Called to religious life? Questions


#1

+JMJ+

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a nun. When I was a teenager, I fell away and lived a horrible life. God knocked me off my high horse about a year ago with the most incredible conversion. And then one day, I felt called to the Religious life and that was just...It. It has been 9 months since that day and it has only grown and my appreciation of the reality of it has matured. I have been on 2 retreats. The most recent one I stayed for the weekend at a convent and then was blessed to stay for a whole week to live the life with them. I believe this is what God is calling me to do.
I spoke to my spiritual director. I spoke to the Mother superior. All seems to be going well.
Then how come I'm becoming anxious...Scrupulous...? I keep finding reasons why this is not my calling... because:

1) I lived a horrible life, how could I be called?
Does God call the poorest of sinners to be His bride?

2) Could the devil be tempting me away from such a call?
Could I possibly be deceived into thinking I have a calling to the convent?

It's hard to believe God would allow me to be deceived for so long...I think that He desires me to just say thank you and follow His will! ( Did I just answer my own questions?):shrug:

I am supposed to take my next step in joining the convent, very soon.
I think I'm just scared and need some advice.

If anything I ask whoever reads this to say a little prayer for my intentions.
Thank you and may God bless you !!!


#2
  1. Previous Horrible Life: sounds like a lot of Saints in our Church. God gets to call whom He wishes in what way He wishes, we don't get to second-guess Him.

  2. The Liar hates lives devoted to God: I'd be so surprised if he wasn't trying to dissuade you

  3. Entering is not final vows: Every step is a step. That's all. You still get to change your mind. Changing your mind is not failure, it's discernment. Not changing your mind is not success, it's discernment.

  4. My test is what brings me peace. When you reflect on your time with them, how did you feel? If you think of never going back, how does that feel?

  5. Trust them. These Sisters have been doing this for a while. This is why you'll have spiritual direction.


#3

[quote="Mary_Francesca, post:1, topic:266061"]
+JMJ+

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a nun. When I was a teenager, I fell away and lived a horrible life. God knocked me off my high horse about a year ago with the most incredible conversion. And then one day, I felt called to the Religious life and that was just...It. It has been 9 months since that day and it has only grown and my appreciation of the reality of it has matured. I have been on 2 retreats. The most recent one I stayed for the weekend at a convent and then was blessed to stay for a whole week to live the life with them. I believe this is what God is calling me to do.
I spoke to my spiritual director. I spoke to the Mother superior. All seems to be going well.
Then how come I'm becoming anxious...Scrupulous...? I keep finding reasons why this is not my calling... because:

1) I lived a horrible life, how could I be called?
Does God call the poorest of sinners to be His bride?

[/quote]

:hug1: I have similar questions like yours. I'm a convert and before I was Catholic, I didn't live a good life at all. I sinned a lot. Then continued (and still continue) struggling with sin when I became Catholic. For that reason and others sometimes I wonder if a religious vocation is possible for me.. because often I feel drawn to it.

I think though - that as St Therese said, God calls whom He will. I read in a discernment article, that God does not call to religious life those who are more worthy. It's a mystery why some are called and not others. But it has nothing to do with our "worth".. it has to do with His plan for us. It might help you to read 'Story of a Soul' by St Therese.. you might relate to her "little way" :) it's our poverty and weakness that attracts us to God, not any "merit". Of course, we must avoid sin, both venial and mortal, and occasions of sin. If we try to love God, we will grow. But that is still not why He loves us.. and His greatest work has been done through the humblest, weakest people. A Saint asked Him... why were they chosen for their mission? and He said, if He had found someone weaker, He would have chosen them. :) I think this is because such people allow God to truly work in and through them.. if we are relying on our own merit, strength, and virtue: then we don't feel that we need Him. Humility involves knowing that we need God. He looks for the most humble.. and honestly it doesn't matter how you lived back then, what matters is how you live now, and how you will grow from here. We are all called to be Saints. If God wants to make you a Saint in religious life: then this is where He has prepared graces for you. He can use your memory of the time when you strayed from Him... either by giving you a mission to help other souls come to Him, or to keep you humble.

Remember He called St Paul to be an Apostle :) and before this, he persecuted Christians. Then he became an Apostle. St Peter, the first Pope, denied Christ three times. And St Augustine didn't live a Christian life before his conversion! then he became a Bishop.

A story in the Gospel that I've always found so comforting is the story about the "sinful woman" with the perfume jar...

Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[c] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Prayers :)

God bless!


#4

[quote="Mary_Francesca, post:1, topic:266061"]
+JMJ+

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a nun. When I was a teenager, I fell away and lived a horrible life. God knocked me off my high horse about a year ago with the most incredible conversion. And then one day, I felt called to the Religious life and that was just...It. It has been 9 months since that day and it has only grown and my appreciation of the reality of it has matured. I have been on 2 retreats. The most recent one I stayed for the weekend at a convent and then was blessed to stay for a whole week to live the life with them. I believe this is what God is calling me to do.
I spoke to my spiritual director. I spoke to the Mother superior. All seems to be going well.
Then how come I'm becoming anxious...Scrupulous...? I keep finding reasons why this is not my calling... because:

1) I lived a horrible life, how could I be called?
Does God call the poorest of sinners to be His bride?

[/quote]

YES! Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Augustine were notorious sinners before they consecrated their lives to Christ. Saint Paul persecuted Christians and then died for Christ. As Saint Francis said "I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, He can work through anyone." I feel called to religious life and there are times when I wonder and think why me? What did I do to deserve this calling? But the beauty of it is that God calls us, wretched sinners though we are, to His service. It is a blessing and an honour. If you feel God is calling you then that is all you need.

[quote="Mary_Francesca, post:1, topic:266061"]
2) Could the devil be tempting me away from such a call?
Could I possibly be deceived into thinking I have a calling to the convent?

It's hard to believe God would allow me to be deceived for so long...I think that He desires me to just say thank you and follow His will! ( Did I just answer my own questions?):shrug:

I am supposed to take my next step in joining the convent, very soon.
I think I'm just scared and need some advice.

If anything I ask whoever reads this to say a little prayer for my intentions.
Thank you and may God bless you !!!

[/quote]

I do not think Satan would deceive you into entering a convent. It would be counter-productive, Satan does not want us to become closer to God. Satan tempts us to sin, not to virtue. And you pretty much did answer your own question. :D

Entering is a scary thing. It's a huge step. But think about the wonders of the life you will gain! The dedication of one's entire life to Christ . . . it's so incredible. I don't know about you but I can't wait. Keep praying, keep discerning with the community. Perhaps visit the convent for a long stay before you take the step of entering. I think any future religious will have that moment of panic or doubt. Sometimes it just takes prayer, but sometimes visiting the community again will help to strengthen your decision.

I will of course keep you in my prayers and please keep my discernment to religious life in yours.


#5

Also, remember that discernment doesn't end with contacting a community. After this, you need to discern with them, and then be a postulant, and then a notive, and basically the discernment only truly ends when you say final vows. And the community needs to accept you too. So you don't need to know absolutely for sure in order to contact religious orders. Much of the discernment happens while living with the Sisters... also, spiritual direction is important. If you don't have a spiritual director, it can really help to find one. Maybe ask your priest or the vocations director for the diocese, if not for spiritual directionn, then for advice. And try to receive the Sacraments as often as you can, go to daily Mass if you can, Adoration, and pray the Rosary, be devoted to Our Lady.. :)

God bless!


#6

Here's a letter by St Therese to her sister :)

"Dear Sister... How can you ask me if it's possible for you to love God as I love Him? ...
If you had understood the story of my little bird, you would not have asked me this question. My _________ (fill in the blank: virtues, talents, many gifts, etc.)] are nothing; they are not what give me the unlimited confidence that I feel in my heart. They are, to tell the truth, the spiritual riches that render one unjust, when one rests in them with complacence and when one believes they are something great.... Ah! I really feel that it is not this at all that pleases God in my little soul; what pleases Him is that He sees me loving my littleness and my poverty, the blind hope that i have in His mercy... That is my old treasure.... [W]hy would this treasure not be yours?

...Oh, dear Sister, I beg you, understand your little girl, understand that to love Jesus, to be His victim of love, the weaker one is, without desires or virtues, the more suited one is for the working of this consuming and transforming Love... **ut we must consent to remain always poor and without strength, and this is the difficulty... Ah! let us remain then very far from all that sparkles, let us love our littleness, let us love to feel nothing, then we shall be poor in spirit, and Jesus will come to look for us [and] He will transform us in flames of love.

...Oh! how I would like to be able to make you undestand what I feel! ...It is confidence and nothing but confidence that must lead us to Love."**


#7

Oh my what a blessing this has been! Thank you all so very much. :D

Monica,
Saint Therese's letter to her sister was inspirational. Its just what I needed to hear. The remedy for certain things I struggle with were basically within that letter.
You know, you are right. Once I'm there it doesn't mean the discernment process is over, in fact its really just beginning. I have years before I would make the final decision. It is all according to Gods will. His time is different then ours, I must keep reminding myself this!

Thank God for the conversion He gave us! It looks like were in a similar situation. Your advise was so helpful to me. I hope this group or thread (whatever this is) will be helpful for you too! God knows if we have a religious vocation and if we do we must follow that. The evil one will tempt us away from our true calling so we must be aware of that and pray that God will guide us because He will! It seems to me that if somebody is drawn to the religious life...they most likely have been called. And just incase .. we should atleast try! The Lord will show is in due time what is and what is not.

Thank you again and I will pray for you. :)

" What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a Shepard, I would bring a lamb.
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part.
Yet, what can I give Him? Give Him my heart!
What can I give Him? Give Him my heart! "


#8

Julia Mae,

"God gets to call whom He wishes in what way He wishes, we don't get to second-guess Him."
This is true...It really hit me hard, I wont forget this. I must learn to abandon my all into His hands. He knows what is best for me and I must never second-guess Him.

About that Liar.. he does hate lives devoted to God. Our Lady of La Salette or was it Atika, where she warns that satan will try to ruin consecrated souls. Thats so scary but if God equips us to handle it....well then...I will not second guess Him. In the meantime, as I discern, I will not let that evil one draw me away from God. I know God allows me to be tempted in these ways to bring me closer to Himself (somehow!)

I do have plenty of time before and even while I'm there. The reminder has been helpful to me. What a relief!

Peace. Oh how I long for Gods peace! I have been anxious. In the convent I was happy and peaceful but since I have been second guessing and throwing myself under the bus I have not been at peace!!! I think once I stop relying on myself, and trust in God completely, I will have His peace.

I will trust in my spiritual directors. They do know what they are doing. I believe God will and is speaking to me through them.

Thank you so much! God bless you! I will remember you in my prayers.:)


#9

+I love the Church's exquisite . . . Benedictine Pray:gopray2:er . . . recorded below . . . it has proven to be a wonderful blessing to many during times of discernment and profession . . .

[INDENT]:signofcross:"[size=]Save Thy **handmaiden, O **Lord, for in Thee is her hope. Let her be good and humble. Let her be exalted by obedience. Let her be bound to peace. Let her be constant in prayer. Lastly, O Lord, we beg Thee to receive graciously her offerings ... "[/INDENT][/size]
*In dedication to the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart . . .

God bless . . . *

The beautiful phrase below is inscribed under a statue of the wonderful Blessed St. Peter in Rome . . .

Contemplate the God who is Word,
the rock divinely cut in gold.
Placed upon it,
I am unshakable
.

[RIGHT]. . . all for *Jesus+
*. . . thank You Dear Lord our Blessed Saviour+
. . . thank you Blessed Holy Mother Mary+
. . . thank you Blessed Holy Mother Church+
[/RIGHT]


#10

Perfect Timing,

Thank you, and by the way...perfect timing! :thumbsup:

Its such an example of His great mercy..how He calls such sinners to Him even in through the religious life!

Oh I long for the day if it is meant to ever arrive , I truly do.

God bless you and your travels to Our Lords Sacred Heart!

Thank you so much for your advise, you helped me out alot!!!

I will be praying for you! :)


#11

Jesus123,

Oh I almost cried when I read that. What a beautiful prayer! I will write this down and pray for everyone discerning their vocation. Thank you for that and for your prayers. What a special gift that was.

May God bless you!!! I will pray for you :)


#12

[quote="Mary_Francesca, post:8, topic:266061"]
I will remember you in my prayers.:)

[/quote]

Thank you very much. I hope you will as I am in great need of them. And I'll remember you.


#13

Are you sure it was God allowing you to be deceived? I sounds like more to me that you were unconciously pushing Him away.


#14

White Peony,

Thank you. I haven't thought of that..You are right. I have been pushing Him away, and without even realizing it! I constantly come up with some reason why I am not called or what bad things will happen, and all of these reasons seem legitimate and quite convincing. At first, I thought these thoughts were my warning. But like St Padre Pio says , "the devil is cunning!". God knows I'm not cape able of this myself, and I have to know that too. I must give myself over to Him with complete trust that He desires me to save my soul and will be helping, catching, guiding, guarding and loving me, every step of the way to Him. :heaven:

Tonight before the Blessed Sacrament, I will remember you and everyone helping me, in my prayers. Thank you again God bless you.


#15

"There is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 who have no need of repentance"
Jesus meant it when He said it:D I also struggled with feeling unworthy, hypocritical, not good enough, etc for a religious vocation. (I'm entering the Carmelites this summer praise God!) I finally started to realize that NOBODY is good enough or holy enough for any vocation, and that's ok! St. Therese figured it out- it's a good thing to be small and weak, and even past sins can be beneficial to us if we surrender them to God. He makes up for our defects if we give them to Him!

Also, don't let guilt get to you. If you have confessed your sins, amended your life, and are seeking God, the guilt has fufilled it's purpose. The purpose of guilt is to get us to repent. Once we've done that, anything else is a temptation or a distraction and should be ignored. (C.S. Lewis explains it really well in Screwtape Letters)

I'll keep you in my prayers- the spiritual life is a fight to the death;)


#16

PhilomenaJohn2,

How wonderful! God bless you and your vocation!
None of us are worthy of anything, but His love outweighs it all. If we didn't feel unworthy and such, there would be a problem! Its apparent to me that many who are called feel this way during the time of discernment. Its really helpful to me to know that! I wont let that guilt get me down anymore. I'm ready to move forward.
I would love to get a hold of the CS Lewis Screwtape Letters. I wonder if I can get it at the library.

The spiritual life really is a fight to the death! If we stay true soldiers of Christ, and true to Him, we will be victorious. Thank you for your prayers, you will be in mine!!! God bless you! :)


#17

First of all, Screwtape Letters is great. It gives an excellent understanding of just what the evil one is up to, him and his angels. If you have the stomach for it, I'd also recommend things like Fr. Amorth's books (he was/is the Vatican's chief exorcist). Reading about demonology (don't get too fascinated, mind you! - this can be dangerous!) can help us to realize just what we're up against, if God has prepared us to learn about such things.

As for vocations to the religious life, when does it become a good idea to seek out a spiritual director? I've spent years feeling called to the monastic life and have waffled about for one reason or another - largely related to be the only child of a divorced mother and largely related to all my sinful habits - but I can't shake the feeling I may be called. While I can be a very out-going and social person, make friends easily, and tend to get along with people wherever I go, I still find the greatest solace in the silent moments I share with Our Lord and His Mother. I just can't shake the feeling I may be called to the contemplative life, though it makes me feel guilty because I feel like I would be abandoning my mother.

Any advice for a poor soul? Prayers also accepted! :D


#18

[quote="Mary_Francesca, post:1, topic:266061"]

1) I lived a horrible life, how could I be called?
Does God call the poorest of sinners to be His bride?

2) Could the devil be tempting me away from such a call?
Could I possibly be deceived into thinking I have a calling to the convent?

[/quote]

1a) Because all things are possible in the Lord.

1b) Yes. Even a cursory glance at St. Augustine's life will tell you that, and he's considered a Doctor of the Church.

2a) It's possible, but it's also possible that you're having a hard time reconciling human wisdom with divine wisdom.

2b) Certainly. You're coming off of a bad rut, which would generally lead you to seek what you see as the best way towards good (and / or atonement). However, that's why you meet up with a spiritual director, vocations director, or confidant. They are there to help you through the confusion, offering an outside look at your story and their opinion as to where they think you're being called.

If things are going good between the priest and mother you've seen, then I think you should give it a go. I personally think you will find peace only through trying.


#19

3Sanctus,

I would be very interested in reading those..Now in my life wouldn't be the best idea, but maybe I will be ready for that one day! I am honestly a bit of afraidy cat :p

What I would do if I were you is pray to Saint Anthony to help you find the right person to speak with regarding spiritual direction, of course, after giving your whole endeavor over to God and asking His blessings! He will guide you to who He wants to be your director :)
I spoke to my parish priest, and at first I felt uncomfortable and nervous. I wanted to talk to somebody else. But through time I learned that God wants him to be my spiritual director, so I gave it another chance while trying to be resigned to His will and all is going very well!

I too am quite outgoing/social, yet I love the solitude in prayer and am drawn in such a way I cant explain! I too feel guilty leaving my mother and family in distress... But like they say "You will be more help there then here" But that would only be if God wills it. I would say, same goes for you. You should talk to a spiritual director about the call and of course, keep praying. Like the advice given to me , I think we should try to answer Gods call while begging Him to guide us to Him in which ever way He has planned for us.
I don't know how I of all people am giving advice. If anybody has any criticism for me I'm open to it! I hope this helps you out though.
The way I see it is, if we think we are called, we should at least try to answer. If it is Gods will we will know, and if it is not..He will make it clear to us. What if He is calling us and we don't answer at all? It seems it is better to try. We are His poor children and if we realize we are not capable of doing it alone and give ourselves to Our Father, He will be so pleased and carry us to Him, as the Good Shepard that He is.

May God bless you,

You will absolutely be in my prayers. Please keep me in yours!


#20

Lamentation,

Thank you for helping me out.

All things are indeed possible to the Lord. I must not question that.
It is true, the lives of certain Saints before their conversion were pretty bad. I cant even tell you what an example that is for me and I'm sure many others out there. It gives such hope.

As for this calling, its so hard to believe God has allowed me to be pulled in this direction for so long..unless He lets this be, for His good reasons. But you are right, I am having a difficult time reconciling human wisdom with divine wisdom. I don't know anything.
Its very possible I've been deceived and for this long, but I certainly hope not! I only want to follow His will and I thought I have been doing so. This time of confusion and sadness is His will so I desire nothing but this, until He says otherwise. For now, I am confused. I will try to take that next step if I still feel called in a few months. I trust in Him who is guiding me.

Please, will you pray for me? I will keep you in my prayers. God bless you.


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