One of the things I realized this week is that part of the attraction the Franciscan way holds for me is its emphasis on penitence.
The members of the Secular Franciscans are "those who do penance," as St. Francis himself described them.
We are called to "perform worthy fruits of penance." We must confess our sins. We must turn from vices, sins and excess or food and drink (how I fail when it comes to the latter!). We must seek pure hearts and minds. We must show charity, patience, humility, purity, simplicity and mercy - the fruits of penance - in our daily lives, in our work, in our interactions with others.
I recognize in myself my sinful nature. I am so strongly attracted to impurity and excess, to anger and judgement. I need need to keep repenting my sins.
So amidst all the beauty and joy of the Franciscan way, one thing that might have also attracted me is the awareness of the penitential side of it - and of my need for true repentance.
Pax et bonum