Image of Five Franciscan Martyrs of  La Florida
Image of Five Franciscan Martyrs of  La Florida

OFS Rule

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order   ( Updated 2020 ) 

                           AND SISTERS OF PENANCE (LtF 1)  
           In the Name of the Lord! 
           Concerning those who do Penance 
            All those who love the Lord with their whole heart, with their whole mind, with their 
            whole strength (Mk 12:30) and love their neighbour as themselves,  who hate their                   bodies  with their vices and sins (Mt 22:39),  who receive the Body and Blood of our                 Lord Jesus Christ,  and who produce worthy fruits of Penance. 
            O how happy and blessed are these men and women while they do such things and 
            persevere in doing them,  because the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon them (Is 11:2)                and make its home and dwelling place (Jn 14:23) among them,  and they are children               of the heavenly Father whose (Mt 5:45) works they do, and they are spouses, brothers             and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ (Mt 12:50). 
            We are spouses when the faithful soul is joined by the Holy Spirit to our Lord Jesus                   Christ. We are brothers to Him when we do the will of the Father who is in heaven                    (Mt 12:50).  We are mothers when we carry Him in our heart and body through a                        divine  love (1Cor 6:20) and a pure and sincere conscience and give birth to him                        through a holy activity which must shine as an example before others (Mt 5:16). 
          O how glorious it is to have a holy and great Father in heaven! O how holy, consoling 
           to have such a beautiful and wonderful Spouse! 13O how holy and how loving,                          gratifying, humbling, peace-giving, sweet, worthy of love, and, above all things,                      desirable: to have such a Brother and such a Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who laid down              his life for his sheep (Jn 10:15) and prayed to his Father saying: 
           Holy Father, in your name (Jn 17:11) save those whom you have given me in the world;             they were yours and you gave them to me (Jn 17:6). 15The words that You gave to me             I  have given to them, and they have accepted them and have believed in truth that I              have come from You and they have known that you have sent me (Jn 17:8).  I pray for              them and not for the world (Jn 17:9).  Bless and sanctify them (Jn 17:17). I sanctify                  myself for them (Jn 17:19).  I pray not only for them, but for those who will believe in              me through their word (Jn 17:20) that they may be sanctified in being one as we are                (Jn  17:11). 19I wish, Father, that where I am, they also may be with me that they may            see my glory (Jn 17:24) in your kingdom. Amen (Mt 20:21). 
            This is translated and printed in the new Omnibus, Eds Armstrong, R.J, Wayne Hellman J. A., Short, W. J, 
           Francis of Assisi: Early Documents (FA:ED), London, NY and Manila, NCP, 1999, Earlier Exhortation (1LtF), p. 41
         Concerning those who do not do Penance 
         All those men and women who are not living in penance,  who do not receive the Body    
         and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ,  who practise vice and sin and walk after the evil      
         concupiscence and the evil desires of their flesh,  who do not observe what they have    
         promised to the Lord,  and who in their body serve the world and the cares of this life: 
         They are held captive by the devil, whose children they are, and whose works they do            (Jn 8:41)  They are blind because they do not see the true light, our Lord Jesus Christ. 
         They do not possess spiritual wisdom because they do not have the Son of God, the true 
         wisdom of the Father.  It  is  said  of  them:  Their  wisdom  has  been  swallowed  up                 (Ps 107[106]:27), and Cursed are those who turn away from your commands

         (Ps 119[118]:21). 
          They see and acknowledge, know and do evil, and knowingly lose their souls.           
         See you blind ones, deceived by your enemies: the flesh, the world and the devil,                     because it is sweet for the body to sin and it is bitter to serve God,  for every vice and             sin flow and proceed from the human heart (Mt 15:19, Mk 7:21) as the Lord says in the             gospel.  And you have nothing in this world or in that to come.  And you think you will               possess this world’s vanities for a long time, but you are deceived because a day and               hour will come of which you give no thought, which you do not know, and of which you               are unaware when the body becomes weak, death approaches, and it dies a bitter                     death.  And no matter where, when, or how a person dies in the guilt of sin without                   penance and satisfaction, if he can perform an act of satisfaction and does not do so,               the devil snatches his soul away from its body with such anguish and distress that no               one can know [what it is like] except the one receiving it. And every talent, ability,                 knowledge and wisdom (2 Chr 1:12) they think they have will be taken away from them             (Lk 8:18, Mk 4:25).  And they leave their wealth to their relatives and friends who take           and divide it afterward say: “May his soul be cursed because he could have given us                 more and acquired more than what he distributed to us.” 
          Worms eat his body and so body and soul perish in this brief world and they will go to 
         hell where they will be tortured forever. 
        In the love which is God (1 Jn 4:16) we beg all those whom these words reach to receive 
         those fragrant words of our Lord Jesus Christ written above with divine love and                      kindness. And let  whoever  does  not  know  how  to  read  have  then  read  to  them                frequently.  Because they are spirit and life (Jn 6:63), they should preserve them with a          holy activity until the end.  And whoever has not done these things will be held                          accountable before the tribunal of our Lord Jesus Christ on the day of judgment

        (Rom 14:10, Mt 12:36). 
                                                 Chapter 1 
                            THE SECULAR FRANCISCAN ORDER (OFS)  
              The Franciscan family, as one among many spiritual families raised up by the Holy                    Spirit in the Church , unites all members of the people of God — laity, religious, and                  priests — who recognize that they are called to follow Christ in the footsteps of St.                  Francis of Assisi .  In various ways and forms but in life-giving union with each other,                they intend to make present the charism of their common Seraphic Father in the life                and mission of the  Church . 
              The Secular Franciscan Order holds a special place in this family circle. It is an                        organic union of all Catholic fraternities scattered throughout the world and open to                every group  of the faithful. In these fraternities the brothers and sisters, led by the                Spirit, strive for perfect charity in their own secular state. By their profession they                  pledge themselves to live the gospel in the manner of St. Francis by means of this                    rule approved by the Church . 
              The present rule, succeeding Memoriale propositi (1221) and the rules approved by                  the Supreme Pontiffs Nicholas IV and Leo XIII, adapts the Secular Franciscan Order to                the needs and expectations of the Holy Church in the conditions of changing times.                    Its interpretation belongs to the Holy See and its application will be made by the                      General Constitutions and particular statutes. 
                                                 Chapter 2 
                                            THE WAY OF LIFE 
              The rule and life of the Secular Franciscans is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord                Jesus Christ by following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, who made Christ the                inspiration and the center of his life with God and people .  Christ, the gift of the                      Father's love, is the way to him, the truth into which the Holy Spirit leads us, and                    the life which he has come to give abundantly .  Secular Franciscans should devote                    themselves especially to careful reading of the gospel, going from gospel to life and                  life to the gospel. 
              Secular Franciscans, therefore, should seek to encounter the living and active person                of Christ in their brothers and sisters, in Sacred Scripture, in the Church, and in                        liturgical activity. The faith of Saint Francis, who often said “I see nothing bodily of                the Most High Son of God in this world except his most holy body and blood” , should                be the inspiration  and pattern of their eucharistic life. 
                   They have been made living members of the Church by being buried and raised                         with Christ in baptism; they have been united more intimately with the Church by                     profession. Therefore, they should go forth as witnesses and instruments of her                       mission among all people, proclaiming Christ by their life and words. 
                   Called like Saint Francis to rebuild the Church and inspired by his example, let                         them devote themselves energetically to living in full communion with the pope,                       bishops, and priests, fostering an open and trusting dialogue of apostolic                                 effectiveness and creativity . 
                   United by their vocation as “brothers and sisters of penance” , and motivated by                     the dynamic power of the gospel, let them conform their thoughts and deeds to                         those of Christ by means of that radical interior change which the gospel itself                         calls “conversion”. Human frailty makes it necessary that this conversion be                             carried out daily .    On this road to renewal the sacrament of reconciliation is                         the privileged sign of the Father’s mercy and the source of grace . 
                   As Jesus was the true worshipper of the Father, so let prayer and contemplation                       be the   soul of all they are and do .   Let them participate in the sacramental life                     of the Church, above all the Eucharist. Let   them join in liturgical prayer in one                      of the forms proposed by the Church, reliving the   mysteries of the life of Christ. 
                   The Virgin Mary, humble servant of the Lord, was open to his every word and                            call.  She was  embraced  by  Francis  with  indescribable  love  and  declared                            the  protectress  and  advocate of his family15. The Secular Franciscans should                        express their ardent love for her  by imitating her complete self-giving and by                          praying earnestly and confidently . 
                   Uniting themselves to the redemptive obedience of Jesus, who placed his will into                     the  Father’s hands, let them faithfully fulfil the duties proper to their various                         circumstances  of  life  .  Let  them  also  follow  the  poor  and  crucified  Christ,                       witness  to  him  even  in   difficulties and persecutions . 
              Trusting in the Father, Christ chose for himself and his mother a poor and humble life                 ,  even though he valued created things attentively and lovingly. Let the Secular                      Franciscans  seek a proper spirit of detachment from temporal goods by simplifying                  their own material needs. Let them be mindful that according to the gospel they are                stewards of the goods received for the benefit of God’s children. 


              Thus, in the spirit of “the Beatitudes”, and as pilgrims and strangers on their way to                the home of the Father, they should strive to purify their hearts from every                              tendency and yearning for possession and power. 
              Witnessing to the good yet to come and obliged to acquire purity of heart because of                the vocation they have embraced, they should set themselves free to love God and                    their brothers and sisters . 
              As the Father sees in every person the features of his Son, the firstborn of many                        brothers  and sisters , so the Secular Franciscans with a gentle and courteous spirit                  accept all  people as a gift of the Lord and an image of Christ . 
              A sense of community will make them joyful and ready to place themselves on an                      equal basis  with  all  people,  especially  with  the  lowly  for  whom  they  shall                      strive  to  create conditions of life worthy of people redeemed by Christ . 
              Secular Franciscans, together with all people of good will, are called to build a more 
              fraternal and evangelical world so that the kingdom of God may be brought about                    more  effectively. Mindful that anyone “who follows Christ, the perfect man,                            becomes  more of a  man himself”, let them exercise their responsibilities                                competently in Christian spirit of  service . 

              Let them individually and collectively be in the forefront in promoting justice by the 
              testimony of their human lives and their courageous initiatives. Especially in the                      field of public life, they should make definite choices in harmony with their faith . 
              Let them esteem work both as a gift and as a sharing in the creation, redemption,                   and service of the human community .                   9 
              In their family they should cultivate the Franciscan spirit of peace, fidelity, and                        respect  for life, striving to make of it a sign of a world already renewed in Christ . 
              By living the grace of matrimony, husbands and wives in particular should bear                        witness in the world to the love of Christ for his Church. They should joyfully                            accompany their   children on their human and spiritual journey by providing a                          simple and open Christian    education and being attentive to the vocation of each                    child . 
              Moreover they should respect all creatures, animate and inanimate, which “bear the                imprint of the Most High” , and they should strive to move from the temptation of 
              exploiting creation to the Franciscan concept of universal kinship. 
              Mindful that they are bearers of peace which must be built up unceasingly, they                        should  seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through dialogue, trusting in                    the presence   of the divine seed in everyone and in the transforming power of love                  and pardon.  Messengers of perfect joy in every circumstance, they should strive to                  bring joy and hope  to others .  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 . 
                                                 Chapter 3 
                                          LIFE IN FRATERNITY 
              The Secular Franciscan Order is divided into fraternities of various levels — local,                    regional,   national, and international. Each one has its own moral personality in the                 Church . These  various fraternities are coordinated and united according to the                       norm of this Rule and of   the Constitutions. 
              On various levels, each fraternity is animated and guided by a council and minister                  (or president) who are elected by the professed according to the Constitutions35.                    Their service,   which lasts for a definite period, is marked by a ready and willing                    spirit and is a duty of  responsibility to each member and to the community. 
              Within themselves the fraternities are structured in different ways according to the                  norm of the constitutions, according to the various needs of their members and their                regions, and under the guidance of their respective council. 

              The local fraternity is to be established canonically. It becomes the basic unit of the                whole  Order and a visible sign of the Church, the community of love. This should be                the privileged place for developing a sense of Church and the Franciscan vocation                    and for  enlivening the apostolic life of its members . 
              Requests for admission to the Secular Franciscan Order must be presented to the                      local fraternity,  whose council decides upon the acceptance of new brothers and                      sisters . 
              Admission into the Order is gradually attained through a time of initiation, a period                of   formation of at least one year, and profession of the Rule .  
              The entire community is engaged in this process of growth by its own manner of                        living.   The age for profession and the distinctive Franciscan sign are regulated by                  the statutes .   Profession by its nature is a permanent commitment.   Members who                  find themselves in particular difficulties should discuss their problems with   the                      council in fraternal dialogue. Withdrawal or permanent dismissal from the Order,                      if  necessary, is an act of the fraternity council according to the norm of the                              constitutions . 
              To foster communion among members, the council should organize regular and                          frequent   meetings of the community as well as meeting with other Franciscan                          groups, especially  with youth groups. It should adopt appropriate means for growth                in Franciscan and  ecclesial life and encourage everyone to a life of fraternity . This                communion continues  with deceased brothers and sisters through prayer for them.  
              Regarding expenses necessary for the life of the fraternity and the needs of worship,               of the apostolate, and of charity, all the brothers and sisters should offer a                               contribution   according to their means. Local fraternities should contribute toward                 the expenses of the  higher fraternity councils . 
           As a concrete sign of communion and co-responsibility, the councils on various levels,               in keeping with the constitutions, shall ask for suitable and well-prepared religious                   for spiritual assistance. They should make this request to the superiors of the four                   religious   Franciscan families, to whom the Secular Fraternity has been united for                   centuries.   To promote fidelity to the charism as well as observance of the Rule and                 to  receive greater   support in the life of the fraternity, the minister or president,                   with the consent of the   council, should take care to ask for a regular pastoral visit by             the competent religious   superiors as well as for a fraternal visit from those of the                 higher fraternities, according to  the norm of the Constitutions45. 
                              “And whoever observes these things 
                  let him be blessed in Heaven with the blessing of the Most High Father, 
                         and on earth with the blessing of His Beloved Son 
                             with the Most Holy Spirit the Paraclete” 
                      (Blessing of St Francis found in The Testament of Francis) 





Rule - Updated Translation 2020
Adobe Acrobat document [694.3 KB]
Regula - ( Traduccion 2020 )
Adobe Acrobat document [821.5 KB]
The Rule of Life - MP3 Audio
This file is an MP3 audio file of the Rule created with software that is not in a DAISY format (yet)
OFS Rule-EN-Audio.mp3
MP3 audio file [14.9 MB]
Print | Sitemap
© Five Franciscan Martyrs Region