I'm a 21 year old girl, who suffers from scrupulosity and OCD, who has kind of always assumed I was called to marriage, and I've always had a fear I guess of being called to be a nun. Recently, however, I've been having some doubts. I see the beauty of religious life, but I don't really want it. The problem is, I've kind of gotten it into my head that marriage is lesser, kind of like the vocation for people that just don't want to devote themselves to religious life. Everything I read about religious life talks about being devoted to Christ alone, and how religious life is a full, radical living of the Gospel to the fullest possible extent. But aren't we all called to live the Gospel radically and fully? It almost seems like we should all shoot for religious life because that's the best way to live the Gospel. Except obviously that can't be true, because then nobody would get married. So then I was wondering if people called to marriage are just the people who don't see how religious life is the best way to become a saint, but there are definitely people who discern both and conclude they're called to marriage. I also feel like saving souls is the only lasting work on this earth, and there are so many souls in danger, so it's my responsibility to save as many as possible, which can best be done through religious life. But I don't really want to be a sister. So long story short, I almost view marriage as lesser and practically sinful, because its accepting that you will be less devoted to God and doing lesser secular work than the business of bringing many souls to God (I know you are supposed to help your spouse and children to heaven). So needless to say, I'm having trouble reconciling my desire for marriage with my logical conclusion that religious life is better and holier. Help please? I feel like my views are skewed maybe, and I can't discern with a false view of either vocation.
Bless you for responding to grace!
God has a plan for all of us. If you are called to marriage, you will know it when Mr Right comes along.
If you are OCD, then please tend the obsession toward God. Concentrate on Jesus, practice internal silence, and frequent the sacraments. Make use of the sacramentals, as well.
Look at what each day from God brings. Always be open to what is before you.
God does not make Vocation to Marriage or Vocation to the Religious Life at a higher level of Love and Service to Him and Others. They are both good. Some people are called to a life of being Single - that is another Vocation.
God gives us all different talents, different ways to serve Him and others.
Think of our Vocations as all parts of one body.
Look at different Come and See programs from various Religious Orders. Is there one that you are interested in seeing?
Our oldest daughter always knew she wanted to marry and have children, but she enjoyed going to a Come and See program with the Carmelite Sisters and she spent lots of time volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity. I expect she will be volunteering with her own children with the Sisters.
By being open to His calling, you won’t turn down friendship with a man who might one day be your husband.
Sometime offer your Holy Communion for your future husband, even if you do not know if God will call you to Holy Matrimony.
God has a plan for us. Think of a large forest with beautiful paths to walk. God gives us a path to follow each day. We may only know where we are going on that one day, but it connects to the next day and the next path. Follow God. Do not be worried if one path is a better path. They are all created by God. He will put you where you should be each day.
God calls all of us to be Saints. He isn’t choosing one vocation path as better than another vocation path. What he picks is which vocation is better for YOU!
You are an individual and His calling to you is individually for YOU!
Your Vocation is His Calling specifically to you.
God bless you Dear Sister.
If you decide to enter religious life, you should not do so just because you think it is superior to marriage (if it were and if that were a valid reason for entering religous life, then our species should die out). Also, it certainly isn't true that marriage is for people who don't want to devote themselves entirely to God. It might be worth googling married saints, and remembering that Mary the mother of God was married to St. Joseph.
Certainly - and again whether or not marriage is less holy, that is irrelevant here - marriage is not a bad calling, sinful, or in anyway a lesser choice if it is in fact what you are called to do. If you are called to be married, entering religious life would be the worse the choice.
I would hazard a guess (grab your salt shaker, I'm just a random guy on the internet) from that you are simply uninterested in religious life but think that you should do it anyway because you think it is better than married life in some way, that you at this time have not felt a real call - but rather the effects of your scrupulosity and OCD. That said, the best bet is probably to try to find a spiritual director to go over the issue with in more detail.
Just some thoughts on the holiness of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
(This is not to express one vocation over another.)
God created Man and Woman. “God blessed them, saying: Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth.” That was the first command God ever spoke to His Creation, to Man and Woman.
God invites married couples to be co-create or procreate with Him, with Him to bring new life, life never before conceived. He invites the couple to create a new living person and He creates the soul of that new person.
Even the angels in Heaven can not experience creating Life with God.
Holy Matrimony is the only Sacrament that is conveyed upon two people by themselves. The normal minster of Confirmation is the Bishop or priest. The Sacraments of Holy Communion, Confession and Anointing of the Sick are conveyed by a priest. Baptism is normally ministered by a priest or deacon but can be ministered by anyone in an emergency. Holy Orders is conferred on the priest by a bishop.
In Matrimony, it is the couple themselves that confers the Sacrament on each other. The priest or deacon is the witness for the Church.
All of Heaven is filled with Angels and people, people procreated by God with their two parents.
Sexual love is a renewal of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. God is the creator of this sexual love that binds the couple together, with their mind and body.
Holy Matrimony is a Sacrament - an outward sign instituted by Christ to give Grace.
Professing religious vows is different than a Sacrament.
Although a Vocation to Married Life and a Vocation to Religious Life are two examples of God’s Calling. Neither ranks one over the other in holiness or in love for God or service to others.
It is hearing the Call from God. You can not hear the call before God is ready to call you. He may be preparing your heart for Marriage, Single Life, or Religious. Be Open to the Holy Spirit. Do not try to rush hearing your call. Do not try to discern it by weighing the merits of each. God will place the Call in your heart.
The Catholic Church teaches that the religious life is objectively superior to marriage. It doesn't mean subjectively it is better for everyone. Jesus says in relation to celibacy in service of the Kingdom of God that "not all men can receive this precept, but only those to whom it is given."
We are all called to become saints, and we are to discern our vocation. What I think you are doing is getting mixed up with objective and subjective. Subjectively for an individual marriage may be a superior state for becoming a saint, even though celibacy for the Kingdom is superior objectively.
Perhaps you could get some help with discernment. Could you speak to your Priest about discerning?
Thanks for all your replies.
I guess I just feel sort of selfish that I want to marry and not give my entire life to God. Though I know marriage is no walk in the park! I am looking for a spiritual director, though due to personal circumstances, I probably won’t be able to find one to see regularly til late summer. I suppose I’m worrying too much about this. I probably need to just relax and see where God leads me in life!