On the Feast of the Presentation our brothers renewed their vows to live our Life for one year. Renewing vows for one year may or may not seem like a huge commitment. On its own it really isn’t. Really the renewal encompasses far more. I renewed my vows for the first time eleven years ago, yet I remember it quite vividly. All the friars kneeled at the altar rail of St. Adalbert Church in the Bronx. In the presence of all the friars in the community, I spoke into the microphone: “I Brother Gabriel Mary of Jacksonville vow and promise to almighty God…” At age 25, and after having spent two and a half years with the community, my renewal of vows was for me telling God, “You’ve brought me this far and I believe you are calling me to this life and so I will continue to follow.”
Every step forward becomes a step towards letting go of that which is solely our own will. Through this period of discernment we become more aware of who we are as His sons and who we are called to be. Discernment is never meant to be a source of anxiety but an opportunity to trust. Our Lord didn’t give the Apostles a five-year plan; he simply invited them to follow Him.
Please pray for all of the friars who renewed their vows!