Friar Shares His Experience in His Novitiate Year
Friar Alberto Bravo is currently finishing up his Novitiate Year in California and preparing for his First Profession of Vows. An El Paso Native, Friar Alberto had very similar dreams of a boy, being a police officer, a doctor, and at some point, he even hoped to be the first Hispanic President of the United States. Graduating High School, he felt the desire to serve God and began to discern with the Diocese of El Paso. He had grown up his entire life with Diocesan priests in his parish, one occasion when his priest went to visit his family in Colombia he was introduced to the religious life. Father Andy, the visiting priest asked him if he had ever considered a vocation. Friar Alberto quickly fell in love with Franciscan Spirituality and Brotherhood. He met other friars during various events. When he first joined, he remembers thinking that first profession was so far away. Now, a few weeks away his heart is overwhelmed with many emotions. Friar Alberto shares, “There is that feeling of excitement to know that I am going from dipping my feet in the water to now taking my first laps around the pool. A new chapter in my life is to begin. Nervousness…I want to believe that all of us right before a big moment in our life begin; we feel butterflies in our stomachs. Though the nervousness is not one of fear, but just of stepping into the unknown, but there too is joy in it and much love. Knowing that I am stepping into the unknown, I like many friars before me are following in the same steps which our Seraphic Father Francis walked 800 years ago…following in the footsteps of Jesus. “
Looking back to the day he entered his Novitiate year he has learned one important thing, trust God. Friar Alberto continues, “Be open and don’t be afraid of the unknown. One thing I learned quickly was that if I want everything mapped out for me, to know every turn and every stop along that way, well I was in for a bumpy ride. Allow God to surprise you!”
Novitiate year has allowed him the time to step away from everything, to step back from the busy and loud world and be alone with the Alone. He compares Novitiate in a way to a spiritual boot-camp in which he is presented with tools to help him along his journey to not only fulfill his vows of Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience but to live them. His experience in the Novitiate house is like having a family reunion, he experiences and shares the beauty and joy of living in community, the many personalities and cultures coming together in brotherhood.
Friar Alberto jokes as he shares that he is excited for Whataburger, but he is more excited for the mystery and service. Mystery, to continue to discover more and more about the person whom he loves, God, in the great way of service. By the grace of God, he hopes to continue his studies to become a priest.
Friar Alberto would like to encourage those who are discerning their vocation, “Don’t be afraid of the unknown! Most of the time it is fear that keeps us from allowing the possibility of something new to happen within our lives. We don’t want to let go of our comfort zone, but be brave, be courageous and dive into the unknown. Allow yourself to be surprised by God! Our Blessed Mother is a beautiful example of it. Pray with her and she will help you find her Son’s will in your life.”