A Vocation in Joy, Logic, and Glory?


#1

Friends, I wish to ask you a proper question about vocations! :)

Every day for several months now, I have felt a wonderful light that neither warms my body in hot weather, nor cools it in cold. It is simply a happiness without any peer, emerging from the darkness of my lifelong atheism. The Blessed Lord has pierced me with a great joy. This seems to be a manifestation of exactly what I call "the glorious order" - that endless urge to live; that right order; that transcendent beauty; that form about the Universe - which the Lord has made. Those stars, galaxies, pulsars, quasars, and planets up there - and the rubies, sapphires, tulips of the field, mountains, rivers, and forests down here all reflect that perfect Master. It is almost like a symphonic dance weaved into the Universe, the totality of Creation worshiping God in joy.

Unsurprisingly, I must admit that my favourite areas of this holy religion are those which are most explosive in their love for God. The Gloria in excelsis Deo and Te Deum are said in my prayers every day no matter what. Those two prayers are at the center of my life: one for Glory, and one for Joy, endless joy. Maybe this will help you in advising me? :thumbsup:

I know deep in my soul that I am being ordered by God to expound this utterly incomparable joy to the world. It is my repayment to God for having given me the grace to accept what free will and reason brought me to. The glorious holiness of His perfection must be seen by every last human being. That Holy Word and Gospel must spiral out again, to every last ear. I must use logic to convince the atheist, joy to convince the cynic, and glorious, shining hope to convince the fatalist. These dark times must be washed over by God!

Whatever it will be, it must be inside the Church He founded. No matter what my director says ("you must wait until you've been baptised for a while in order to discern for that sort of thing"), God is telling me to become a priest, religious brother, friar, or monk. I have more certainty in this than I have certainty of the Sun's re-appearance tomorrow morning! Our Holy Lord tells me to be joyful in logic, and to reflect the glory of His Justice and Mercy forever, to be subject to Him as a Religious. Obedience to wise men is nothing! Poverty is nothing! Celibacy is nothing. These vows sound so easy when I know I have a mission to smash the atheists with the logic of Thomas Aquinas, and using the wisdom given to us from Heaven.

Are there any orders which specifically emphasise outward joy, seraphic glorification of God, and rigorous, extensive use of Thomism to justify the existence of God and the doctrines of the Church? My being fills with conviction more and more every day. Please excuse the theatrics, but I can hear His voice louder than anything. He wants me to give up the world, make myself obedient to wise men, and re-enter it with His all-consuming fire in my heart. The Franciscans are joyous, but do not seem to be as focused on logical apologetics; on the other hand, the Dominicans are naturally Thomist, but I don't see much simple outward joy as a central tradition, but more solemnity. Does a mean between this trinity of logic, glorification, and joyousness exist somewhere? I must get started thinking now, because there is a long, patient road ahead.

Please pray for me, especially that I grow in the virtue of temperance, which I sorely lack.


#2

First of all, you should pay attention to your director. You can fantasize and start considering possibilities, sure; but if he says that you are not ready to discern, then you are not ready to discern.

This said, the Dominicans may be more joyous than you think - at least, the ones who my parents are friends with are. They are not the kind of people who will dance around and clap hands, sure, but solemnity does not preclude joy.

After all, they were founded to combat an heresy that maintained that the material world was evil: the fact that even the physical universe is good and created by God is a central part of Dominican spirituality.


#3

May I recommend "The New Wine of Dominican Spirituality" by Paul Murray? It would be a great book for you to read right now. And, if you're interested in becoming a Dominican, you certainly will have to love reading :)


#4

I have to say this. Slow down a bit. As you've pointed out, you're not even baptized yet. Many people can be too hasty with their vocations and rush into things, which causes nothing but trouble. So first of all, listen to your spiritual director. He's an experienced man. He knows this sort of stuff. If he says you shouldn't discern yet, then listen to him. It would be especially good to wait until baptism and confirmation, because then you will be full of the Holy Spirit. I'm not saying to ignore the idea that you have a call, just put it off to the side for later consideration.

Also, with the consideration that the vows are easy, don't be so quick to think that. You haven't experienced them yet.


#5

OP,

Thank you for sharing so beautifully! I, too, converted, and what an overwhelming sense of joy, peace, and consolation this brings!

Definitely bask in the warmth! :)

Don't forget the words of I Samuel 15:22, though: "Obedience is better than sacrifice..."
If one becomes a secular priest, they are bound by obedience to their bishop. If one becomes a religious, they are bound by obedience to their superior. As a lay person, we should essentially bind ourselves in obedience to our spiritual director. Remember that this is part of trusting God, that He will use this person as a conduit by which He shares His grace with us and secures our salvation.

I totally relate to your feelings, and I also want to respond radically to wherever God is calling me. I just have to make sure that time and patience are in the forefront of things, because God works in His own way, and that is not for me to know.

So, follow the true joy and delight of your heart, stay free from sin, frequent the sacraments (particularly Mass and confession), and nurture a deep prayer life. God won't let you miss your call, so just enjoy where you have been called today!

I will pray for your confirmation and discernment!

In Christ,

+VNV+


#6

[quote="Impertinens, post:2, topic:217810"]
First of all, you should pay attention to your director. You can fantasize and start considering possibilities, sure; but if he says that you are not ready to discern, then you are not ready to discern.

[/quote]

You know, on my first meeting with him, he told me up-front that I remind him of Aquinas. Every time I start to get ahead of myself, therefore, he reminds me of the scholastic dictum: "First Things First". This constantly humbles me when I start to get romantic dreams. You have this same ability, my friend. :p

This said, the Dominicans may be more joyous than you think - at least, the ones who my parents are friends with are. They are not the kind of people who will dance around and clap hands, sure, but solemnity does not preclude joy.

Thank you for giving me this consideration. To be honest, my concept of joy doesn't exactly include dancing and hand-clapping. ;) I was referring to a deep, profound, saintly joy stemming from having hoped in God. This is the sort of wondrous peace and strength of heart I always see in committed Franciscans. It has nothing to do with physicality, other than loving smiles and a certain twinkling gleam in the eyes.

After all, they were founded to combat an heresy that maintained that the material world was evil: the fact that even the physical universe is good and created by God is a central part of Dominican spirituality.

Hmm! I'll have to see how they dealt with the Albigensians in rhetoric and reason, then. :)

[quote="phoooiee, post:3, topic:217810"]
May I recommend "The New Wine of Dominican Spirituality" by Paul Murray? It would be a great book for you to read right now. And, if you're interested in becoming a Dominican, you certainly will have to love reading :)

[/quote]

All I do is read. ;) Books are the gateway to zeal and conviction in public. I'll look this up immediately!

[quote="Biedrik, post:4, topic:217810"]
I have to say this. Slow down a bit. As you've pointed out, you're not even baptized yet. Many people can be too hasty with their vocations and rush into things, which causes nothing but trouble. So first of all, listen to your spiritual director. He's an experienced man. He knows this sort of stuff. If he says you shouldn't discern yet, then listen to him. It would be especially good to wait until baptism and confirmation, because then you will be full of the Holy Spirit. I'm not saying to ignore the idea that you have a call, just put it off to the side for later consideration.

Also, with the consideration that the vows are easy, don't be so quick to think that. You haven't experienced them yet.

[/quote]

There is no reason for me to doubt the helpfulness this advice. Why do you think I asked for prayers to increase in temperance? Only temperance can temper the romantic temperament. God has filled you with a boldness to bluntly state the truth. Thank you for following His will, and not being afraid to embarrass me. I just can't wait to be baptised! Primum prima, always.

[quote="VeroNihilVerius, post:5, topic:217810"]
OP,

Thank you for sharing so beautifully! I, too, converted, and what an overwhelming sense of joy, peace, and consolation this brings!

Definitely bask in the warmth! :)

Don't forget the words of I Samuel 15:22, though: "Obedience is better than sacrifice..."
If one becomes a secular priest, they are bound by obedience to their bishop. If one becomes a religious, they are bound by obedience to their superior. As a lay person, we should essentially bind ourselves in obedience to our spiritual director. Remember that this is part of trusting God, that He will use this person as a conduit by which He shares His grace with us and secures our salvation.

I totally relate to your feelings, and I also want to respond radically to wherever God is calling me. I just have to make sure that time and patience are in the forefront of things, because God works in His own way, and that is not for me to know.

So, follow the true joy and delight of your heart, stay free from sin, frequent the sacraments (particularly Mass and confession), and nurture a deep prayer life. God won't let you miss your call, so just enjoy where you have been called today!

I will pray for your confirmation and discernment!

In Christ,

+VNV+

[/quote]

Thank you, my friend! Your point about a descending order of obedience is very striking, I must say. I didn't even think of it that way: obedience without vows of obedience! Yes, if I might become an obedient Religious some day, I really should be obedient to the director. Both you and Biedrik are solemnly correct in this matter, and I feel rejuvenated knowing that I am still imperfect and lacking in temperance - it means I can always improve!

Whatever happens here, I am undoubtedly going to take up Altar Serving at the cathedral after my baptism. However long it takes, I must let my pride be crushed by experience.


#7

You should follow your director in all things especially if you feel you are called to the religious life where you will be making the vow of obedeince.

Not only should you not be discerning this yet, you should be learning the basics of the Catholic Faith and how to live it.

No diocese or religious order/community will talk with you about a possible vocation until 3 to 5 years as you are entering the christian life and have to have time to live it.

The best you can do is finish RCIA, be received fully into the Church, live the life, and start to volunteer at your parish. Continue with you spiritual director and work with him to decide when, after your reception into the Church, it is time to start any vocational discernment.

You can view this as a test of your obedience.


#8

Thanks for your honesty, ByzCath. There is no reason to assume that my soul is suited to anything like that yet. Even if a vocation is not on the horizon for many years, I would like to learn about the spirituality of various orders. We all hear talk of Dominican spirituality, Franciscan spirituality, and Jesuit spirituality, don't we? Why not at least research a specific sort of dedication to Christ, while I wait for the real call of the Spirit?

This wait will be very difficult. Perhaps I can find something to read regarding obedience, so this lack of patience will slowly disappear. There absolutely must be patience, or else presumption sets in! :(


#9

I definitely want to caution your zealous temperament because I have experienced the same thing and unfortunately for me, it didn't last. About 3 years ago, I experienced a religious conversion in my heart. I had been born and raised Catholic but moved away from the Church on my own because of several misunderstandings of the faith and my own agenda. In December 2007, I reverted back to the Church because of a very strong belief that the Catholic Church was the one true faith and this prompted me to look into religious life because at that same time, I met my first Religious.

I honestly thought I had a vocation to be a nun or a sister and it took it's toll on me for a quite a period of time. There were moments of sheer happiness and grace and also of anxiety and impatience. There I was, a newbie Catholic in a sense, and I didn't take any time out to just enjoy that period. I rushed into discerning as fast as I could. Now, if I could do it differently, I would have because I probably would have saved myself a lot of heartache and pain. I had no idea what the different requirements of communities were and why they were in place. I have had depression and anxiety since I was 16 (I'm now 27) and religious orders (and Canon Law) require that a person have a good mental health history. I basically ignored that and continued on. I eventually found a community that was willing to let me try out my vocation, but never entered because when I finally decided to try it out informally on the invitation of the community in their apostolate for a month, I experienced very intense anxiety attacks. I had a feeling that something was not quite right and my spiritual director even alluded it indirectly, but I would not listen to him because I was so sure I was going to enter there at first. After that period of detachment from the order, I questioned my beliefs and wondered if God had truly given me a religious vocation and if He had, why was He doing this to me? :( Not the right way to be thinking at all! I know this now.

About December last year, I started experiencing withdrawal from my discernment. I was beginning to feel that I did not want to look into any more communities because of the problems I had been facing since I have mental health problems. At the time, I was not on medication (I am now, and will be the rest of my life) because I had been taken off of it and thought I was doing well. I started experiencing signs of being called to a different vocation--either marriage or single life. I thought they were temptations and I struggled to continue on. But still, the thoughts of a different vocation persisted and, in March this year, I knew, without a doubt that I was not called to be a religious. But I didn't officially end my discernment until August. Since then, I have experienced such peace that I know I made the right decision. I am not focused on finding a spouse at the moment. I have learned to take everything one step at a time through prayer and more prayer.

What is the point of posting my story here? I just want to warn those who take such quick steps in discernment to be patient. That is the golden word--PATIENCE. If you are truly called, God will not take your vocation away. If you think you have a call now, you would do well to wait to pursue it until after you have been in the Church for quite a while and are no longer a neophyte. Zeal of a new religious identity (whether through conversion or reversion) can often be mistaken for a religious life call. Be patient and listen to the cues of your spiritual director. That is what they are there for--to guide us along our path of our spiritual life. Stay strong in prayer (especially in front of the Blessed Sacrament) and be active in your Church and your true vocation will become clearer through time.

I will keep you in my prayers. Welcome to the Church!! :thumbsup:


#10

[quote="GloriousOrder, post:8, topic:217810"]
Thanks for your honesty, ByzCath. There is no reason to assume that my soul is suited to anything like that yet. Even if a vocation is not on the horizon for many years, I would like to learn about the spirituality of various orders. We all hear talk of Dominican spirituality, Franciscan spirituality, and Jesuit spirituality, don't we? Why not at least research a specific sort of dedication to Christ, while I wait for the real call of the Spirit?

This wait will be very difficult. Perhaps I can find something to read regarding obedience, so this lack of patience will slowly disappear. There absolutely must be patience, or else presumption sets in! :(

[/quote]

Because your director is right. Learn about the whole Church before you start getting into these things.


#11

I am sorry, I did not mean to be a party pooper. It is beautiful that you have such a worthy dream, and may it be fulfilled!

I was only attempting to caution against facile enthusiasm - but enough about that, there is nothing wrong with being interested religious orders and their spiritualities: I would just avoid making plans for the future, for now, but we told you that already.

Mine neither - but it was the concept of the religious sisters who taught me in primary school and who my parents are in contact relations with. They are very good people and they are doing a lot of excellent work, but their... enthusiastic... style of worship and "animation" was downright embarrassing.

But, well, it takes all sorts of temperaments to make a Church, I suppose. ;)


#12

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