With four weeks of postulancy left, here, near the head of the Great Fifty Days of Easter, are my desires for these times.
1. To be accepted into novitiate. To live these next two weeks in hopeful anticipation, good cheer, and trust that God's will shall be done, come what may. A little Advent within the Easter season?
2. To find ways, in all the little things, with all the people near me, and through all the immediate situations, to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus. Within twenty-four hours of the beginning of the Easter season, I discovered how hard it is to proclaim the resurrection in a crucified, crucifying world. O God who raised Jesus from the dead and has forgiven us for crucifying him, help us forgive those who inflict the pains that are completing the suffering of the body of Christ; help us heal those who fill up in their body what was lacking in the suffering of Jesus; and help us see that these persons are one and the same, sinners and sufferers alike. Show us the way from Good Friday through Holy Saturday to Easter Sunday, to the Sunday everlasting.
3. To seek for my soul a discipleship that integrates the many levels of conversion: personal, interpersonal, ecclesial, and structural. Christ wants me not to compartmentalize my discipleship. The public disciple is also a disciple in private. The political Christian is also a personal Christian. The social follower of Jesus is an individual follower of Jesus.
4. This desire is related to the last one. This year I have turned to Christ mainly by turning to him at home. However my journey of faith continues, hopefully in novitiate, I suspect that in the year to come it will involve a turn to Christ through a renewal of personal conversion, that is, my relationship with God within a psychologically and spiritually integrated self. How will I carry the work I have done to bring conversion to my interpersonal relationships into the anticipated work of personal conversion?
5. To write more prayers and poems. It will become more challenging to maintain the public diary during novitiate, because my time using online media will be much more restricted. And while I wish to keep a chronicle going forward, I begin to wonder how edifying it will be for you, my frequent and occasional readers, to keep reading variations on the novice brothers' quasi-monastic routine of prayer and study. What you will be really interested in, I sense, is what a cloistered experience like novitiate is doing to my interior life. A chronicle can certainly help ground that exploration in the externals, and I ought to consider posting lengthier sketches as opposed to daily bulletins. But something tells me that picking up the habit of poetry and prayer-writing would be more in harmony with my mode of expression. So we shall see.
6. To send thoughtful and prayerful Easter greetings to many of my friends and partners in ministry. The only folks who have received such greetings thus far are my relatives. Thank goodness Easter is fifty days. Here's hoping I get some letters out sooner than later, certainly well before Pentecost!
7. To reunite with old friends in Boston the week after postulancy ends, and to celebrate one more commencement at Boston University with the graduates of the School of Theology.
8. To bake good things for the visiting postulant brothers from the Province of St. Joseph.
9. To laugh with the brothers at St. Michael Friary as much as I can. To let myself be drawn into virtuous mirth.
10. To recall good and holy desires unfulfilled and ask God for the favor of granting them.