As I mentioned in the previous post of the series, I had finally made a call to the Vocation Office and decided to explore what it meant to be Franciscan. I had an appointment to meet with the Vocation Director for the St. John the Baptist Province of the Order of Friars Minor. I was finally taking the first small steps into exploring a new life… a more godly life. During the week that I had to wait, the excitement, anticipation, and uncertainty grew with every passing day.
As I drove up the long driveway of St. Anthony’s Shrine, which is where the Vocation Office was located, my senses were bombarded by the beauty of the grounds. It was an oasis of peace and nature surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the Cincinnati cityscape. It seemed like a very fitting backdrop, considering the incarnation theology that the Franciscans hold dear.
Walking to the door of the Vocation Office, my nerves began to get the better of me. For just a moment, I considered turning around and walking away. Thankfully, I didn’t. Instead, I rang the doorbell and waited for someone to answer. I waited at the door for a few minutes, wondering if I even had the right office.
A few moments later, I was greeted by a smiling gentleman in a brown robe. He introduced himself as Brother Timothy Lamb, the director of the Vocation Office. His reception was warm and welcoming; and it put my doubts and fears at ease immediately. The thing that struck me about him was his joy. I’m sure he had been a friar for a long time, but he obviously hadn’t lost his passion. In fact, his obvious love for the way of life was infectious.
Over the next several hours, Timothy described to me what being a Franciscan would look like. He told me what it would mean and how it would affect the rest of my life. He described to me a joyous and humble life serving the poor in a profound way. During the discussion, he told me about the vows, the nature of the fraternal life, and the need to be itinerate. I have to admit, some of what he said scared me, but mostly it made my heart leap with excitement.
Almost immediately it was obvious that I wanted to start the process of joining. So, when he asked me if I would like to come to the friary for a weekend to experience a taste of Franciscan Life, I said yes without hesitation.