Our Lady of the Pearl
Secular Franciscan Fraternity
Pearlington, Mississippi

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"We adore you, O Christ, and
we praise you.
Because by your holy cross,
you have redeemed the world."
Saint Francis of Assisi

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LUMEN GENTIUM

Secular Franciscans are encouraged to read Lumen Gentium, one of the principal documents of Vatican II.  Sources and teachings concerning Lumen Gentium are provided here with emphasis on the People of God and the Universal Call to Holiness.  

The documents of the Second Vatican Council consist of sixteen ecclesiastical documents.  There are four constitutions, which are the most important of the documents, nine decrees and three declarations.   Among the constitutions, two stand out and are called dogmatic constitutions, one on divine revelation and one on the Church.  More specifically, one is called "Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation," known as Dei Verbum, and the other is called "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church" or Lumen Gentium.

In the light of our calling to be Secular Franciscans, we are encouraged to read Lumen Gentium [Light of the Nations].  It is recommended to us by Fr. Benet A. Fonck, OFM, in his formation book, Fully Mature With the Fullness of Christ, and is one of the principal documents of Vatican II.  On EWTN website, there are excellent audio teachings on Lumen Gentium by Fr. Brian Mallady.  (Click link below.)  Also, there are many references to Lumen Gentium in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

To read Lumen Gentium in PDF format, click here.
As a Word document, click
here.
(Word document may be slow to open first time.)
It may be found also on the Vatican web site,
here.

To read Dei Verbum, as a Word document, click here.
It may be found also on the Vatican web site,
here.

Christ: The Light of Nations
Hosted by Fr. Brian Mullady
Fr. Brian Mullady explains Lumen Gentium, "Constitution on the Church", from the 2nd Vatican Council.


CHAPTER OUTLINE OF LUMEN GENTIUM

1.  The Mystery of the Church (1-8) 

2.  On the People of God (9-17)

3.  On the Hierarchical Structure of the Church and In Particular on the Episcopate (18-29)

4.  The Laity (30-38)

5.  The Universal Call to Holiness in the Church (39-42)

6.  The Religious (43-47)

7.  The Eschatological Nature of the Pilgrim Church and Its Union with the Church in Heaven (48-51)

8.  The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God in the Mystery of Christ and the Church (52- 69)

The People of God

One of the key portions of Lumen Gentium is its second chapter with the declaration that the Church is the People of God:

At all times and in every race God has given welcome to whosoever fears Him and does what is right.(85) God, however, does not make men holy and save them merely as individuals, without bond or link between one another. Rather has it pleased Him to bring men together as one people, a people which acknowledges Him in truth and serves Him in holiness. He therefore chose the race of Israel as a people unto Himself. With it He set up a covenant. Step by step He taught and prepared this people, making known in its history both Himself and the decree of His will and making it holy unto Himself. All these things, however, were done by way of preparation and as a figure of that new and perfect covenant, which was to be ratified in Christ, and of that fuller revelation which was to be given through the Word of God Himself made flesh. "Behold the days shall come saith the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel, and with the house of Judah . . . I will give my law in their bowels, and I will write it in their heart, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people . . . For all of them shall know Me, from the least of them even to the greatest, saith the Lord.(86) Christ instituted this new covenant, the new testament, that is to say, in His Blood,(87) calling together a people made up of Jew and gentile, making them one, not according to the flesh but in the Spirit. This was to be the new People of God. For those who believe in Christ, who are reborn not from a perishable but from an imperishable seed through the word of the living God,(88) not from the flesh but from water and the Holy Spirit,(89) are finally established as "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people . . . who in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God".(90) (LG 9)

The fifth chapter, “The Universal Call to Holiness,” builds on the theme of the People of God:

Thus it is evident to everyone, that all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status, are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity;(4*) by this holiness as such a more human manner of living is promoted in this earthly society. In order that the faithful may reach this perfection, they must use their strength accordingly as they have received it, as a gift from Christ. They must follow in His footsteps and conform themselves to His image seeking the will of the Father in all things. They must devote themselves with all their being to the glory of God and the service of their neighbor. In this way, the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good, as is admirably shown by the life of so many saints in Church history. (LG 40)

The classes and duties of life are many, but holiness is one-that sanctity which is cultivated by all who are moved by the Spirit of God, and who obey the voice of the Father and worship God the Father in spirit and in truth. These people follow the poor Christ, the humble and cross-bearing Christ in order to be worthy of being sharers in His glory. Every person must walk unhesitatingly according to his own personal gifts and duties in the path of living faith, which arouses hope and works through charity. (LG 41)


"We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.  Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world."  Saint Francis of Assisi


Bonaventura Berlinghieri
St. Francis Panel, Bardi Chapel
Santa Croce, Florence, c. 1240