This morning I begin my fourth year here in Italy. It means I'm half done with my assignment here, at least as it appears on paper. But I probably shouldn't expect to pack up and go home on May 28, 2018. Sometime stuff happens that calls brothers back to their home provinces earlier than expected or on the other hand I could be asked to stay beyond the six years of my original obedience. A little later in that same year we will have a new Minister General, and who knows what that could bring.
There are certainly things that I miss at home, the friars of my Province, friends, CVS, dryers, larger cups of coffee. But Rome has its charms too; there's always a church to visit everywhere you go, you can go to confession any day, any time, the food is nice and so is the climate for about a month twice a year.
I appreciate the community life here too. It's much larger and more diverse than anything I had experienced before. It's also a much more 'regular' life than I ever experienced at home. Common prayers and formal meals are about twice as frequent here as they have been in my experience of religious life in the States. Sometimes I have to take a break from it all, but on the whole I appreciate it and I think it has been good for me. The brothers I have found here are worth appreciating as well. Here in the Curia everybody has his little (or big) job, and basically everybody does his own thing calmly.
Now that we are living in town I have the opportunity to celebrate Mass outside of the house sometimes, either on a Sunday for the Bethlemite Sisters or for a week of weekdays at the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto. I miss parish life very much in some ways, but in other ways not.
It's a quieter life I live now than any I knew before in my religious life. I discern that in this quiet the Holy Spirit is inviting me to a more contemplative practice and stance. I pray to accept it.