Help - Boy messing up my Discernment?


#1

Hello,

I have been having a long road in discernment. 17 years when I first heard what I thought was a call to religious life as a contemplative nun. Then, as I know is not unusual, I evaded it. Had a couple of boyfriends (who taught me a lot about my way to relate to others, and about myself). Seven years ago, I started taking things more seriously,with a spiritual director (who has been out of town during the last 3 weeks on retreat) until this year, that I am seriously getting in contact with convents, etc. I am supposed to go on a retreat with Carmelites in two weeks time... I am incredibly excited about this, and God is filling me with an incredible peace during my prayers.

But this week, this guy I know from the parish, just started to get my attention. He is a truly Catholic man, that sort difficult to find, who takes his faith seriously, with whom you think forming a catholic family would just come naturally... and from a more human point of view, yes, all of a sudden, this week, I felt attracted to him.

So, after seven years of being with no relationship, trying to get things clear, all of a sudden, right when I am thinking more seriously about jumping into the Carmel, here he is, a guy who is distracting me, right in the moment when I truly feel like I do not need this confusion.

I still find monastic life so incredibly engaging... but he is truly distracting me...

Any advice (while my director is on holidays)?


#2

Kind of sounds like either a test or an attack .. either way , I believe I would not do anything or say anything at this point , but pray over it and continue on with your retreat . If after the retreat you still feel this attraction speak again with your spiritual adviser and see what is advised .
Its hard for us to tell from the outside what you have been hearing from the Lord . we will be praying for you to hear clearly ! take care


#3

I've learned from experience and from speaking with others that at some point when they begin seriously considering a vocation, someone comes along offering the alternate path. Usually, this comes in the form of a possible romantic interest, or a career opportunity. In my case, it was a relatively minor form of both.

I would encourage you to look at it both spiritually and practically.

Deb suggested it is a spiritual attack or test. This would be the spiritual side. The devil knows you are considering religious life. And what is that life, but the complete and unconditional following of our Lord Jesus Christ? As such, he is going to throw everything he can at you, to make you question whether it's right. If he can distract you from fixing your eyes on Christ, then he's got a small victory, and he's happy with small victories when they have the possibility of leading to larger ones.

Practically speaking--and I'm somewhat ignoring anything spiritual here--people tend to notice when you are more calm and at peace and sure of yourself. People who are at peace and happy are generally more sought out for relationships and jobs, because they indicate that they have a handle on things. That's why people who have had trouble getting into a relationship suddenly find others attracted to them once they are in a relationship. Similarly, with careers. There's a psychological component to it. God certainly designed our psychology, and there's nothing wrong with considering the science of it.

There's nothing wrong with keeping your options open, but I think "hedging your bets" indicates a lack of trust in where God is leading you. With God, everything is possible. If God intends you to marry that man, and you discern, as best you can (all we can do) that you are called to religious life, then at some point, God will make it known to you that you are not called to religious life after all. And he'll guide you back where you are supposed to go, and to whom.

So ultimately, what I would recommend would be to stay the course. Pray, and ask for the peace of Christ, and that he show you his will.

Feel free to strike up a conversation, but if he makes any overtures, make it clear that you are considering religious life, and are not considering romantic relationships at this time. After all, one who is seeking to be a spouse of Christ and the Church cannot be faithful while seeking the affections of another. Most likely, he will understand. If not, make it clear that you have no interest in pursuing that kind of one-sided relationship, and stop it there.

Of course, discuss this with your spiritual director, if you haven't already. He knows you personally better than I, and I am just "Anonymous" on the internet.

--Caritas
Andrew


#4

I completely understand what you are going through! I have felt somewhat "called" or attracted to religious life since before I became a Catholic! :) At the same time, I also have been more open to married life than I used to be. At times, my heart aches for married life and children and building a home and family. At other times, my heart aches for religious life and community and serving God by giving him my entire life and service and heart. But the neat thing is, I still have NO idea what I am called to, and I am fine with that (for the most part ;) ) because I know He will let me know in His time. There is even one person in particular that I have been attracted to for a little over a year, a very close friend, who I could see myself being very happy with. But at the same time... I still feel so much peace and joy when thinking about being called to religious life, too. It's hard, but I am overjoyed that God gives us more than one amazing and blessed possible path... I always feel a little bit sad for people who are not Catholic and do not realize that there is more than one way to lead a happy life. Anyway... I leave you with this quote by Mother Angelica... I guess it is more of a paraphrase because I can't remember it verbatim, but she said something along the lines of, "A woman who has no desire for motherhood has no business considering religious life" or something like that. I thought it was very interesting as well as completely accurate.

:) Good luck! Prayers!


#5

When in the discernment process, from this point on, you should expect temptation and tests. My husband is in the deaconate formation program (5 years in our diocese). We've been in the classes for one year and all I can say is that the attacks have not come as we expected. There were times when driving to class where out of no where I would pick a fight with my husband and want to literally jump out of the car (this was on a highway driving 60 mph and did all I could to hold my hand back from pulling the door open). In November we received a letter that hubby's ex-wife wanted to reopen the annulment case because she was denied a right to defense (and it was reopened because, though they sent her many letters - all were return to sender - they forgot to call the number he provided). Many family members were upset with about this and have wondered why we aren't struggling with our faith or our trust in the Church, we see it as an attack, his ex-wife was the pawn used by the demons. I had a friend warn me when we started the program to expect weird things to happen, and indeed, she was right.


#6

Oh bingo, I can soooo identify!

I have recently submitted my application and am expecting an answer any day (my fingernails are chewed to the quick). For the past eleven years I have not been in a relationship and suddenly, a couple of days ago, an old flame - who I loved dearly - reappears, single, still wonderful and interested.

I took a day or two out to pray on it, sleep on it and think about it.

Yes, it was tempting, but after a couple of days I knew that if I was offered a choice between the two then I would choose postulancy every time. I have now told the gentleman that I am not interested in a relationship and although that was an awkward conversation I do not regret my choice at all.

At the time it did stop and make me think but now it has made my faith in my sense of vocation grow stronger. I had dearly loved this man and he was offered to me but I still wanted my vocation more.

It may have been a test, I suspect it was but if the devil was testing me it backfired because it has made my faith in God and belief in my vocation stronger.

So, I can fully understand how you must feel at the moment, :hug1: just take your time to think about it and pray it through. As in my case, it can turn out to be a good thing as it can intensify your discernment even if it is confusing at the moment.:gopray2:

You are in my prayers

Joy


#7

I think I'm one of the most boy crazy girls discerning sisterhood there is! lol Being 17 there are a lot of wonderful, handsome young gentlemen friends in my life, and it gets so tempting at times...but I never really have that desire to pursue them. I've done the boyfriend thing, and it really didn't make me happy. I didn't feel like I was myself in the relationship. My advice to you is just think...if I'm in this relationship, can I give every part of who I am in it? If not...well it's not worth looking into. There is nothing wrong with enjoying this guy's company and friendship if you don't think it's worth pursing. When a guy enters my life I just pray "Jesus, if you would like me with him, please make it happen. If you want me for yourself, you can have me." and so far it's lead to Christ :)

God Bless you.

Jeanne


#8

There are many fish in the sea - today, and tomorrow. I would proceed with Discernment and see what happens. Many people can be suitable for each other. Not just the ones you know today. Human relationships take a long, long time, and require a lot of effort, give and take, nuturing, etc. Peace.


#9

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