In one of our Intercommunity Novitiate days we shared around the idea that everything we do for others is in some way also for ourselves. No matter how unselfishly motivated, there is very little I do in which I do not get something in return. I think, at first, that is part of the thrill of this life. I feel satisfied—I get a rush—doing things for others. It was very obvious when I was in college doing “Service Saturdays,” going on alternative spring break trips, doing volunteer work. What then when instead of stepping out, it becomes one’s life? When the little thrills become day-to-day? It’s a good thing that in doing something for others I get something in return. It makes me want to continue. The novitiate is hard in that so much of it is about me. A necessary year of inner reflection and process, but I’m ready for some of the satisfaction that comes with ministry.
Friday I was invited to Fontbonne University to be part of a freshman initiation service that tells the story of how the Sisters of St. Joseph, and later Fontbonne, were founded. The evening is called “Catch the Fire.” The freshmen, having had their own fires lit, are commissioned to share the spirit of the ancient fires that have brought everything to that evening. As I get ready to head to St. Paul next week, to move into my second year novitiate, it was, in many ways, a commissioning service for me as well. A re-kindling of the fire story to which I feel so intimately connected.
I do beginnings much better than I do endings, but to have time these weeks to really prepare to move has been a gift. One of these days packing will be a part of those preparations.