Who is a Brother?
A Religious Brother is a member of a Catholic religious institute who commits himself to Christ and the Christian community in consecrated life of the Church, by the vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience. He usually lives in a religious community that centers his life. It is from this root and from his own interior life that he is able to meet the needs of the Church in ministries such as teaching, social work, technical occupations, health care, or other charitable work, etc. The ministries of religious brothers are varied and reflect the traditions of a given community and according to the charism of each congregation.
St.Francis of Assisi was a Brother and who wanted all of his followers to be “friars minors,” meaning lesser brothers. Because he is consecrated to God who is Lord and Father of all he in turn becomes a "brother" to all in the Body of Christ. The brother has as the focus of his lifestyle to live fraternal charity. Fraternal charity is, in essence, his vocation and this is the message his life preaches both silently, through countless acts of service, and verbally, as he encourages those around him to live a deeper love of God.
His brotherhood is expressed in many ways and through many different apostolic works ranging from evangelization, preaching, teaching, social work, pastoral work and working for and with the poor. He dedicates his life to God, to the Gospel, and to the poor and disadvantaged.
The life of the brother is often seen as earmarked with a deep contemplative prayer life as traditionally his life is a rhythm of work and prayer. From prayer he finds the strength, guidance and foundation for the apostolic life of fraternal service. Most often the brothers find and serve Jesus through the "sacrament of the moment" that is the ordinary events of daily life and the people who surround him. The radical observance of the Holy Gospel is the goal of every brother and it is this reason that drives him to bring the presence of God and the good news of Christ to every situation and to everyone he meets on the streets, in the alleys, in the school, on the bus, and everywhere else. Very often he becomes like leaven in the dough, making everything rise to life with the love of God. It is only by drinking the living water of God in contemplation that he is able to do this. "Whoever does the will of my Father is brother, sister and mother to me" (Mt 12:50).
"The world you are inheriting is a world which desperately needs a new sense of brotherhood and human solidarity. It is a world which needs to be touched and healed by the beauty and richness of God's love. It needs witnesses to that love. It needs you to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world." Brothers are embodiment of God’s love in action and we all are Brothers and Sisters to one another!
-Pope John Paul II at the Solemn Mass, World Youth Day, Toronto, July 28, 2002.