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Freedom In Vocations


Chiara_

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Something brought up on another thread, about visiting hours at convents, got me thinking. I just think it's pretty unfair that if I went to a convent, I'd probably lose all my friends. Now, most of them, I'd get over, but I've been best friends with my best friend for 13 years. Our lives are completely intertwined. If I was only able to call her once a month, and sometimes we weren't able to make that for whatever reason, we'd end up losing touch. I know we are supposed to give up everything for Christ, but even Jesus had friends and you could consider St John His best friend. I keep thinking to myself, "if you let your best friend get in the way of your vocation Jesus will take her away from you, so let go of it on your own". But I just can't. I'm not strong enough and frankly I don't WANT to be. On the one hand I love the thought of being the Spouse of Jesus because I fell in love with Him and not with a human male. But if I'm too weak to do this then why do I feel possibly called to it?

I think it's really unfair how priests have the freedom to call their friends every day if they so chose, but I'll have to give them up. I'm not advocating womenpriests, as that is moronic, but I am just saying that women's vocational options kind of stink. I can a) get married and have to go through a lot of humiliation, pain, and sickness to have children, who I really really want but am afraid of whole pregnancy process. or b) enter a convent, actually get my spiritual life in order which would be great, but I'd lose my best friend. or c) consecrated virginity, meaning I shall have no kids and be very lonely.
I know this is selfish,petty and stupid but I really don't care anymore.

Edited by Chiara_
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it sounds to me that you are misunderstanding vocation. (i could be wrong.)

and:
[quote]I can a) get married and spend 20 years being sick as I deliver 11 kids and get to humiliate myself in front of a roomful of doctors once a year or so.[/quote]

is not really what someone focuses on when they become a mother. in my opinion, you misunderstand the call (vocation) to marriage and motherhood.

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[quote name='Chiara_' date='29 July 2010 - 09:24 AM' timestamp='1280420649' post='2149483']I think it's really unfair how priests have the freedom to call their friends every day if they so chose, but I'll have to give them up. [/quote]
they also have the 'freedom' to go where their superiors tell them, and when. they also have the 'freedom' to be isolated from family and friends (especially if in remote parts of a state or country - but even in the midst of a city with family/friends available, they will still have the freedom to feel utterly isolated as a priest). they will have the 'freedom' to be overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated, reviled, hated - all because they are a visible sign of Christ and His Church on this earth. they will have the 'freedom' to be detached from earthly pleasures because they will be poor.

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[quote name='Lil Red' date='29 July 2010 - 12:38 PM' timestamp='1280421517' post='2149487']
it sounds to me that you are misunderstanding vocation. (i could be wrong.)

and:


is not really what someone focuses on when they become a mother. in my opinion, you misunderstand the call (vocation) to marriage and motherhood.
[/quote]


it's the negatives to each option. I mean I know the point is to have kids, who are worth the pain of delivery. Every time I thinkof being a nun, I am held back by the fact that I wouldn't have children. Every time I think of having children, I think of the delivery process. :blink:

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[quote name='Lil Red' date='29 July 2010 - 12:44 PM' timestamp='1280421891' post='2149489']
they also have the 'freedom' to go where their superiors tell them, and when. they also have the 'freedom' to be isolated from family and friends (especially if in remote parts of a state or country - but even in the midst of a city with family/friends available, they will still have the freedom to feel utterly isolated as a priest). they will have the 'freedom' to be overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated, reviled, hated - all because they are a visible sign of Christ and His Church on this earth. they will have the 'freedom' to be detached from earthly pleasures because they will be poor.
[/quote]

but they can still use the phone and talk to their friends and loved ones. I've lived an hour away from my best friend for 8 years and we've stayed close. If I could use the phone I'd be fine - I'm used to and good at long distance relationships. I'm not good at total isolation. And nuns are poor too. And the priests I know are anything but hated - they have a posse of friends in the parish, some of whom are really just those who like to feel holy by being friends with a priest. They are regarded as Saints already. I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing - but they certainly aren't hated by their parishes which is wherre they get most of their interpersonal relations. Yeah the media hates them but it's not like they don't know that going into it.

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Women have been having babies since the dawn of time, and the majority believe nine months of discomfort and a day of pain are worth it for the child entrusted to their care! Pregnancy is not a sickness-- it's a part of God's plan.

Also, check the thread about the Trappistine taking her vows-- lots of pictures of friends joining her for the day. Friends who care will be there for you, no matter what vocation you are called to.

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[quote name='Chiara_' date='29 July 2010 - 09:53 AM' timestamp='1280422406' post='2149496']
but they can still use the phone and talk to their friends and loved ones. I've lived an hour away from my best friend for 8 years and we've stayed close. If I could use the phone I'd be fine - I'm used to and good at long distance relationships. I'm not good at total isolation. And nuns are poor too. And the priests I know are anything but hated - they have a posse of friends in the parish, some of whom are really just those who like to feel holy by being friends with a priest. They are regarded as Saints already. I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing - but they certainly aren't hated by their parishes which is wherre they get most of their interpersonal relations. Yeah the media hates them but it's not like they don't know that going into it.
[/quote]
do you truly know what a man goes through as a priest? you talk about the priests you know...what about all the other ones? they don't have it all sunshine and roses. i know two priests who are great guys, who have family and friends in the area (both are stationed at remote parishes though, and have multiple parishes/missions), who have a good social life, etc. they still get lonely and frustrated because of our bishop, because of parishioners who don't want to follow where they lead, because of financial issues, etc. they don't have easy lives. they do have isolating times.

and if you aren't good at isolation, why are you looking at a convent? why not being a sister?

it sounds though, as if you've made up your mind that they have it better, and won't be convinced to the contrary.

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[quote name='Chiara_' date='29 July 2010 - 09:46 AM' timestamp='1280421993' post='2149491']
it's the negatives to each option. I mean I know the point is to have kids, who are worth the pain of delivery. Every time I thinkof being a nun, I am held back by the fact that I wouldn't have children. Every time I think of having children, I think of the delivery process. :blink:
[/quote]
i think it's good to weigh the challenges of each vocation. but i also think that you could state as much in a less offensive manner. when i was pregnant, i didn't think "oh cr[u][/u]ap, what about delivering a baby and having strangers see my privates!" i thought of the joy and privilege of bringing up another soul to love God. don't get me wrong, every mother (eventually) thinks about what's going to happen when she delivers a baby, and gets apprehensive about it. but i would daresay it's not the first thing that comes to a woman's mind.

perhaps i am misunderstanding you. are you still discerning your vocation? do you think that your friendship will remain unchanged if you get married? every friendship is changed when one or both friends get married, have kids, and grow up and mature in life.

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[quote name='Lil Red' date='29 July 2010 - 01:01 PM' timestamp='1280422869' post='2149499']


and if you aren't good at isolation, why are you looking at a convent? why not being a sister?


[/quote]


I'm not looking at cloisters for this reason. I tend to use the terms nun and sister interchangeably so that was probably slightly confusing. I would like a traditional convent though where the sisters live in community. The other girl's thread was about the Nashville Dominicans, who aren't cloistered...but they still have strong limits on communicating with people outside the convent.

I'm not trying to argue with you guys. This has been causing inner turmoil for me all summer. I would love to be Jesus' Spouse because I love Him, but I want kids and am afraid of losing my best friends. But I am afraid/ashamed to have se x or go through the pregnancy/childbearing process.

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"or c) consecrated virginity, meaning I shall have no kids and waste away in loneliness."

Chiara -- I think you also misunderstand the call to consecrated virginity.

Have you considered trying to find a good spiritual director to help you through your questions/discernment issues? A good spiritual director can help.

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[quote name='Lil Red' date='29 July 2010 - 01:07 PM' timestamp='1280423276' post='2149500']
i think it's good to weigh the challenges of each vocation. but i also think that you could state as much in a less offensive manner. when i was pregnant, i didn't think "oh cr[u][/u]ap, what about delivering a baby and having strangers see my privates!" i thought of the joy and privilege of bringing up another soul to love God. don't get me wrong, every mother (eventually) thinks about what's going to happen when she delivers a baby, and gets apprehensive about it. but i would daresay it's not the first thing that comes to a woman's mind.

perhaps i am misunderstanding you. are you still discerning your vocation? do you think that your friendship will remain unchanged if you get married? every friendship is changed when one or both friends get married, have kids, and grow up and mature in life.
[/quote]


I apologize if my wording of that offended you. It was really a mini-rant and tact was not my main focus in it. But the gist of it is how I really am feeling. When I thin of marriage it causes me anxiety. It has for years - I remember in fifth grade once I was thinking about how I wanted to have a little red house and a maple syrup shop when I grew up and how I'd want more kids than just 2. But then it struck me as to how I'd get those kids. I figured as I grew up I would be more comfortable with the idea of se x but I'm really not.

I am still discerning because I am not in any vocation right now. I'm sort of putting thinking about it on hold and reading St John of the Cross' Dark Night. I hadn;t been feeling consolations in forever and so am unsure of the vocation that I thought I had. St John is really helping because I have most of the imperfections that get purged in the passive Night of Sense.

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[quote name='cmariadiaz' date='29 July 2010 - 01:16 PM' timestamp='1280423771' post='2149503']
"or c) consecrated virginity, meaning I shall have no kids and waste away in loneliness."

Chiara -- I think you also misunderstand the call to consecrated virginity.

Have you considered trying to find a good spiritual director to help you through your questions/discernment issues? A good spiritual director can help.
[/quote]

I'm looking for one now. My priest just retired, and we were very close, but he wasn't officially my spiritual director. I am trying to get a feel for the personalities of the new priest and one at another church, and so in a month or so I will probably ask one about spiritual direction. I know I really need one.

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[quote name='Chiara_' date='29 July 2010 - 10:10 AM' timestamp='1280423415' post='2149501']
I'm not looking at cloisters for this reason. I tend to use the terms nun and sister interchangeably so that was probably slightly confusing. I would like a traditional convent though where the sisters live in community. The other girl's thread was about the Nashville Dominicans, who aren't cloistered...but they still have strong limits on communicating with people outside the convent. [/quote]
thanks for the clarification. :)

[quote name='Chiara_' date='29 July 2010 - 10:10 AM' timestamp='1280423415' post='2149501']I'm not trying to argue with you guys. This has been causing inner turmoil for me all summer. I would love to be Jesus' Spouse because I love Him, but I want kids and am afraid of losing my best friends. But I am afraid/ashamed to have se x or go through the pregnancy/childbearing process.
[/quote]
i am not trying to argue either. just simply provide a different perspective, as a mother and wife. i am so glad that you have the opportunity to discern and go through this process! :) i know for myself, i didn't even think of (and was not introduced to) a religious vocation. this struggle of yours will ultimately be a good thing!

i would like to address the last part of your post with you, if i may. we shouldn't use one vocation to run away from aspects of another vocation. even as a sister/nun, you still would need a proper understanding of human sexuality (as per Theology of the Body), how God created our sexuality, and so it must be a good thing (since we know he doesn't create anything bad!). i don't know your background, and i am not asking you to explain it. but if you are called to marriage, then pray for your future spouse, pray for understanding and a lessening of your fears, pray for the saints to intercede for you in this regard! (St. Frances of Rome is a good one!) i will not share my whole story, but suffice it to say, that when i was first married, i was dealing with a lot of personal history and was afraid of sex, and the memories it would bring up. but i have a kind and gentle and honorable husband, and we have gotten through that. i know that there are others here that might be able to share some of their stories (though i won't name names because it is not my place).

(if you know all this, just disregard!)

i pray for you and your discernment! God bless!

btw, if you want to read Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body, the original addresses are on line and are not that hard to get through. there are, of course, interpretive texts (not just Chris West) if you need some guidance.

Edited by Lil Red
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I think what you are trying to describe is discomfort with intimacy, whether it is physical intimacy with an earthly spouse, or spiritual intimacy with a heavenly one. It doesn't happen quickly or in the abstract. When you feel attraction, you want to be closer to that Person (or person). You take your time, you get to know each other, intimacy grows, fear diminishes! Some find their path very young, others -- well not so soon. Keep reading, praying, and looking for groups of people your own age who have similar interests, and will grow with you. Prayers!

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[quote name='Chiara_' date='29 July 2010 - 10:24 AM' timestamp='1280420649' post='2149483']
I can a) get married and spend 20 years being sick as I deliver 11 kids and get to humiliate myself in front of a roomful of doctors once a year or so. or b) enter a convent, actually get my spiritual life in order which would be great, but I'd lose my best friend. or c) consecrated virginity, meaning I shall have no kids and waste away in loneliness.
[/quote]

ETA: I didn't see any of the posts after the 5th one, so none of this was in response to your posts after that, just to be clear.

Wow, major red flags here.

First of all, one should not enter a convent to "get their spiritual life in order". If that's the primary reason someone is attracted to religious life they need to very seriously reevaluate pursuing it. One should enter religious life primarily motivated to save souls, not for the improvement of their own spiritual life. Of course religious are called in a particular way to work on their spiritual life in order to do that, but it can't be the primary motivator.

No matter what vocation a person is living they need to get their spiritual life in order. Simply entering a monastery is not going to make that happen, and it's not the solution or a remedy to problems in one's spiritual life.

And if you think consecrated virgins are "wasting away in loneliness," you really don't seem to understand it as a vocation. They aren't wasting away in loneliness any more than a cloistered nun is trapped in prison.

And also, I can say from experience that religious life doesn't destroy genuine friendships. Yeah, you can't necessarily call whomever you want whenever you want. Most orders you are only allowed to write, and that also is only at certain times (However, truthfully, often it is very difficult to find the time to write even that often.) Conversations don't maintain a friendship... in fact, oftentimes they damage them in subtle ways because there is a lot of self-love in most of our speech, even when we are talking about very good things. LOVE maintains a friendship, if there was a true friendship in the first place, and you do not have to talk often to love someone. Our relationship with God usually grows most in silence, and so, actually does our relationship with others. Silence purifies love in a way that talking really can't.

Religious life has a particular way in allowing that to happen, (and keep in mind, ALL religious to varying degrees accept the limitations on their correspondence, including priests who are religious) but actually, EVERY vocation has some way in which it purifies our relationships and detaches us from others. Diocesan priests don't technically have those restrictions (But they don't live in community like religious do either-- they do make many sacrifices that religious in community do not. Each one has sacrifices that others don't but they all also have great joys which vastly outweigh the sacrifices when they are called to that vocation). And even by the nature of the diocesan priesthood, and as busy as it is, they probably don't have as much time to talk to their loved ones as you probably think that they do.

That DOESN'T mean living in total isolation. No one is called to isolation. Some are called to greater or lesser solitude, but there is a difference between the two.

Your relationship with your friends and family does change when you enter religious life, definitely. There is sacrifices involved. One finds their greatest fulfillment in any vocation ultimately by sacrificing themselves for others, and every vocation involves sacrifices. Your relationship with your best friend will change if you get married as well. You would have to sacrifice some of what you used to have with her in order to be a mother and a wife to your family.

Edited by zunshynn
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