Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year-End Whereabouts

Hello, brothers and sisters and constant readers. It's a wet and lukewarm day for New Year's Eve, but nothing can quench the living flame of love that shoots from the heart of the world, Jesus, and from the Spirit of God, to kindle the hearts of all people of good will. Here's to a new year guided by the Spirit of God, the Spirit given to live in us.

It's another catch-my-breath day after a catch-me-if-you-can day. Arose before 7:30 this morning to the soft grey daylight, and this time I recited morning prayer privately in the San Lorenzo chapel, instead of in transit. Had a quiet breakfast and quick chat with the brother guardian about yesterday's outings and plans for today and New Year's Day. I may have dinner with a few friars tomorrow evening before returning to Brooklyn with my postulant brother, who is driving into town from Maine today. I'll be lunching with a friend in Harvard Square and moviegoing with another friend on Boston Common before that. And there's Sunday morning Mass, of course.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Today I'm reading and blogging at the friary until mid-afternoon. I may return to the Boston Public Library for a change of venue. My final destination is The Dugout Cafe, across the street from Boston University School of Theology, for evening worship and dinner at The Pub Church with my Christian theologian and seeker friends.

What is a pub church? It meets in a bar or tavern instead of a building consecrated by the Church for public and sacramental worship. It is a church for persons who find it difficult or impossible to encounter the living God as encountered in the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions of institutional Christianity, whether Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant. It is, in my view, a "primitive" church in that it dispenses with many of the doctrinal and liturgical developments of later centuries, treating them as human accretions, receiving nothing except what the Spirit of God gives the Church at the present moment, as at its origin in Christ, as its truth and life. It is a church thoroughly inculturated, and it is deeply missional. It bears, I believe, some affinity with the emerging church phenomenon, which aims for a post-denominational, non-hierarchical form of Christian community. This pub church is organized by one of my BU friends, a doctoral student at the School of Theology, and her companions. I have been meaning to visit her church for some time, so to extend and receive the Spirit's friendship and fellowship, and also better to know my understanding of Church as a Catholic.

Following Pub Church our group will adjourn to my friend's house in Cambridge to greet 2012. To all, be safe, be smart, and be well on this first night of the new year.


This has been a momentous year, and I anticipate many more little earthquakes of the Spirit in 2012.

It is a great blessing to have such a strong formation program to steady the soul through the transition into religious life. As I have said before, there is no place I would rather be now than in fraternity with the Capuchins. This is the right call, the right place, and the right time.

To all my brothers in religion: Thank you for guiding me into postulancy and, God willing, onward to novitiate. I will keep you in my grateful prayers as you keep me in yours.

I'll see you soon in Brooklyn ... until then, I wish you peace and all good things from my beloved Boston!

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