In love with the Church - not Christ? (Does that make me "gay"?)


#1

As a backdrop for my question (which is probably a silly one, but since it bugs me I'll put it out there), one thing that has puzzled me is that I do not identify very well with my gender (female). I have always identified with male characters in books or movies; I wanted to be like the hero, never the heroine. I do not think that I am transgender, but I cross-dressed convincingly as a teenager - not so much because I wanted to be a man, but because I was angry and felt that femininity was alien and wrong. It still feels alien, though I think that I have adjusted to it reasonably well (yet it still makes me smile when someone mistakes me for a man in spite of the fact that I'm not trying to look like one).

As a child, I loved God and sometimes wrote Him letters; but as a teen I feel that my love switched to the Church. In my pursuit of the "Invisible Church", I found the visible one. I have great feelings of love and loyalty to Catholicism (hopefully they will materialize into more than feelings).

I am interested in religious life and would like to try to discern this vocation after I've been Catholic for a while longer. My question is, am I wrong to feel attracted to the Church, more than to Jesus? A nun is supposed to be the Bride of Christ. I think that, even though it may seem sometimes that I do not love Jesus enough, the fact that I do love His Bride and the sacraments is a good sign; but in my desire to be more united with the Church, have I adopted a "male role" that I need to step out of? Am I trying to be like the hero rather than the heroine?

:shrug:


#2

In books and movies, the male characters are usually made more interesting for the audience. When a female character is given sufficient development, it is usually in an overly sentimental way that does not appeal to your personality. This has nothing to do with orientation.

I do not know why you say you "love the Church" more than you "love Christ." Remember that the Church is the body of Christ living in the world.

[BIBLEDRB]COLOSSIANS 1:24[/BIBLEDRB]

Therefore, it is impossible to love the Church without loving Christ.

Since you are discerning a vocation to religious life, bring your concerns to your vocations director.


#3

Actually, I think it is preferable for both men and women to have a relationship with Jesus and not just the Church, so I wouldn't worry about the "gay" thing. I don't think there is anything wrong with having a more masculine way of doing things, as long as you are following the teachings of the church in regards to sexuality and aren't deliberately trying to decieve people.

I think the problem of being drawn to the church rather than to God is a common phase that the faithful go through, however, I don't think of it as primarily a problem for men. After all, it's the women who are running around with casserole dishes, signing up for every club and committee in the parish, trying to figure out how to sing in the choir with six kids under eight sitting in the pews with one daddy, purchasing or sewing the perfect "von trapp" style matching outfits for their family to wear to Easter Mass, volunteering in the Parish school, and chatting up everyone in sight during donut Sunday. Hey, it's a "Martha" world, and it's really easy for the modern Catholic woman to get caught up in Church and temporarily forget the reason for going. I personally find it easier to feel closer to God in Eucharistic Adoration and I tend to go there when I feel I'm getting too caught up in the world.


#4

Brush up on metaphor.

Terms, such as "bride of Christ," are ways of approaching the ineffable mystery of God, but they are only finite expressions of infinite reality, limited means to an unlimited end. Rather than float along the surface of the ocean, break through its surface and dive to the depths. Deep calls to deep.


#5

As another poster said, one cannot love the Church without loving Christ in equal measure. Your love of the Church and the Sacraments is a love of Christ for creating and residing within the Church, and giving us the graces we earn through the Sacraments He instituted. You might feel that the Church and Christ are separate but they are one and the same. The more involved you are with your Church, the closer you draw to Christ. Speak to your spiritual director about getting a vocational director. Perhaps it is time for you to consider the religious life. They will be able to help you discern if that is your vocation and if it is, they will be able to help you discern when you're ready to take that step. Pray about it. That's all I can say. Pray and take it one day at a time. Trust in the Lord and your path will open up at your feet.


#6

[quote="SonCatcher, post:2, topic:291900"]
In books and movies, the male characters are usually made more interesting for the audience. When a female character is given sufficient development, it is usually in an overly sentimental way that does not appeal to your personality. This has nothing to do with orientation.

I do not know why you say you "love the Church" more than you "love Christ." Remember that the Church is the body of Christ living in the world.

[BIBLEDRB]COLOSSIANS 1:24[/BIBLEDRB]

Therefore, it is impossible to love the Church without loving Christ.

Since you are discerning a vocation to religious life, bring your concerns to your vocations director.

[/quote]

Thank you; I do not have a vocations director yet (I'm working on it, though it has proved to be more complcated than I expected. :p) And I agree with you, sufficiently developed, likeable female characters do not seem to be common.
I'm sorry, I know that the Church is Christ's body; but then I forget and see two seperate persons somehow. :blush: (Some things stick, others don't.)


#7

[quote="Allegra, post:3, topic:291900"]
Actually, I think it is preferable for both men and women to have a relationship with Jesus and not just the Church, so I wouldn't worry about the "gay" thing. I don't think there is anything wrong with having a more masculine way of doing things, as long as you are following the teachings of the church in regards to sexuality and aren't deliberately trying to decieve people.

[/quote]

Thanks Allegra; I get overly worried sometimes because I am a Femininity 101 dropout and people seem to expect things from me than I can't give. Then I start assuming that it is bad to be me and I should stop as soon as possible. Then I post stupid questions on internet forums. :yeah_me:

I think the problem of being drawn to the church rather than to God is a common phase that the faithful go through, however, I don't think of it as primarily a problem for men. After all, it's the women who are running around with casserole dishes, signing up for every club and committee in the parish, trying to figure out how to sing in the choir with six kids under eight sitting in the pews with one daddy, purchasing or sewing the perfect "von trapp" style matching outfits for their family to wear to Easter Mass, volunteering in the Parish school, and chatting up everyone in sight during donut Sunday. Hey, it's a "Martha" world, and it's really easy for the modern Catholic woman to get caught up in Church and temporarily forget the reason for going. I personally find it easier to feel closer to God in Eucharistic Adoration and I tend to go there when I feel I'm getting too caught up in the world.

I like to eat casseroles. I don't make them. I'm not allowed, someone could die. :D
I guess when I think of "Church", I am thinking more of the history and teachings and the whole "One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic" bit; parish activities hadn't occurred to me. (And now I'm hungry.)


#8

[quote="Rejoice_Always, post:4, topic:291900"]
Brush up on metaphor.

Terms, such as "bride of Christ," are ways of approaching the ineffable mystery of God, but they are only finite expressions of infinite reality, limited means to an unlimited end. Rather than float along the surface of the ocean, break through its surface and dive to the depths. Deep calls to deep.

[/quote]

I'm tryin'. :)


#9

Good advice, thank you.


#10

[quote="SecretaryMonday, post:6, topic:291900"]
Thank you; I do not have a vocations director yet (I'm working on it, though it has proved to be more complcated than I expected. :p) And I agree with you, sufficiently developed, likeable female characters do not seem to be common.
I'm sorry, I know that the Church is Christ's body; but then I forget and see two seperate persons somehow. :blush: (Some things stick, others don't.)

[/quote]

It is confusing that conflicting terms are used at different times to express different aspects of the spiritual life (bride of Christ vs body of Christ). Hey, you're 6 months in, so don't sweat it. ;)

When you do talk to a vocations director, don't be surprised if he advises you to wait a couple years to let the new convert zeal to wear off.


#11

Most religious communities these day require a psychological assessment before accepting an entrant. I would say that you have some psychological issues that need to be dealt with before you consider life in community. Since you are a new convert, and have to wait anyway, this might be a good time to seek out a psychological counselor as well as a spiritual director, as your concerns indicate to me that there might be some underlying issues that need to be addressed that have nothing to do with your spirituality.

I am not saying that you don't have a vocation or that religious life would not be possible for you, merely that to live in community is a very intense experience and requires psychological health as well as spiritual health. If there is an imbalance, perhaps this could be addressed first and then discernment of religious life wouldn't be quite so difficult for you. You raised the issue therefore it is something of concern that needs to be addressed before proceeding.


#12

[quote="nunsense, post:11, topic:291900"]
I would say that you have some psychological issues that need to be dealt with before you consider life in community.

[/quote]

I would say so, too! :rotfl: I did finally contact a psychologist; my first appointment will be this evening, in fact. Since I probably have a few years to wait anyhow, this will be a good time to address any underlying issues that I may have. Thanks for the advice.


#13

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