06 Mar Journey in the eyes of a Postulant
For five years before Postulancy, I led a local chapter of a chastity ministry called The Goretti Group. With our over-sexualized culture drawing many people away from chastity, this experience had its challenges but it also helped me realize some of the things I desired in life that have been provided for me through living with a religious community. I was able to appreciate the value of having like-minded people around me, praying with them, growing with them, striving for virtue with them. I certainly experienced some spiritual trials through this ministry but I look back and realize that dealing with these challenges was preparing me for the trials ahead. Discerning a religious vocation is not an easy task. There is a spiritual battle going on and vocations are a key battleground.
Before I started Postulancy, there was always a part of me that felt divided. I wanted to serve God and the Church, but I felt I had a responsibility to focus on other things too. Many might think of religious life as an experience that confines them. For me, however, I felt a sense of freedom, a freedom to focus on what matters most to me. My prayer life has always been important. I would attend daily mass, I could spend a long time sitting in front of the tabernacle, I would say my daily rosary. The problem was that there were always other things I needed to do. There still are, but now my day-to-day life is deeply rooted in a prayer schedule that truly makes this a priority every day.
Before Postulancy, I spent some time reflecting on friendships. Finding like-minded people is hard. Maintaining friendships with them when we, as young people, are all so busy is hard. After friends get married and have children, it is even harder. Coming to live in a friary has met this need in a very simple but effective way. I am surrounded by like-minded brothers, who serve as examples of holiness, virtue, and humility, brothers to whom living out an inter-dependent community life is a priority. I feel very blessed. I also feel very blessed to have classes with friars I have enjoyed getting to know better while they have helped me with my spiritual and intellectual formation.
Interpersonal interactions with those in need during the pandemic have been less than I would have liked. This has been a challenge but I am still grateful that ministry commitments are now a top priority in my life rather than things I needed to fit in with my spare time. There have been some good, meaningful experiences through volunteering at soup kitchens, food pantries, and food deliveries to the home bound. I have always loved the verse: “Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for Me.” (Matthew 25:40) It is a blessing to know that I am truly living this out in various ways during my ministry work.