Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Into the Loop

Happy Easter, brothers and sisters in Christ. Happy Passover, my elder sisters and brothers in Abraham and Sarah. May the Spirit of the God who liberated Israel from Egypt, who ransoms us from every captivity, set all humanity free. May the God who raised Jesus from eternal darkness be our light. May this God who is love and more than love, come to us and empty all of our tombs.

May this God who spoke to Francis through Christ speak to us and speak us into everlasting life.

Easter triduum and a three-day visit to my family have filled my heart to overflowing. Now it is good to be back in Brooklyn to pour out life, love, and good will onto the world.

This week the postulants are writing their final evaluations for the formators and provincial minister. The purpose is the same as it was in December: to give the brothers in formation an opportunity to assess their growth in Capuchin life, with attention on the areas of community life, personal development, and spirituality. The process is the same as in December. Each of us will draft peer evaluations, one for each postulant, the content of which we are required to incorporate into our self-evaluations. Our ministry supervisors will submit their own reports to the formators, too. The peer evaluations are due to the respective postulant brothers on Thursday, and the self-evaluations are due on Saturday. The formators will take both the peer evaluations and self-evaluation as well as the supervisors' evaluation into consideration as they prepare their staff evaluation for each postulant's permanent file.

In our self-evaluations we are to make our formal request for admission into the novitiate. At our final formation conferences during the week of April 22, the formators will inform us of their recommendation to the provincial minister. On Thursday, April 26, the provincial minister will visit St. Michael Friary, meet with each postulant for an hour, and announce his final decision.

With a polished first draft of the peer evaluations and a sketch of the self-evaluation, I am well on the way. Composing these reports has put me in a reflective mood and an empathetic disposition toward my fellow postulant brothers. Let us be kind, affirming, and challenging in our words. These words have power to bless, anoint, and judge. Let our words be love.

It is good to be in a reflective mood this day, because I am going to Washington Square Park this evening for my final meeting for spiritual direction. My director has asked me to review my spiritual growth over the year of postulancy, looking back through the lens of conversion. How have I turned to Christ? How is Christ leading me? These good grounding questions have helped me sketch my self-evaluation. My director also asked me to examine my experience of spiritual direction. What were its strengths? How could the process be improved? How has it influenced my experience of formation in postulancy?

This appointment will be after ministry at Neighbors Together. It has been a week since being at the soup kitchen. Time to throw off the inertia. No more time to linger at the empty tomb. Time to go back to Galilee.

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