As a woman discerning becoming a cloistered nun, I can see where this kind of life is misunderstood--i don't even fully understand it myself. Especially to someone who does not recognize the Communion of Saints, the solidarity of the Church, the power of intercessory prayer, and the universality of the Eucharist, a vocation to belong to God alone, to be love in the heart of the Church would make no sense at all. Mother Mary Francis PCC explains it well in A Right to Be Merry:
The world has been illuminated for more than seven hundred years by the unfailing light that is Saint Clare, but the world at large does not know it. Working, studying, writing in the sunlight, we are not inspired to sit down and reflect that if the sun were not there, all these pursuits would be impossible.
As Christ is seen in the Gospels preaching in the synagogues, healing the sick, teaching the crowds, feeding the hungry, and forgiving sins, He is also seen going up to the mountain simply to pray and to be in union with the Father. So if some are called to be the hands and feet of Christ by preaching, teaching, healing, feeding, forgiving, etc, as St. Paul explains in Romans 12:4, certainly some are called to be the heart of Christ pumping Divine Love to all the organs and limbs of the body. Ultimately though, that is the only job of the heart, and it would seem quite futile to someone who sees the external hands and feet and eyes and lips which heal and travel and see and speak. The heart...doesn't exactly do anything at all...except supply the necessary nourishment for the rest of the body to work, completely hidden from the outside world. Noone thinks about this seemingly useless work of the heart in comparison with the more utilitarian work of the other body parts, but if the heart were not there, healing and traveling and seeing and speaking would be impossible.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I understand how other people could easily misunderstand this vocation. We believe in one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church which is united--not only throughout this earth but also with all the Saints in Heaven above--in their faith and in the Eucharist, and one in which the intercessory prayer of some can greatly benefit the souls of others. In this light, it's a pretty humbling and awesome call. But when you throw out the unity of the Eucharist and the intercession of the Saints and trade our Catholic (universal) faith for Sola Scriptura (by which one Spirit of Truth somehow supposedly leads thousands of people to reach different "truths"), it is foolishness. Sometimes it looks like foolishness even to those who are called (take it from me!), but "God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise" (1 Cor 1:27), and we are sometimes called to accept with blind faith that "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him." (1 Cor 2:9)
Please pray for me and my discernment. God bless you all!
Pax et bonum :rolleyes: