How do I explain to my mother that the religious life is not a cult?

My mother believes that the religious life is cultish and is opposed to me entering it. I don’t know how to answer her. How does a one explain to a non-Catholic mother the concept and rationale behind the religious life? I’ve suggested doing some research into the religious life but she will have none of it.

The religious life is a call to be a sign to the world of the radical dedication of one’s life to Christ that is in fact the vocation of every human being in eternity. In eternity we will all be called to give over our very selves to God (i.e., poverty), marriage will not exist in heaven because we will all be united to God (i.e., chastity), and we will achieve the perfect union of our wills to God’s (i.e., obedience). Religious life is one means by which those individuals called to it anticipate eternity by living out the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

You may not be able to convince your mother of this. You might offer to arrange for her to meet your vocations director, who may be able to talk to her and ease her worries, but ultimately you must follow God to the best of your ability even if that means disappointing your mother. Offer up to Christ the suffering caused by your mother’s opposition and pray that she will eventually receive the grace to understand and accept your decision. Try to take comfort in the fact that in eternity your mother will be very grateful to have the prayers of a daughter who is a consecrated religious and will find out what an honor she has been given to have a daughter who has been called to the religious life.

Recommended reading:

God Help Me! These People Are Driving Me Nuts by Gregory K. Popcak

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