Thursday, February 01, 2007

On A Journey Towards Christ

There is no doubt in my mind: my ultimate goal is union with Christ in Heaven. But like with everything else, I need steps leading there.

I'm struggling again with how to word what it is I wish to say. I'll say it as plainly and clearly as I can but please do excuse me if I still seem vague or unclear. Things are cloudy in my mind, too. In fact, thinking about beginning this post brings me back to a conversation I had a month or so ago with a new friend of mine. He said to me during our convesation something along the lines of "our whole lives are spent in discernment". And it's true. They are. We seek every day to discern the will of the Father in our lives. Every day we have little discernments. But the one I often speak of is the big one.. vocational discernment. I talk about it because it does consume my life. Many of the little discernments in my life - the ones that happen on a daily basis - are made in such a way that should not hinder my bigger discernment. And I guess that's where we jump off..

I am discerning a call to the religious life. Or I was. I am? I'm not really sure how to say this in a way which makes sense. Basically, I'm open to any vocation at this point. I did for a long time feel a huge pull towards the convent. I was 'sure' I wanted to enter religious life. I knew I would be a sister and was only seeking the right community. And perhaps I still know this. But I feel so much pressure from so many places that I need to step back again and reevaluate where I am.

I know that in many senses I was the one who allowed this 'pressure' to build up around me. I was the one who made the announcement and certainly I have not shied away from talking about it. I do love religious life. I appreciate what it is to those who are served by the sisters and brothers and priests and I appreciate what it is to the Church and the souls that belong to Christ. However, choosing this vocation is not choosing it because I want it or because my fellow parishoners want it for me. Choosing this vocation is simply accepting what Christ has chosen for me.

Has Christ chosen religious life for me? Is this how He calls me to serve Him?

I wish I could answer these questions with a resounding "yes!" I wish I could tell you that I knew for sure. But frankly, that's the point of discernment. I'm still wading through everything in my head, trying my hardest to come to the right answer - the answer that comes from Christ.

I enjoyed my visit with the Sisters very, very much. I love every aspect of their life and service. Certainly if I am to enter religious life, they would be an order I would like to revisit. But to say today or tomorrow that I know for certain that this is the place where Christ calls me.. well, I just couldn't do it. Not honestly.

When I was leaving I was able to talk to the vocations director for the order. She drove me to the airport and with the traffic in the city, we had a good lot of time to discuss things. She advised me to really take time after I returned home to just be still and listen. And I did take some time - but not nearly enough. A couple of days is not nearly what I needed after my visit, though it is hard in the world (especially when you live with others) to really retreat from daily life to sit and examine and listen. Perhaps it is only hard for me. I am able, at times, to really work with a contemplative spirit. But at other times, often the worst times, I cannot. I am much too distracted.

And perhaps that is my problem now. Perhaps I am just distracted. Perhaps I have lost sight of my focus point.

Whatever it is, I must look it in the face and overcome it. But what I need to be known is that my overcoming it isn't my moving into the convent necessarily. Certainly it could be and I would be more than thrilled (and humbled) if this were the case, but it is not wise to say that it is that just yet. Overcoming this could lead me to a wonderfully faithful Catholic man. I could be called to be a wife and mother - also a thrilling and humbling thought.

So you see, there is a lot to be prayed about.

Many years ago I felt as though others were thrusting me into the convent. Today I feel as though I may be pushing myself there. This is exactly the reason I decided to not be so worried about it. I've decided to take that step back and really just allow myself to take care of the here and now. I need to work on saving up money for my own place. I need to worry about the apostolate and my contributions there. I need to set aside time to be with our Lord - that He may show me the way to Himself through my own heart.

I have a lot of growing to do before I can know where the Lord calls me. Certainly the Lord could at any time reveal this to me, but unless He appears before me and tells me plainly, this is what needs to be done. And it is what I will do... happily. I know that all of these 'little' things I am doing to take care of myself and grow in faith will be looked upon kindly by our Lord if I do them in hopes of serving Him.

Right now this is where I am being called and these are the things I am being called to do.

I do not deny that something wonderful happened that day at Mass. I know that I was blessed in a very special way. But looking back, I wonder if I was not blessed by a softening of my heart. Perhaps the Lord granted me in that moment the grace to be open to anything He called me to. Perhaps I saw clearly for the first time that my wishes did not matter and that as long as I was pretending to serve Him while serving myself, I was doing nothing but harm.

I followed without regret. I continue to follow without regret.

So for now, nothing is certain. I am simply a humble servant in my own ways outside of marriage or religious life. I serve in my workplace, in the apostolate, and in my family. I serve in my parish and in all other places that the Lord calls me. And I do this happily, knowing that right now, this is where the Lord would have me.



Blogger DilexitPrior said...

Thank-you for this encouraging post. I've been kind of out of the loop for a couple of weeks with my grandmother's death, but I was glad to come back and catch up with your blog today.

If it's any help, this is what I was told yesterday by a priest I greatly respect:
"Sometimes, what seems like two steps backwards for us is really one step forward in God's plan."

Hmmm. . . yeah. . . so very true.

2/01/2007 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger onionboy said...

What could be better than to devote oneself more fully, daily, to Jesus? Everything else is secondary and flows out of our primary relationship. God bless your love for Christ.

2/01/2007 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Barb, sfo said...

We never know where God might take us if only we let Him. Certainly I'd never have imagined, 20 years ago, that I'd be a homemaker with a husband and 3 kids TODAY. So pray, listen, and let God lead you. Pax et bonum!

2/02/2007 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Daughter of St. John said...

Ah, my dear friend, you have learned much these past days. I too am trying to re-enter into that spirit of contemplation. We are (at least I think, you may disagree) two similar restless souls.

Live each day in Love. Live each day in the knowledge that we do not know how long we have here before we are called Home.

I think it is time for you to delve into St. Therese's Story of a Soul. Learn from her little way and then make it your own.

I love you my dear. Be holy.

2/04/2007 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger Margaret in Minnesota said...

I am off to make my weekly hour. Your intentions will be lifted up, dear Laura.

2/04/2007 03:33:00 AM  
Blogger Adoro Te Devote said...

I completely understand what you're saying. There was a talk on Vocations at my parish this morning, and I nearly re-opened that door again myself, having thought it was closed for good.

Part of discernment, though, is being open to God's plan for you, on His time.

I have a difficult time with that.

2/04/2007 06:43:00 PM  

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