Hello, I am a twenty-something who is currently in RCIA. Though I am quite new to the Church and realize that there are certain restraints when it comes to discerning vocations, I have an ongoing questioning and, more recently, discernment for marriage and religious life. While I have felt more of a "pull" towards married life in the past 2-3 years, I have only recently begun to understand the meaning of marriage as a sacrament. Meanwhile, religious life is something that I hadn't considered at all until quite recently. I feel a desire to "go deep" with my faith and find quiet activities such as retreats, less hectic/crowded Mass and adoration especially fruitful. Could this be a sign of a religious vocation? I would say right now I feel much more pulled towards marriage and motherhood, but I am not closing any doors, especially since I am currently single.
My issue is balancing the need for a deeper level of faith with a potential vocation for marriage. An experience that recently gave me hope: I am visiting family in a suburban area and attended an early Christmas Mass yesterday evening-- one that was particularly full of families with young children. While many children could barely sit still (understandably, as I remember those Santa Claus days!) and parents around me struggled to keep them calm, focusing on the kids, checking out their neighbors' outfits or chatting with acquaintances throughout the Mass, I thought to myself, "Is this how family life would be? Are families completely distracted from the sacrament?" But then I saw a mother and her young daughter, maybe about five or six years old, sitting right in front of me...throughout the Mass, the mother talked softly to her daughter, showing her when to kneel, doing the sign of the Cross for her during the Gospel, and reinforcing the priest's special message for the children about the real meaning of Christmas. It was a beautiful reminder of how faith can be shared between parents and their children.
As I am growing in faith, I am finding that I place less and less importance on material things and the sort of "keep-up-with-the-Jones'" suburban lifestyle. I am especially dealing with this issue in light of how I was raised (much more emphasis on academic/financial success than spiritual development). My question is, how many of you who are called to marriage/family life find that "worldly" things matter much less to you? Do you find that to raise a family you have to "play along" with some of those values? And, for those of you who do, how do you reconcile your tendancies towards a deeper spirituality?