Everything about our life gives evidence that the life of prayer ranks first in importance, according to the teaching and example of our Blessed Father Francis and St. Maximilian Mary. Our Seraphic Father St. Francis commands us in the Holy Rule to “pray always with a pure heart to God” (Rule of SF, RB chapter X).
In every friary of ours there must be a chapel with the Blessed Sacrament — truly the center of affection for the whole place, as for every consecrated heart. If possible, it is even to be located at the physical center of the friary, in a recollected and silent area, to facilitate the friar’s visits to the most Holy Sacrament.
In every friary an enclosure is established, comprising as much of the space and as many of the rooms as possible. No one may enter this enclosure, or cloister, except for some objective reason and with express permission, so that silence may be safeguarded and recollection preserved in almost all of the friary.
The community excludes with all promptness everything that brings into the brotherhood the noise, the distraction, the dissipation, and the spirit of the world – radio, television, profane literature, etc. – and during the time and places of greatest activity, efforts increase to preserve the high place of contemplation by means of interior recollection and continued silence, in obedience to the precept of our Holy Father St. Francis expressed in Chapter V of the Rule: “Let them labor faithfully and devoutly in such a way that they will not come to the point of extinguishing the spirit of prayer and devotion, to which all temporal things must yield.”
The friars rise early and pray the night office (Office of Readings) long before dawn in order to express our resolve to praise the Lord even by night, and to begin each day in a personal contact with Him. Holy Mass and the entire Liturgy of the Hours, mental prayer and Eucharistic adoration, spiritual reading and the Rosary are practiced faithfully every day according to the horarium set for the community. Thus each day begins and then is spent entirely animated by an unceasing spirit of prayer: “pray without ceasing” (1 THESS. 5:17).
“Our friaries are true houses of Prayer in which silence and recollection reign, in which there is an atmosphere of prayer and contemplation.”
In our life of prayer we look to and faithfully strive to imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary who “pondered all these things in Her heart” (LK. 2:51), especially in Her humble and hard- working life at Nazareth, where we reflect on Her being “full of grace” (LK. 1:35) and where She lived in the profound and loving intimacy with Jesus.
Our friaries are true Houses of Prayer in which silence and recollection reign, in which there is an atmosphere of prayer and contemplation. And on the face of each friar, recollected and modest, there is always the gentle grace and steady light of the Virgin in prayer.