I've experienced reflection days when I was a Postulant. During Advent and Lent, our friary in Milwaukee got together with the other formation house from Chicago. It was a great time, however the opportunity for the houses to get together sometimes became excuses for us to catch up and have fun rather than just focusing on the reflection time.
This past Monday was our first Day of Reflection here. We had Fr. John Pavlik come and talk to us. John is the provincial minister for the St. Augustine (sometimes called the Pittsburgh) province. And while the spirit of the event was light, there was definitely plenty to think about.
One if his points was the ability to look back on our reasons for choosing to become Capuchins. Each of the us have our reasons for being here in Allison Park. And while the year of seclusion continues, and nerves start to grate on each one another and people learn the true meaning of "living in community," there is an importance to be true to our vocations.
The challenge he gave us was this: there are three main reasons why we chose to join the Capuchins versus another Order or the diocese. Our task was to find those reasons and to keep them in our prayers. He told us how his three reasons got him through tough times as a friar, and kept his focus on why he was a friar instead of letting other things tear him apart.
It was a great insight for me to reflect on. Usually I choose to stay busy, fill my day with lots of tasks, and set goals that I try to achieve (the remnants of my life as a salesman). But at times my work and my life have felt empty...leaving me to wonder why I'm even pursuing this vocation. Remembering that I am not doing this for me, but because I felt the task of doing something for others puts things in perspective.
Someone great (although she'd humbly tell you otherwise) once told me that these memories are like pebbles: pebbles that can be easily lost or forgotten. The key is to keep those pebbles in our pocket; to shine them and touch them and know every ridge and smooth surface. If we can keep those pebbles of our memories close to us, and readily available whenever we need them, not only can they remind us why we are on our journey, but we might even leave a trail as a guide for others.
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