View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Officially in formation

Much happened today - 40 Days for Life, with a couple of local bloggers/commenters, joining me at 7 a.m. for prayers outside Planned Parenthood, followed by the all-day Chesterton Conference out at St. John Fisher College. More on those in the coming days.

Last night, though, was personally significant.

I officially began the formation process as a Secular Franciscan.

I have been attending the meetings for a year now, but a group had begun formation long before I arrived on the scene, so I was put on hold. It was a long year, but I learned a great deal and have some wonderful spiritual opportunities. It was a time to learn more about patience and humility as well.

With the previous class now all pretty much done (one member could not make it to the ceremony in August, so will not profess until January), the new class - me - could begin.

I was officially welcomed as an initiate at the meeting, and was given some Franciscan books and my first study assignment. At the next meeting I will meet with the formation director to discuss what I have read and my reflections. (He was also at the Chesterton Conference today, and I jokingly confessed that I hadn't done my homework yet.)

I'm still hoping more people will join the class. But I'm excited that I have found a way to grow in my devotion to St. Francis - my patron saint - and that I have begun to pursue something that I've considered for more than two decades, but which in my pride and stubbornness I had pushed to the background.

4 Comments:

Blogger Persis said...

Lee,
This is awesome! I am happy for you and will keep you in my prayers.
I too have a devotion to St. Francis, due in part to my Italian upbringing.
I have just embarked on a more structured leg of my own journey, as I have started the 19th Annotaion of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.
I always considered myself "Franciscan" in my spirituality until I took a course taught by Fr. Jim Swartz that introduced me to Ignatian spirituality and I have found that I am much more "Ignatian" than "Franciscan"! The use of my imagination when reading scripture and my colloquy(the first time I have used this word outside the retreat:)!) with Jesus were integral parts of my prayer life before I even knew I had one!
Funny how the Holy Spirit works!

Peace & blessings
Persis

9:56 PM  
Blogger Mr. B said...

Lee,

I too am struggling with pride and stubbornness. Change is hard – especially if half of you doesn’t want to.

I feel as if our lives have run a parallel course for a while now. There has been much loss in my life lately.

A dear friend (more like a brother) and Godfather of my daughter passed away last year.

I also lost my loyal companion of 12 years, Libby last year. As you can imagine, I feel as if she was the best of dogs.

The reason that I’m posting this is to encourage you in the manner that you’ve encouraged me. I find you to be an honorable man, a true example of someone making life’s struggles beautiful before God.

Good luck in your journey.

God Bless.

P.S.

My Uncle Tom (God rest his soul) was a Franciscan priest.

6:11 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Persis - I had also looked at Ignatian spirituality. It appealed to me, but I found that my own tendences to over-intellectualize made it the wrong path for me.

My "Franciscan" side was undeveloped, and that's the side of me that needed to grow.

Good luck!

6:29 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Mr. B - Thank you for your kind words.

I'm also sorry about your losses. It's so hard when ones we love - human, and animal - pass on. I still wake up mornings thinking I have to walk Maggie!

6:29 AM  

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