OLF General Rule, Chapter 2. The Vows

1. Evangelical Counsels

This Order accepts the Evangelical Counsels of the apostolic Church. These Counsels are expressed in the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, as interpreted by this Order.

  • Poverty

As the foundation of this Order's life, poverty is the vow that strips our allegiance from material possessions. As a commitment to this vow of poverty, the brothers and sisters shall live lives of simplicity, not caught up in possession of valuables, except they shall cling to the Good News of Jesus Christ and the means of grace, that is the Word and sacraments.

 

Christ chose for himself a poor and humble life, even though he valued all of God's creation. Members of this Order shall seek a proper spirit of detachment from temporal goods by keeping their desires and wants​ restrained. The friars shall be mindful that according to the Gospel they are called to be stewards of their money and possessions for the benefit of all God's children. This includes financial support of the Order and the local congregation.

 

This call to poverty includes journeying as sisters and brothers with the poor and marginalized of this world, who are true children of the Lord. Those religious brothers and sisters who choose to give up all possessions and live together in traditional religious community shall fulfill the requirements established by this Order.

  • Chastity

Profession chastity "because love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8), the friars of this Order shall care for the things of the Lord so that they have nothing else to do except to love God and neighbor. Through their words and deeds, the love of God, all people and creation shall shine forth

 

This vow of chastity shall be a vow to love all, without distinction. For those brothers and sisters who find the presence of the ​gentle Christ within the bonds of relationship, e.g. matrimony, they shall seek to be holy and chaste in those relationships, remembering their call to be servants of all for the sake of Christ and in the spirit of Brother Francis and Sister Clare.

 

This vow may include voluntary celibacy, but it will never be expected or encouraged as a lifestyle for those who do not have this calling. Within all relationships, the friars of this Order shall seek to maintain healthy and caring boundaries.

  • Obedience

Each friar of this Order shall make a vow of obedience. As ones called into service for Christ as Franciscans, all brothers and sisters of this Order shall report on their Franciscan vocation and ministry to the Chaplain four times a year at times designated by the Chaplain.

 

In loving obedience, any friar called or elected to serve within this Order shall be open to serve in the capacity to which the friar has been called or elected, and in loving obedience, will relinquish any office when asked by the Minister General, Servant Council or the Order meeting at Chapter.​

 

As a form of obedience, the brothers and sisters of this Order will allow themselves to be joyfully formed by the wisdom of this Order's leadership, the pastoral leadership of their respective congregation, work supervisors, spouses, and their fellow sisters and brothers of this Order. They will strive to keep their hearts from every tendency and yearning for possession or power.

2. On Mary

And let the brothers and sisters keep the example of Mary, the Mother of our Lord, ever before them. Let them do this according to Brother Francis of Assisi and Brother Martin Luther, who both held Mary in highest regard, since she embodies the humble call to obedience, poverty and chastity to which we are all called as Franciscans and followers of Jesus.​

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