Hello! See below for the next few weeks' topics!
This week's topic was suggested by Laura!
While most of us feel called to marriage, it is important to see the beauty in all vocations! If/when you were discerning religious life, which communities interest(ed) you? What do you see as the positives of that vocation?
During my sophomore year of college, I discerned that I was called to marriage. And because I'd felt God had been totally clear, I never approached that topic again. Onwards and upwards toward marriage.
And then a couple months ago, doubt crept in.
"What if you're supposed to be a nun?"
"Maybe that's why you're still single..."
I'd never felt doubt like that before. Oh man, I was freaking out.
Was this from God? Or was it the enemy? Should I re-discern? Or should I stay the course?
Thank God for the silent retreat I attended, where I had the best spiritual direction of my life.
I met with the wisest Sister I've ever known, and I am so grateful for her advice. She told me that there's no danger in continuing discernment, even if you think you know what you're called to. Your vocation has been already been chosen, so if I'm called to marriage, only more clarity can come from learning more about religious life and religious communities. So, that's what I decided to do! After all, if I truly want to live the Lord's plan for my life, shouldn't I be open to whatever that plan is?
During the past few weeks, I entered spiritual direction with the aforementioned Sister and did a lot of soul-searching, praying, surrendering, and opening myself up to whatever the Lord wants.
Oh, and I watched the Light of Love film which is INCREDIBLE.
Please watch it. I loved learning about different religious Sisters and their lives! It's so awesome what the Lord can do!
I've since been reconfirmed in my original discernment - I believe that the Lord has created me for marriage.
This questioning, I believe, came from a place of fear: fear that God has forgotten about me, fear of having no control, etc. Being called to marriage is scary! You have no control over when you will meet Mr. Right... and I really like control. With religious life, at least you can make the decision to enter an order.
I caution you against this way of thinking, friends. It's a dangerous slope, which can easily turn into you choosing the wrong vocation simply because of some perceived "control". No good.
But in attempting to reopen myself to religious life has allowed me to remember the beauty of that vocation and learn more about certain communities.
If I did have a call to religious life, I would expect that I'd be drawn to communities like the Missionaries of Charity or the Salesians of Don Bosco. I have a heart for ministry, so I think that would be something I'd desire to keep focused on. During my silent retreat (which wasn't so silent), we watched this video on Mother Teresa, which really spoke to my heart...especially the part with the babies at the orphanage! But there are so many other kinds of orders out there, my research has barely scratched the surface! Like what about the Dominicans of St. Cecilia, the Sisters of Life, or the Daughters of St. Paul?
One of my friends is a cloistered Carmelite and I don't think I could ever do that. We're all called to contemplative prayer, but my soul is not made to be cloistered!
I was just trying to count how many friends of mine are now religious Sisters or intending to enter religious life....I want to say it's about...10? Plus I have a great aunt who was a Sister....oh, and my Grandpa Lynch once dated Mother Dolores.
What I see to be the most beautiful part about religious life is how you're able to give yourself totally and completely to God. As a religious, one marries our Lord and from thereon, every second of one's life is devoted to Him! What a gift! It would be incredible to be able to serve anyone, anywhere, in whatever way was needed. Because that's what you're called to do as a religious!
A married woman gives herself to God in a a different way...through sacrifice to her husband and children. It's a calling as necessary and beautiful, but different.
I've heard before that religious life is a higher calling than marriage. Technically, this is true, since being married to God is as close to heaven as we can get on earth. However, that doesn't mean that religious life is better than marriage. We were all made for one vocation in particular. During my re-discernment, I struggled seeking what that Lord created me for rather than what I've heard in the past as being "better".
If you are called to marriage, that is what's best for you. That doesn't mean that one is better than the other, but your heart was made for one specific vocation. Don't allow your mind to lead you away from what your heart was made for.
ANYWAY. Marriage is awesome. Religious life is awesome.
If for no other reason, I hope that this time I've taken to explore religious life will help me to be encouraging of vocations to religious life in my family, my friends, perhaps my children or nieces and nephews.
I can't wait to hear from you! Have you looked into any religious orders? What do you see in religious life that is appealing? Link up below and check out Jen's post!
Next week's topic:
We LOVE the NAS community, but creating a real-life community is essential to our lives! What have been your struggles in making friends as a young adult? Do you have any advice for those struggling to build community post-college?
5/27: Social MediaOur lives tend to revolve around social media and knowing what's happening in everyone's lives. How has this effected your life? In your experience, has social media made dating easier? Harder? i.e. not judging something you see about the guy you're dating on Twitter/FB
6/3: NAS year in reviewJune 4th, 2013 was the very first NAS post! How has your life changed in the past year? How has this community impacted you?