NOTE: Br. Ramon Razon, OFM, is a friar in temporary vows of the Holy Name Province. He wrote this reflection on Franciscan brotherhood:
By Br. Ramon Razon, OFM
I notice that my friends sometimes call me Fr. Ramon. I point out that I am not, since I am a religious brother. This means that I do not preside over Mass nor hear confessions. So, I do not administer the Seven Sacraments to people.
However, being a brother is not simply understood in terms of what a priest is not. Being a brother is a life in and of itself that puts me in the midst of my brothers and sisters with whom I share my time and presence. I can be a teacher, an artist, a social worker, a student, a carpenter, a doctor or a lawyer - all of which puts me in a position to give my time and presence to something bigger than my own reality. I do it as myself and I do so because I am being myself. The caveat here is that I am not perfect as myself and I relate with others in the context of embracing my imperfections in order to lead a healthy and meaningful life in the service of others. Save for my religious vows, I am no different from anyone else as a brother. So, I walk with everyone who comes along my path or with those who welcome me to journey with them.
In a real way, being a brother is not more of a title or a position than it is a dynamic and tangible response to walk with people. As I put it, it is more of a verb than a noun.
And so to "brother" means to be a presence to anyone who may benefit from someone like me who is simply trying to love the Lord and his neighbor as best as he can, given all his limitations and gifts. To brother means to bother; to look and see what the other person is about and welcome them as best as he can. Sometimes, I fall short in meeting this goal and that bothers me, yet I find that it is good that I am sometimes bothered so that I can bother to care for myself and others.
So I am here to brother and live the Eighth Sacrament with all of you. The Eighth Sacrament in case you do not know is the present moment. You reading what I share right here, right now is the simple encounter I share with you, which I call "brothering." May I have the privilege to "brother" with all of you.
This brother is here to bother, feel free to bother me so I can "brother" you.