I am now in the process of joining a religious order, and I feel strongly called to the religious life, but one problem that I seem to find with this order is that... well... They seem somewhat lax to me. Their conversation is about Catholicism in general, but hardly ever about God Himself. I don't ever hear of them practicing mortification except on Fridays when they don't eat meat, but they have loads of other 'non-meats' like crab and fish :(... When reading their constitutions and rule, I see that they have somewhat, actually greatly, deviated from their founder's rules, especially in the area of poverty. I feel very comfortable there, more comfortable than at home; the beds are nice and soft, the members of this religious order can throw off their habit at any time, there is hot running water and basically every modern convenience conceivable. They do not collectively pray the Rosary or frequently speak of Our Lady, despite their order's history of strong Marian Devotion. They haven't had a vocation in years. They freely handle money and can buy things. I have never seen them go out and help the poor, sick, or dying, or any other in poverty for that matter, besides themselves. I hear no emphasis on reparation, penance, or the conversion and salvation of sinners. Oh yeah, and some of them are in front of the TV all day, and I never see them show up for the Divine Office.
Call me hard to please, but I feel like this religious order is too lax for me... But there are no other men's religious congregation in my country, and all the others are either cloistered or far away in another country. I wanted to join an active order that does work with the poor and needy, lives a true life of poverty, and has a strong prayer life, but I see this only to a small degree.
I do enjoy my time there (maybe a little too much), but I want to join an order more devout and on fire with love for God and the salvation of souls. I see some who do seem to be devout, and they try their best to live out their religious vocation in a holy way, but I don't see this on a collective manner, and many of them I would describe as completely deviated from a religious vocation and seem to be no different than any other middle aged single Catholic man out in the world... If I do join, I'll be the youngest in the order at the age of 18... I don't know where to turn. If I do join, I'm sure that I would be able to join some of the more devout friars in devotions, and I know I shouldn't allow the lax to effect me, but I can't help but feel it's a little bit lukewarm.
Thanks and God bless!