in personal

Into Great Silence

Capuchin novitiate in Santa Ynez, CA

In two weeks, I will be a novice.

I have spent the past year discerning whether or not I want to spend my life as a Capuchin friar. This process was called postulancy. It afforded me the opportunity to live with the friars and participate in their life, especially in its active & fraternal dimensions. Beginning on July 22nd, the focus is going to be shifted.

I am entering the novitiate. The novitiate is a year of contemplative prayer and reflection. It is also the year in which I receive the religious habit (“monk robe”). Perhaps this period could be termed as friar boot camp. After this year, it is time to take first vows.

So, this is going to be a quiet year. I will have limited access to the internet and no phone number. I always appreciate correspondence via letter-writing. If you would like my address, please contact me or shoot me an email!

In closing, I wish to offer a few words from my heart:

Dear friends and family,

I have been given such an incredibly beautiful life. Admittedly, there has been a good share of distress and anxiety along the way. Yet I am so blessed, because I am able to look back and see how all of these trials have given me the ability to experience life more boldly.

Now, all that I can say is “thank you”. I am so, so deeply thankful to all of you. Every one of you has helped to shaped me into the person that I am. It doesn’t matter where my journey has taken me, because all of you have walked with me. When it has been easy, there have been so many good people that have been there to share in the fun with me. When it has been chaotic, you have not left me to bear it through alone. In that place beyond words, I want you to know that I am immensely grateful for your presence in my life.

And I offer up this cup of overflowing gratitude back to the wonderful God who first placed it in my hands.

As for the future, it seems that I am being called towards life as a friar. This is perhaps my own manifestation of our universal call to holiness, that common call to love so deeply. It is put best by Vincent Van Gogh:

But what is your final goal, you may ask. That goal will become clearer, will emerge slowly but surely, much as the rough draught turns into a sketch, and the sketch into a painting through the serious work done on it, through the elaboration of the original vague idea and through the consolidation of the first fleeting and passing thought.

As I move out to California and enter this unfamiliar territory, I humbly ask for your prayers: that I may hear the call and that I may respond.

Wishing you peace,

// your brother, Joe