On Franciscan Peace, Podcast #2: Bill Schmitt and David Seitz, Part One

Click on the play button below to listen to the podcast: (For part two, click here.)

Possible questions for discussion:

One of the tools the enemy often uses to further his goals is division.  We live in a very divided and polarized society, not only on political and racial fronts, but even within the Catholic Church and the Secular Franciscan Order itself.  How is peace a possible antidote for the division and strife that is ascendant in our culture right now?

David asks the question, “What was it that drew so many people to St. Francis of Assisi eight hundred years ago?”  He answers by emphasizing Francis’ authentic pursuit of the gospel.  What people saw is what they got and they found this irresistibly attractive in Francis.  How does authenticity help to convey a sense of peace to others?  

In the Beatitudes, we are all called to be peacemakers.  After His Resurrection, Jesus greets the apostles by announcing “Peace be with you.”  The word peace is used in many other locations in the gospels.  In order to live an authentic gospel life according to the example of St. Francis, we must take the idea of peace seriously.  Is peace emphasized enough in the SFO Order specifically and in our culture at large?  Does it rate a higher level of attention than it typically receives?

David mentions the Franciscan Peace Prayer and emphasizes the line that reads “…grant that I may not so much seek to be understood as to understand.”  Article 19 of the Rule states “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….”  How does dialogue lead to understanding of the other, to unity, to harmony and ultimately to the unceasing build up of peace?

David interprets the last chapter of John using the Greek words agape and phileo, both typically translated into English as “love,” to show Jesus meeting Peter where he was.  If we are to understand the other (as opposed to expecting to be understood by them), it would be useful to follow this example by Jesus and meet them where they are.  Is putting yourself in the position of meeting the other where they are a risk you are willing to take if an expansion of peace and love is a potential outcome?

Further Thought:
In the last podcast with Sr. Agnes Marie, the discussion centered mostly on inner peace.  This discussion is much more about outer peace, the type of peace that is manifested when two human beings are in proper relationship with each other.  Both have their place in the Franciscan charism.  How are inner and outer peace related?  If I have developed a strong sense of inner peace through a close relationship with Jesus and the gospels, does that help me to be a peacemaker when it comes to outer peace?

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