Priest/Spiritual Director says, "What if..."


#1

My priest/spiritual director asked me “what if God is calling you to a different sort of marriage, the religious life?” and then said that I should be thinking about this.

I had and still have a wild mix of emotions about this. When I told two friends what he said, they said, “Well, you know, I’ve thought that about you too.”

I’m 43 years old, female, a lawyer, and I officially converted Easter 2011 altho I’ve been deeply involved with my Catholic studies for about 18 months. I was very religious as a child, up until age 17, even believing that I would be a missionary for most of my childhood and adolescence. (I was raised Baptist/Pentacostal).

But from age 18 to 41, I was on the path straight down. in my late 30’s, I thought I would convert to Judaism, but just before I actually converted, after about 18 months of studying with a Rabbi, a favorite aunt died. At her funeral, I heard a very distinct voice telling me that I couldn’t give up Jesus. Then I started reading very progressive Christian theology but was dissatisfied with what I was reading. I felt a hunger for more.

Eventually someone suggested the Catholic Church, and I haven’t looked back.

I am having a hard time trying to think thru all of the issues and thoughts surrounding this. I love Jesus and the Church, try to get to daily Mass as often as possible, read spiritual writings voraciously, and I know that this is a lengthy process, especially for someone so recently converted. I pray the LoTH twice a day (morning and night, sometimes evening) as well as other prayers; Rosary before I go to sleep, etc.

I guess basically this feels like a huge cloud of silk and I’m trying to put it into a manageable box.

Thoughts and advice are welcomed!


#2

I don’t know that I have a lot of advice to offer you, but just the fact that you are willing to consider it must mean something. That box may never be big enough…God refuses to be put into any of our human boxes. So you may never feel 100% sanguine…Just as marrying another human being is not “safe” the way we would like it to be.

If it were me, I’d pray and ask God to show me His will for me. I’m sure you are already doing that, but I’d remind God that I am one of His denser creations and need something concrete if possible. You’ve already heard Him telling you not to give up Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, so maybe that is the way He will speak to you, but the answer could come in another form, such as a person you meet, a serendipitous event, etc.

:gopray2::hug1::blessyou:


#3

Life is a journey, in journeys you come across "Roads Less Travelled." It's good to check them out. Checking out religious life may lead you to marriage, or to a hermitage, or somewhere else - you just never know!:thumbsup:


#4

Since your spiritual director has proposed this, it is certainly something to take seriously.

Perhaps what you need is to schedule a retreat (or two or three..;)) at a convent. Likewise you can look into 3rd orders, or becoming involved with Opus Dei.

Since you are an attorney, I am sure that you are highly intelligent and like to have "all the information" so that you can sort through and make an informed decision. Unfortunately in this case there is a lot more involved than just "information"...That can be frustrating I know.

So - in order to put some action, some "education", some info gathering, etc to your discernment I would suggest you sample the religious life through retreat. I'm sure you SD can point you to some.

Peace
James


#5

Thank you all for your responses.

I'm sure that things will start sorting themselves out as I continue to pray, reflect and ask for the Holy Spirit's guidance. Right now, I'm mostly muddled. :) In no particular order, here are the things muddling me today:

On the one hand, I love the idea of living in community, praying the LoTH together, attending daily Mass etc in a very structured environment. But there is nothing like that here in Kansas where I live.

I am naturally drawn to comtemplation but would want to be active as well. There is a cloistered convent near here and two or three active, but not contemplative, convents here. So again, fit.

I am reading about Agregee csjkansas.org/about/agregees/our-agregee-program/ but then I wonder why not go the route of Consecrated Single.

If you've lived a life of sin prior to conversion, can you still be a Consecrated Single? clearly you couldn't be a Consecrated Virgin if you, well, aren't.

On a very selfish note, the convents that I've looked at appear to have an average age of 60 or 70. It seems sad, on so many levels.

Is the vocation of Consecrated Single a "cop-out" from the call to religious life? Are there any Consecrated Singles here on CAF that would be willing to talk?


#6

Yes - this is a lot to try to sort through.
Like I said earlier, spending some time with the various orders, on retreat, surely will give you a better feel for the actual “fit”.

Lay these things before God in prayer and before the Blessed Sacrament and also before your Spiritual Director and see what comes from it.

Good Luck

Peace
James


#7

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.