I’m having trouble discerning between the religious life and marriage. I know that I am called to a life of holiness and love of God, that all Catholics are, and I also feel like I must be as close to God and as holy as I can be.
I’ve heard from a lot of people, at least implicitly, often explicitly as well, that you’ll be closer to God and holier if you are a priest or religious, that you’ll accomplish more in God’s plan and He will see you as a more favored member of His people. What I’ve heard from so many sources is that the closest and holiest way to God is religious life or the priesthood. If you get married, then you just won’t be able to achieve that depth of a relationship with God. (A side question which has been bothering me: Does that mean all married people are less holy than religious? What about married saints, and Our Lady?)
So it seems that if I want to fulfill my Christian vocation of love of God and holiness, there is no choice but to become a religious, and that if I really loved God and was able to make this choice then I would do it. But I’ve read so many beautiful things about marriage from the saints, the Catechism, and especially John Paul II, and I would love to be married and have children and serve God in that way.
If dedicating oneself entirely to Him makes God more pleased and makes the soul more holy, then how do I have a choice? Can I be just as holy in married life? Or am I obligated to become a religious if I want to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind, and please Him the most I possibly can?
It just doesn’t seem fair that if I want to become the very holiest person I can be, the soul God created me to be, I have to leave a path He’s left open to me. I’ve also heard that if you are called to be a religious, then you will feel at peace–and this confusion has left me very much not at peace right now. Whatever God wants, I’ll do it, but is it even possible that He could want me to be married?