The last week has been a busy one. On Friday Oct 29th the postulants from the New York province arrived here in Milwaukee. There were four plus their postulancy director. On Saturday we took them to the lakefront and bought them coffee at one of the local coffee shops. From the very beginning we got along great. On Sunday we headed up to St. Lawrence High School Seminary about a little over an hour north of Milwaukee. We were going up to have class by one of the friars from my province over the history of the Mass/Eucharist/Liturgy. Some of it for me was review but other things were knew. The classes were Monday through Wednesday for about 5 1/2 hours a day broken up into different sessions. We began with the Christian community during the first century and how they celebrated the Lord's Supper and we traveled all the way up to our present day. It is amazing to see how much the Mass has changed over the centuries. What began as a meal in the homes of what were then still Jewish families has now transformed in to the Eucharist celebrated in large churches and cathedrals. It wasn't until the period between 313-750 that because of the time period and people focusing more on their own sinfulness than the mercy of God, that kneeling first came into practice. It wasn't until the 600's-700's that the sacrificial aspect of the mass came into practice. And up until this point there weren't even prescribed Eucharistic prayers as we have today. I think it's just interesting for me personally to see how the celebration of the Mass has been evolving throughout the centuries and even up to today when the bishops of the United States are again introducing changes into this ancient and holy celebration. The purpose though remains the same. "Do this im memory of me," Christ told us. We come together as community to express our beliefs in Christ Jesus our Lord and God. Fully divine, yet fully human. And that as the bread and wine are transformed into His body, blood, soul and divinity, so too must we transform our own lives following after the one who gave gave everything not because He had to, but because He loved us. The humility of God was something that astounded St. Francis and should astound each and every one of us. That God emptied Himself, stooping down and accepting the limitations of the human condition and remaining with us under the species of Bread and Wine. What greater love is there than this?
While we were busy with classes we were also able to spend time in community with each other. We were truly blessed to have the New York postulants with us and we came together as brothers very quickly. We were also lucky to have such fine hosts as the friars living up at St. Lawrence Seminary. They are always very welcoming. Capuchin hospitality. There is none better to be found. I would have to say that this week was probably the best week I've had in postulancy so far. I cannot wait to go to New York in April when we are scheduled to visit the New York postulants on their own terf.
Peace and all good,