So I am going to be making a visit to three monasteries soon to test my calling. Each veries a little bit but all three are cloistered. What I am nervous about is the fact that this could change the entire trajectory of my life. Imagine I go and find out I’m not called to religious life, then I will have to discern what vocation I am called to. But what if I am called to religious life? Then comes the formation process and the letting go of a lot of stuff. I think I’m just freaking myself out and I don’t expect any advice on this forum to sooth me. It’s just good to voice your concerns sometimes, and my whole family is protestant so not realy any help there. My spiritual director says I’m worrying for no reason but I think that’s human nature.
From personal experience as a chronic worrier I can tell you that often when we actually lose something or give it up, it’s not as bad as we think it will be (aside from things that have withdrawal symptoms such as drugs, alcohol if one’s an alcoholic, etc), and it is often easier once it’s gone and out of sight.
No please don’t be too nervous brother! You have an awesome opportunity here that God has given you, and some people (ahem… Me ) would kill for that opportunity! Take it full on and put your whole heart into asking God if each monastery/religious life is right for you, and report back here! Good luck and God bless!
Put yourself in the Lord’s hands " Speak Lord for your servant is listening" if your not called to the Monastery it might be that your called to Religious Life, that will give you a lot of Orders to go through. Either way the Lord will direct you, God Bless on your discernment. Walk with the Lord.
It’s good to be nervous and it’s good that you are nervous! If anyone in your position wasn’t nervous I’d be surprised and, if anything, actually more than a bit concerned for them. Fear is a natural and normal part of vocational discernment - it means that you’re taking the discernment process seriously and you recognise that it’s an important decision and one which you want to approach carefully.
So when you visit these monasteries, remember that it’s good to be nervous and nobody there will be surprised that you’re nervous. It may well be that you discover that you’re not called to monastic life - if so, then far better that you realise that now rather than a few months (or years) into living that life. On the other hand you may well very at home in mon of the monasteries you visit, in which case you have some planning and decision making to do. Those decisions and plans don’t have to be made straight away - the monastery isn’t going to make you sign up then and there. Discernment is a marathon not a sprint and identifying your call is only the first part and it may well take several more years before you feel that the time is right. Just be open to the Lord’s word speaking in your heart and trust that He will show you the way that you should walk.
I have found that searching for one’s vocational True Home is very much like house-hunting for the family. The nuns/monks will know that you’ve just started, and will work on your attractions.
Interior silence and the cloister/chapel within. Once you’ve worked on that, and have developed “detachment” – material things on the outside don’t matter anymore – then you’ll be more ready for formation. Correction is to be desired in the religious life. Our worldly courts are full of those who are the opposite.
Thanks for everyones comments!
I just wanted to make an update. I made my visit to three different communities, and it was amazing. I visited Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey of Carlton, OR first, the the Brigittine Order of the Most Holy Savior in Amity, OR, and finally Hermits of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel in Christoval, TX. I have to say all of these communities were wonderful and I am glad I went. If anyone runs across this thread who is also nervous about making a visit, don’t be. They were all wonderful and were very encouraging of my search for my vocation. BTW, I am going to continue to test my vocation with the Brigittines as soon as I can so wish me luck and pray for me!
that was a good cross-section of spiritualities – one from each of the major rules.
the brigittines follow the rule of st augustine.