Dear Capuchin brothers, it’s Christmas again!
As General Minister I want to send greetings and invite you to experience Christmas anew in the spirit of St. Francis.
Surely you will recall the beginning of our Rule, where St. Francis writes: The rule and life of the Lesser Brothers is this: to observe the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. This Christmas I’m thinking especially of this verb ‘to observe.’ To observe means more than ‘to keep,’ ‘to do as we are told.’ To observe presumes first of all attention, a taking of a look, a closer look, in order to really know something. Now I would like to remind you of the Gospel, when it says that the angels appeared to the shepherds, saying, I bring you good news of a great joy, for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior. And what do the shepherds say? Let us go and see. For you can only love what you have known. And where does this knowledge come from? From seeing. This is why Francis wanted to portray how Jesus was born; he wanted to see, because he wanted to be touched in his heart.
There it is, brothers! Christmas is the joyful rediscovery that Jesus has been given to us, that Jesus is the center of our lives. Let us ‘observe’ Him. Let us follow him with our gaze so as to then live what He has proposed to us. And his first lesson is that of being born in simplicity and poverty.
Brothers! Here is the source, the origin of our choice of a life lived in minority.
I wish you a merry Christmas, a blessed Christmas in fraternity, but also a moment to rediscover in the depths of our hearts this Person, this great Gift that Jesus is for us.
Br. Mauro Jöhri OFM Cap
General Minister of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin