Thursday, June 10, 2010

A New "Cadence": Reflection on First Year in Community as a Friar

May 30th marked, for me, one year in Religious vows. As I reflect on my first year in vows, I compared my experience with that of my Postulancy and Novitiate year and found many common themes. Below is a short reflection that I wrote for our Province newsletter in the fall of 2007 at the beginning of my Postulancy. I want to share it on the blog because I think it is still relevant to my ongoing formation as a Franciscan Friar. Enjoy! Br. Jeffrey Wilson, T.O.R.

The transition to community life has not been as difficult as I first thought it would be. Prior to my candidacy with the Franciscan Friars Third Order Regular, I lived by myself for several years and I was use to doing what I wanted, when I wanted. I did not have to answer to anybody but myself. At first, I was worried that adapting to living with others would take a long time. But I have found that living in community with the friars is not much different than my prior life. The main difference is the "cadence" of my life.

Before moving in with the friars, the cadence of my life was very self centered. The majority of my day was spent at work so that I could house, feed, and clothe myself. The time outside of work was dedicated to my entertainment. My daily and weekly chores were performed for my benefited. Most of my decisions in life had been based on what would be best for me or what would make me happy.

After moving in with the friars, I find that I am doing many of the same activities that I did before. The main difference is that the cadence of my life is now God and community centered. Currently, my day is planned around our communal prayer life with the majority of the day dedicated to classes and study. My studies are not just for my personal betterment alone. They also prepare me to serve others better. Time is also set aside for ministry work around our local neighborhood. I perform many of the same chores as I did in my old apartment. However, now they benefit the other friars as well as myself.

Jesus' instruction to "love your neighbor as you love yourself" has also become, for me, "do for your brother friars and you do for yourself." Likewise, the friars do for me as they do for themselves. It is clear to me that the friars have taken great care to welcome me into their home. And this is exactly what the friary is, a home for the friar brothers to live and pray together in. It is this loving and caring family of brotherhood in Christ that has transformed the cadence of my life.