Saturday, December 20, 2014

Accompanying a newly professed and Ordained Friar

Month of January till May in India normally we have Professions and Ordinations in the dioceses as well as in the Religious congregations and Orders. We Capuchins too have Professions and Ordinations in this period. Normally the provincial authority takes for granted the newly professed and ordained members and tendency to understand that they can go on their own without any further ongoing formation or accompaniment. A good relation between the new members and the provincial authority accompanying the new friars is to be encouraged and planned out well. There has to trust, confidence and mutual communication between these two for the matured growth and clear understanding for their responsibility as members of the Order. If we want to see in our young friars a greater potential for human and spiritual growth then a personal and deeper sharing is a must. The formators must pass on to the provincial authority the areas the young friars need to work on and grow. The Provincial authority must study it well before appointing them to an office or giving a responsibility. 

The Provincial authority must see that the young friars are placed in a fraternity where the Guardian does not consider him as a work force but trusts, accepts and helps the young friar to grow in his commitments and charism. The young friars should be supported in his needs, growth and struggles. The fraternity must see that the young friar must feel comfortable in the accompaniment that the guardian offers to him.
There bound to be a clash of ideas, style and personality then there has to be a fraternal communication which will encourage a dialogue. The young friar has to realise that all that is done is for his growth in the fraternal life and Capuchin Identity. If the young friar gets involved in a problem or disciplinary issues that will cause a scandal then the guardian as an authority needs to talk with the young friar before a damage is caused to all. The authority can deal with matters as confidentially as prudently possible. With common sense the authority must handle the problem before the entire province comes to know the wrong and false picture of the friars and not the truth. 

What our young friars require and need is appreciation, encouragement, support, care and human touch in their early stages of commitment. We some times fail to offer this due to many reasons. Many of us want these young friars to get into the rut and not allow them to offer something new and challenging in accordance with our Constitutions, spirituality and charism. 

It has been heard all over that the young friars don't pray as they did in formation houses. Many of them give excuses of extra work or small communities where there are one, two or three friars. It is our responsibility to see that the continuation of prayer life is assured for these young friars. Our Constitutions are very clear in saying that the brothers must make progress in the knowledge and practice of mental prayer. The nurturing of prayer life is a prime duty and obligation of every friar as Capuchin as prayer is foundation of our life as capuchins. 

The newly professed and Ordained friars must be aware of the following:
- Prayer in common is normal in the Capuchin life
- This includes the prayer of the hours, but generally also mental and contemplative prayer.
- Meditation in common is a valuable dimension in the prayer life of the friars.
- if the newly professed and ordained for reasons not able to participate in common meditation he should find time to do it in private but it should not become a common feature. 
- The Young friar must take responsibility, in good conscience, to set aside time every day for mental prayer.
- It is traditional that such meditation is done before the Blessed sacrament

Extracts from the Constitutions:
  • Half an hour twice daily or one hour (Const 53:2) before the Blessed Sacrament is the usual time set aside for affective prayer.

  • Listening 
  • to God is to be fostered (45:1)
  • The affective dimension needs to grow: (2:2) experiencing the love of Christ (45:2,6, 46:6, 58:1); ‘The supreme advantage of knowing Christ’ (52:5); Grow in daily communion (Const 54:1.

  • Passing over into Christ  (45:2)
  • Ones response and conversation (45:1,3)
  • Prayer is to be incarnated in life reality (46:4)
  • Deepening participation in the Mass – self offering (48:2.) Concelebration is to be encouraged (46:3)

  • Using the Franciscan sources as genuine stimulation
  • The rosary and devotion to Our Lady is encouraged (54:3.)
  • Monthly days of recollection (55;1), and retreats (55;1), as well as reading material (58:1) needs to be arranged and discussed. 

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