Whyever I'm casting this out into a community of complete strangers, I don't know. But I have a feeling I might get a good response tonight.
Let me begin by saying that this has been the luckiest year of my life yet, considering that my last decade was very frustrating personally, occupationally, financially, and relationally. Suddenly, though, at the beginning of this year, I receive a great job offer doing what I love, and then the promise of a raise, additional responsibilities, and additional time. No more of those horrid cube farms! I'm accepted to finish my degrees at the university of my choice as well, but upon my statement of inability to pay, am offered the opportunity to work for a year as a correspondence student, keeping my foot in the door, and making transfer to a day program and receipt of lucrative institutionally based financial aid all the easier for me. And I don't have to take on the expenses of moving and can keep my job. A writer who has long had little to write about, I'm producing my most beautiful work in at least five years. And a long lost friend comes back into my life, and it looks like a splendid romance is developing.
For about ten years--which I noted earlier to have been unfortunate years--I was casting my lot on a call to the priestly and/or religious life, only to have every door shut in my face. This was not due to heterodoxy or incapacity or anything like that; I was just told that I'm not quite the aspirant the Church is looking for right now. It frustrated me so for a long time, as I saw little quarter for me in the secular world, and saw the need for the good servants of Christ, the Church, and the Pope so compellingly. However, bitter experience shows me now that it is not my lot. However, my despair was short-lived, as I am told that I am an excellent educator, and have come to love my work teaching English.
But my alienation from the Church became progressively greater, to the point that I eschewed the sacraments. An unwise move I know, but I see now that purgatory cannot be much worse than even the most sacrilegious of Masses. In case you haven't guessed, I'm of the more traditional temperament and churchmanship. Anyway, by the grace of God, in spite of my own mortal sin, a rich life of interior prayer, both contemplative and formal (like the Rosary) developed in me, and my guardian angel finally prompted me to go to shrift and to receive the sacrament once more--this after five novenas said for a special intention, as well as friends putting it on the prayer line to a nearby community of especially saintly nuns. My past experience had taught me to expect a rather disinterested priest and a very light penance, but a rather onerous penance was imposed upon me in this case. I had prayed for saintlier clergy, and I therefore got saintlier clergy, and this penance is actually proving a great benefit to me. I imagine that God has so graced me already while in a state of mortal sin, what wonders could transpire while in a state of grace?
Anyway, I'd not be surprised if I were to find out that this confessor had the gift of reading hearts. He advised me that I should consider an option that really hadn't much crossed my radar screen in the past--marriage. The doors to a clerical or consecrated life being shut, my focus had been largely upon what one might call a secondary vocation--being an excellent writer and teacher. All in all, bachelorhood hasn't been bad to me, as celibacy is enjoined upon those considering the other vocations, and I have thus been (generally) celibate.
Interestingly, I reunite with my old friend, and it turns somewhat romantic before this transpires. Also interestingly, a romance between us was the request I made with my novenas--"to culminate in a happy marriage if it be the will of God," as I put it. It's been progressing slowly, and I've missed a few opportunities to sweep her off her feet, but I still remain very confident.
It feels very odd for me to make this among my primary prayer intentions, as but a few years before I'd have considered it quite frivolous. In a sense, I still somewhat do. Let me ask, is it?
Next, marriage requires stability. It needs a home, and a wife needs her husband home at night. But I cannot now provide that home, and in order to do so, I must travel off for another degree so as to get a higher income. Even if that college debt is not so much a problem as I think it is, this would make for a rather rocky start to a marriage. We're not getting any younger, moreover. And I've not even brought the natural purpose of marriage--children--into the picture yet. With all of this in play, is marriage even advisable now?
And is there anything else you'd like to say about this? It's hard to say exactly what my end question is. Just, I guess, what do you think of all of this?
Please keep me in your prayers.