[quote="Young_Thinker, post:7, topic:198068"]
As others have said, it depends upon the community. I have read, for instance, of Jesuit provinces requiring a convert to wait three years and of Basilian Fathers asking them to wait for 5 years. The latter definitely counts more out! If something believes himself to be committed, I do not see why he should have to waste(perhaps, depending upon what he does during that) several years before being allowed to proceed in his spiritual formation. Lapsed "cradle-Catholics" who have "reverted" do not have to do that, from as far I am aware.
The original poster is applying to the Capuchin Franciscans. I was responding to him from Franciscan law and the Rule of the Friars Minor as it was written by St. Francis. Every order has its own regulations.
It is not a waste of time if you look at it from our perspective. In the religious life the policy is that you do not decide if you have a call to our way of life. Only Christ decides that and Christ speaks only through the superior. The way that it works is that you postulate yourself, hence the term postulant. The superior decides if you should be given an opportunity to test your call. The community where you live monitors your progress and reports back to you every few months and they send their report to the superior. The superior, speaking for Christ, dictates every step of the way. You're not wasting time. If you are doing what the superior requires, you are doing what Christ wants.
In this case, since the young man in question wants to be a Franciscan, he's on the right track if he accepts the delays that the superior puts in place for him. The primary vocation of a Franciscan is to be subservient. True poverty is only achieved when you are totally detached from what you want and your goals, so that you own nothing, neither material, emotional or spiritual. You become totally available to Christ through obedience. For Franciscans this is the height of perfection. Accepting yeas of dely before making solemn vows is actually living the Franciscan rule.
Remember, that for the Franciscan family there is never any urgency to get out there and do ministry. Ministry is not essential to our way of life. It is accidental. We are mendicants, not clerks. Essential to our way of life are: prayer, submission, detachment from self, love of our brothers, penance, and the conversion of Catholics.
Do reverts have to go through these delays? It depends on the individual case. You have to know why the person left, how long he was gone, why did he come back and other information. It may take just as long for a revert to reach solemn vows as it does for a convert.
I cannot speak for other orders. Each has its own statutes and some also have a rule given to them by a founder. We are one of those orders that have both: a rule and statutes.
Br. JR, OSF :)