Both friaries, San Lorenzo and Saint Francis of Assisi, are at capacity with the formators and student friars and guests who are here for the workshops on the Capuchin Constitutions. The first session begins this afternoon. We will be meeting in the San Lorenzo dining room-cum-conference room with our presenter, Bro. Regis Armstrong.
This week we will have meditation, prayer, and Eucharist mid-morning. This evening and for the remainder of the week, after meditation and prayer, dinner for up to 25 friars.
It feels good to have this many brothers around. Last evening's rite of renewal of vows and festive meal were very good. A full chapel and full table give me cause for rejoicing.
This morning, a few chores and errands. Conferred with the formation director about my fall class schedule (pending registration), formation meetings, and the selection of a new spiritual director while I reside in Boston.
At the moment it feels like we are going gradually, very gradually, on the way. It is like driving at 5 miles per hour onto the on-ramp, or taxiing lightly on the tarmac toward the runway. We are approaching the takeoff point slowly, casually, even. But in two weeks, after Labor Day, look out! I will have all the work I can handle: physical, mental, and spiritual labor.
It's not like me to do anything in half-measures. But this year the aim is to integrate part-time study and part-time ministry with full-time fraternity in a spirit of prayer and minority. A compromise with the works of mercy and justice? A cutting of corners instead of total commitment? Or common sense, good self-care?
Formerly I carried on the work God gave me without grounding it in the depth of my being. Now I look to take up that work again, but "with all my heart." This is not a platitude; this is a new resolution. To work with full devotion means to let the work proceed from the very life God has given me. This life has to be nourished in prayer and worship. This life has to be nourished in the communion that comes from participation in life of the body of Christ. This communion must be lived from within the soul; it must be lived at the most local level, in the household, in one's family. This I must do with my religious family, the Capuchins; my extended spiritual family in Christ, all my sisters and brothers who follow Jesus; and all my neighbors, everyone God gives me to love in this neighborhood, this city, this country, this world.
My studies, my ministries, my works: these were never my life. These could never give me life. God is the source of my life. Let me continue to live God's life, and let the labors, mental and spiritual, rise up gradually from it. It is better now to ramp up than to leap off and risk leaving behind the being that God bids me to bring to the work of proclaiming and living the kin(g)dom of heaven.