Up until now, the theme of this blog, a play on words of the attire for a religious, has been nothing more than symbolic, and at times, speculative in nature. The reality is that I cannot break in a physical habit (or be broken in by one) until I actually receive one in December of this year. Or so I thought…
Tonight, we were fitted for what will be our habits during the novitiate year. Because we’ll only be temporary members next year called “novices,” being “fitted” for a habit meant searching through a closet filled with old and worn habits of deceased friars (hoping we could find one even remotely close to our height and with as few rips and stains as possible), instead of being sized for a new, custom made one. It’s a great sign of humility, and for the sake of puns, excellent that I’ll be receiving an already broken in habit. What more could I ask for?
At this point, I’m practically no closer to being a friar than I was two hours ago; the only difference is that I have a ripped, slightly stained habit hanging in my closet waiting to be tailored. But there was something very significant in putting one on, getting to know what it felt like, and seeing what I looked like, all for the first time. Honestly I didn’t want to do any of it yet! Even knowing that it wasn’t real, that it was more like a game of dress-up than anything else, it was still a pretty powerful moment to see myself as a friar.
But for now, it’s back to the normal jeans and a t-shirt, khakis and a button-up for ministry. Come December, though, I might look a little different. The important thing to remember is that my life is being oriented toward the Latin habitus, “putting on a new way of life.” Each day I’m focused on repentance and loving God, no matter what it is I’m wearing throughout my life as a friar, I’ll actually be breaking in the (real) habit and letting it break me into the Kingdom that I seek. Seriously, what more could one ask of this life?