Got my alarm clock, clothing, and toiletries packed. Got my rosary and little green leather New Testament in my jacket pocket. Got some light reading for the weekend: the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (The postulants are making class presentations on the Ten Commandments next week.) I've said my prayers, celebrated Eucharist, done my house chores. Yes, I am ready for the candidate discernment weekend.
This come-and-see weekend will be a little smaller than the previous three in this academic year. All but one of the six candidates who are applying to next year's formation class will be with us, plus four candidates who are still in the stage of inquiring. They will be joined by the friars in formation here in Brooklyn and in Boston, and by a few of the professed friars. Small but mighty, we are thinking to ourselves this day.
We are staying at the Miramar Retreat Center in Duxbury, Mass., operated by the Divine Word Missionaries, a congregation of 6,000 Catholic priests and brothers who serve the poor in 60 countries. Sunday morning we will check out of Miramar and head north to Jamaica Plain to visit our two friaries, where the post-novices and recently professed brothers live.
The friars and candidates last stayed at Miramar a year ago near this time. Duxbury was beautiful, and Miramar was picture-perfect beautiful. Walking the property was like walking in a Zen garden. Every tree, shrub, and plant, indeed every blade of grass, seemed to be placed perfectly and personally by the hand of God. Everything was arranged in such a way as to induce contemplation. On that Saturday afternoon last April, many of us walked off the retreat grounds down a country road through a field to a point where the treeline comes very close to the water and the shore is narrow. I could have stayed for days. The recent hot spell over Boston and the Cape area is lifting, so it should be quite comfortable this evening and tomorrow, but a little cool come Sunday.
The subject of the weekend is the vows as the Capuchins attempt to live them, with presentations from Fr. Michael Banks, the formator of the post-novices, and Fr. David Couturier, whose works on celibacy and conversion I have alluded to on the blog.
I am looking forward to this gathering for the contemplative moments it offers and the easygoing lovingkindness of fraternity.
As I have asked before, so again I ask your prayers for travelling mercies on all of us. On this weekend may all of us, wherever we are on the pilgrimage to God, come to know better our vocation in our desire to know Christ.
Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said,
"You know me and also know where I am from.
Yet I did not come on my own,
but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.
I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me."