Once an individual has decided that the Cafh community lifestyle suits his or her spiritual needs, they begin their journey of discernment. This journey has been designed to help the new member achieve inner growth and uncover new possibilities as they begin the path to spiritual unfolding.
Typically a person enters a community of Cafh between the ages of 18 to 32. This is an ideal time to try a life of total consecration to the Divine and souls. Over the next seven to ten years of this journey, a member takes temporary, solemn, or perpetual vows as they enter the various stages of the Cafh vocation. Perpetual vows are the final stage but even after the perpetual vows the process of inner growth continues based on interaction with the Divine, life, society and fellow Cafh members.
The first vocational stage is daring to dream high, without being afraid of the limitations or flaws we see in ourselves. A young person arrives at the community not as a perfectly realized being but as somebody who wants to begin the journey of self discovery and greater spirituality. It is during this stage that the necessary steps that lead to union with the Divine and all human beings commence.
• a method of life
At the end of the period of vocational discernment, if the seminarian decides to take a step further in his o her consecration to spiritual life and is also accepted into the community, he or she takes solemn vows.
Each Cafh community develops, grows, and runs a business that supports its members financially. This means, among other things, that we are business partners and coworkers as well as spiritual companions. Working side by side with someone many hours a day, and then being expected to socialize at other times of the day, presents continuous challenges to create and maintain a healthy overall relationship.
One aspect of renewal which has both inner and outer ramifications is the practical need to renew ourselves professionally. Community members of all ages are expected to keep abreast of current trends in their field of work, which may involve engaging in higher education or other formal training programs. We find that studying and learning is a source of fulfillment and renewal because it encourages us to utilize, even extend, our full intellectual potential to help the community be self-sustaining, while offering our time and our life for the greater good of those who will directly benefit from our greater knowledge and expertise.
Of course, continuous renewal comes from our contemplative spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, reading and reflection. However, we don’t think of what we can achieve through these practices—a tranquil state of mind, union with the Divine, inner equilibrium, for example—as ends in themselves. The results of our inner work are meaningful to the extent that they provide the motivation, guidance, and courage to be the kind of person we choose and want to be. In reality, this always translates into the challenge of how to improve our interpersonal relationships