My Capuchin prayer corner

One of the most beautiful things I greatly treasure from my postulant initial formation, and I actually living it here, at Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Center where I witness as a Capuchin hospital chaplain, is undoubtedly the time when I meditate. As soon as the Lord gives me the grace to celebrate Mass I go and have an hour of meditation and thanksgiving to the Lord.

It is interesting that the Ratio Formationis of the Capuchin Order of 2019, entitled Living According to the Form of the Holy Gospel, we find this reflection regarding meditation: It is preferable that during postulancy there should be no academic studies, precisely so that priority can be given to other studies, courses, or workshops that are in harmony with the aims of this stage of formation. The place should foster integration into the fraternity, recollection and meditation; it should be simple and offer possibilities for manual work and contact with the poor. It is important that the candidate is not removed from his cultural context (nos 249-250).

I am purposely highlighting this fact because meditation is never taken alone, by itself. It is done to make us more brothers between ourselves and the poor, especially the sick. That is why, as a Capuchin, I consider meditation as very important. It unites me more with God, the brothers of the convent of the letter and the brothers and sisters of the convent of the world, as Jesus and St Francis surely want me to live.

Within the Ratio Formationis, meditation is one of our Capuchin charismatic values which opens us as Capuchins, more and more to the formation in the capacity for silence, meditation and listening to God and the world (no.28). We meditate so far as we can be open to listen more intently to God and the world through the silence of the heart. This is what it means for us Capuchins to be immersed in contemplative prayer.

Another very beautiful insight our Capuchin Constitutions tell us about is that meditation is always at the service of evangelization. We meditate so that we carry out our apostolic vocation to bring Christ everywhere, as our Capuchin Constitutions of 2013 rightly suggest:

Jesus devoted His life to proclaiming the Kingdom of God and sent His apostles to preach the Gospel to all nations. Saint Francis, the herald of Christ, confirmed by the authority of the Church, sowed the seeds of the Gospel everywhere as he went from place to place announcing the mystery of Christ in few and simple words. Therefore, docile to the command of the Divine Master and following Saint Francis’ example and the tradition of our Order, let us preach the word of God in clear language, adhering faithfully to the Sacred Scriptures. Let us do all we can to imprint on our hearts the Word of God, who is Christ, and give ourselves totally to Him, so that He may move us to speak out of an abundance of love. In this way we will preach Christ Himself by our life, our actions, and our speech. In order that this may happen, let us strive to grow constantly in the wisdom of Christ, which is acquired above all by living it, notably through persistent reading, meditation, and careful study of the Sacred Scriptures. Let us ensure that the word of God gives life to all our pastoral ministry paying attention to catechesis of the faith using methods appropriate to the needs of different groups of people thereby strengthening the growth of a culture permeated by gospel values (no.150).

Let us pray together before we start to meditate, with St Francis our brother, the prayer he prayed before the San Damiano Crucifix: All-highest, glorious God, cast your light into the darkness of my heart. Give me right faith, firm hope, perfect charity and profound humility, with wisdom and perception, o Lord, so that I may do what is truly your holy will. Amen.

Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap