Has it really been five years?
As you may know, the road to priestly ordination for Jesuits typically takes about 11-12 years. These years can be broken down into four main periods of formation in the United States: 2 years as a novice, 2-3 years in first studies, 2-3 years of regency (A period in which Jesuits are engaged in full-time work, and usually this entails high school teaching) , and about 3 years of theology. In terms of our education, we are required to have about 2 years of philosophy (first studies) and 4 years of theology. Most Jesuits in the US typically do a year of their theology studies during first studies, so first studies will usually take 3 years.
In terms of time, I am not yet halfway towards ordination, which baffles many people I tell. However, I have just finished my first studies and will be entering into regency later next month. In a lot of ways, it does feel like I'm halfway there, having finished the first two main periods of my formation towards priesthood.
Jesuits are in the habit of reflecting. Our way of proceeding in a lot of ways is to look back in order to move forward. This is not meant to dwell on the past--life of course must always be lived in the present. But, it is a helpful exercise to look back in order to orient the present towards a hopeful and lifegiving future. Through our examen--which I'm finding I talk about quite a lot on my blog--we dispose ourselves to prayerfully seek how God has been at work in our lives in the day. We reflect on the past in the present moment, and the examen for Jesuits is a daily invitation of intimacy with the Lord.
As I move soon into my regency at Jesuit High School in Portland later next month, I thought it might be a helpful exercise to examen my vocation thus far and to remember how God has been at work in my life.
I've actually written most of my reflection, but then I thought it would be waaaaaay to long for a blog post. So, in this next week, I will upload four different posts reflecting upon my Jesuit journey thus far. That's how long I ended up writing =p