Religious life or not?


#1

Hi. I'm 18 years old and I have been discerning a vocation to religious life for about 5 years. All that time I felt for sure that's what God wanted for me. However, for the past year or so, I've also been really attracted to an amazingly devout Catholic boy. I've been trying to ignore it for a long time because I kept thinking God wants me to be a nun and I still like the idea of being a nun, but I also really like this boy too. I feel like I'm crazy when I say I'm attracted to him because I feel like I hardly know him outside of what he posts on Facebook. We go to different parishes, so I usually only see him at youth group which is only twice a month and I'm too shy to talk to him. Should I continue to try to ignore my feelings for him despite how hard that is and continue to lean toward religious life? Or should I somehow express my feelings, which terrifies me. I probably sound ridiculous, but I just feel so confused and I felt like I needed to express myself, and I long for some words of advice. Thank you.


#2

[quote="robingirl, post:1, topic:320054"]
Hi. I'm 18 years old and I have been discerning a vocation to religious life for about 5 years. All that time I felt for sure that's what God wanted for me. However, for the past year or so, I've also been really attracted to an amazingly devout Catholic boy. I've been trying to ignore it for a long time because I kept thinking God wants me to be a nun and I still like the idea of being a nun, but I also really like this boy too. I feel like I'm crazy when I say I'm attracted to him because I feel like I hardly know him outside of what he posts on Facebook. We go to different parishes, so I usually only see him at youth group which is only twice a month and I'm too shy to talk to him. Should I continue to try to ignore my feelings for him despite how hard that is and continue to lean toward religious life? Or should I somehow express my feelings, which terrifies me. **I probably sound ridiculous, **but I just feel so confused and I felt like I needed to express myself, and I long for some words of advice. Thank you.

[/quote]

Why in the world you would think you sound ridiculous is beyond me. But I liked reading your story and wish you well.


#3

Well, when it comes to a vocation, much prayer and reflection is required. If you don’t write it already, I suggest writing poems about how you feel, without forcing a thing, but also being careful about exact word choice. There is a poet in everyone, I have come to believe. Also, perhaps read about the lives of the saints and be open to what the saints you read about have to say to you. Autobiographies work the best for this, I think.


#4

Have you spoken to any one about vocations? A friend of mine who wanted to be a Priest in 7 years was encouraged to date if he met some one of good character. They considered it part of his discernment process. Of course it was a chaste courtship. He still chose to enter seminary. God wants us to have an open heart to follow His leading. :)

May God give your clear guidance.


#5

I had a similar experience early in my discernment of a vocation to the priesthood. My advice to you would be to not ignore your feelings for the guy but to go and talk to him and just be open to God and see where it goes. This could be a part of God's plan for your vocation to religious life and could also be very beneficial for that calling.

One thing I would stress though is that you should be totally open with him about your calling so that there's no risk of misunderstandings and hurt feelings later down the track.


#6

[quote="InThePew, post:5, topic:320054"]
I had a similar experience early in my discernment of a vocation to the priesthood. My advice to you would be to not ignore your feelings for the guy but to go and talk to him and just be open to God and see where it goes. This could be a part of God's plan for your vocation to religious life and could also be very beneficial for that calling.

One thing I would stress though is that you should be totally open with him about your calling so that there's no risk of misunderstandings and hurt feelings later down the track.

[/quote]

I'd second that advice. A vocation retreat might be helpful, too.


#7

Is there any way you can meet him at like a restaurant with an objective third party/chaperone? Chaste relationships help with our interpersonal relationship skills, and each friendship/courtship builds on that.

While you are still very young, you need to still see about this guy and discern your attraction for him. "I'm interested in having a chaste relationship with you but I'm still discerning religious life" could put everything out on the table. "Can we be special friends?"

One has to be careful about infatuation, which is exacerbated by the internet. What image you have of this kid--and that is what he is, a kid--may very well be your own concoction and not an appreciation for who he really is. He doesn't have a steady job, and cannot support you at this juncture. Please keep both feet on the ground.

Blessings,
Cloisters


#8

You need not be afraid of your feelings or feel you are ignoring your attraction to religious life. It is all part of discernment. The only thing displeasing to God is sin. Go ahead and explore the possibilities. A chaste relationship is not a hindrance but a help in narrowing your search and making it clear to you where God is leading you. Build your prayer life, be open to God's prompting, frequent the sacraments and be not afraid!


#9

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