The following questions are meant to be used in association with an article written by Jan Parker, OFS National Minister, on Prophetic Creativity. Click this link to find the article.
“The function of servant leaders………is not limited to administration or bureaucracy but, most importantly, applies to.………the full realization of the Secular Franciscan life…….”
“This goes beyond the “day to day” running of the fraternity. We should always seek new ways that help the development of the……….spiritual life of the sisters and brothers.”
When the current Regional Executive Council was elected, we began to discuss ways in which we could be better connected to the local fraternities. How could we be more supportive and be of more use? Yes, we need to fulfill the administrative roles of making pastoral visits and conducting elections, but we felt there must be more that we could and should be doing.
We had decided that perhaps we should go out and begin attending local meetings not as overseers, but simply as brothers and sisters interested in sharing and contributing to each local fraternity. Then the pandemic hit and the opportunity to do this was disrupted.
Now that vaccines are available and normality seems to be on the horizon, we would like to know if you think this is a good idea? Would you welcome our presence at your local meetings as nothing more than brothers and sisters there to participate as members of your community?
The goal and hope would be that we each learn something about how to “help the development of the spiritual life of the sisters and brothers” at all levels of the fraternity.
“What is prophetic creativity? ………… It is innovative action we take in response to the Holy Spirit working within us.”
“Full realization of the Secular Franciscan life, both as individuals and as Fraternity……..is the renewal we long for.”
Jan is challenging us to move beyond the administrative and bureaucratic to a renewal and conversion that is focused on the spiritual life of the rank-and-file members of the order. Our lives and their lives will be “more alive with enthusiasm, joy, and hope” if we “respond to the Holy Spirit’s call – a call to a season of prophetic creativity.”
Do you agree with her? Do you also feel the need to focus more on the spiritual side of the Franciscan charism in order to fulfill your responsibilities as a “servant leader” intent on “animating and guiding” your local fraternity to a “full realization” of a life professed to follow the example of St. Francis of Assisi?
Could communal visits from the members of the REC be useful in helping you achieve this?
Would you agree that prophetic creativity requires personal interaction to bear fruit? Is it likely that the more our experience of the Holy Spirit is exchanged and shared between local fraternities and/or the regional level, the more successful we might be in responding to God’s will for the fraternity as a whole?
Would you welcome the opportunity to meet with other local fraternities in your area to facilitate this if the region sponsored those meetings? If you and your members were invited to another local fraternity’s regular meeting, would you consider attending? Would you extend an invitation of your own?
In the quote at the end of the article, Pope Francis says this:
“We will never move forward if we do not have the courage to break the mold, for our God impels us to do the following: to be creative about the future.”
As a leader of your local fraternity, do you empathize with this statement? Perhaps the molds in your local routine revolve around bureaucracy? I know they do at the regional level. Taking care of administrative tasks tends to capture most of our focus and energy. We can easily lose sight of our responsibility to promote the spiritual development of the fraternity at all levels without realizing it is happening.
Are you open to “breaking molds” in order to better serve your members?
Employing prophetic creativity will not be easy. Not everyone will be gifted in this area. If you are a leader, but you are not sure how to implement what Jan is talking about, it would take courage to admit that and to seek assistance.
Do you think the regional council is capable of lending that assistance? Are you open to giving us a chance?
If you are willing to engage in “a season of prophetic creativity,” what’s the first thing the region could do to help you?