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Marsabielle

Noticing All the Things

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Marsabielle
2 hours ago, Francis Clare said:

There is a huge difference between “being solemn” (whatever that means in this discussion) and being perhaps a bit irresponsible by extrapolating something you WANTED the Sister in question to say. Is this perhaps what YOU are going through yourself?!  You jumped from point A to point F by inserting what YOU wanted the Sister to say and how she should have responded.   Nowhere did I read that the Sister said your friend was unsuited for RL...you seem to have assumed that yourself. By putting your own spin on the words of others in a negative way might be discouraging to less mature discerners who visit/post on VS.

I can assure you from my professional experience as a SD that discerners are often plagued by their own doubts and insecurities about their suitability for RL and don’t need help by reading about imaginary, peripheral problems that they might equate to similar feelings, whether imagined or real.  It’s not a game, so I would ask you to be considerate of those here who are seriously discerning.

From your last comment and emoji it seems like this is not a really serious subject for you.

Thanks for your input, Francis Clare! I will keep that in mind. Yes, I am going through this issue as well.

On 11/1/2017 at 5:09 PM, Sister Leticia said:

I, obviously, didn't hear the sister's tone of voice, and don't know how well she knows the young woman and what was happening around you all. It could be that the young woman has said this sort of thing before, more than once, and this is how the sister has decided to respond, especially if she's talking with other people or has other things to go and do. Maybe at a later time she'll sit down with her and say "you remember last week, when you said..." 

It certainly is not an indication of not being called to religious life, just an area for personal growth. 

I suppose that was my OP question that I phrased badly: is that a weakness? I would view it as fairly neutral, but I am a bit of a perpetual novice in matters concerning the religious life!

22 hours ago, BarbaraTherese said:

Apologies @Marsabielle, I missed your comment above until this morning.   Must start out by stating that I do not have a religious vocation; hence am not even discerning.  I do have (short) experience in the past of religious life.

I have read in a few places here and there over years now that professed religious have commented that sometimes it is the unlikely who enter and the unlikely who stay.  By that very same comment, sometimes it is the likely who enter and the likely who stay the distance.  Mixed bag as it were.

Once accepted into a community the formation process is quite intense.  The person entering is going to change over the formation period which is lifelong, or probably will not stay the distance.  Pre V2 anyway that change was called "conversion of manners" or a "fitting into the mould of religious life".   It takes place in striving to live the religious life in community itself - and it is during that period that the community and the actual person discern a call to the life, or the lack of it up to final profession.

Growth means change and no growth without change including in one's spiritual life.  And that includes those not in religious life nor discerning RL.  It includes Laity in the temporal order in secular life too.  However, religious life is a completely different way of life to secular life.  It is another state and way of life completely.  RL has a completely different role in The Church.

In short, one incident cannot indicate I don't think that a person has or has not a religious vocation.  In the journey of life there are going to be heaps and heaps of 'incidents' both negative and positive.  It is the human condition and those negative and positive aspects of the human condition do not conclude once one enters RL, not even after final profession.   Holiness makes for a more human person, not a less human person. More human does ask recognition and embrace of the human condition.   It reminds me of a community address I read by a Benedictine prioress.  She commented that that nun that continually annoys with endless chatter whenever she can is the same nun always very willing to joyfully help out wherever she can.  "We are all saints somewhere, we are all sinners somewhere."  The shift of perception will be ideally from emphasis on the sinner, to recognition and appreciation of the saint.  It will also ideally involve a recognition, a Peaceful recognition, of oneself as both sinner or saint somewhere or other. That will involve at once an embrace of The Gratuitous Generosity and The Loving Mercy of God for self and for others. 

 

I love what you said about growth meaning change! I have so many unanswered questions in my heart like, "Should I change? If so, to what extent? What should I deem 'forever' in me because it's my nature, gifted by God? What in me is sinful?"

 

I suppose self-knowledge is the real key here. Thanks for your input.

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BarbaraTherese
3 hours ago, Marsabielle said:

 

I love what you said about growth meaning change! I have so many unanswered questions in my heart like, "Should I change? If so, to what extent? What should I deem 'forever' in me because it's my nature, gifted by God? What in me is sinful?"

 

I suppose self-knowledge is the real key here. Thanks for your input.

 

Self knowledge is indeed key to the whole spiritual life - ideally it will lead to humility in truth.  St Augustine: "Humility is the foundation of all the virtues".  St Teresa of Avila: "Humility! humility! humility!  Humility, my daughters"

More (only two paragraphs in this instance) from St Teresa of Avila on humility from The Way of Perfection: http://ocarm.org/en/content/ocarm/st-teresa-avila-true-humility

As to the questions in your heart - were they my personal questions, I would be seeking out a spiritual director.

A quick comment on "forever".  Our soul is forever and will be united with our bodies forever on Judgement Day.  Our choices in the journey of life will determine our final eternal destination: Heaven or Hell.  Our temporal bodies though destined temporarily for death and dust are the temples of The Holy Spirit. "19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;" (First Letter to Corinthians Ch6)

______________

Edit:  Sometimes change is subtle not obvious exteriorly, sometimes it might be something quite major.  Even as I typed that my body was changing in an unobvious and subtle manner and moving towards decay (at 72yrs of age almost).  The paradox (very many paradoxes indeed in Catholic spirituality) is that my body is indeed moving towards decay and dust and yet that is growth towards Heaven and God (Hope).  Every negative has a corresponding positive and vica versa sometimes obvious sometimes one needs to look for it.

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BarbaraTherese

And thank you for the questions you have raised, Marsabielle.  My philosophy is that if a question can be formed, then it is worth an answer, a response.  There would not be a person on the planet that does not have a question or questions - possibly we differ only in the nature of our questions.

Edited by BarbaraTherese

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Marsabielle
1 hour ago, BarbaraTherese said:

 

Self knowledge is indeed key to the whole spiritual life - ideally it will lead to humility in truth.  St Augustine: "Humility is the foundation of all the virtues".  St Teresa of Avila: "Humility! humility! humility!  Humility, my daughters"

More (only two paragraphs in this instance) from St Teresa of Avila on humility from The Way of Perfection: http://ocarm.org/en/content/ocarm/st-teresa-avila-true-humility

As to the questions in your heart - were they my personal questions, I would be seeking out a spiritual director.

A quick comment on "forever".  Our soul is forever and will be united with our bodies forever on Judgement Day.  Our choices in the journey of life will determine our final eternal destination: Heaven or Hell.  Our temporal bodies though destined temporarily for death and dust are the temples of The Holy Spirit. "19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;" (First Letter to Corinthians Ch6)

______________

Edit:  Sometimes change is subtle not obvious exteriorly, sometimes it might be something quite major.  Even as I typed that my body was changing in an unobvious and subtle manner and moving towards decay (at 72yrs of age almost).  The paradox (very many paradoxes indeed in Catholic spirituality) is that my body is indeed moving towards decay and dust and yet that is growth towards Heaven and God (Hope).  Every negative has a corresponding positive and vica versa sometimes obvious sometimes one needs to look for it.

Le sigh. Humility. It's that thing that you pray and pray for, see something that looks like progress, then you move onto the next virtue. A year later, it's like, "Agh! I'm so not humble. What happened?" 

 

In formulating more of my reply, I'm realizing you are so right! I do need a spiritual director! I'm in one of those unique situations where I'm surrounded by holy priests and religious but on asking them for direction, they are too busy or refer me to another priest who does the same. They sacrifice themselves so much for us. It makes me think, "Gosh if I'm having this much trouble what must it be like for people seeking SD who aren't surrounded by faithful priests and religious?" Do you have advice for finding an SD (besides what I've attempted with my parish/university priests), and what to do to grow in the meantime?

 

I'm a leech! I'm asking you for so much..

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BarbaraTherese

Must underscore I am not a SD's bootlace.  But here goes:

Sorry to read finding a SD is so difficult and it is not an unusual story sadly.  The harvest is indeed rich.......and the labourers today are so very few with the time factor limited.   Do keep looking and I would hope that eventually, in God's time, you will find a sound spiritual director.  I would be grateful to God for the holy priests and religious you have around you and listen to whatever they might say, even in passing on any subject at all.

I have heard that some spiritual directors can be found on the internet and some willing to spiritually direct over the phone.  I am wondering if you have looked into this.  If you do, don't forget to ask about the cost, while cost for spiritual direction would be nothing at all I would advocate but one might have no other option.   Nothing is perfect in this world and sometimes we have to settle for less than perfect.

I am pretty sure, while not absolutely sure, it was St Teresa of Avila that advised that if one cannot find a good SD, to leave oneself confidently in the hands of The Lord. 

Jesus would never leave anyone who is sincere without what they need.  It is what Jesus has assured us: "8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 9Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?"…(Matthew Ch7)

The problem can be in the above that we have in our minds what we want when we ask - when we get an answer, because it is not what is in our minds we reject it as an answer.

4f09eae5cf884cd2a726e1dc741b9163--daily-

I went for 20 years without being able to find a sound SD and found that I could leave myself trustfully in the care of Jesus.  At the time I suffered severe bipolar episodes and had made private vows - this discouraged, and understandably perhaps, spiritual directors.  Mind you, much of the time I didn't know whether I was up or down, coming or going, slow or fast, weak or strong - I think you will get what I mean........but nonetheless I persevered in trust.  In fact, I was so bold that because I could not find a good SD, I had it confidently in my mind that it was because Jesus intended to be my SD through the working of The Holy Spirit.  That is theologically sound to my mind because as long as we are in the state of Grace we are indeed temples of The Holy Spirit and can rest Peacefully and Joyfully with gratitude in that knowledge.  It is not always a Peace and Joy that is actually felt, sometimes quite to the contrary.  Unity is through Faith and it is a Peace and Joy we can believe in and hold close as absolute despite any feeling level.

Be all that as it may, it is not a road without difficulty and suffering.  That is the situation we might find ourselves in at times.  It becomes a question of our response to the situation:

Jesus, I trust You.

Good luck and God's Blessings...........Barb

Edited by BarbaraTherese

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BarbaraTherese
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Le sigh. Humility. It's that thing that you pray and pray for, see something that looks like progress, then you move onto the next virtue. A year later, it's like, "Agh! I'm so not humble. What happened?" 

 Probably everyone knows the above in some form or other.  Perfection is not for this world in the main, it awaits us in Heaven.  Even our declared saints were not perfect - but they were heroic in virtue.

I can find that I have arrived somewhere spiritually, to realise down the track that I haven't even started out.  I can either succumb to pride and get down in the dumps about it or be grateful to The Lord for knowing the reality of where I am at.

Le sigh! What happened?  My response would be that I happened somehow or other.  I would mention it in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  It is not a matter of mortal sin, but Reconciliation is the place for assured active Graces.

My Dad used to tell me a story I liked as a child.  Robert The Bruce was on the run after being defeated in battle.  He was hiding in a cave and noticed a spider trying to get to the other side of the cave.  The spider kept missing, but it kept trying and trying and in the end it succeeded.   The lesson is that if one does not succeed at first, just keep on trying.  I have found the story on the net: http://www.showcaves.com/english/explain/History/Bruce.html

Probably for most of us the quest for humility in truth will be lifelong.  Success or failure in all things big and small is always in God's Hands - but the trying is in our court as is perseverance. 

2 hours ago, Marsabielle said:

I'm a leech! I'm asking you for so much

Nah...........I'm a babbler to anyone at all who will listen - a regular case of raving on. :) 

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BarbaraTherese

During my 20 years of SD drought, I had at least one nun or priest not able to formally spiritually direct me, but who were a great support and encouragement.  At times they would say something in general conversation that really seemed to hit home somewhere with me.  Later I would reflect on what they said and found spiritual gems.  Gold is always wherever it might be found, not only in those formal areas where it is defined to seek it.  In fact, I found in general conversation with secular people not necessarily Catholic, spiritual gems that I could hold.

The Holy Spirit is certainly no snob nor selective and exclusive to - He can act in very many ways using the most unlikely to us of channels.  It rather reminds me of the words of Jesus "Listen, you that have ears to hear".  We need to listen out always for the workings of The Holy Spirit.  How do we do that?  We ask sincerely for ears that can hear and in my book we will hear what we are meant to hear.  Confident trust.

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Marsabielle
On 11/3/2017 at 2:23 AM, BarbaraTherese said:

During my 20 years of SD drought, I had at least one nun or priest not able to formally spiritually direct me, but who were a great support and encouragement.  At times they would say something in general conversation that really seemed to hit home somewhere with me.  Later I would reflect on what they said and found spiritual gems.  Gold is always wherever it might be found, not only in those formal areas where it is defined to seek it.  In fact, I found in general conversation with secular people not necessarily Catholic, spiritual gems that I could hold.

The Holy Spirit is certainly no snob nor selective and exclusive to - He can act in very many ways using the most unlikely to us of channels.  It rather reminds me of the words of Jesus "Listen, you that have ears to hear".  We need to listen out always for the workings of The Holy Spirit.  How do we do that?  We ask sincerely for ears that can hear and in my book we will hear what we are meant to hear.  Confident trust.

So much to ponder here! Thank you. I am traveling but wanted to let you know how helpful this is just very quickly!

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beatitude

Marsabielle, how long have you been discerning?

I haven't had a spiritual director for years, and when I did it was only for a short period. My direction has almost always come from Christians who have been living the faith for longer than me and from holy friends who are striving for the will of God - I watch their example and their witness illuminates my path.

While spiritual direction can be a very valuable thing, based on what you've said about being a "perpetual novice" and your worries about whether you are unsuited to religious life, I think that it could easily turn into another way for you to procrastinate - "I can't discern yet, because I haven't got an SD. Everyone is always too busy. Once I have an SD, then I'll be able to find out God's will..." I've seen people who fall into this way of thinking. When they eventually find a spiritual director, they start worrying that their spiritual director is not the best person for them, and the question changes from, "How do I get an SD?" to "How do I know if my SD is right for me?" or "Is disagreeing with an SD a sign that I don't have a vocation?" In short, if you're frightened of the idea of religious life and you're shying away from it, you will always be able to find some reason or other why you might not be called.

The only way to know if you have a religious vocation is to try. We don't find the definitive answer from spiritual directors, no matter how wise, by asking professed religious, by turning to the Internet.

This doesn't mean that you should just knock on the door of the first convent you see. I think a good question to ask is, "If it turns out that I am not called to spend my life with these sisters, would living and praying among them for a while increase my love of God?" And if the answer is yes, then what have you got to lose by trying?

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Marsabielle
2 hours ago, beatitude said:

Marsabielle, how long have you been discerning?

I haven't had a spiritual director for years, and when I did it was only for a short period. My direction has almost always come from Christians who have been living the faith for longer than me and from holy friends who are striving for the will of God - I watch their example and their witness illuminates my path.

While spiritual direction can be a very valuable thing, based on what you've said about being a "perpetual novice" and your worries about whether you are unsuited to religious life, I think that it could easily turn into another way for you to procrastinate - "I can't discern yet, because I haven't got an SD. Everyone is always too busy. Once I have an SD, then I'll be able to find out God's will..." I've seen people who fall into this way of thinking. When they eventually find a spiritual director, they start worrying that their spiritual director is not the best person for them, and the question changes from, "How do I get an SD?" to "How do I know if my SD is right for me?" or "Is disagreeing with an SD a sign that I don't have a vocation?" In short, if you're frightened of the idea of religious life and you're shying away from it, you will always be able to find some reason or other why you might not be called.

The only way to know if you have a religious vocation is to try. We don't find the definitive answer from spiritual directors, no matter how wise, by asking professed religious, by turning to the Internet.

This doesn't mean that you should just knock on the door of the first convent you see. I think a good question to ask is, "If it turns out that I am not called to spend my life with these sisters, would living and praying among them for a while increase my love of God?" And if the answer is yes, then what have you got to lose by trying?

Thanks, beatitude. Very insightful.. I have been discerning for a while-you are spot on! I suppose I want an SD, because I am struggling with self-knowledge. Sometimes a consecrated vocation seems so sweet I wonder if it can be of God, or whether it is my own desire. It would be a consolation to have an SD's input. Yes, I agree about approaching communities. It really can only help.

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