pardon to achieve peace.

1 comment:

Little Scribe said...

Thank you so much for posting on Our Lady's Little Scribe blog ( I am so glad that you did as I really like your Franciscan writings and plan to come back here often. In fact, I am going to add a link to you on my favorites list on the blog. I notice you have a link to Franciscan Family Apostolate. Are you connected to this ministry? I greatly admire what it does.