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Communities

 

Vocation

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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.

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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.

firstyear


During this period seminarians become familiar with the great variety and wealth of the teachings of Cafh, which helps provide a conceptual basis for their inner work. While teachings guide and support their introspection, they are not considered articles of faith. The Cafh teachings include:

      •  a method of life
      •  spiritual practices
      •  forms of prayer
      •  contemplation
      •  relationships
      •  mysticism
      •  symbology
      •  theology
      •  ceremonial activities
      •  breathing and physical exercises

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.

sixyears


For the next six years, new community members lay the foundation of a solid spiritual life that will allow them to make a difference in the world through their own integral transformation. They learn the meaning and the living of Cafh vows, and they intensify the study of the teachings of Cafh. They work to acquire self-knowledge and self-mastery. After this period, they are ready to take perpetual vows and continue the journey.

renewal


Life in community is a process of continuous spiritual renewal, where we keep our eyes on the horizon while being mindful of each step along the path. A life lived in common with other, likeminded people, offers unique opportunities to practice the qualities we wish to cultivate both as a group and as individuals—especially a sense of fellowship, which includes empathic understanding of differences in age, culture, and background.

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