To formalize your commitment to move from postulancy to the Novitiate Experience, please review the Novitiate Movements below and fill out a brief form.
The Novitiate Movements
1. Deeper Discernment
Many in postulancy begin to feel a slight “tug” toward one or more of the commitments contained in the Rule of Life. As I have observed those heading through postulancy, I have noticed that one or more themes begin to emerge, often along the lines of commitments the individual has been wanting and trying to make prior to postulancy. The process of working through the commitments and noticing where God continues to “tug” can often ignite some focus (and passion) to explore these themes more deeply in prayer. This movement of Deeper Discernment is simply a continuation of what God is already doing. It is recommended that this path last 3-6 months.
As themes emerge in postulancy, in addition to prayer and spiritual direction, the novitiate may want to begin a deeper study of the spiritual themes, disciplines, or commitments that he/she has noticed during postulancy. This moment of study is in line with the Benedictine tradition and gives the novitiate a deeper understanding of specific commitments that God continues to highlight. In collaboration with one’s spiritual director, and in consultation with pastors and scholars who are part of the Society of Vineyard Scholars, a course of study and a syllabus will be formed to help direct the novitiate toward gaining a deeper understanding of one or more particular commitments to which the novitiate is drawn. For example, one may find that she is drawn toward the commitments of hospitality & restorative peacemaking. A course of study will be marked out to dig deeper into literature, films, and practices of these emerging commitments. The suggested timeframe for this movement will be 3-6 months and may be pursued in conjunction the Deeper Discernment movement. When 1 & 2 are done together, the total timeframe is 6-9 months.
3. The Exercises of St. Ignatius
As one enters the novitiate experience, one of the challenges we must confront is to allow mission, and our particular invitation to participate in God’s mission, to flow out of our unique identities, to be able to initiate action with clarity, and be faithfully present to those with whom we share life. The Ignatian Exercises are a tool to mature us along in these challenges through the experience of God in prayer. In this movement, the novitiate will learn to be grateful for the way God has uniquely shaped him/her in both giftedness and limitation, grow in one's abilities to discern well, and respond to the voice of The Lord in greater freedom to the life that one has been given. The recommended timeframe for this movement is 9 months and is in line with Ignatius’ 19th annotation which allows for a longer season to move through each of the 4 weeks of The Exercises.