The Journey towards St. Francis : 2 – Vocation & Integration

This post aims to share my thoughts from the 2nd meeting with my Novice Guardian. The theme we explored (known as Postulancy Note1) is ‘Vocation to an Order and integration with work and family’.

Discussing the undertakings of membership of the third order, I was reminded of one of the main reasons Franciscans appeal to me more than other orders. There is

considerable flexibility … in the way they live out the rule in their daily life.

However, it’s no small undertaking… you are expected to commit (without exception) to; Celebrating Community Obedience daily, Renewing one’s pledge annually, making an annual report, making a financial contribution, making an annual retreat, seeing a Spiritual Director, contributing to the life of the order, voting for officers and keeping your personal rule as well as keeping the third order rule which consists of the Principles, Constitution and Profession.

I’ll get to explore the personal rule in more detail as time goes on but that is one of the most exciting part of this journey for me – moving my personal rhythm beyond prayer to other areas of life.

Living an integrated life goes against much of how the world works – having dualistic thinking (compartmentalising different parts of your life) is one way to handle the stresses of our culture but it’s not how to integrate faith into every part of our lives. This is something that I grappled with as a teenager but since university I have pretty much worn my faith on my sleeve. That said, there is always room for exploring how to integrate faith into every aspect of life.

We discussed how family feel about my call to the vocation to a radial discipleship and how the commitments might affect family life. Fortunately for me this is a journey that is understood and supported by my wife but I can see how these questions are important for others who may not be in such a privileged position.

The next part of our discussion was around work. Again, this didn’t feel like it was going to cause much of an issue for me as I work for the diocese but some of the questions were interesting all the same. Ethical issues, commitments that may disrupt your membership and how you live out your faith in a work environment are all considerations before you make a life profession.

If you’re interested in the 3rd order Franciscan movement – you can find more information at (for the European Province).

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