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Preach the gospel always ... Mirrors of the Gospel message

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Religious Brothers are men who, as an extension of their baptismal commitment and members of the priesthood of Christ, respond to a "call" to serve the Church in a variety of ministries. Under the umbrella of the Gospel message and in imitation of Mary's "yes" to God, brothers have heard the "Word" and seek to become ''mirrors" of the Gospel message in the modern world. Committed to a consecrated way of life, brothers live their vows in community and give further meaning to what it means to be "brother" to one another and to all those we minister with and those we serve. With the Gospel before us, brothers are men of reflection and vision.

In the Beatitudes, brothers hear, "Blessed are the poor in spirit... ." Through the vow of poverty, brothers seek a life of simplicity, making more room for God, community, and ministry.

In their vow of chastity, brothers have heard the command of Jesus, "Love one another... ." As we become "brothers" to all, this vow challenges us to love more, not less. Brothers take their place in ministry with a gospel love for the people of God whom we serve and for what we are called to do. Brothers help to build the Kingdom with gospel love as the foundation.

Brothers understand discipleship and have responded, through their vow of obedience, to "Go, teach all nations... ." With the knowledge of their gifts, and in the charism of their founders, brothers are involved in all types of ministerial assignments throughout the world laboring to build the Kingdom, witnessing to the Gospel message, and "teaching" through their presence as brothers to all. They clearly understand what Jesus desired when he said, ''The gift you have received, give as gift... ."

St. Francis of Assisi heard the voice of God inviting him to rebuild the Church. He chose the Gospel as his way of rebuilding and asked all of his brothers and sisters to, "Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use words."

In today's world and in service to the Church, brothers take their place with dedicated clergy, religious sisters, and lay women and men to preach the gospel message by the example of their lives, their commitment to be "brothers to all" and in the many ministries where they labor for the Kingdom. Brothers give further meaning to the word "brother" and are "mirrors" of the Gospel messages of love, simplicity, service, peace, and justice.

BROTHER JOHN MAGANZINI, OFM, IS VICAR OF FRANCISCAN SPIRITUAL COMPANIONSHIP MINISTRY AND FRIARY WORSHIP AT ST. ANTHONY SHRINE, BOSTON.

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