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[quote name='FuturePriest387' timestamp='1330874937' post='2396103']
I know what you mean. The Religious life and Priesthood are my greatest joy, and when people tell me I'm a complete moron that obviously needs a date, my heart rate goes up. My uncle has been telling my parents to buy me a hooker since I was twelve or thirteen, and he recently stressed the dire need for it that I have. Quite honestly, after living the sinful life, I don't want to ever experience sexual pleasure again. I would much rather be a Priest or Franciscan Friar, where I may serve the Lord with an undivided heart, as Saint Paul says. I want so much to serve the Lord as a Friar or Diocesan Priest, and I don't care who says I'm an idiot that hasn't experienced the world yet. The problem is I was an idiot that experienced the world, and I came to my senses a year ago. I've had it with what the world has to offer. Now I want what the Lord has to offer.
[/quote]

Yes, so you keep saying.

“How do I know if the fire I have inside is from God?”
“It is whether you want other people to notice the fire.”

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[quote name='marigold' timestamp='1330876689' post='2396110']
Yes, so you keep saying.

“How do I know if the fire I have inside is from God?”
“It is whether you want other people to notice the fire.”
[/quote]

I'm not quite sure what "Yes, so you keep saying." is supposed to imply. Would you mind adding more to explain your point?

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[quote name='FuturePriest387' timestamp='1330876849' post='2396111']
I'm not quite sure what "Yes, so you keep saying." is supposed to imply. Would you mind adding more to explain your point?
[/quote]

You don't need to keep reminding everyone how little you care about the things of this world and how strong your desire is to serve the Lord. These things are tested over time. A strong commitment shines through everything a person says and does - and very rarely when they are telling everyone else about themselves. I commend your zeal, but a fire is better kept inside a stove than out on a hilltop.

I'm saying all this because I like you and think you have a lot of potential. :)
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[quote name='marigold' timestamp='1330877957' post='2396114']
You don't need to keep reminding everyone how little you care about the things of this world and how strong your desire is to serve the Lord. These things are tested over time. A strong commitment shines through everything a person says and does - and very rarely when they are telling everyone else about themselves. I commend your zeal, but a fire is better kept inside a stove than out on a hilltop.

I'm saying all this because I like you and think you have a lot of potential. :)
[/quote]

You know those people that get so on fire for the Faith that they just talk constantly about it like Tim Staples? I'm one of them, and I apologize if you get annoyed by it. I just never speak all that much in real life because I stutter, so when I get on the internet I love to socialize myself and be the person carrying the conversation for once.

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[quote name='FuturePriest387' timestamp='1330878767' post='2396119']
You know those people that get so on fire for the Faith that they just talk constantly about it like Tim Staples? I'm one of them, and I apologize if you get annoyed by it. I just never speak all that much in real life because I stutter, so when I get on the internet I love to socialize myself and be the person carrying the conversation for once.
[/quote]

Ok, I had to look up Tim Staples, but I get the point. I apologise, please forgive me.

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[quote name='marigold' timestamp='1330879109' post='2396122']
Ok, I had to look up Tim Staples, but I get the point. I apologise, please forgive me.
[/quote]

There's no need to apologize, you are right: I speak too much about my conversion story. I just really enjoy sharing it - and actually being able to share it! Don't worry anything about it, though. I'll try not to speak about it unless I am asked to.

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Welcome to my life. Mi madre es muy locoa y que actua como.
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[quote name='FuturePriest387' timestamp='1330874937' post='2396103'] Quite honestly, after living the sinful life, I don't want to ever experience sexual pleasure again.
[/quote]

We don't usually discuss sexuality here. But in the '70s I was in a therapy group with a psychiatrist who had made something of a specialty of treating sexually conflicted priests and nuns. At the time [IIRC, it was just after V2], the Episcopalian Church in the US was very advanced in getting professional help for priests who needed it. By no means all the Episcopalian clergy are celibate, but there are those who do profess a vow of celibacy, and not infrequently the reason they choose to do so is because of unresolved sexual conflicts. Back then, the Church did not accept homosexuality at all, and those who thought that a vow of celibacy would free them from either latent or overt homosexuality and found out that it didn't, suffered greatly from guilt. One of the priests in the group was deeply concerned about the possibility that he was homosexual because an early attempt at a heterosexual encounter [before he entered religious life] had failed. And there were other scenarios.

My tradition does not exalt either virginity or celibacy. Traditionally it is expected that all adult Jews will marry. This doesn't mean that there aren't Jews with sexual problems, of course. But the feeling is that God gave both man and women sexual urges which are meant to be enjoyed within the correct parameters [marriage, and in marriage at certain times]. The opposite of virginity/celibacy does not mean promiscuity.

Renouncing a sexual life [i]should [/i]matter to someone contemplating a celibate life or a life vowed to virginity. It should be a sacrifice, joyfully entered into, not a means of fleeing from some problem with sexuality. Celibacy shouldn't be easy; if it is, then there is some issue that needs to be worked through. Sublimation? Denial? Discovering the reason for the aversion?

Do you have a spiritual director? Have you discussed with him your views, expressed here, about sacrifice and sexuality? In my very humble opinion, they seem rather extreme. I'm not saying that you may not have a real vocation -- you may indeed -- but my antennae are wriggling at some of the things you've written. Possibly no other Phatmassers share my opinion--and I am not a Catholic, so you might find my viewpoint irrelevant. But happily married Jews also live deeply spiritual lives, in [i]this[/i] world, and find the concept of withdrawing from it nearly incomprehensible. But there are many paths to God.

When I made my first comment I was particularly remembering my own early adolescence, at camp and at sleep-overs with friends, when we discussed how yucky boys were and how disgusting the whole idea of sex was. I think I was about 13, maybe a bit younger. Needless to say, that changed, as the hormones stopped raging so wildly. It's normal, just as locker room talk by teenage boys can be very off-putting to a boy less advanced in puberty [who isn't aware that there is a lot of bragging and begins to think there's something very odd about his disinterest in girls] That's one of the reasons I applaud the changes that have occurred in discernment in the past few decades, as Barbara Therese has mentioned above, that it is longer, more intense, and undertaken at an older age [although still quite young]

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[quote name='Antigonos' timestamp='1330839389' post='2396041']
I confess that, as a former adolescent myself, and the mother of three former adolescents, I am sometimes a bit disturbed when a [i]very[/i] young person makes a decision so radical as to want to enter religious life. Even at age 18, one often doesn't have the necessary wisdom or maturity for such a far-reaching decision. Life is so black and white [no pun intended], and everything is so intense, at this age. It takes quite a while to learn that there are only innumerable shades of gray. I think this is especially true for those who have recently converted to Catholicism.

By all means, investigate the option of religious life but don't close the door so vehemently on other paths until one gains a wider experience of life in general. One can truly serve God and mankind in so very many ways; formal religious life is only one of them.
[/quote]
Okay, that is just the reaction that (at least in my experience) has discouraged me. No one should be "disgusted". It's a wonderful, wonderful thing to discern. Maybe the problem isn't that we see things too black and white, but that people in general tend to see things too gray.

I have made it clear time and time again that I AM keeping my heart open to God's will. I would NEVER close the door. I have been discerning for a very long time, have made many mistakes and have learned from them. When a young child (I was seven when I first felt called) says that she wants to be a sister, the worst thing you can do is discourage them or be disgusted. If a 7 year old told you that she wanted to be a veterinarian, would you discourage her? Probably not. It is a poverty that adults would discourage a young child from a religious vocation. I must share the reason I feel this way:

My story began as a 7 year old with a desire to become a Carmelite nun. Yeah, even as a little girl I wanted this. My friends were less than happy with this, and since they were also very young, they could not keep opinions to themselves that might hurt others. I left this desire and finally came back to it a few years ago when I had realized what I had been missing out on, and I felt horrible guilt. I did not inflict this guilt upon myself, it was just there and it grew. No one forced it. Anywho, I finally came back a few years ago. I know I was really young, but this is a part of me, and it really hurts to see people discouraging our very young ones. I can put up with people discouraging me now, but this time it's more than just friends. It's adults too, and that hurts. :(
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Claire, Antigonos didn't write that she was disgusted. She said that she is 'sometimes a bit disturbed', and that comment wasn't directed at you. Look at it again: "I confess that, as a former adolescent myself, and the mother of three former adolescents, I am sometimes a bit disturbed when a [i]very[/i] young person makes a decision so radical as to want to enter religious life." I think perhaps you are being a little oversensitive and taking things personally when they are not personal.

[quote]Renouncing a sexual life [i]should [/i]matter to someone contemplating a celibate life or a life vowed to virginity. It should be a sacrifice, joyfully entered into, not a means of fleeing from some problem with sexuality. Celibacy shouldn't be easy; if it is, then there is some issue that needs to be worked through. Sublimation? Denial? Discovering the reason for the aversion?[/quote]

As a 25-year-old woman in formation with a secular institute I agree with this completely. I take a lot of joy and strength from my vocation. I love my life and wouldn't want it to be any different. But it has its challenges, which sometimes take the shape of a good friend who is pretty darned attractive and probably excellent marriage material. :P If I hadn't chosen the path I have, I would be in a relationship with with him now. It's not a question of me valiantly fending off evil desires of the flesh with a pitchfork in order to pursue my goal - marriage with him and consecrated single life are both beautiful ways of serving God. I could not have made a bad choice in this situation, because both options are fundamentally good and blessed things. I chose the way of life in which I feel most at home, deep down. But it's still painful sometimes, and why wouldn't it be? I am an imperfect human on an imperfect earth. Some heartache is to be expected, no matter what we do in life.
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[quote name='FutureCarmeliteClaire' timestamp='1330829782' post='2395958']
Whoa. I was totally referring to people in real life. Especially relatives that are not Catholic or don't practice a faith. I would never say anything about the people on Phatmass like that... ever. I am not one of these teens who thinks they know all there is to know, I am just discerning, and you know, I am pretty sure of what I am called to do, but God's will is what I am seeking for, and I could feel quite differently in a few years... or in a few months for that matter.

No, at least for the people in my life, they know perfectly well what I am aiming for and what nuns and priests do, but it seems useless to explain over and over again that the media is corrupted, because these people don't care. They've been blinded by darkness and hypocrisy. I was just saying that they obviously do not want me to do what makes me happy. Sigh.
[/quote]
When my sister entered, and, actually, even now, a year and a half later, our grandparents are having a REALLY hard time with accepting it. They have friends who are sisters, but in a much more "progressive" order, so they can't understand why she doesn't have all the same "freedoms" of these other sisters. I know it bothered her a bit when she was entering, but now I think they keep their mouths shut around her and instead complain to me, which frustrates me to no end. I get so tired of hearing about how they think that she should be allowed to e-mail and call them and come home to visit if they are sick (she can if siblings or parents are very sick. Not grandparents. She would be allowed to come for their funeral, however). In a fit of frustration, that I am not very proud of, I basically told them to shut up about it. I don't understand how they can still be so negative about it when it is clear how happy she is there and how much she loves it! But I think it's just hard for people to understand choices that are so different from what they would chose, even with choices in day-to-day life. For example, I got a lot of flack when I decided not to take the licensure exam for physical therapy after getting my doctorate, because I decided it was not what I wanted to do with my life, after completing 3 years of graduate school to earn that doctorate. Even my parents, who knew how much I've always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and how miserable I was during my schooling, couldn't believe that I would chose to do that. It's not that they don't want you to be happy. They probably just have a hard time understanding how you (or anyone) could really be happy with that decision. I know it is frustrating, but try to remember that it's not that they want you miserable, they really do care. (I need to remember that, too. ;) )

[quote name='filius_angelorum' timestamp='1330859379' post='2396070']
I have taught over two hundred adolescents, and I can tell you that if any of them told me they wanted to enter religious life, I would be simply grateful. If it is a mere childish obsession, I would thank God it wasn't some hoodlum boy or drugs or video games, and if it is not, I'd be afraid lest I go down in history as the evil teacher who tried to stop a saint from pursuing his/her vocation. One loses nothing by pursuing religious life, even at a young age, and if one is called, one gains everything.

For converts, you never know how much personal sacrifice and compromise it has taken for someone to get into the Church in the first place. They may, in fact, understand a lot more about the human face of the Church than, say, a cradle-Catholic from New York. There are no privileged seats in the Mystical Body of Christ.

In other words, if a young person or convert wants to pursue religious life, let their Church authorities or Superiors judge them, as it is their duty. If they are rejected, support them. If they are accepted, rejoice with them. "Weep with those who weep. Rejoice with those who rejoice," as St. Paul says to the Romans.
[/quote]
This is a good point. Plus, it's not like it's an independent decision. It's not just the decision of the person, but of the superiors. And it doesn't happen overnight. A person doesn't enter and take vows immediately. There is a longer period before my sister will take final vows than most people date before getting married.
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[quote name='FutureCarmeliteClaire' timestamp='1330894889' post='2396191']
Okay, that is just the reaction that (at least in my experience) has discouraged me. No one should be "disgusted". It's a wonderful, wonderful thing to discern. Maybe the problem isn't that we see things too black and white, but that people in general tend to see things too gray.

I have made it clear time and time again that I AM keeping my heart open to God's will. I would NEVER close the door. I have been discerning for a very long time, have made many mistakes and have learned from them. When a young child (I was seven when I first felt called) says that she wants to be a sister, the worst thing you can do is discourage them or be disgusted. If a 7 year old told you that she wanted to be a veterinarian, would you discourage her? Probably not. It is a poverty that adults would discourage a young child from a religious vocation. I must share the reason I feel this way:

My story began as a 7 year old with a desire to become a Carmelite nun. Yeah, even as a little girl I wanted this. My friends were less than happy with this, and since they were also very young, they could not keep opinions to themselves that might hurt others. I left this desire and finally came back to it a few years ago when I had realized what I had been missing out on, and I felt horrible guilt. I did not inflict this guilt upon myself, it was just there and it grew. No one forced it. Anywho, I finally came back a few years ago. I know I was really young, but this is a part of me, and it really hurts to see people discouraging our very young ones. I can put up with people discouraging me now, but this time it's more than just friends. It's adults too, and that hurts. :(
[/quote]

Precisely. I first felt the call when I was ten, but it went away, and then I felt it again when I was eleven, but it went away soon after. Then, when I was as close to the scum of the earth as I possibly could be, I felt it yet again. Since then, it has been my main focus. I have never closed the door to marriage, but I do know what I am inclined to, and everything I'm inclined to couldn't be done in a marriage. Doing charity work at a soup kitchen is simply not enough for me. I must go 110%, and the way to do this is to join Religious life. I don't want to just work part time, but full time. I want to preach to our society that is in need of so much spiritual nourishment, and I believe I can do that with the Franciscan Brothers Minor.
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[quote name='FuturePriest387' timestamp='1330897862' post='2396214']
Doing charity work at a soup kitchen is simply not enough for me. I must go 110%, and the way to do this is to join Religious life.
[/quote]

Many saints have said that it is not the size of our actions that matter, but the love with which we do them.

Because of that, a married couple who do charity work at a soup kitchen could be contributing far more to the kingdom of heaven in God's eyes than the abbot of their local monastery.
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[quote name='beatitude' timestamp='1330898551' post='2396220']
Many saints have said that it is not the size of our actions that matter, but the love with which we do them.

Because of that, a married couple who do charity work at a soup kitchen could be contributing far more to the kingdom of heaven in God's eyes than the abbot of their local monastery.
[/quote]

I'm not saying that working at a soup kitchen a few hours every week is bad, I'm saying I am inclined to do much more. I feel called to do more, to give myself completely to God without the distractions of marriage, to not divide my heart between my wife and family and God as Saint Paul says happens, and to enter Religious life. I can't explain it any other way, as it a strange feeling to explain. I just feel called to do so much more and to join the Religious life in order to do it.

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[quote name='beatitude' timestamp='1330896524' post='2396204']
Claire, Antigonos didn't write that she was disgusted. She said that she is 'sometimes a bit disturbed', and that comment wasn't directed at you. Look at it again: "I confess that, as a former adolescent myself, and the mother of three former adolescents, I am sometimes a bit disturbed when a [i]very[/i] young person makes a decision so radical as to want to enter religious life." I think perhaps you are being a little oversensitive and taking things personally when they are not personal.

[/quote]
Oops, my bad! I'm sorry, I am just really defensive about stuff like this because of my own personal experiences.

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I'm certainly not disgusted by anyone, of any age, announcing that he or she wanted to devote their life to a religious goal. Nor would I try and discourage them from discernment. I'm just saying that, the younger one is, the more I think the attraction to religious life is based less on a full understanding of one's own personality and realistic expectation, and more on externals and emotion, and that is [b][i]perfectly normal and understandable[/i][/b]. As one matures, lifetime decisions are based more on knowledge [or should be]. If they aren't, that is a potential tragedy.

We have multiple threads here on the habit, for example. Some are quite lighthearted; I rather think that no one in the forum would make a decision on what order to enter based on the style of the habit [or hope not :-))]. But a person who is still basically a child might well romanticize on "how I'll look in [this or that] habit", etc. That's quite normal at that stage of a person's development, but by the time serious discernment begins, we hope that that isn't the person's primary incentive to the religious life.

It would be unrealistic to expect a very young person to have a good grasp of the different spiritualities of the different orders. While a ten year old girl might think she has a potential vocation, I doubt she really could decide to be either a Poor Clare or a Benedictine with any degree of real awareness of how each order's approach to spirituality is different. Her feelings are much more likely to have been affected by a book, or a film, or meeting with, or being taught by, a sister of a particular order. That isn't to say there isn't a genuine desire for the religious life! It just means that one has to maintain a sense of proportion [as one has to do generally in life anyway]

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[quote name='Antigonos' timestamp='1330926869' post='2396431']
I'm certainly not disgusted by anyone, of any age, announcing that he or she wanted to devote their life to a religious goal. Nor would I try and discourage them from discernment. I'm just saying that, the younger one is, the more I think the attraction to religious life is based less on a full understanding of one's own personality and realistic expectation, and more on externals and emotion, and that is [b][i]perfectly normal and understandable[/i][/b]. As one matures, lifetime decisions are based more on knowledge [or should be]. If they aren't, that is a potential tragedy.

We have multiple threads here on the habit, for example. Some are quite lighthearted; I rather think that no one in the forum would make a decision on what order to enter based on the style of the habit [or hope not :-))]. But a person who is still basically a child might well romanticize on "how I'll look in [this or that] habit", etc. That's quite normal at that stage of a person's development, but by the time serious discernment begins, we hope that that isn't the person's primary incentive to the religious life.

It would be unrealistic to expect a very young person to have a good grasp of the different spiritualities of the different orders. While a ten year old girl might think she has a potential vocation, I doubt she really could decide to be either a Poor Clare or a Benedictine with any degree of real awareness of how each order's approach to spirituality is different. Her feelings are much more likely to have been affected by a book, or a film, or meeting with, or being taught by, a sister of a particular order. That isn't to say there isn't a genuine desire for the religious life! It just means that one has to maintain a sense of proportion [as one has to do generally in life anyway]
[/quote]
Wish I could prop you. (And I don't see any reason why you should have the phishy, but hey, I'm not the boss.)
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[quote name='USAirwaysIHS' timestamp='1330929511' post='2396440']
Wish I could prop you. (And I don't see any reason why you should have the phishy, but hey, I'm not the boss.)
[/quote]

I think the moderator regards any non-Catholic as a bit odd :hehe2: :unsure: I don't mind as long as no one tells me I smell...

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I've felt the call actually since I was eight. It all started when we were visiting Rome and a nun who I didn't/don't know said[color=#282828] "This girl...she, she has something special in her. She will do the work of the Lord someday." [/color]

I'm open because I'm young, and because I know that it is only right to be open because if you aren't... you could very easily be going against what God really want for you. I have been told many times that I would make a great mother... and feel pure joy when I have a child in my arms... especially when they kiss me or raise their arms up to me because they want to be held. Yes I'd love to get married and have children... but I feel right now that God is getting "in my boat" and steering it towards Religious Life. I am deeply in love with Jesus and can confidently say that I love Him and am closer to Him then my family and friends.

Prayers for all of my fellow discerners! Edited by i<3LSOP
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I've heard stories, here and elsewhere, of daughters whose parents completely "flipped out" when she told them she was discerning. Disowned her, told her she was better off dead, etc. Because of this, I feel very bad thinking about how people have made discernment hard for me. Nothing I've gone through has been quite as bad as that.

Even so, I still wish my parents were more enthusiastic. Yes, it'll be hard to see me only X amount of time a year. I get that. It'll be hard for me, too. But still. My mother talks about my brother having a vocation to the priesthood and is ecstatic at the very idea. When it comes to me, it's more of a, "If God wills it then let it be so...but please let this cup pass!". They've never said flat out they don't want me to join, but have made it clear they rather I not. Especially my mom. I don't understand this difference.

It's been very bad lately (for me), because they've been very vocal about how they think I'm going to ruin my life if I enter now. How I was a fool to let this amesome guy go, and how they think I should date. They say I don't know anything about discernment, and neither does my SD (who is a priest, btw), and recently said that they should be my SD! They threatened to make my SD give them a transcript of what we've discussed together (I'm almost not a minor, but not quite there yet). Because I agree with my SD on how I should go about discerning and I refuse to date, they think I don't care about what they think or their advice, and that I'm ungrateful. It's not that, of course, but they've nevertheless tried to make me feel very guilty. And it's worked. I never cry, but when I was up til 1:30am last with my mom yelling at me...

Ah, please just pray for me. I really need some prayers right now.
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