Greetings, Forum Friends
What would you say to a person in a situation such as this: After decades of journeying with the Lord (in which were incl a total of 8yrs in monastic life in two communties, in simple/ temp vows) the Lord has (in a seemingly miraculous way, in a way she could never herself have caused to happen) planted this person in a particular place in association with a particular monastery, “convicting” her that this community is to be the locus of her self-offering and yet, despite her rejoicing in having been brought to this point and her gratitude for the invitation, she fears entering this community because it is lax.
In recent years it had become drastically diminished in size and was threatened with extinction. A change happened when the Sisters elected as superior a nun who had transferred there from elsewhere. While superior, this nun (with more than 40yrs of faithful life in an observant community) began with great delicacy and strength to effect some wonderful changes. She also, because of her gifts, began to attract vocations (the community has doubled in size since her arrival and there are now as many in the notiviate as there are in solemn vows). She has thus far been superior for only one term but retains very significant roles in the community so that her influence is still felt.
Despite her presence, her witness, her own success in living a devout, observant life in the midst of relaxation and lack of observance, I (being, of course, the “person” referred to above) fear giving myself over to the life of this community, to a life in which, in so many ways, nature has been allowed to take the upper hand, in which the classical tenets of monasticism seem to be not much revered or adhered to, in which immortifcation rather than mortification seems the norm, etc.
I have always been attracted and willing to and capable of living an observant monastic life with a great measure of silence and solitude. Such a life has always been my first attraction and choice - my only choice - my ideal (note the word “my”… such a little word and so significant). Perhaps, for me, letting go of this ideal is part of the process of accepting God’s will. Perhaps this letting go must be part of the death of a definitive entrance (meaning, entering with the resolve to remain rather than with the intention of “giving the life a try”) into religious life.
Thanks for reading and most grateful for any comments/suggestions/wisdom from the Forum. (Wonderful to have a forum where orthodoxy reigns - such a support in a world gone mad!)