Church

 

You have lived in Rome too long, my friend. You have forgotten that the Church is a family of faithful, not simply a bureaucracy of believers.

 

Morris West

The Devils Advocate

 

The formation of the Third Order of Franciscans is one of the most important events in the spiritual life of the Middle ages.

 

 It was an attempt to carry the gospel of love and the Franciscan way of life into the domain of home and everyday life. . . . The members of this Third Order were not asked to give up houses or lands or home or family. They were only asked to penetrate their lives with a passion for Christ, to live with joy and enthusiasm, and to make life a radiant affair.

 

Whoever was free at heart from slavery to things and eager for love and peace and truth was thereby a candidate for this Order. The pure in heart, the meek, the humble, the poor in spirit, were in it and of it. . . . It was throughout a nursery of saints. It brought forth more than eighty canonized or beatified saints. . . . this movement profoundly affected every walk and department of life, but above everything else, it sanctified the home and it produced lives of beauty in a dark world.

 

It gave reality - the reality of experience - to religion and it restored joy and radiance to a world that had largely lost them. . . . One of the most important aspects of this Third Order was its attempt to follow Christ as a band of "peace-makers." . . . They caught the spirit which Francis showed to the Soldan as Housman has put it in his Little Plays. " I would show the Christ, Soldan. Or if by that name thou know Him not, then by His other name, which is Love wherein also dwell Joy and Peace."

Rufus M. Jones - Inward Light