Sunday, September 23, 2007

I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm on my way there!
Novice Augustine Lieb, TOR

Wow. It's been a while since I've written hasn't it? Where have I been, you ask? I'm in that pesky state of transition once again!

It's now been 1 month since I began my second year of novitiate... and it seems like life went from 0 to 70 in a very short amount of time. Mind you... it's all good and I am well. However, now I'm practicing the skill (virtue? gift?) of balance in a whole new way. How exactly does one balance ministry, community prayer, personal prayer, community time, personal health (exercise), friends out side of community, studying for class, going to class, helping with vocations and time for relaxation?? Is it possible to balance all those things and still sleep? If so, let me know. *smile*

I hope you realize that I write that with somewhat of a sense of humor. For if there's one gift I'm pretty sure that I have, it's the ability to laugh at myself and the craziness that life sometimes entails....

But... tonight I don't want to write about what I've been up to since the last time I wrote. Maybe I'll do that the next time I post. Tonight I want to say a little about my weekend and the quote that's at the beginning of this post.

This weekend I attended my first "Intercommunity Total Formation Program." It is a weekend long gathering of pre-novices, novices, people in temporary vows, formation directors, vocations directors and anyone who lives/works with people in religious formation. The program takes place 3 times an academic year in a place called Villa Maria, Pennsylvania at a center where the Sisters of the Humility of Mary reside. This weekend's topic was "Religious Life in the Future: for the Life of the World."

What a weekend! This was my first chance to meet people in formation in this area of the country. What a blessing! I'm not the best when it comes to keeping in touch with people, but I'm going to try. It was a true gift to talk with Sisters of Saint Joseph, Franciscan Friars, Franciscan Sisters, Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Notre Dame and others who are experiencing some of the same blessings, challenges, joys and struggles... to brain storm, to share about our charisms, to sing together, pray together.

We had a presenter who challenged us to consider the possibility that religious life 15 or 20 years from now (for active religious congregations... not monastic, necessarily) might look very differently than it does now... and we (those of us in formation) are very much a part of this exciting time in the history of religious life. So... we had amazing conversations about that. About our hopes, fears, challenges, gifts, blessings... about the needs of the world and our witness to an alternative world where people live rooted in the Gospel.

I started with the above quote because it struck me as appropriate for the topic of our weekend. You see, Sr. Carol (our presenter), said that we have one foot firmly planted in what "is" now... religious life in the present. But we also have one foot in a future about which we have no concept. So, on Saturday night during our social when one of the Third Order Regular Franciscan novices was roaming aimlessly in the room and some one said, "Gus, what are you doing?" and he responded, "I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm on my way there!" I thought... wow. That's exactly what we've been talking about! We have no idea how religious life in the future will look. But... we're on our way there! As Gus later stated in a small group conversation, "A moving ship is easier to steer," meaning... perhaps we need to be moving ahead in order for the Spirit of God to more easily guide us into this future...

Well, it's late. I just got home from Pennsylvania not too long ago and I'm tired. I wanted to put a few thoughts down before going to sleep. Hopefully, I will write more soon. Until then, mutual prayers???

Many blessings to all who read this!
Sr. N

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Many are the plans in a person's heart,
but it is the decision of the Lord that endures.
Proverbs 19:21

This week I purchased a planner. Some of you may recall... I had a planner once and made very good use of it. However, about 2 months before my first year of novitiate, the planner was stolen from the front seat of my car. Why would someone steal a planner of all things? The only reason I could come up with is that someone might have thought it was a laptop? Who knows!

Well, all last year I didn't really feel the need to have a "planner," per se. However, now that life is getting to be a little more busy... and post-it notes were everywhere with reminders... and I felt like my time wasn't well spent... I decided a planner would be a good idea.

Yesterday I came home from the office supply store and immediately started arranging my planner... filling out the month calendars, getting the daily appointment calendars worked out, making to do lists for each day. I felt like a kid at Christmas! Excitement coursing through my veins... (if you know me, you know this isn't an exaggeration!)...

Today, as I get ready to work on other sections of the planner (important dates & addresses... personal information... etc.) I find myself a little reflective about my excitement over this. Ultimately, I have to remember that sometimes my plans aren't God's plans... and no matter how exacting I am in planning a day, sometimes it's not going to work out according to my plans. Sometimes it's a really good thing that everything doesn't work according to my plans - if they did, my life would be a mess, really!

Have you ever heard the cliche, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans?" Well, God must get a real kick out of me...

Many blessings for all who read this!
Sr. N