A humble request for advice and prayers


#1

Hello everyone:

This is going to be a long post, so I will divide it up into a few separate parts. A preface, a lamentation, a confession, and a conclusion.

Preface:

Since the ages of childhood I had always felt an attraction to the monastic life. When I lived in Germany, my family and I would take bike rides through the woods to a small town which had a monastery in it, and there I always looked upon the grounds and the monks in awe, as if they were people that were above every human. At the age of fifteen, I began to feel that God was calling me to become a monastic, and throughout the past five years, the calling has grown nothing but more intense.

I had always been a spiritual person, but had never belonged to any religion. My parents never practiced and still do not, and have fallen so far away from the values and ideals of Christianity that they might as well both be atheistic. Thus, I was never shown the proper religious guidance, and while I was baptized (only due to my grandmother’s nagging) at infancy, my parents have no record of it or even a recollection as to the faith it was in besides a photograph and the memory that it was done by a “protestant military chaplain on the Air Force base.”

Suffice to say, I’ve been all over the religious spectrum, trying out everything out there - Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc., but all the while, avoiding Christianity because, like many mass-media brainwashed teenagers out there, I felt it was “pure evil” and that there was so much wealth in the Catholic Church and too many suffering people, etc., so how could this be a good? (Forgive me). However, near the age of fourteen was when I began to develop a tolerance for Christ in my heart, which gradually led over the years to an acceptance of Christianity as a good, but not quite as my sole faith.

Finally, two years ago, I discovered Orthodox Christianity (The Greek/Russian practice). Lo and behold, there was a monastery near where I lived, and I took no hesitance in contacting the Abbot and beginning to attend services there. I felt that this was the right track to go on, because it was not a part of that “evil” Catholic Church (forgive me). I thought that my conversion to the faith would take no longer than a month, but a month turned to months, and months turned to a year, and I was making no progress. All throughout, my mind was constantly darting back to the faith that I grew up around in that region of Southwestern Germany; Catholicism. Time continued to pass, and I was quite intent on becoming a monastic at that particular community, until I had such a bout of nostalgia for the traditions of Catholicism that I abruptly stopped going to services, still un-baptized, and still un-tonsured.

Weeks crept by, and then months, which yielded a wealth of spiritual growth and my ultimate acceptance and turn to the Catholic faith. Upon studying the faith diligently and accepting it as my own, my heart felt that it was about to burst open, and that the skies would part above me and a heavenly choir of angels and seraphim would come forth, and I felt that I was closer to seeing, to being, with God. I had never felt such joy, such wonder, and such a feeling of “I am home” before in my life until then.

Now, a year later as Catholic, the monastic calling is even stronger than ever before, and the same joy and wonder still exists in my heart and soul, a constant that never even existed when I looked upon the Orthodox faith.

Now begins my lamentation:

As I wrote, my parents have never been quite so spiritual. They were, somewhat, in the early days of my youth, but their faith has fallen to the point that my mother now practices Wicca and condemns the Church (please do not be judgmental of my mother from what I write: She is a loving and miraculous woman whom I cherish and adore with all of my heart, even though I fear for her soul, I know that it isn’t her, but the demonic influences which pull her mind that way) any time I try to make a comment about it, and my father and I sometimes get into theological debates about tradition, the situation of Christianity, protestantism, etc. Suffice to say, I am never very open with them about my personal thoughts or beliefs anymore for the sake of avoiding argument. I had been hinting all throughout my later teenage years that I was considering a monastic life, to which they mostly joked and poked fun at me about, until they realized I was serious; from which their laughter turned to fear.

My brother was their only other child, and he turned from a child of innocence into an individual of corruption, greed, and sin; spending his money on nothing but drugs, women, and alcohol, and now he has a bastard child whom he wants nothing to do with. My parents want for me to go to finish college and get a degree and to live a successful life - my mother wants me to pursue music, and my father wants me to pursue civil service. He constantly beckons me to join the military and follow in his footsteps. While that would be all fine and dandy, it’s not what I want to do, let alone feel I am here on earth to do.


#2

Confession

Last year, I took up with a girlfriend, whom I loved and still love very much, but our relationship from the very beginning had been fraught with sin. She was raised very heavily under the Presbyterian faith and was visiting from the East Coast to attend college up here in Washington. I had never had a real partner before, and of course, things constantly got heated, and our relationship was fraught with nothing but constant sin. When it first began, I knew it was wrong, and wanted to cry from the sorrow that I felt for both of us - the fear of going to hell, and for being damned by God for those acts. It was not until a month ago that I finally put my foot down and asked her if we could wait until possible marriage, to which she cried for a long time, but finally accepted.

Lamentation II

Mid-way through our relationship, I had asked her how she would feel if I had decided to take up a vocation. This made her extremely upset, and when my parents saw her upset and asked about the reason, to which I explained, my mother cursed me and said some very hurtful things, and while my father took a lighter, more tolerant approach, I could tell he was less than pleased. Both of them are hoping that I will marry this girl, which I do not want nor foresee. It is not my calling. I will end my relationship with her in the coming month, which will hurt, but we will both recover, but it must be done.

Conclusion

A year prior, before I had met my girlfriend, I was coming extremely close to actually moving in to the Orthodox monastery - not as a monk, yet, but as someone who would finish the religious instruction and then become a novice. My parents were reluctantly accepting of it, although it had taken many days of convincing them that this was what I wanted to do.

Now, as I said, my parents are determined for me to fulfill their desires of me being a prominent son that will be successful and happy throughout my entire life, with a wife, children, and grandchildren. While this is ideal, this is not what I am called for, and this is not where I want to see myself. My concept of happiness and success is far different from my parents’, and far more exotic than the normal conditions of success and happiness in this modern era. My success will be living a life totally devoted to God, and my happiness and joy will be living that life within a small community of others doing the same.

I currently have a small, but manageable credit card debt and am working a job which supplies only enough income to make the minimum payment and purchase gas for my car, but not much other. Finding other work is extremely difficult to do, and I was fortunate enough to just get the job that I have now. They are happy for me, but I am not, and I know that if I were to even talk to them about my calling would bring forth again those hurtful words from them. They don’t understand my innermost thoughts, and I have extreme difficulty in making them understand.

The only option I feel that I have which would make it possible for me would be to, after I finish paying the debt, simply write them a letter, pack a small bag of the necessities I will need while I travel to a monastery (after speaking with the abbot first, of course), and then leave without a formal goodbye or a formal discussion, at night, when they can’t try to stop me.

What would you do in my situation?

I feel selfish, but I can only request the prayers of anyone reading this so that God may help guide me through this dark forest, that my spirituality might increase, and that my humility might strengthen my resolve. I ask that you pray for the understanding and the forgiveness of my parents, and the forgiveness of me for disobeying them if I do so decide on this.

Thank you, and God bless.


#3

Thank you for sharing this moving story. I’m praying for all involved.

I, too, have wiccan family members who are very loving people, so I do know what you mean.


#4

Wow. This is a beautiful and complex life you are living! It isclear that God is calling you. Do you think that maybe if you left without a formal good-bye, there could still be room for mending the hurt is causes both your parents and you over time? It will be hard for them no matter how you leave but if this is really your calling you must do it one way or another. Perhaps time, prayer, and continually reaching out to them would heal the dissapointment/anger they feel about you choosing such a path. I'll pray for you. Good luck!


closed #5

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