This morning I leave for Burlington, Wisconsin to spend the Triduum Weekend with the Capuchin Franciscans of the St. Joseph province. This will be one of the last requirements for applying to the Order. When I leave Grand Rapids, I will bring all of the required documents, forms, and doctor's reports that were asked. After this weekend everything is completely in God's hands as to whether or not I'll be accepted.
Often I try to compare it to joining college, since it's the only experience that comes close. The recruiter knows me well, I've visited the campus several times, I've met my possible classmates already, and I already know which dorm room I would get if I attended. The last and final formality is the acceptance. At college, it's done by an Admissions Board. It is much the same in the Capuchin Order, except the Head of the Province has the final say on who joins and who doesn't.
While there are many other colleges that await an anxious high-school graduate, to be turned down by the Capuchins would feel far more devastating. Admissions boards look at GPA, extra-curricular activities, your essays, and the evaluation of the recruiter. In a religious order or a diocese, the Provincial or Bishop must also discern what God's plan is for each applicant and whether or not this is where God is actually pointing us. Sounds like quite the task...understanding and acting on God's wishes for another.
I am nervous, but I am happy with where my life is now. I realized that the goal of this road wasn't just about becoming a priest at all costs, but to understand God's place for me, and simply to travel the road with my spirituality as a more important part of my life. If indeed God is pointing me in the direction of the Capuchins, I pray that God share that bit of info with the Head of the Order. If not, I will keep traveling this long road.
Since I am leaving for the weekend, I will most likely not post again until after Easter. Until then, I leave you all with the most appropriate song for this Holy Week. God Bless and have a wonderful Easter.