I am 99% sure I have a vocation to consecrated life of some form; the last one percent will come when I take final vows somewhere. Ever since I started taking the Catholic faith seriously, God has drawn me towards contemplative prayer. I long for the silence and solitude that fosters an environment suitable to deep contemplation, though I didn’t realize this longing until this past week.
A couple weeks ago, all I was really looking for in a community is one that is faithful to the Magisterium and has a strong emphasis on prayer. So I went for a come and see at this wonderful community that I would recommend to anyone. They’re an active community and full of very holy women. They are devoted to their prayer, they even have a daily holy hour, but they talk through the holy hour! I don’t mean they chit chat, I mean they say prayers together during the holy hour, almost the entire time.
While this is beautiful and a good thing, I just wanted to be able to allow myself to be swept away in the contemplation that God draws me to. But if I do this then I can’t say the prayers with the community and so that’s not good. This particular community also doesn’t have much of an emphasis on poverty and asceticism outside of what is demanded by living their vows faithfully. Their way of life is quite comfortable, imo.
So I realized I need something more strict. . .and then I discovered the Carthusians. WOW. If I could join, I’d go right now. The Discalced Carmelites are pretty awesome too, but I’ve visited a Discalced Carmelite Monastery for Mass and chatted with the porter, an extern sister and once with the Mother Superior, yet I never felt drawn to look further into the Carmelites. Love them, but I just don’t feel called to their order.
Anyways, my problem is that I have a medical problem. I spoke about this with the Mother of the active-contemplative order I visited earlier this month and she said it is not a barrier to join their community. It’s not like I have epilepsy or a mental health issue. But I do need to see a specialist minimum once a year, and every couple decades I need major surgery. Thankfully all my medical expenses are covered by the government, but it would be very difficult to join an order in another country. It’s difficult to immigrate when you have medical problems… So I’m pretty certain that these sorts of needs puts a cloistered order out of the question for me. How can I enter a cloistered monastery knowing I’ll have to leave every now and then, for certain, on top of whatever medical surprises happen that force me to leave more often (you never know what will happen!).
I’m extremely confused. I’ve been in the “real” world for a few days and I just feel so lacking here. I thirst for more of God, more. more. Silence. To be alone with him. To be before the Blessed Sacrament. For deeper poverty. I met this guy my age at daily Mass today and he kept looking at me during Mass and all I could think was “oh boy I hope he doesn’t ask me on a date.”. The idea of getting married? No thanks. I just want Jesus. To be with him and to be like him as much as he allows. But I have this medical problem barring me from the more austere, contemplative orders.
God has given me this health issue. It is his will for me to carry this cross. Yet he also draws me to contemplation. What could my vocation possibly be?! I’m so confused!! I’m open to whatever God’s will is–even marriage!