JUNE 30: The last evening of our Province Assembly, I was in the Common Room (rec room) at St. Albert's Priory and I overheard some of our younger friars rummaging through the common room cabinets looking for somewthing to mix with Tequila. They settled upon Squirt lemon-lime and one of them said "it'll be like a margarita." I could not help bu think this is the kind of conversation that takes place in Fraternity houses all the time: just looking for something, ANYthing to mix with the liquor on hand. It was a funny memory/juxtapostition.
But it also got me thinking about the nature of fraternity. I have belonged to a lot of fraternities through the years: I grew up in an all-boy family with 3 brothers, I went to an all-men's military school, I am a member of Pi Kappa Phi collegiate fraternity, and finally, I am a Dominican Friar. These experiences share a lot in common: a certain amount of hazing, definite initiation rituals, a lot of testosterone-fueled competiveness and bravado, lots of back-slapping and good-natured ribbing, some not-so-good-natured conflict, and, above all, a strong sense of belonging.
I really enjoyed our Province Assembly. We are a small Province: only 130 of us; but we don't see each other often because we are spread thinly over a huge territory. We have these Assemblies, on average every 4 years. There is always business to get done and, hopefully, that is pretty painless. But the real value of a Province assembly is FRATERNAL. We come together to celebrate what it means that we are Dominican Brothers. We fete our brothers who have been ordained for long years (This year Fr. Felix celebrates 65 years!), we remember those who have gone before by celebrating one of the liturgies in our cemetary among the graves of our deceased brothers, we gather with our classmates and othersof our "generation," we catch up on the current news, and we look forward to the near future. The same stories are told and retold. We laugh. We cry. We share a toast and a blessing. And we hold each other up in prayer. In the end what is best accomplished is a reminder that we are not alone in this life we have chosen. We entered into an Order, a Province, a Community. We have pledged our lives to each other "jusque ad mortem," and the essence of our life is best lived and celebrated in all that means to be FRATERNITY.
7/8/2014 08:59:18 am
"Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
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