The Seraphic Alphabet Part 4  11/9
How to describe the spirit of our Franciscan charism?  We can discover a whole range of life-imitable traits contained in the letters of the title which Holy Church herself has attributed to the spiritual family of St. Francis of Assisi.

The     S*E*R*A*P*H*I*C     Order.

As we continue to ponder the various aspects of our Franciscan family spirit, the central "A" in SERAPHIC lifts us to the heavenly heights where the Seraphs dwell,  ARDENT, ADORING and on fire with that zeal for God's glory which, for the followers of St. Francis, translates into a mission-conscious, world-embracing APOSTOLIC spirit.

Ardent: The Scriptures tell us that the Seraphim are aflame with the love of God.  Church tradition long ago bestowed the same title on St. Francis, who burned with such love for Christ that he was known to go about the countryside weeping that LOVE is not loved!  Thus every member of the Franciscan family should be striving daily to enkindle and rekindle an ardent love for our Triune God, living and true, who is, who was, and who is coming.  That this ardor of love should spill naturally (or, should we say, supernaturally into adoration.


Adoration:
Adoration should come as no surprise when we recall the Apocalyptic scenes of angelic choirs prostrate in adoring love and eternally singing: HOLY! HOLY! HOLY!  The great Eucharistic prayer of St. Francis: We adore You, O most holy Lord Jesus Christ!  is but an echo of this unceasing celestial cry.  The Little Poor Man had only one mission plan, one outline for evangelization, to impart to his first followers.  He instructed them to exhort the people to Fear God and Fear Him, praise Him and bless Him, thank Him and adore Him.  And so, firmly rooted in ARDENT prayer and humble ADORATION, there came the Franciscan flowering of the apostolic spirit.

Apostolic:

The Good News was not something that Francis and his brothers kept to themselves.  It was a vibrant, life-giving reality to be shared that everyone, - the rich and the poor, knights and robbers.  So successful was St. Francis in his apostolic labors that almost eight centuries later, the Church is still singing of Franciscus, vir catholicus et totus apostolicus:  "Francis, a catholic and totally apostolic man."

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