Spiritual Reflection C-03 on Fr. Cangelosi's Profession in the SFO: Gift and Commitment
We begin with section 6. Profession and Eucharist - where Fr. Cangelosi discusses the role of the presbyter in the relationship between our Profession Rite placed within the Eucharist. That's indeed where this rite belongs, because there is the same close relationship between the Secular Franciscan Rule and Life and the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. No matter how it is stated, life just isn't perfect, only life in Heaven is perfect, and we all suffer. We suffer the misgivings and misadventures of our lives, we suffer from our shortcomings brought on by Original Sin, and our own stubborn streak, and we know that the Lord Jesus has suffered with us. We are all responsible for His Death on the Cross. There are also periods in our lives of great joy when suffering is abated through a close relationship with Jesus, and then for no apparent reason at all, suffering often overtakes us when there doesn't seem to be a logical reason at all. The Eucharist is a sacrifice, and as such it is part and parcel of our life as Catholic Franciscans.
As Fr. Cangelosi states, "Profession, in fact, is not an instantaneous act, an isolated action in the course of one's life, rather it is a commitment of life and for life... (etc.) Profession is the beginning and St. Francis rightly says: "Let us begin again, for up to now we have done nothing.” So Profession is a "beginning again" - the beginning of a new life according to the Rule of St. Francis and with and for Jesus the Lord.
We are not expected to become perfect in one day, but we promise to keep at it - not to lose hope but to begin again, and again, when we fall. Profession is a great Gift. It is a Gift of God because He allowed us to experience a call, a Vocation. Just willing something doesn't make it happen, but when God is involved and He blesses our call, it will come to pass. Let us continually join our offering to that of Christ (Ritual of Profession). And may He bless all those who seek to be professed in the SFO.
Section 7. Baptism and Profession ... Profession is a grace and a gift which leads to consecration. It "configures" us to the paschal mystery of Christ who died, was buried and rose again... and, makes us a living member of the Church-People of God. Profession allows us to "live our baptismal grace and consecration wioth greater intensity of commitment and diligence (Ritual I,12)..." etc. In 7.1 the author states, "Profession therefore involved a particular way of revitalizing the sacrament of Baptism and giving it new vigor." Section 7 is not too hard to figure out, and it is rich in content, so please read it directly from the above referenced document. It really needs no further explanation on my part.
Section 8 re-emphasizes baptism and profession that binds us more closely to the Church. This is not a new relationship but it unites us more intimately with the Church.
Section 9 deals with the re-building of the Church - in other words, the mandate given to St. Francis by our Lord was to "rebuild His Church," and so by our profession and through that in greater intimacy with the mission of the Church we are partaking in this rebuilding process. And we are to devote ourselves energetically to this task, in full communion with the pope, bishops and priests - see Rule 6.
Fred Schaeffer, SFO (09/08/2011)