Jane DeRose-Bamman National Minister
The idiom, “You can’t take it with you” encourages all to enjoy life now because we can’t take money or possessions with us when we die. It appears that Jesus in Luke 12:13-21 may be advocating for us to spend our money and use up our possessions. As we see at the end of the parable, stored up possessions and money are meaningless in the grand scheme of things. However, Jesus concludes with the bottom line – we should be focusing on storing up “what matters to God.”
So what do we want to take with us – or what can we take with us? This month of November, there are numerous feast days highlighting those who have figured out what to take with them on their journeys. We remember All Saints (Nov 1), All Souls (Nov 2), Commemoration of All the Deceased of the Seraphic Order (Nov 5), Blessed John Duns Scotus (Nov 8), St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Patroness of the OFS (Nov 17) and all Saints of the Seraphic Order (Nov 29).
Each is a billboard for not hoarding the God-given gifts we have. After all, the songwriter, Marty Haugen reminds us: “the gifts we have, we are given to share.” (We are Many Parts by Marty Haugen). The gifts also should not be obstacles to seeing the needs of others or how we are impacting people or the environment.
Instead of focusing on the accumulation of material goods, we shift our focus to taking with us: a collection of good deeds, opportunities we took to share our possessions, the times when we cared for creation (including moving earthworms from the sidewalk) and the knowledge of God through spending time in prayer. What will you take when you encounter Sister Death?
This is a perfect month to reflect on OFS Rule Article 19. “Since they are immersed in the resurrection of Christ, which gives true meaning to Sister Death, let them serenely tend toward the ultimate encounter with the Father.”
May our eyes, minds and hearts be open to share our many gifts and to grow in our understanding of the ways of God.
Note: We have a “treasure” on our website – a calendar of Franciscan Saints by day compiled by Mary Lou Coffman OFS: https://www.secularfranciscansusa.org/wp-content/uploads/Franciscan-Saints-01-2023.pdf. This information could be used in fraternity newsletters or formation sessions. But give credit to the original sources of information in any publication!