With the words quote above, Francis prepared the friars for life after his death, which followed not long after this quote.
Father Cantalamessa stressed that this Chapter of Mats is a "kairos" moment, a moment of God's grace within the Franciscan family. Our concern is not to idolize Francis but to live the Gospel with the same generosity that he did.
Father Raniero emphasized three P's in the Franciscan family today: Preaching, Prayer and Poverty. He noted that when Francis looked backward, he saw Christ; when we look backward, we are tempted to see Francis.
Preaching needs to be more than moral instruction; it needs to help listeners encounter the living Christ. Then we change our lives as needed. Prayer needs to involve a sharing our faith and thus needs to be spontaneous as well as liturgical. [At this point, we had been sitting a long time and he asked us to stand and sing a short verse from the Canticle of the Creatures. That prepared us for the rest of his talk.] Raniero pointed out that the Old Testament emphasizes that God is for the poor; the New Testament reaffirms that but adds that God became poor for us--in Jesus. The conference ended with our singing the first verse of "Come, Holy Spirit" [again in Latin.]
I certainly felt confirmed and challenged in my Franciscan vocation--not a bad combination.
P.S. The photo above was taken during the prayer service at the opening ceremony. Father Cantalamessa spoken in this tent afterwards. He spoke in Italian and friars did simultanteous interpretation into English, Spanish and Polish. You can see headsets on two friars to the left.
The friar at the podium is Bill Farris, OFM of the Cincinnati province. He was kidnapped to do a reading in English and then lead the reading in English of certain psalm verses. Father Aubert Grieser, OFM, our speech teacher at St. Francis Seminary, would have been proud of Bill, who was two classes behind me.