Your thoughts on discernment - marriage v religious


#1

Hi,

I'm just hoping to hear from others about their thoughts on the following:

I'm a 25-year-old female and have always believed and desired marriage to be my vocation.

I'm drawn to it for many reasons - #1 I can't think of a better way to spend my life than loving and sacrificing myself for a husband and children. Raising children in the faith and helping my spouse grow in virtue would be a great blessing, not to mention sharing my life with others. I love kids and would rather be a humble stay at home mom than a successful career woman. My picture of success is having a large Catholic family, that sticks together and supports each other in hard times and in good times.

The Catholic family seems like a more and more rare thing in today's world but it's so foundational to our society, culture and lives. Both sides of my family have Catholic roots, but, to date, divorces and vices including alcoholism have led to a split and loss of faith. These divorces have long lasting, generational affects, even on my parents lives. #2 I think one of the greatest gifts I could give my parents, that which would also bring them much happiness, is marrying and having grandchildren for them to enjoy. I could offer them the family that they never had.

So in addition, I would be proud and driven to be the one person in my family to marry a Catholic man and form a Catholic family with him, and let the family grow with as many children as God blesses us with. #3 Lastly, I believe I have skills that mesh with being a wife and mother.

However, what if these desires and thoughts are not in tune with what God has planned for me? Surely he wouldn't give me these desires if he didn't intend marriage for me, right?

But I've found it hard to meet other like-minded Catholic men, much less Catholic men at all. I'm already 25, and many people are already married or getting married. The pool of available men is shrinking! ha. My only real and longest relationship was about 11 months and I thought I could marry this guy but the circumstances were not in our favor.

I've joined Catholic groups and try to be as active as possible in my church, in order to meet friends and possibly date. I try to pray about it often and visit the blessed sacrament to seek help in my vocation.

Could my belief that my vocation for marriage be rather something that our modern society put into my head? All the romantic songs, and chick flicks make me think this is for me but in fact, marriage is not what God planned?

I recently had a nun ask me what I'm doing with my life (she found out I wasn't married) and she invited me to a meeting at her convent (I didn't go) Is this how God could be communicating his plan for me?

How can I know for sure?

Thanks!

(sorry that was so long winded!)


#2

You’ve obviously given this a great deal of mature thought and prayer. It does sound like a lovely life, and I would think such ideas came from holy sources rather than from our modern society and culture. Rather than fixing your prayer on this one oppertunity, you might open your heart wider to hear what Our Lord wants for you. I love the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for that, to go before Him and ask, Dear Lord, what is it that you want me to do. I’m here, and Your will is mine. If you would do this for nine Fridays, starting this Friday, you would gain such wonderful grace, and I can’t help but feel that you would learn the answer. Also, I would encourage you to return to the sister and ask if you might attend that meeting. Neither God nor the sisters would misdirect you, so why not see if there is something there. My grandmother was ready to enter the convent within weeks certain that she had a religious vocation, when she met my grandfather. I have a wonderful picture of them taken in 1918, a young engaged couple. They married and had eight children. You are ready to hear God’s plan.


#3

You can have the best of both worlds. Marriage in itself is a vocation. I will be getting married on August 20 of this year and May of 2012 I will be professed as a Secular Franciscan. I encourage you to pray immensly. I am very lucky that my fiance is Catholic just as I was raise and her parents and my parents for the most part were raised Catholic. My dad’s mom, dad and brother separated from the church in 1972, but dad has remained Catholic. There are so many blessing out there for you


#4

First and foremost, keep praying and trying to discern what God wants you to do. Prayer is the key! You asked how you can be sure, and I'm not sure one can ever be 100% sure about their vocation before it happens, but through prayer and contemplation you can hopefully get to a point where you feel reasonably confident which way God wants you to go.

If I may offer a few points of humble advice:

1) Don't be afraid to entertain the options! God reveals his desires for us incrementally, and we should always be open to the things He offers to us. You might not know what He is calling you to today, but something might happen tomorrow that makes it crystal clear for you. If you get invited again to a meeting at a convent, there is no harm in going...finding out more about it isn't taking the vows, but might help you discern whether or not the religious life is your calling.

2) It can definitely be very difficult to find a chaste, religious spouse -- especially nowadays! But you might want to consider broadening your scope outside of Catholicism. NOT because I necessarily think you should marry a non-Catholic, but because perhaps part of your calling is to bring your future spouse into the Church! My wife and I were married Protestant and converted together, and I volunteer with my Parish RCIA program and see a lot of people -- men and women -- bringing their future spouses into the church.

Anyway, just some food for thought. Keep prayin'!

I also just happened to run across this article today on Inside Catholic; you may find it interesting/helpful: On Finding a Husband: A Conversation with Amy Bonaccorso.

God bless you!


#5

I was going to say roughly the same thing. Just remember meeting the right man will be in God’s time and not yours. Better to wait for Mr Right than to settle for Mr Wrong. Remember Christ in the desert with Satan - he could have ended his fast at any time by giving way to the first temptation - but man does not live on bread alone. Just pray for His will in your life and He will provide.


#6

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