A Novice Reflection by Br. Louis Canter, n/OEF who is seeking to make life vows this Summer.
My name is Louis Canter and I currently am a novice in the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans. I am not new to religious life, since I was a member of the Friars Minor from 1978-1990. I left the Order and continued on a path of service to the Catholic Church as Music minister and Liturgical Coordinator for these past years until the present. I have ministered in many denominations as both musician and preacher while living my life as a Catholic. I have found common ground in all aspects of the Christian faiths and have enjoyed fellowship and discussion about the Christian Life.
Three years ago I had a longing to be a part of something larger than myself. I have always stayed in touch with my Franciscan roots and the community I lived with prior to my leaving. Bro. Al Mascia , OFM, introduced me to the OEF and asked if I would consider praying about being a part of the community. I did inquire but felt hesitant. Two years ago the urge came about again while I was living with Bro. Al in the Song and Spirit Community, I inquired and have been in formation since then.
I went to chapter last year and was glad to be part of the fun, fellowship and prayer of the community. Listening to the stories and seeing how the community worked to find common ground in understanding the purpose and direction of the community was a relief and joy to me. I am so excited that God has brought me to such an authentic group of Franciscans.
The ongoing challenge for me is to stay in touch with a dispersed community. This is tough with a very busy schedule and being an introvert as well. But I enjoy the calls, the texting, email and instant messaging that I am a part. I am learning more and more how to be a brother to this band of Franciscans.
I continue to search and long for a deeper union with God and I believe that I am finding that union with this particular community and the witness of others who strive for that perfect union. The Franciscan Charism is so central to what I have observed and am a part of and I love the honesty, even when it is difficult to give or receive. That is what I mean by authentic. This moves me to love even more, so I continue as a sinner among the community seeking to be in permanent relationship with a community that longs for the same things.
I pray what little I can offer will be received by the Order and that I can share who I am and what I have in gifts. I take much more with me from the Order in the workplace and hopefully in the way I live my life as a member of OEF. That is my hope and dream, to be fully and authentically part of a Christian community under the banner of the Franciscan Way, living a life which is worthy of the great God who made me and loves me, and what I believe the OEF stands for in its journey together.