Renouncing


#1

If I have fallen in love with a wonderful Catholic girl and feel like we are a blessing to one another and balance out one another’s faults, and I have asked her to marry me, and she has said yes, would it be wrong for me to renounce her and become a victim soul and a hermit/monastic?

I have no reason for wanting to leave her other than the knowledge that the Church teaches that celebacy is a higher calling than marriage for those who can accept it, and a longing for the redemptive sufferings of Chirst. I know I would hate to lose my fiancee more than anything else, it’s the biggest sacrifice I could possibly make for Christ, to give up on the woman I love and to give up my one chance of happiness in this life.

The only problem is, I don’t know if I could keep my love for God, or keep myself from temptation, if I didn’t have my fiancee by my side. She’s the one who brought me to Catholicism, though I kinda brought her to Catholicism too (it’s a long story). I also don’t know how she’d cope - she’s way more emotional than me, and I know that she’s not ready to make such a sacrifice willingly, and I feel wrong about imposing it.

What do I do? Is it wrong to be happy with her? I never wanted to be happy in my life, I only want to please God. The whole reason I found Christianity so appealing is its emphasis on redemptive suffering, on the Cross, on the belief that life has a higher purpose than merely being happy.

I keep trying to see married life as a sacrifice, as sacrificing the right to sacrifice myself because another person loves me too much, but however much I try, it always comes back to just feeling really happy and carefree when I’m with my fiancee. I know she wouldn’t want to be with me if I saw my life with her as some kind of suffering or penance anyway. I don’t know what to do, it’s really hard to desire the thing I desire least, and to want to renounce the thing I want most - how on earth does anybody do that?

Is there such a thing as a sacrifice too far? Is it possible to give up on something that’s so good that God didn’t want you to give it up? I can see how being so happy in love with my fiancee would be a really powerful positive witness to others, while hurting her by leaving her, then hiding myself away and asking God to make me suffer would just make people wonder what kind of a sadistic God I worship. All the same, we need to preach Jesus Christ in the Truth, not to sugar the pill to make Christianity look nice and fluffy and inoffencive. The gospel Truth is that Christ died nailed to a cross of suffering, not peacefully in the arms of someone who loved Him, but despised and rejected of men. I wonder if being a victim soul would allow me to more perfectly reflect the sufferings of Christ.

If it were a straight choice between being disobedient to God or suffering it would be an easy choice. Instead, I feel I have the choice between doing something good for God by marrying and being happy, or doing something that isn’t good at all except that I’m offering it up to Him as a sacrifice. It’s sort-of like Abraham sacrificing Isaac, except God didn’t give Abraham a choice. I feel like God’s saying “you can either sacrifice the goat instead, or go ahead and sacrifice your son like you were going to”. What would have been the right thing for Abraham to do if God had offered him that choice? Would he have been right to save his son, because of love and because God allowed it, or would he have been right to sacrifice him, because it was the very dearest thing he had to give to God?

I’d welcome your advice.


#2

(1) Get some spiritual direction and professional counseling before you do anything. Honestly something sounds amiss here.

(2) Don’t set a date, or let her move forward with planning a wedding, until you’ve sorted out your issues. It is very unfair to her to have her dangling with no idea of what you are thinking.


#3

you are asking the wrong question, or asking them in the wrong order. First discern your vocation. Part of this discernment is discerning the charisms inherent in that vocation: celibacy, chastity, love for children etc. If that vocation is marriage, then discern who is to be your spouse. If that vocation is to religious life, then discern in what manner that will be carried out–secular priesthood, monastic priesthood etc. That is done under spiritual direction, humility and obedience. It is not done by saying “I want”. What you want is not at issue. What God wants for you is the issue. You do not choose to be a victim soul. That is a choice God makes for a few persons whom he specially choses and prepares. You will not be allowed to pursue life as a hermit without religious formation and strengthening for that vocation, and under obedience to spiritual direction.


#4

I would second the advice given above. Also, perhaps make sure that your motives really are what you see them as. Are you sure you want a higher calling because that’s where your charisms lead you and it would be bad to suffice with “less”, or… is it for the appeal of the higher calling as, well, being higher? There have been married saints too and it’s not like they’ve all been in white marriages.

Additionally, what about the fiancee? Are you sure you aren’t wondering whether she’s really the one? Doubts always happen.

Note: Just because some kinds of sacrifices exist doesn’t mean you have to do just that. Just because you’re happy with your fiancee doesn’t mean you need to give her up. You may be called to sacrifice, but called to be unhappy? It looks like you’ve been unhappy for most of your life and now that it looks like it’s started straightening up, you wonder if you shouldn’t offer your developing happiness up to God. But isn’t that because happiness is a new thing to you and you don’t really know how to find yourself in that situation?

Please consult a spiritual director and perhaps even a psychologist if you feel you need one. It looks like you have some things to deal with.


#5

Thanks to both of you for your advice. I re-read my original post and I realise it sounds a little unhinged. It makes me sound like some zealot with no grounding, which I guess I kind-of still am.

I need to realise that I’m not some special case - I’m just an ordinary foot-soldier in Christ’s army - and that is enough of a blessing, to be considered worthy to bear His name as a Christian. Nothing wrong with being happily married.


#6

Okay this is werid i just got done having this same discussion with a friend. You might be in the same situation i was. i was equating higher with better. Like it is “better calling” that i a become a nun because that is “better calling” then the marriage vocation. In truth is religous calling is a different calling but not necessarly a better calling just because it is a higher calling. does that make sense?

If you feel the calling to be married then accept God’s calling to the fulliest extent that you can. Love your wife like God loves his church and spend your life trying to help each other achieve heaven.

If you feel the calling to the reglious life then you must fullfill that calling. Which means you need to end your relationship with her but as a women i would hate to be planning a wedding and then for the groom to spring it on me that he didn’t know if he should get married. Be truthful with her and spend sometime in prayer and get a spiritual director or find an older married man that you can talk to out it. Try your deacon he might have some good knowledge.

Here is actaully what we actaully wrote: He is so much smart then me so here you go:

Beckers I believe St. Paul had something to say on the topic:

1 Cor 7:6-9 *But I speak this by indulgence, not by commandment. For I would that all men were even as myself: but every one hath his proper gift from God; one after this manner, and another after that. But I say to the unmarried, and to the widows: It is good for them if they so continue, even as I. But if they do not contain themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to be burnt. *

Surely it is evident that to devote ones entire life to the service of almighty God, forsaking conjugal love for the Kingdom of Heaven is a higher calling. ** Keep in mind that the operative word is “calling”, all are not called, and so we should humbly seek to do our part consistent with our station. **


#7

I am in the somewhat unique position of having been both a contemplative nun (picture “Sound of Music” without the Nazis) and a wife. I’m telling you, if you want sacrifice – get married.

Life in the monastery was quiet, connected with God, and filled with little sacrifices like missing my friends and family, sacrifices like celibacy and silence, sacrifices like obedience and poverty. These are NOTHING compared to the sacrifices and suffering of marriage, and any monk or nun who says otherwise has never been married! Why do you think monks and nuns take on corporal penances such as hair shirts?

Any husband or wife will tell you this: married life is a constant death to self. As a cloistered nun I was never going to be faced with the challenges or temptations of the world. I never had to trust God with my finances, pray for guidance on how to discipline my child, stay up all night with a sick child and go to work the next day to care for 320 more children (I’m a teacher). I never had to struggle with how to dress modestly, how to live out chastity, how to surrender to God all my worries about raising my son. I never had to worry about being alone for the rest of my life (though there were moments when I wished I didn’t have to live with these women for the rest of my life).

As everyone else has said, seek out spiritual guidance. Call your parish for someone to talk with. And let God, and God alone, choose your vocation. Speaking as someone who’s been on both sides of the cloister wall, if you’re looking for suffering and sacrifice, God is probably calling you to married life. :smiley:

You and your fiancee will be in my prayers.

Gertie

If you think your married life is going to be all sweetness and


#8

If it is suffering that you want then get married.:smiley:
You can sure need the grace that comes with exchanging vows.
Whether it is the trials of child-rearing, or the worry when one of your children gets ill, or behaves badly, or struggles with their work. Or the logistics of earning a decent wage, or the endless bills. Or how about trying to do all this while exhausted from 2 hours sleep after being up all night with a crying child? I guess the Grace will come in handy when DH says “What’s for tea?” after a terrible day-still in your PJs, house is a tip, children fighting, baby investigating contents of nappy and flames leaping from the dinner you managed to find time to prepare.(no darling, it is not meant to be flambe).
Actually, this is not my marriage on a usual day, but I have been there! Marriage is not sunshine and lollipops all the time. You only have to read some of the threads on here to see that.If it is redemptive suffering you want, then get married!
(not quite tongue in cheek)


#9

:rotfl: You actually make some very good points here–but this did sound funny as an opener!


#10

Believe me, married life is a sacrific! If you marry I garauntee you’ll live to regret it at times! Don’t worry, you’ll get the sacrifice you long for, believe me!

I vote to marry this girl.


#11

nobody is worthy, so don’t let that bother you. Whatever vocation God intends for you, he will prepare you with all the gifts and graces you need for that vocation. Your only concern is to be faithful and to trust in Him.


#12

I think it’s really important that you let your fiancee know what is going on, and take a huge step back- maybe even two or three- to do some serious discernment before you take any steps closer to a vowed vocation.

I wish there was better language to avoid the confusion of “higher calling.” The most important and most effective vocation you can pursue is the one intended for you by God. “Higher” or not, your vocation to single life, consecrated life, marriage, or even a more complicated path has been selected for you by God.

My DH had a “vocation crisis” while we were dating. We continued dating at the time, and it ended up being short-lived. In retrospect, it probably would have been wiser to put the relationship on hold. For one thing, it would have let him discern marriage without ties to me pulling him in that direction, skewing his discernment. For another, it simply shows a greater level of faith to be willing to step back, put your dearest friend and most cherished relationship on the line to make sure you are doing what God wants you to do. I firmly believe that if you do so with the mindset that you want to discern your vocation properly, God will protect you both from being torn apart by that difficult time if that is what and who He wants for you.


#13

As a married woman who happens to know a monastic or two, I second the claim that if you want sacrifice - get married! I’d just like to add one thing to all the great points people have made: It is quite common to get a sudden ‘vocation’ the moment you are committed to get married (it goes the other way round too, I’m told). These are usually normal temptations that should be ignored. I had never even considered becoming a nun before I’d gotten engaged, and then, spending some time in a monastery, my whole being suddenly started aching for me to join it. A nun actually calmed me down and told me to get married!


#14

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