Working on a few longer posts, but here are a couple tidbits from the last few days:
* Yesterday was my last event as the official photographer for the Redemptorists. It was the annual Mass to celebrate all the priests and brothers who are marking significant anniversaries of religious profession or ordination to the priesthood. At the end of Mass, the provincial mentioned to the entire chapel that I was leaving soon to enter the convent. There was an audible gasp from the half of the small chapel that didn't know that already (the other half being Redemptorists). Applause ensued and it was over all a very nice moment. In thinking about it later, I was struck by that gasp from the congregation. When you're the one in the middle of preparations to enter the convent, you have days when all you can see is the trees (or the boxes at the moment). At least I have those days. It's easy in the middle of all the details to forget the breathtaking part of all this. I hope and pray that I don't forget that gasp. Because it's what produced that gasp that's important -- the witness.
* A wise Redemptorist friend told me something yesterday that I found very hopeful. He's close to 80 years old and has probably spent close to 60 of those years as a religious. He thinks the world will eventually come to the realization that secularism has left a gaping hole in the very heart of society. When that happens, he said the church, and God, will be there to help heal that hole. This friend of mine said the religious life, and commitment to belief, isn't very popular now, but those who persevere in it now, who make that countercultural choice today, will be the ones who end up as the leaders when the church will really need leaders. I found that to be a very hopeful, and exciting, statement. I hope and pray that he's right.
* Packing has begun in earnest around here. Have I mentioned the boxes yet? The years immediately following my graduation from college saw me move four times in three years thanks to grad school and my first few jobs. Even though I haven't moved in seven years, I'm finding that I still don't like the process much. In the past, I remember thinking at some point along the way, that a vow of poverty really looked good in the face of all that work. Well, I found myself thinking that today, and chuckled because I've finally gotten my wish :)