In April I mentioned one of the Vatican II documents called Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium). In this document our Church teaches some of the essentials about our relationship with Christ and one another, particularly mentioning our role as lay people.
Three other documents are recommended by our National Fraternity for reading by EVERY SECULAR FRANCISCAN. These include: Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes), Apostolate of the Laity (Apostolicum Actuositatem) and Called and Gifted, a review by the United States Catholic Conference.
Don't let the titles turn you away. If you are ready for them, these gifts are truly special and say things that illuminate our understanding as well as inform our hearts and minds. Best of all, they show the deep concern and wide understanding of our "teaching Church" for people like ourselves, who want to learn how to follow Christ by living the Gospel (remind you of anyone?)
How do we grow if we aren't feeding at the Table prepared for us by the Holy Spirit working in and through our Church? How can we address the needs of real people seeking Christ if we ourselves have empty pantries? Yes, I know how tough it is to find time. I know that many of these sources need lots of reflection, prayer and side-study, not to mention a learning community where we can discuss and untangle our understanding. This is where Catholic Fraternities, like our local secular fraternity, come in. These are "privileged places" for learning our faith and welcoming Christ as our daily companion.
The documents mentioned above are available for free online at many websites. Start with the links below...
There are many, MANY other great resources. All we need is to open them up and read. May God guide your self-directed formation and may you be willing to share everything y0u learn with your friends!