The writer of the New Testament Book of Hebrews specifically (Heb 5:11-14, 6:1) was concerned about those Jews who converted to Jesus Christ who then found a comfortable theology somewhere between Judaism and Christianity. They had already become Christians, but never went beyond the basic tenets of the teaching of the apostles about Jesus. Soon they began to back slide because although they had knowledge of His teaching, they were not living it; they were not maturing. The writer of Hebrews compared them to babies still drinking milk and not yet on solid food. Milk represents the fundamentals of Christian knowledge and solid food being the sign of growth and maturity. In general, the Book of Hebrews was written to remind them that Jesus is the One promised; that He is the new high priest and that there is no longer a need for another. Now that the Father has sent Him, everything is now different than before. He said that they should by now be teachers, not merely hearers of the Word.
This should be relative to Secular Franciscans, maybe even more so in our own age. As Franciscans we are to live the Gospel and by doing so we will grow and mature in our Faith. One of the teaching references we are to use for Initial and On-going Formation is the book by Benet Fonck (OFM) called “Fully Mature with the Fullness of Christ”. I wonder if our brother Benet had the Book of Hebrews in mind when he titled his book? Certainly his purpose was to provide a means to go from drinking only milk to taking solid food by using the spirituality and example of our Brother Francis. We cannot stay on milk for our whole lives; we need to grow by taking solid food. There is so much available in books, Catholic radio and TV, DVD's and more. It is like a supermarket of solid food. What excuse do we have not to advance? No matter where we are in our journey, there is more to learn. Once we stop learning we stop the journey.
In the United States every four years it has become customary for political candidates to ask us “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” Maybe as Franciscans we should be asking ourselves instead “Are we better off spiritually today than we were even one year ago?” If the answer is no or not sure, it is time to find some additional solid food. POC. Bob, OFS