Franciscan Spirituality strives to follow the poor and crucified Christ through the fearlessness of humility. Francis of Assisi himself marks the moment of his conversion with his encounter with the leper. As a young man he was always afraid of people with leprosy, however in that moment of grace, he went up to a leper, embraced him, and kissed him. According to Francis, "Then what was bitter became very sweet..." Francis confronted his fear, embraced it and then began a life of penance.
Franciscan spirituality developed because Francis was enamored by two dimensions of God's relationship with us. First of all, Francis was struck by the humility of God manifested in the Incarnation. The Eternal Word of God became Flesh and made His dwelling among us. Similarly, Francis was struck by the humility of the risen and glorified Christ who makes Himself present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. Secondly, Francis was enamored by the great charity of God who gave His only Son for the life of the world; a Son who later gave His life over completely in the incredible charity of saving us from our sins.
We Conventuals continue that fearlessness today. Living out our Rule, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we strive to follow his example of humbly reaching out to others in order to lift them up to God. While at the same time, in humility and charity, we live our Gospel lives together in community without anything of our own. In this life of poverty, we learn through our Franciscan spirituality that we also need one another. Francis said, "And the Lord gave me brothers." And so we believe we can only experience humility and charity in relationship with one another as brothers. It is within the context of brotherhood that Conventual Franciscans strive to follow the poor and crucified Christ.