What is a

Tertiary in the

Franciscan Order of the

Divine Compassion?

 

Introduction
The Three Aims of the Third Order
The Ways Tertiaries Serve our Lord
The Rule
Formation
Vows

Introduction

Early in his ministry, Francis of Assisi recognized the need to include in his movement of reform and renewal, people from all walks of life. The work of following Christ in simplicity, love and joy, which is the vocation of all Christians, could not be restricted to the traditional religious life of the Friars and Sisters. This was true in the twelfth century and it remains so today.

The Third Order, a religious Order within the Franciscan Order of the Divine Compassion, consists of those men or women, married or single, clergy or laity who, though following the ordinary professions of life, are called to dedication through lifelong discipline and vow. Like the Friars of the First Order and Sisters of the Second Order, they dedicate themselves to our Lord as instruments of His peace. They are called "Tertiaries".
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The Three Aims of the Third Order are:


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The Ways Tertiaries Serve Our Lord:

  1. PRAYER — They seek to live in an atmosphere of praise, prayer, and meditation. Their objective is to be constantly aware of God's presence in order to pray without ceasing.

  2. STUDY — True knowledge is knowledge of God. Tertiaries give priority to devotional study of Scripture. and in addition, seek knowledge, through all types of media, of the Church, St. Francis, and other spiritual material.

  3. WORK — Tertiaries try to serve God by active work for the good of others; especially in the areas of healing the sick, preaching good tidings to the poor, and binding up the brokenhearted. Most of all, they seek to reflect the love of Christ, who is the inspiration and joy of their own lives.


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The Rule

The Daily Office
Some form, of Morning, Noon, Evening and Night Prayers are selected to be included in the Rule of Life.

Holy Eucharist
Since the Eucharist is seen as the heart of our prayer, we include frequent participation of this Sacrament.

Personal Prayer
The Tertiary spends time each day in personal prayer. to pray for others, adoration, confession, thanksgiving, prayers for the dead, and Franciscan prayers.

Meditation
This part of the Rule concerns not only the daily meditation, but taking time during the year for retreats and quiet days.

Simplicity
This section of the Rule includes a commitment to simplicity in living, self-denial, fasting, abstinence, and almsgiving.

Work
In this area, the Tertiary includes a commitment to a work in keeping with the Franciscan vocation, continuing study of the faith and the Holy Scriptures and obedience to the requirements of the Order (such as reporting timely).


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Formation

Postulancy — A Postulancy of no less than six months is served during which time the Rule is studied, and tried by the individual. At the end of the postulancy, there is a clothing ceremony and the individual becomes a novice.

Novitiate — A novice continues to study the faith and practice of the Rule. Monthly reports are sent to the Guardian of the Third Order on the keeping of the Rule and any problems which may occur.

After a suitable period (generally no less than a year or two), the novice may request to make the profession.


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Vows

The traditional monastic vow of poverty is expressed by the Tertiaries as Simplicity. Although they possess property and earn money to support themselves and their families, they aim to stay free from all attachment to wealth, keeping in mind the poverty inthe world. Spending is limited to what is necessary for the health and well being of themselves and their families.

The traditional vow of chastity is expressed through Purity. This involves the respect of the integrity and worth of all people. This is achieved in a spirit of chastity which sees others as belonging to God and not as a means of self-fulfilment.

The vow of obedience is accomplished, by Fidelity. The chief aim is to make Christ known in obedience to his command in the Gospel. By imitating those closest to Christ, Tertiaries, by work and example, by fidelity to their Rule and the Holy Catholic Faith, and by obedience to the Order fulfil the vow.


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