Last night the students at the Collegio (That is, the huge friary where Capuchins from forty countries live while studying at the Roman universities) organized a rosary procession to mark the end of May. As we walked around, praying and singing, making our way eventually to the statue of Our Lady out on a little hill, the prayers and songs were offered in a variety of languages. At the end of each decade a Marian hymn was sung. Some languages I recognized, others not so much. But all the hymns were traditional, and I knew what they were from the tunes. Other friars seemed to know too, and they would hum along while those who knew the particular language would sing. It was a beautiful way to pray together.
Walking back in the dark, wanting only to get back to my room to say my prayers and lie down (I've not yet adjusted to the two-phase sleep schedule), I was reflecting on how the singing and humming could be a metaphor for my whole experience in this transition thus far.
One of the gifts of religious life is that you can go anywhere and be at home. Of course the life isn't exactly the same everywhere, but there is enough of a family resemblance to feel at home. You know the tune, even if you don't know the words. Until you know the words you hum along. Because God is so good, that's enough to know the communion that he is just dying to give us.