Saturday, 7 January 2012

A holiday renewal

Note: This is a much older post...I'm not sure if I had put it on my blog or not.
 I should also note that I am blogging more regularly with my scholastics  brothers:
My contributions to that one will be bi-weekly..more than I can say for this current blog.
I'm sure this one will find it's renewal at some point!!

My semester ended a few weeks ago. It's been a good one, with it's own set of challenges.
In my own little way, I have grown in God's love deeply enough to understand that being loved
by God means being given the strength to renew ourselves, to strive even more towards that perfection that God invites us to. It's probably something none of us ever will achieve.However, the most important thing I learned a long time ago in my faith journey, is that I have to accept the invitation towards perfection, without ever expecting to reach it. The moment one thinks they have perfection, they fall into the trap of complacency. I'm not free of the poison of complacency myself, but my labors towards building the Kingdom of God on earth move me further and further away from this! This has been the most positive thing of my year...growing in confidence in my own little contribution in helping build God's kingdom on Earth.

    One of the more difficult aspects of my journey that is almost becoming a routine for me considering how often I come back to it, is one rather complex question: How do I live my own vocation as a Brother, 'seperately' from the vocation of my scolastic -future priests- brothers/house mates, yet still in complete communion with them? I knew my community of studies would be a difficult place to make some progress in finding an answer to that question, being surrounded by guys who just have a different way of proceeding, and different ambitions than I do. It does become hard for me to be in such a community and to not compare how they approach their work, and how I approach mine. Those who know me well will be groaning at this point and be saying " are you still comparing yourself to others? When will you let of that?"

   Honestly? Probalby never. I mean, put yourselves in my shoes: We haven't had a brother enter the Society of Jesus in almost 40 years, and the last one that considered entering would have done so with a carpentry background. So there are no more young brothers left, and most brothers in the Society are people that have specific manual skills. Other brothers have followed a similar path of studies in the past, but they're not really my peers, at least, not in age! So, here I am, trying to help formulate an identity for Brothers in the Society of Jesus of Canada in the 21st century, and being surrounded by priests, older brothers, and future priests. I've never been in such a unique position in my entire life. Fr. Doug in Wiky was the first to point to this challenge I had, when he told me that I had no role models in terms of Brothers in Canada. This makes the path even more challenging.

  However, from the moment I arrived in Toronto for studies, I realized how well surrounded, well supported I was. How many priests and how many of my peers have confirmed my vocation and its uniqueness by 'validating' the way I operate. Some would see the fact that I still need validation once in a while as a sign of weakness, but to me it's an expression of the human reality that none of us are as strong as we think on our own, and that our true source of power is that which we gather from our community.

   So we come back to this sense of communion. My experience of communion and love for God and others deepened these past months, not only within my community, but with the larger communion of Saints that is our Catholic Church. People like Theresa of Lisieux and Bernard Lonergan have been shaping my spiritual and intellectual growth in ways I'm still trying to process. To my surprise, my sense of growth has been accompanied with a deepening of my sense of love of self, and my confidence in the role I can play in the future within the Society of Jesus. The difficulty remains that I still don't know what that role is necessarily going to be, but as my wise parents once put it, since my Jesuit journey has begun, I have always struggled for a week or 2 with new environments, and have eventually, always found a way to find my niche, and even thrive there. This idea is one of my greatest sources of trust for the coming year. I know I'll still struggle some more this year, because it's the struggle that leads me to this path of holiness that I seek to live.

 Much more to tell...I'll probably make a seperate post about my holiday experience!!