One Down. . .

Here is presumably the last moment of my life not under vows.

Here is presumably the last moment of my life not under vows.

. . . the rest of my life to go! Exactly one year ago, August 2, 2013, I was officially incorporated into the Order of Friars Minor by professing temporary vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the way of St. Francis of Assisi. The date marked the end of our novitiate year, the year of formation devoted to intense prayer and discernment, and the beginning of my vowed life as a friar.

Today, less officially, also marks the halfway point in my initial formation process in becoming a Franciscan Friar for life. With three years of formation behind me (Postulancy, Novitiate, and the first year of temporary profession) I now have three years of temporary profession to go before I am able to take my solemn vows, that is, my life-long intention to live as a friar in poverty, chastity and obedience.

I would be absolutely lying through my teeth if I said that it has been nothing but smooth sailing and steps forward, surrounded only by good examples. The fact of the matter is that the past three years have been the most frustrating and challenging of my life: I’ve had my values questioned, my vulnerabilities analyzed, my worldview challenged, my sense of self redefined, my expectations broken down, and my faults exposed. So much of what I have experienced in the last three years has been what most people go their entire lives trying to avoid.

And yet, what a gift it’s been. What a gift it’s been to be around people that care enough about me to want me to be better. What a gift it’s been to be opened up to a wider perspective of myself and the world, even if I didn’t want to see it. What a gift it’s been to go through all of this with great men doing the same.

When I look back three years–heck, when I look back one year–I can see the slow and steady work of God in my life, forming the stubborn clay that I am into his creation. When I look back, I can see what I didn’t see at the time, and I am grateful for the experiences that didn’t seem meaningful when they were happening. As the next three years of my formation unfold into the rest of my life, I thank God for the opportunities I’ve been given and pray for the patience and wisdom to appreciate the new ones ahead.

8 Comments on “One Down. . .

  1. May God continue to bless you, Casey. And may you continue to put your trust in Him.

  2. God bless you Casey. Ive followed your blog for quite sometime now. I pray to St Francis that he watches over you and always answers your prayers. Peace

  3. May you continue to live in this grateful spirit, which is a clear sign of your spiritual depth. May you also continue to be filled with awe and wonder as life unfolds. We too here in Pakistan vested two Novices on August 1. Eleven friars renewed their vows and four made first profession exactly on the same day as you.

  4. Casey, congratulations!!
    My prayers are with you. As I read your blog, I see God’s hand in this journey.
    In Christ,

  5. Congratulations, Casey! God will always be with you on this wonderful journey. My prayers are with you.

  6. You wrote the words of my heart, the deeper ones that I would not often share. This life is SUCH a paradox, a wild ride of brain, emotions, and physical testing. I can feel the devil watching, as if he could convince me God has left me. No, what can separate me from the love of Christ? No thing.
    Instead, I have partners in a very good run. Like getting spiritually lean. Instead of Zimbabwe, it’s Soulba!
    I am deeply thankful for your YES! Casey, I hope you feel it often.

  7. Casey, I thank God for you and for your gift of your life to His service. Your future life will continue being difficult. Since the number of vocations in the US is still declining, at some point in time, you will almost certainly be expected to assume a leadership role in the province. I am confident that with His help, you will succeed.

  8. Casey,

    For what it’s worth, I read somewhere that it is permissible to substitute the readings from the Office of Readings for the readings in Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer respectively. It was also mentioned that the Benedictine monks of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, MN, exercise this option.

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