Stress-Free Discernment


#1

Today, I went to a third-order Carmelite meeting as a "visitor". The way it goes is that you are a visitor for a year and then an aspirant for a year and so on....

The people were very nice and the meeting was great.

However, at the formation meeting, where I was with two other visitors, I kept on hearing stuff like:

-- as you keep coming..
- right now start with this..
-- You will see after about 5 visits..
- you will be given this book in the next stage
-- looking forward to seeing you next month.

I am only a visitor but I felt this burden of expectation. I am sure it was unintentional. I tend to convey excitement when I am interested in something, and excitement is contagious.

How do some of you who discerned for a while, deal with getting close to a communiy/communities without feeling pressured?

Thanks.


#2

Life is stressful.

They didnt sound like they were pressuring, rather letting you know when you will proceed and how to. Many times its a matter of harnessing fervor and growing spirituality.

90% of the pressure is in your own mind. Just like the pressure to join a sority in college. People do crazy things to be accpted when they are fine being themselves.

Even if they came off strong thats not pressure...thats their own excitment. Ive never known a 3rd order...or any order...that recruited for the heck of it.


#3

I'm pretty sure a lot of it is in my mind. Nevertheless...

Is there anyone who experienced similar feelings?


#4

I was thinking you were probably correctly interpreting what they were saying, but maybe mistaking their intention a bit. Your idea of what a “visitor” is maybe is more like mine. I want to go and see what it’s like. That’s my idea. Like when they let you look around COSTCO without buying a membership. But their idea of “visitor” sounds like something where people are already committing to at least regular attendance for more serious discernment. So you were coming from a different place than they thought you were in.

I am discerning a call myself right now and my way is to not go anyplace with any live people until I know as much as possible about the charism, I guess? The practice and focus of a group because I get so uncomfortable with the sales aspect. I don’t think people mean to, I think they are just very enthusiastic for their own group and if you hesitate and want some space they often take it personally, like you are being critical or something.

If you want to keep going to this group, maybe you could have a talk with whoever acts as vocation director or just say, "I am visiting, but I’m not a “visitor” or something like that. (I’ve developed the shrug/clueless smile into an artform, I think.)


#5

Best wishes to you in your faith journey. You will find your way!:angel1:

I would trust your feelings: if you felt pressured, it may not have been their intent at all, but it may be that you are truly not wanting to rush things. Communities and orders vary with the people within it, but all are worthy.

I took a few months looking into various orders, studying carefully all their rules and communities for laypersons. Then I did my best to contact the people within each order, just to have a talk before I attended any meetings. Two of the groups (which I did not choose) were in a kind of competition with each other, albeit a very friendly one. They both had rather rigid schedules but were willing to talk to me so that I could get a sense of what was expected of me and how long the formation process would take.

A member of another group (to whom I spoke with over the phone, had (unbeknownst to me,) just left that particular group after some kind of tiff. Bad vibes all around. Another group never answered a simple email or phone call. Doors seemed to be closing, until....a window opened.

I found it: A cheerful, welcoming, intelligent and warm group of people excited to hear about my interests in their community. Theirs is a gentle program, and I had no doubts. Trust your feelings. What may be fine for one person may not be the right fit for you, and God knows you inside and out. He will help you find your spiritual "home," and with prayer (and a sense of humor) you will find your way.

After all, Christ Himself is our destiny, and He is patient with us if we are honestly seeking the best way to serve Him in the world. Every order is blessed, each person a child of God, but you too are uniquely gifted, and it's important that you feel comfortable in your choice.
Kathryn Ann
Novice Oblate of St. Benedict


#6

[quote="Kathryn_Ann, post:5, topic:265877"]

Kathryn Ann
Novice Oblate of St. Benedict

[/quote]

[/FONT]

May I ask you a question? Did you know you wanted to be in a Benedictine community of some kind and just looked at those groups? Or were you looking at different kinds of spiritually oriented groups and were finally led to Benedictine spirituality??


#7

[quote="Julia_Mae, post:4, topic:265877"]

If you want to keep going to this group, maybe you could have a talk with whoever acts as vocation director or just say, "I am visiting, but I'm not a "visitor" or something like that. (I've developed the shrug/clueless smile into an artform, I think.)

[/quote]

Ha ha. That made me laugh.

The visitor stage is really relaxed. Before you can even apply to be an aspirant, you have to be a visitor for a whole year.

I think that people are happy at the possibility of new blood, especially younger folks. Yes, I'm a younger folk if you look at the mean age.:D


#8

[quote="Kathryn_Ann, post:5, topic:265877"]
Best wishes to you in your faith journey. You will find your way!:angel1:

I would trust your feelings: if you felt pressured, it may not have been their intent at all, but it may be that you are truly not wanting to rush things. Communities and orders vary with the people within it, but all are worthy.

I took a few months looking into various orders, studying carefully all their rules and communities for laypersons. Then I did my best to contact the people within each order, just to have a talk before I attended any meetings. Two of the groups (which I did not choose) were in a kind of competition with each other, albeit a very friendly one. They both had rather rigid schedules but were willing to talk to me so that I could get a sense of what was expected of me and how long the formation process would take.

A member of another group (to whom I spoke with over the phone, had (unbeknownst to me,) just left that particular group after some kind of tiff. Bad vibes all around. Another group never answered a simple email or phone call. Doors seemed to be closing, until....a window opened.

I found it: A cheerful, welcoming, intelligent and warm group of people excited to hear about my interests in their community. Theirs is a gentle program, and I had no doubts. Trust your feelings. What may be fine for one person may not be the right fit for you, and God knows you inside and out. He will help you find your spiritual "home," and with prayer (and a sense of humor) you will find your way.

After all, Christ Himself is our destiny, and He is patient with us if we are honestly seeking the best way to serve Him in the world. Every order is blessed, each person a child of God, but you too are uniquely gifted, and it's important that you feel comfortable in your choice.
Kathryn Ann
Novice Oblate of St. Benedict

[/quote]

Thank you Kathryn.

The people there were really welcoming. But as Julia Mae said, I probably saw visitor as something else.


#9

[quote="TrueLight, post:3, topic:265877"]
I'm pretty sure a lot of it is in my mind. Nevertheless...

Is there anyone who experienced similar feelings?

[/quote]

Quite the opposite. So far I'm getting blank stares, bounced emails and links on websites which havn't been updated since 2002.

I'm starting to think I may have to start my own monastery. For now I may just bring a sleeping bag to perpetual adoration and start a vegetable garden in the grotto. Maybe it is just impatience.

Kathrny, would you mind sharing more about your journey? Did you have a thread already started with your story? Would you care to name the Benedictine monastery you are associated with?

-Tim-


#10

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