It’s not been a month since we returned from our Christmas holiday vocation vacation, yet it seems the break happened ages ago. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of workshops, traveling, fraternal visits, ministry, vocation days, and canonical visitations! We wasted no time in getting back to the swing of things.
Because I’ve been MIA from this blog for a while, I’ll take this post to quickly recap my Christmas holiday and share some photos from my time in NYC. The next couple of posts will feature photos from my travels during the month of January.
I feel truly blessed to have had such a wonderful vacation and to have spent some time with my friends and family. It was definitely nice to step away from the Postulancy and reacquaint myself with my old life; I had greatly missed New York City during my time in Postulancy, and being back in town was a great feeling. I caught a few exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum and the Frick Collection (where I waited for an hour and a half in 10 degree weather to see Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring!) and enjoyed some fantastic meals at my favorite Chinese restaurants.
It was also a real blessing to spend the holidays with my friends and family. I had a fabulous time with my friends Anna and Melissa, as well as some of the gang from the Church of St. Francis of Assisi on 31st St. Most of all, I relished spending time with my parents, my brothers, Keith, and with my lovely nieces. Isabella and Teagan are growing up into such lovely young ladies!
Despite a fantastic two weeks with my friends and family, a big part of me yearned to return to the friary in Silver Spring. I missed my
classmates brothers and I wanted the regularity of friary’s horarium (I hadn’t kept the Divine Office during my vacation, although I went to daily mass everyday except when a fever prevented me from attending Church). Towards the end of my vacation, my initial fears of uncertainty gave way to undeniable certainty – something was calling me back to religious life.
That is not to say that returning to the program was by any means an easy task. Apart from the logistical stresses brought about by a snowmageddon and a polar vortex, I was greatly saddened to leave my friends and loved ones yet again. Goodbyes are never easy, but this time was especially difficult since I realized that, after experiencing friar life and my old life, I was choosing to return to one and not the other.
The frozen train ride back to Washington was an emotional one. I wept at the idea of not seeing my loved ones for several more months and I felt torn between the love I have for my friends and family, and the call I have to continue with the Postulancy of the Franciscan Friars. In an attempt to compose myself, I said a prayer to God asking for continued guidance and strength. It was then that I came to this realization: God, in His infinite goodness and generosity, was blessing me with Love. Rather than giving me one or the other, the Lord has blessed me with His Love in every aspect of my life. I realize that I need not feel like I am giving up my old life for my new life with the friars. Instead, my old life has bloomed into where I am now and the love I receive from my family infuses my fraternal life with the friars.
Lord, grant that I may have the gratitude and humility to trust in Your Grace each and every day.