Having trouble discerning


#1

I am new to the forum, and have read quite a bit under the Vocations thread. I apologize if you have read/answered a post similar to mine - I am just looking for different perspectives/experiences.

I went to a Catholic all girls high school, which is where I first felt "called" to religious life. A nun came and talked to us about the first time she felt called, and ultimately decided to break it off with her boyfriend and join the order. The story stuck with me since then. For the past 4/5 years, I will go in phases of really believing I am called to just forgetting about it. It became an obsession at times, even something I dreaded (unhealthy, I know)

I graduated college in May and the past few months have been trying in that it is the first time I lack real direction in my life. No degrees to finish (which feels great!) and I am working part time at the family business while I search around. I will say that now, more than ever, I understand what it means to be in Communion with Christ. And even though I feel directionless, I really think my faith has matured because I am not just depending on God when I want to, I am submitting myself wholly to Him, attempting to abandon my desires to follow His will. I might be getting impatient at times, but for the first time I trying to look to God in everything.

A few weeks ago, the nagging question of religious life popped up again. I wanted to ignore it, but I decided to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet every day, in hope of some vocation direction. I will say that my heart has become a lot more open to the idea, though I dread it. I want to submit myself wholly to Christ, but at the same time want a husband and family.

I guess my questions are -

Will this fear of not being able to have a family/kids go away?
Could the fear be a sign of immaturity, or might it mean that I am not called to religious life?
Though I would love to fall in love - I actually really enjoy my alone time and freedom. Could this be a reinforcement that I am called to religious life?

Thank you for your thoughts! I am praying about this every day - just thought I would see if maybe God could reveal something through one of you as well.

Prayers and peace to you all.

Lauren


#2

Hello there im Brandee! I just wanted to give you a hand on this here…I am going to tell you a little bit about me well ever sice I was about 12 I knew of Gods calling and I just became Catholic this year becasue of somethings with my family but I know of Gods calling for me I know He wants me to be a Carmelite nun to give all of my self to Him…Let me tell you it is very good what you are doing now and asking God what is it that He wants of you I am sure God wants you to do that…But let me tell you as I got older I was thinking family kids just like you! I was like God make this feeling go away but then after looking at this video on youtube this young lady was going to be a Nun said God I wanted to be a mother but she realized that she would be a mother of souls, God put that in every womens heart to care and love just as a mother with her own kids you know? And yes I would think the same I see all these girls my age with boyfriends but I was like look I have fallin in love with love its self! If you like you can always e-mail me here are anything ok im here to help!


#3

[quote="Lapalm, post:1, topic:219174"]

I actually really enjoy my alone time and freedom. Could this be a reinforcement that I am called to religious life?

Lauren

[/quote]

It's likely that your alone time will be spent in community with the other sisters who share your living space.

Your freedom will be the freedom to do God's Will under obedience to your superior.

You might want to make a vocational retreat with a trustworthy Order. I would suggest the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist ... they sponsor such retreats and are very good at them. They're in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I went to one of their Advent retreats.

How about this? Visit their website, send an e-mail to one of the sisters there, and tell her what you've told us.

sistersofmary.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=frontpage

:blessyou:


#4

Thank you both!

the phoenix - I went to the site and read some very encouraging stories from the aspiring sisters.

I will email - but also might try to find someone here in town to talk to first. I marked down the date for the discernment retreat, and unless something else comes up, will probably be going on that.

And Brandee, thank you for sharing as well. It really is encouraging to hear people who put aside their desires to fulfill God's will in their life.

I just found this written in My Utmost for High Highest reflection:

“So Abraham rose early in the morning . . . and went to the place of which God had told him” (Genesis 22:3). Oh, the wonderful simplicity of Abraham! When God spoke, he did not “confer with flesh and blood” (Galatians 1:16). Beware when you want to “confer with flesh and blood” or even your own thoughts, insights, or understandings— anything that is not based on your personal relationship with God. These are all things that compete with and hinder obedience to God.

Just another reminder to follow God.


#5

[quote="carmelitegirl93, post:2, topic:219174"]
Hello there im Brandee! I just wanted to give you a hand on this here...I am going to tell you a little bit about me well ever sice I was about 12 I knew of Gods calling and I just became Catholic this year becasue of somethings with my family but I know of Gods calling for me I know He wants me to be a Carmelite nun to give all of my self to Him...Let me tell you it is very good what you are doing now and asking God what is it that He wants of you I am sure God wants you to do that...But let me tell you as I got older I was thinking family kids just like you! I was like God make this feeling go away but then after looking at this video on youtube this young lady was going to be a Nun said God I wanted to be a mother but she realized that she would be a mother of souls, God put that in every womens heart to care and love just as a mother with her own kids you know? And yes I would think the same I see all these girls my age with boyfriends but I was like look I have fallin in love with love its self! If you like you can always e-mail me here are anything ok im here to help!

[/quote]

Brandee, this was very well said! Thank you for sharing this with us.


#6

[quote="Lapalm, post:1, topic:219174"]
I am new to the forum, and have read quite a bit under the Vocations thread. I apologize if you have read/answered a post similar to mine - I am just looking for different perspectives/experiences.

I went to a Catholic all girls high school, which is where I first felt "called" to religious life. A nun came and talked to us about the first time she felt called, and ultimately decided to break it off with her boyfriend and join the order. The story stuck with me since then. For the past 4/5 years, I will go in phases of really believing I am called to just forgetting about it. It became an obsession at times, even something I dreaded (unhealthy, I know)

I graduated college in May and the past few months have been trying in that it is the first time I lack real direction in my life. No degrees to finish (which feels great!) and I am working part time at the family business while I search around. I will say that now, more than ever, I understand what it means to be in Communion with Christ. And even though I feel directionless, I really think my faith has matured because I am not just depending on God when I want to, I am submitting myself wholly to Him, attempting to abandon my desires to follow His will. I might be getting impatient at times, but for the first time I trying to look to God in everything.

A few weeks ago, the nagging question of religious life popped up again. I wanted to ignore it, but I decided to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet every day, in hope of some vocation direction. I will say that my heart has become a lot more open to the idea, though I dread it. I want to submit myself wholly to Christ, but at the same time want a husband and family.

I guess my questions are -

Will this fear of not being able to have a family/kids go away?
Could the fear be a sign of immaturity, or might it mean that I am not called to religious life?
Though I would love to fall in love - I actually really enjoy my alone time and freedom. Could this be a reinforcement that I am called to religious life?

Thank you for your thoughts! I am praying about this every day - just thought I would see if maybe God could reveal something through one of you as well.

Prayers and peace to you all.

Lauren

[/quote]

Dear Lauren,

You have my prayers as you continue your discernment. You mention here that you have a lack of direction in your life; have you been able to talk about this with someone? Perhaps your parish priest or a spiritual director? Or perhaps maybe a retreat to a religious community? Talking to a Superior, or whoever the vocation director is, will help also. Opening up will help to receive more clarity about your spiritual life, especially if you are able to find someone who is holy and learned about discerning His will.

Here is a website I found of prayers for vocation that may be helpful: mpdinc.org/_prayers.jsp

Wherever we may be called, a close relationship with Our Lord is most important. Let your heart fall in love with Jesus, and everything seems to become clear.


#7

[quote="Lapalm, post:1, topic:219174"]
I am new to the forum, and have read quite a bit under the Vocations thread. I apologize if you have read/answered a post similar to mine - I am just looking for different perspectives/experiences.

I went to a Catholic all girls high school, which is where I first felt "called" to religious life. A nun came and talked to us about the first time she felt called, and ultimately decided to break it off with her boyfriend and join the order. The story stuck with me since then. For the past 4/5 years, I will go in phases of really believing I am called to just forgetting about it. It became an obsession at times, even something I dreaded (unhealthy, I know)

I graduated college in May and the past few months have been trying in that it is the first time I lack real direction in my life. No degrees to finish (which feels great!) and I am working part time at the family business while I search around. I will say that now, more than ever, I understand what it means to be in Communion with Christ. And even though I feel directionless, I really think my faith has matured because I am not just depending on God when I want to, I am submitting myself wholly to Him, attempting to abandon my desires to follow His will. I might be getting impatient at times, but for the first time I trying to look to God in everything.

A few weeks ago, the nagging question of religious life popped up again. I wanted to ignore it, but I decided to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet every day, in hope of some vocation direction. I will say that my heart has become a lot more open to the idea, though I dread it. I want to submit myself wholly to Christ, but at the same time want a husband and family.

I guess my questions are -

Will this fear of not being able to have a family/kids go away?
Could the fear be a sign of immaturity, or might it mean that I am not called to religious life?
Though I would love to fall in love - I actually really enjoy my alone time and freedom. Could this be a reinforcement that I am called to religious life?

Thank you for your thoughts! I am praying about this every day - just thought I would see if maybe God could reveal something through one of you as well.

Prayers and peace to you all.

Lauren

[/quote]

I used to be bothered when people say "seek for spiritual direction" but after looking at my own vocation journey, you really need spiritual director. Why? Because I have been through a similar situation and it took me so many years (Well God's timing) to understand what was happening to me. At first I thought that God was playing "Seek and Hide" game but oh dear, He's just awesome.

You can also PM me if you need to hear my story or just exchange views etc.

Concerning the feelings for husband and children, that's very normal. I also heard that if you want to join priesthood or religious life, you must be asked that question. If you don't have these feelings, then you might be considered not fit to become a priest or religious because you must be a spiritual father or mother of souls. They are just normal feelings, but Sweetheart, you need a Spiritual Director.


#8

[quote="densline, post:7, topic:219174"]
I used to be bothered when people say "seek for spiritual direction" but after looking at my own vocation journey, you really need spiritual director. Why? Because I have been through a similar situation and it took me so many years (Well God's timing) to understand what was happening to me. At first I thought that God was playing "Seek and Hide" game but oh dear, He's just awesome.

You can also PM me if you need to hear my story or just exchange views etc.

Concerning the feelings for husband and children, that's very normal. I also heard that if you want to join priesthood or religious life, you must be asked that question. If you don't have these feelings, then you might be considered not fit to become a priest or religious because you must be a spiritual father or mother of souls. They are just normal feelings, but Sweetheart, you need a Spiritual Director.

[/quote]

Thanks. I emailed one of my old teachers today, who is a priest in St. Louis (where I just moved from) and he gave me the name of a passionist priest in San Antonio. So I googled him to find his email, and found a message board - someone claimed that he had sexually abused him and no one was doing anything about it. So, whether or not that is true...it kind of scared me away from him. I now cannot find that forum when I search for it. It was very strange though. I emailed another priest I have known for several years (we traveled to World Youth Day together) to ask if he knows of anyone. I will find spiritual direction here, and keep praying for guidance in that area too. Whew, I think I will PM you - thanks again!


#9

[quote="Lapalm, post:8, topic:219174"]
Thanks. I emailed one of my old teachers today, who is a priest in St. Louis (where I just moved from) and he gave me the name of a passionist priest in San Antonio. So I googled him to find his email, and found a message board - someone claimed that he had sexually abused him and no one was doing anything about it. So, whether or not that is true...it kind of scared me away from him. I now cannot find that forum when I search for it. It was very strange though. I emailed another priest I have known for several years (we traveled to World Youth Day together) to ask if he knows of anyone. I will find spiritual direction here, and keep praying for guidance in that area too. Whew, I think I will PM you - thanks again!

[/quote]

Hello, having trouble discerning! I am a Parish Priest in Canada. I find myself with God's grace trying to guide many young people in discerning God's will. The advice that has been given so far is true and trust worthy and inspired by the Spirit of our Tradition regarding spiritual discernment of Vocations. The Spirit of Truth is setting you free from fear and transfiguring it into childlike confidence and boldness, simple trust without any afterthought or human calculation. God bless you! We all are striving to be like that! It was wise and prudent of you to ask a Priest who has earned your trust about other trustworthy Priests as possible Spiritual Directors.

I would just add two things for now: 1) That you could make contact with some Religous Sisters and Novices as well. In person is always best, yet, by reading their testimony you can see common landmarks in all their journeys, by consulting their websites. Maybe they can correspond with you but they can always pray for you. I work as a Chaplain with the Missonaries of Charity of Mother Teresa myself. Maybe there is one near you? I know their Regional House for the Central Region, of which I am a part, is in Houston, Texas.

2) I would seek out a chapel in a Convent or Monastery or parish with Eucharistic Adoration. You need a place where you can deepen your prayer life with the Lord and His Mother. You can speak to the Religious there. Even if their Order is not for you, you learn each time. If you have not already done it, I recommend living the beautiful experience of Consecration to the Heart of Jesus through Mary by St. Louis of Montfort, when you feel ready. After all, it is Our Lady who prepares the brides for Her Son, and who forms Mothers for Her Son in Her children, either as a Consecrated soul, or a Married Woman. Either way, you must be all for Jesus. As you surrender all for Jesus, He will be able to reveal more and more to you about your Vocation. You will know with certainty, time and grace. I'm here too, if I can be of any assistance. I am praying for you.

Fr. Dominic La Fleur


#10

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