You have more wealth than before, and you talk more of poverty. You are middle class and you play "poor Church." You talk more of community, and you live more isolated, more divorced, from one another.
"Many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip," they say--and there is a whole ocean of slips between what you say and what you do.
It is the ocean of your chatter, and you are drowning in it in every regard.
Now would you care to know why I am not inclined to give you a "tough talking-to?" Because you are the tough ones, not I.
All one has to do is listen to you when you gather together.
it is a terrible thing, how hard, unyielding, and radical you are.
What a pity that this hardness, this radicalism, is always directed against others and never against yourselves.
One would say that your great passion is to convert others!
And I, Francis, tell you, aim at your own conversions. You will see that you will understand things better.
Above all, understand this; it is of no use to think can change the Franciscans, the Capuchins, and Conventuals, and to continue, the Jesuits, the Salesians, the Little Brothers.
It is simply not possible!
What is possible is the conversion of a person--especially if that person happens to be you who are listening to me at this moment.
History has its own laws, and no institution escapes the ravages of time, and are able to place themselves before the nakedness of the Gospel and make it their own.
My children--this is what I shall call you, since you call me Father Francis--do no believe in the reform of your Order. Believe in your personal reform.
My brothers and sisters--for you call me Friar Francis--be holy, and the world will appear to you as holy.