The Manner of Working
God the Father Who continues to work calls upon us through the grace of working to cooperate in perfecting creation and, at the same time, in developing our personalities. In this way we are united with our brothers and move society toward a better condition.
Jesus Christ has conferred upon work a new dignity and has made it an instrument of salvation for all people. He achieved this by working with His own hands, alleviating human misery, and preaching the message of the Father.
Saint Francis admonished his brothers to work faithfully and devotedly and through his example presented a witness to the dignity of work. In this way he also became a participant in the human condition.
As his faithful followers, according to the earliest tradition of the Capuchins, and as true minors identified with the condition of a great many laborers, let us devote ourselves each day to work with a joyful spirit for the glory of God, to avoid idleness and to offer a service to our brothers and to others in a spirit of solidarity.
Work is the fundamental means of our support and of our exercise of charity for others, especially when we share with them the fruit of our work.
Let the work of each brother be an expression of the entire fraternity. Let each one, according to his God-given talents and the condition of his age and health, make full use of his energies with joy, keeping in mind the needs of the fratemity.
The brothers should be careful not to place their final goal in work itself, to put an inordinate stress upon it, or to impede the Spirit of holy prayer and devotion to which all temporal things must contribute.
Therefore, let them avoid excessive activity which also impedes ongoing formation.
Each one of us, according to each one’s capacity and God’s special gifts, is suited for different kinds of work .
Let us assume services and ministries in so far as they are compatible with our fraternal life or the necessities of the Church and people require them.
Activities that more clearly manifest poverty, humility and fraternity are especially appropriate for us; in fact, let us not consider any work more demeaning than another.
To render the grace of working more fruitful for ourselves and for others, let us take care to preserve a community character in a variety of initiatives, be eager to help one another as we work together and, in this way, make progress in the conversion of our heart.
Nevertheless, we should always keep in mind our apostolic calling so that, in any activity, we may offer to people a witness to Christ.
The brothers, each in his own position or role, should strive throughout all their lives to further a spiritual, academic and professional education and to develop their personal talents, so that our Order may be able to respond continually to its vocation in the Church. For this reason intellectual initiatives, in the same way as other kinds of work, must be regarded as expressions of a person’s life-giving energy.
According to the earliest tradition of the Order, the brothers should be ready to undertake manual work to the extent that fraternal charity or obedience demands, saving, nonetheless, the particular responsibilities of each one.
While discerning as far as possible, the gifts and talents of the individual brothers and the needs of the fraternity and the Church, superiors should offer them the opportunity of acquiring expertize in particular subjects and willingly provide time and assistance for this.
For the good of the Church, the Order, and the brothers themselves, let superiors, in assigning responsibilities and duties, pay attention to their aptitudes and proficiency and not easily remove them from works in which they are experts.
According to the differing situations of the provinces and in conformity with the norms promulgated by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory or by the Conference of Major Superiors as well as by the bishop of the diocese, the brothers may also work among people outside the Order as zeal for souls or the desire to alleviate ours’ or others’ needs may demand.
We should always insist that the brothers engaged in outside employment live together whether among themselves or among other brothers.
Let them offer a gospel witness to everyone, make the charity of Christ present, and give aid to those in need, without ever involving themselves imprudently in activities that are unbecoming our state.
Whatever the brothers receive as payment for their work belongs to the fraternity and, therefore, should always be handed over totally to the superior. The work of the brothers should not be valued merely on the basis of the payment received for it.
Let the brothers not engage in activities that arouse a desire for profit or encourage personal vain glory contrary to the spirit of poverty and humility.
Moreover, let them always be ready to work without payment when charity demands or suggests it.
The brothers should each day enjoy appropriate recreation to foster fraternal life and to renew their energies; everyone should be given a period of time for himself.
According to the customs and possibilities of the regions, special times for recreation and vacation may be given to the brothers; let these times of recreations and vacation be spent in a way consistent with our state as lesser brothers.
The Apostle Paul warns: ‘While we have the time, let us do good to all.’
Knowing, therefore, that our salvation depends on favorable moments that never return and that people and communities do not progress except over the course of time, let us respond with attentiveness to God Who thus encounters us through time.
That we do not pass up opportunities or waste them uselessly, our activities and work should respond to the conditions of the present moment with wise foresight and planning for the future and [with the help of] modern technical means.
Let us use our free time in appropriate occupations of mind and body. It will become precious to us, especially if, by a variety of appropriate means, we arrive each day at a better knowledge of the ways of thinking and feeling of our contemporaries. In this way, through our work, we may more effectively cooperate in the christianization of the world.