Today is Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time – the first day in “Ordinary Time” in three months since the beginning of the Lenten and Easter Season. Posting on this blog has been sporadic at best, as the past few months have been filled with a lot of travel, retreats, and transitions. On May 14th, we wrapped up our Postulancy year and my brothers and I were sent home for our final vocation vacation before we enter the Novitiate in August.
Prior to departing for our respective homes (I returned to New York City while my brothers returned to homes in Mexico, El Salvador, and Florida), we were instructed to return to our ordinary lives, to our friends and family, and to secular living. We were reminded that we, as Postulants, are not yet fully incorporated into the Order, and thus are not bound by any vows or promises, except that which is good and moral behavior. I have been home now for nearly one month and in addition to vacationing and spending time with my loved ones, I have spent my break reflecting on the Postulancy year and on my future with the Franciscan friars.
I am not the kind of person who enjoys ambiguity and this liminal period of not fully belonging to either religious life or secular life has brought its fair share of challenges and difficulties. Yet despite the ambiguity of my time away from the Franciscan Friars, this period has been wonderful. It has been a true luxury to step away from the structure and rigors of the Postulancy year and to continue my discernment in the context of my ordinary life, my old life, outside of the friary.
Since I greatly missed my friends and family, I plunged back into my life in New York City rather quickly. Lunches and dinners with family, old friends, and former colleagues followed, one after the other. I even managed to make a trip to Spain, to relax and make pilgrimages to various churches in Ávila, Barcelona, Madrid, and Montserrat. I am truly grateful to have had such an amazing, jam-packed vacation.
Yet, despite the fun I am having and the sheer love and welcoming I felt (and continue to feel) from everyone here at home, a large part of me yearns to return to the friary and move forward with my formation as a Franciscan. In the midst of this great pleasure and bliss – of being in my old apartment, eating out with friends, walking in the park with my nieces, and praying with Keith in front of the Black Madonna – the call to continue with religious life and enter the Novitiate still rings loud and true.
Therefore, I pray to our Lord (and ask for your prayers as well), for the Grace of guidance, of courage, of openness, and of humility as I continue to walk in the foot steps of St. Francis of Assisi.