With part one of the postulant year coming to a close, it’s time for another Vocation Vacation. Like our break at Christmas, we’ve been encouraged to break ourselves from the routine of the religious life so as to discern its effect on us (and us on it) over the past nine months. It’s a helpful reminder that we still haven’t formally committed to anything about the Order, and so are not bound by any vows in this process. Essentially, stepping away may be the best way to take a step closer. (This is not to say that we’re free from the Ten Commandments while we’re gone, but you know what I mean.)
The challenge of this break will no doubt be its length. Five weeks is quite a long time. With no money, less contacts than before, and a limited amount of responsibility, there is plenty of room to get bored. As our director told us in our last meeting, however, this is actually part of the design: with so much time and probably very little to do, it’s inevitable that we’ll begin reflecting on the year and hopefully realize how much religious life has come to mean to us.
As for me, I have little evidence to believe my director to be wrong. I will be spending one week traveling around visiting friends from college, during which I’ll be attending a Dave Matthews concert, but other than that I have four weeks without plans. I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time with my family, possibly getting to the beach for a few days, and just relaxing without any stress or responsibility. As it will be the last time home before I’m a simply professed friar (occurs in 15 months at the end of novitiate), there are also a number of practical things I have to take care of, such as putting my finances in my parents name, getting rid of a few superfluous possessions, and taking visits to the doctor and dentist while I’m still covered under my parents insurance plan.
All in all, I’m looking forward to the time to catch up, reflect, recharge, and dream for a life to come as a friar. If I find the time, there are a few topics on which I’ve been meaning to post, so look for a few sporadic posts over the coming weeks. Otherwise, pray that I have safe travels and check back in June for the next step in the life of a friar in training!