Participating in Christ’s Redemptive Work:
A Novice’s Journey
By friar André Miller, OFM Conv.
In tandem with catechumens going through their own ‘scrutinies’ right now before being baptized on Holy Saturday, we novices are also receiving a type of inquiry called a “scrutinium” from the Minister Provincial before our profession of temporary vows in the summer. One question asked pierces the heart of formation: “Why do you wish to make vows?” Naturally, it would be expected of a novice to have some sort of answer after almost a year of thinking about it!
No doubt we have been pondering such a thing, thanks to the structured time and circumstances allotted for meditation, work and communal recreation. All of these components serve as vehicles to explore God’s calling and form a response. Though, when the time came to formulate a concise answer, I was a little stumped! Attempting to cohesively express a deep, interior conviction that was formed through many moments in my discernment and formation ended up being a little harder than I thought. It’s what I imagine to be the feeling of trying to describe shades of red to someone who’s colorblind.
As I continued to ponder, though, I roughly put together an answer: It’s my best attempt to radically respond to God’s radical love, in the specific ways shown to me, through the “crazy” method of St. Francis, which is ‘to observe the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ by living in obedience, without anything of one’s own, and in chastity. The Franciscan life is one of prayer, ministry, and fraternity, and I believe God has offered it to me as a beautiful drama that is the medium for personal sanctification, from which flows the riveting journey of participating in Christ’s redemptive work for the salvation of souls that He thirsts for. As my vocation develops – the deepening of the call and response between my God and I – and I get closer to professing first vows with excitement, nervousness, joy and myriads of emotion, it’s now easy for me to say, “Well, who wouldn’t want to live a Franciscan life?”