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I just wanted to say that this is one of the most wonderful threads I have seen on here as far as everyone communicating ideas and understandings of things with one another and trying to share and grow with one another.

I would consider my community to be a middle of the road community because we wear a habit, pray and live together, go to daily Mass, pray the Rosary, have a common traditional apostolate, and a clear spirituality. We do have options with our habit and I will be honest, I hate some of the options! Before I entered I admit I looked down on some of the sisters who I felt made the wrong decisions and were in my eyes less than faithful witnesses. However once I entered, I realized that some of the sisters who were the most charitable were the ones who I had pegged as traitors. The sisters who I thought were "right" and "faithful" were at times so rigid in their understanding of habit, prayer, and rule that there was no compassion and no dialogue. It was painful.

A silly example (there are many more serious ones) is about a sister who had poison ivy all over her legs. The poor sister was working in the garden and was extremely allergic to poison ivy. She was in so much pain. We wear a modified habit and part of that is pantyhose. The doctor told sister that she couldn't wear them or her poison ivy would not heal. It itched and stung her so much but there was actually an argument over whether it would be alright for her to go without the pantyhose. To me, that should have been a no-brainer.

I also wanted to comment on feeling like you are holding something back from the Lord because you haven't given up enough. I felt that way before I entered as well. Another short but funny example is that I wanted silence, the real sacrifice of silence and austerity in the convent, even though I knew God was calling me to an active community. Well, my community has silence of consideration at night but it is not a grand silence in any way. I thought I was cheating by not giving that up. I thought the community had cheated at religious life by losing that austerity. Now, however, I wish I had silence because it would be easier than some conversations that happen in community. We are human and so we are bound to hurt one another and be uncharitable for one another. Conversation is more of a penance, more of a mortification for me than silence ever would have been. I just didn't know it until I entered.

I think too that you have to look at the context in things that have been changed. My community doesn't use the inclusive language office, however, when the intentions at office begin "my dear brothers" we change it to sisters. Not because of a hidden agenda to have more power, but because we are teachers and there isn't a man in the room, it just didnt make sense to adress our sisters, "my dear brothers". So, while I and the community understand that it is the prayer of the church, which of course includes men and women, it just didn't make sense to us. However, we never change the Scriptures. If Paul's letter says "Dear Brothers" we say "dear brothers." Scripture is different than an intercession that was written by a person that just doesn't seem to make much sense in its current context.

I think that this thread shows a lot of openness and understanding about the gray areas of decisions that communities have to come to through much prayer and dialogue with one another. It is never easy. Thanks for bringing it up and sharing all your wonderful insights!

Sister Marie

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[quote name='Sister Marie' timestamp='1284226365' post='2171891'] Now, however, I wish I had silence because it would be easier than some conversations that happen in community. We are human and so

[quote name='MithLuin' timestamp='1284332351' post='2172396'] My sister went through a long period of discernment (sometimes on again, off again) that meant she visited various communities that...did

I am going through a confusing time right now. I am ashamed to admit it: I am afraid of making sacrifices. Lately when I have been thinking (not praying) about my vocation, I find myself thinking "

As Sr Marie said, sacrifice isn't always what we think it is. The things that appear the greatest sacrifice can be easy for some while those things that look easy can be the most difficult. God custom tailors our sacrifices to make them real and meaningful for each one of us. :saint:

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Irrespective of whether the community is trad, middle of the road or even 'liberal', I think that a candidate should feel fluttery about the community. I substitute the community for a spouse for the candidate, who is going to 'marry' the community (this separate from a mystical marriage with Jesus). One should fall in love with one's community, not necessarily with each person, but with its charism, its history, its works. I do feel that one should follow nature re one's aptitude for the works.

It's very much like dating and falling in love. One can get fixed up with 'appropriate', 'suitable' men, good-looking, well-schooled, good job--and feel nothing. There has to be chemistry between two people and I believe, between a prospective candidate and an institute.
A reasonable way to search among the 300 institutes for women in the US is to search for an appropriate charism, works and life-style, draw up a list, and start searching each more carefully, eliminating as you go, Then the visiting and personal encounters begin and will eliminate some more. Getting to know a community is crucial to the decision. If there is chemistry, then the process can continue. But if there isn't , even if everything else is in order, I think that one should keep on looking. Sooner or later, if you have a vocation, you will find your community.

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[quote name='strgzr00' timestamp='1284271261' post='2172180']
Irrespective of whether the community is trad, middle of the road or even 'liberal', I think that a candidate should feel fluttery about the community. I substitute the community for a spouse for the candidate, who is going to 'marry' the community (this separate from a mystical marriage with Jesus). One should fall in love with one's community, not necessarily with each person, but with its charism, its history, its works. I do feel that one should follow nature re one's aptitude for the works.

It's very much like dating and falling in love. One can get fixed up with 'appropriate', 'suitable' men, good-looking, well-schooled, good job--and feel nothing. There has to be chemistry between two people and I believe, between a prospective candidate and an institute.
A reasonable way to search among the 300 institutes for women in the US is to search for an appropriate charism, works and life-style, draw up a list, and start searching each more carefully, eliminating as you go, Then the visiting and personal encounters begin and will eliminate some more. Getting to know a community is crucial to the decision. If there is chemistry, then the process can continue. But if there isn't , even if everything else is in order, I think that one should keep on looking. Sooner or later, if you have a vocation, you will find your community.
[/quote]

I'm not really sure that I fully support this idea, although I do understand where it comes from. The thing for me is that the community is not the spouse; Jesus is. The community is the family of the spouse (the in-laws perhaps), and as such, may not always be as ideal as one could wish. If the focus is on the spouse, then this makes the in-laws more bearable, even if there are problems.

However, even if we do go with the 'community as spouse' view, I am not sure that 'fluttery' feelings are valid for determining the value of a 'potential spouse'. What I mean is, using the dating analogy, one can get fluttery feelings for a really charming cad while overloking the very solid and worthy, but less romantic candidate. And many 'arranged marriages' work out very well for both parties, starting first with friendship and moving through affection to love.

I would just be very careful not to focus on the packaging as much as the contents of the package. Perhaps we are saying the same thing here, but we also need to remember that affinities are not the same thing as emotional reactions. What feels good is not always or necessarily what is good for us.

I don't mean to be contentious here, just trying to clarify for myself what is being said.

Edited by nunsense
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[quote name='nunsense' timestamp='1284283977' post='2172192']
I'm not really sure that I fully support this idea, although I do understand where it comes from. The thing for me is that the community is not the spouse; Jesus is. The community is the family of the spouse (the in-laws perhaps), and as such, may not always be as ideal as one could wish. If the focus is on the spouse, then this makes the in-laws more bearable, even if there are problems.

However, even if we do go with the 'community as spouse' view, I am not sure that 'fluttery' feelings are valid for determining the value of a 'potential spouse'. What I mean is, using the dating analogy, one can get fluttery feelings for a really charming cad while overloking the very solid and worthy, but less romantic candidate. And many 'arranged marriages' work out very well for both parties, starting first with friendship and moving through affection to love.

I would just be very careful not to focus on the packaging as much as the contents of the package. Perhaps we are saying the same thing here, but we also need to remember that affinities are not the same thing as emotional reactions. What feels good is not always or necessarily what is good for us.

I don't mean to be contentious here, just trying to clarify for myself what is being said.
[/quote]

I don't disagree with this. However, not all candidates to religions institutes today are adopting the bride of Jesus analogy. The quality and nature of their community is really important to them and I think it should be. I think that there should be real enthusiasm there, too for the community, (most of) its members, its charism, its works--the [i]contents [/i]of the package. I don't detect a lot of enthusiasm in the discussion so far, which has turned mainly to discussions of orthodoxy. The distinction between true affinities and emotional reactions will be sorted out during discernment and, if need be, by entry and the long discerning period which follows.

If discerners research extensively religious communities, write, visit, discuss, pray, and discuss with others--and [i]still[/i] can't find a community over a period of a few years--perhaps they don't have a vocation [i]at that time[/i] , maybe later, but not then.

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[quote name='strgzr00' timestamp='1284304349' post='2172239']
I don't disagree with this. However, not all candidates to religions institutes today are adopting the bride of Jesus analogy. The quality and nature of their community is really important to them and I think it should be. I think that there should be real enthusiasm there, too for the community, (most of) its members, its charism, its works--the [i]contents [/i]of the package. I don't detect a lot of enthusiasm in the discussion so far, which has turned mainly to discussions of orthodoxy. The distinction between true affinities and emotional reactions will be sorted out during discernment and, if need be, by entry and the long discerning period which follows.

If discerners research extensively religious communities, write, visit, discuss, pray, and discuss with others--and [i]still[/i] can't find a community over a period of a few years--perhaps they don't have a vocation [i]at that time[/i] , maybe later, but not then.
[/quote]

Regarding the fluttery feeling and falling in love with the community, I know that I tend to try not to place the emphasis on these things in my own discernment. Perhaps this is wrong, but for me it is so easy to see a beautiful community and be swept up in my emotions. Of course, this is natural. In seeing a beautiful and holy community it is easy to feel attracted to them. For me I have to remind myself to remain emotionally chaste during discernment. (e.g. not planning out my name, what I will look like in the habit, etc...)

I do agree however that enthusiasm is crucial. While prudence is important it should never impede joy and infectious desire that often accompanies a vocation and discernment. I'll have to think more about this, but this is a very interesting and provoking discussion.

Under Mary's Mantle,
Lauren

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Many thinks to Lilllabettt for starting this thread. It was brave of you to post what you did, and it started a very personal, thoughtful thread, that, IMO, is one of the best theads on VS in awhile.

Reading the posts was very humbling for me, however, because it reminded me that there there is much more that I DON'T understand about the calling to religious life than what I DO understand, and there are so many things about Christ that most of you will have the blessing to fully experience, that I never will. I have the deepest respect, and awe, for those who have aready given their lives to Christ, and for those who hope to do so in the future. I think many "in the world" don't understand the call to religious life at all, much less support it. However, I do have the consolation that, even with my "infant understanding," I understand enough that all of you have my full support and prayers now, and in the future.

As for me, I am a crossroads, too, but a very different one. And, I ask God every day what he wants for me. He has already very painfully taught me the lesson of having to learn at least some humility. I think right now, I am in the midst of a very painful lesson of patience and trusting God, through loneliness and despair, and having no idea what the future brings, but realizing that I need to fully trust him if I am ever to have any inner peace.

However, the thread did make it clear that, although I see many attractions of religious life, I have never heard the call that all of you have, and probably never will. Your posts made it more obvious than ever before that God wants something very different from me, but I don't yet what it is, or have any idea where I fit in.

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[quote name='Sister Marie' timestamp='1284226365' post='2171891']
Now, however, I wish I had silence because it would be easier than some conversations that happen in community. We are human and so we are bound to hurt one another and be uncharitable for one another. Conversation is more of a penance, more of a mortification for me than silence ever would have been. I just didn't know it until I entered.

[/quote]

Sister Marie, thank you so much for your post!

I think your comment above is especially helpful. Part of why it rings so true with me is that my vocational decision itself was much like this -- [i]I [/i]wanted to be a religious, and I was SURE that the sacrifice of religious life was exactly what God was calling me to, and I wanted it. After all, didn't St. Teresa of Avila choose religious life because she felt it was the surest way to Heaven? How could I go wrong choosing the surest way to Heaven?! But for me, the sacrifice of marriage -- even the less-than-a-year that I have been married -- has done more for me spiritually than my five years of religious life combined. An example is the fact that I see things that I do in my marriage--faults that I commit--that I was incredibly [i]blind[/i] to in religious life, although I was still committing the same faults, just in a different way. I remember thinking, "No [i]wonder[/i] Sister So-and-so got upset with me!" but I was blind to it then. God desires me to become a saint through the vocation of marriage -- and marriage is more of a mortification and sanctification for me than religious life would have been.

I think some people have a tendency to be rather rigid in their thoughts regarding mortification, sanctification, etc. We have a tendency to "baptize our own wills," as a priest I know used to say. I remember a story St. Faustina tells in her diary of a Sister visiting her in the hospital and giving her an orange as a treat. St. Faustina's inclination was to mortify herself by not eating it, but she asked Our Lord what would be more pleasing to Him. He responded that it was more pleasing for her to eat the orange and to accept the charity the Sister showed her than to mortify herself and not eat it. I know there was a time in my life when I would have felt BAD eating the orange, like I wasn't doing enough! Sister Lucia of Fatima says it can be just as meritorious before God to thank Him for a meal and graciously accept it from His Hands than to go fasting. And a Sister I know greatly edified me once by accepting (on a Friday) a dessert from a tray a person offered her, but taking a chocolate brownie instead of a cookie -- I knew that she hated chocolate and was doing it as a penance, but I'm sure no one else would have!!! I even heard someone say, "It's Friday! We're not supposed to have dessert!" But although I knew she would definitely have rather not eaten dessert at all, she graciously accepted a charity from someone, and managed to make it a secret mortification in the process. Brilliant!

We can make everything a sacrifice -- the very "uneasiness" we feel about "not doing enough" can be a mortification in itself, and a beautiful source of sanctification for us, in so many ways! It might require us "thinking outside the box" a little, but imagine how pleasing those kinds of sacrifices are before God! [i]Especially[/i] because it means humbling ourselves and putting His will before ours. :)

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My sister went through a long period of discernment (sometimes on again, off again) that meant she visited various communities that...did nothing for her. Even awesome groups (like, say, the Sisters of Life or Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal [I forget which]) on a nun run or short retreat weekend or something. On paper, they looked really good, but when she was there, there was no attraction. Sure, there were also things that didn't match her particular wish list, but the real issue was that she just didn't feel called to some of these groups.

So she kept looking.

When she met her current group, one of her first thoughts was, "I hope God doesn't call me here!"...because of the habits they wear. My sister wanted to wear a habit, but this particular one wasn't particularly appealing/attractive. And, like the others, there were things about the community that didn't perfectly match her wish list of what she was looking for.

But....she put in an application with this community.

Why? Because they were so joyful! She was just really drawn to the group, and wanted to be part of that. She's only in the novitiate, so she's still discerning her calling to this group. I think she'll have to make some sacrifices as she moves forward. After all - they didn't perfectly match her 'ideal community', so there's going to be things they do or ask of her that she wouldn't have really chosen herself. But, as far as she can tell, that is where God is calling her to be, so...she's there.

I think the real nature of sacrifice is surrendering ourselves to God's will. The details of how this plays out in each of our lives...is secondary. Be assured that if you ask God to let you suffer as an offering to him...He'll find a way! Even if you remain in the world, even if you join an 'anything goes' community.

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[quote name='MithLuin' timestamp='1284332351' post='2172396']
My sister went through a long period of discernment (sometimes on again, off again) that meant she visited various communities that...did nothing for her. Even awesome groups (like, say, the Sisters of Life or Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal [I forget which]) on a nun run or short retreat weekend or something. On paper, they looked really good, but when she was there, there was no attraction. Sure, there were also things that didn't match her particular wish list, but the real issue was that she just didn't feel called to some of these groups.

So she kept looking.

When she met her current group, one of her first thoughts was, "I hope God doesn't call me here!"...because of the habits they wear. My sister wanted to wear a habit, but this particular one wasn't particularly appealing/attractive. And, like the others, there were things about the community that didn't perfectly match her wish list of what she was looking for.

But....she put in an application with this community.

Why? Because they were so joyful! She was just really drawn to the group, and wanted to be part of that. She's only in the novitiate, so she's still discerning her calling to this group. I think she'll have to make some sacrifices as she moves forward. After all - they didn't perfectly match her 'ideal community', so there's going to be things they do or ask of her that she wouldn't have really chosen herself. But, as far as she can tell, that is where God is calling her to be, so...she's there.

[b]I think the real nature of sacrifice is surrendering ourselves to God's will. The details of how this plays out in each of our lives...is secondary. Be assured that if you ask God to let you suffer as an offering to him...He'll find a way! Even if you remain in the world, even if you join an 'anything goes' community.[/b]
[/quote]

Excellent post. I give my +1 of the day for this right here.

I think the part in the bold is [i]so[/i] important. And probably the most difficult, in some ways, in the spiritual life to really get a good grasp of. Surrendering ourselves to God's will and really focusing only on Jesus is the sure guide to true sacrifice. Penances are all ordered toward this goal and are meant to make us more docile to God's will. But, like much of anything else, they too can become objects of our own will.

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[quote name='MithLuin' timestamp='1284332351' post='2172396']
My sister went through a long period of discernment (sometimes on again, off again) that meant she visited various communities that...did nothing for her. Even awesome groups (like, say, the Sisters of Life or Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal [I forget which]) on a nun run or short retreat weekend or something. On paper, they looked really good, but when she was there, there was no attraction. Sure, there were also things that didn't match her particular wish list, but the real issue was that she just didn't feel called to some of these groups.

So she kept looking.

When she met her current group, one of her first thoughts was, "I hope God doesn't call me here!"...because of the habits they wear. My sister wanted to wear a habit, but this particular one wasn't particularly appealing/attractive. And, like the others, there were things about the community that didn't perfectly match her wish list of what she was looking for.

But....she put in an application with this community.

Why? Because they were so joyful! She was just really drawn to the group, and wanted to be part of that. She's only in the novitiate, so she's still discerning her calling to this group. I think she'll have to make some sacrifices as she moves forward. After all - they didn't perfectly match her 'ideal community', so there's going to be things they do or ask of her that she wouldn't have really chosen herself. But, as far as she can tell, that is where God is calling her to be, so...she's there.

I think the real nature of sacrifice is surrendering ourselves to God's will. The details of how this plays out in each of our lives...is secondary. Be assured that if you ask God to let you suffer as an offering to him...He'll find a way! Even if you remain in the world, even if you join an 'anything goes' community.
[/quote]

This, right here. :like: Spot on MithLuin!


When I first got to my new community, I couldn't believe that God wanted me there because I was still pining for the 1990s style convent that I had been in before. I wanted to kiss the floor and do refectory mortifications, and kneel before 'Our Reverend Mother'. I wanted the full St Therese habit and and all the romantic trimmings, including the fluttery feelings. I wanted my penances to be traditional and my sacrifices to be obvious.

What I 'got' was a modified habit if chosen and my own name if preferred. I got a Formator instead of a Novice Mistress and a Prioress who is called Sister instead of Mother. I got a 1991 Constitutions which allows for nuns to leave the enclosure, not only for medical reasons but also for human reasons such as funerals or association meetings. I got a convent where I can help myself to a cup of tea or a snack if I need it and a cell that has a heater and an electric blanket as well.

At first I thought I was living in luxury and i worried that this Carmel was not 'austere enough' and not 'really a Carmel'. I looked down upon them and judged them from my loftly height as a wannabe saint. I was more holy than holy in my attitude and 'just knew' how God wanted the Carmelite life to be lived.

I was an arrogant prig.

What I REALLY got was a Prioress who joins her sisters by taking her day for the cooking and her week for the dishes, and a Formator who lets me debate with her about my own point of view and tries to help me see beyond my own limited perspective to a true understanding of Carmelite spirituality and love of neighbor.

What I got was a community of incredibly kind and loving women who have given their lives and their hearts to God, each one an individual and a human being and a 'sister' to the others. I got sisters to love and who appear to love me, despite my arrogance and my spiritual snobbiness. I got real women living real lives of sacrifice in learning to love each other.

What I REALLY got was a sacrifice of self that was designed for me by God, and not a pretty picture perfect world of my own imagining where I could live out a fantasy life of sanctimonious and shallow spirituality. I got God's will for me. And I feel lots of fluttery feelings about Him, an abiding and passionate love for His infinitely patient and loving care for me as a person. :love:

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[quote name='nunsense' timestamp='1284341984' post='2172470']
What I REALLY got was a sacrifice of self that was designed for me by God, and not a pretty picture perfect world of my own imagining where I could live out a fantasy life of sanctimonious and shallow spirituality. I got God's will for me. And I feel lots of fluttery feelings about Him, an abiding and passionate love for His infinitely patient and loving care for me as a person. :love:
[/quote]

I've really enjoyed reading what you've written in this thread about your spiritual journey, nunsense, & I think this in particular is right-on: a sacrifice of self. That's what we're asked to give, & we often don't know what that is until we come up against it. And we're so blessed when we give ourselves...

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Indwelling Trinity

[quote name='nunsense' timestamp='1284341984' post='2172470']
This, right here. :like: Spot on MithLuin!


When I first got to my new community, I couldn't believe that God wanted me there because I was still pining for the 1990s style convent that I had been in before. I wanted to kiss the floor and do refectory mortifications, and kneel before 'Our Reverend Mother'. I wanted the full St Therese habit and and all the romantic trimmings, including the fluttery feelings. I wanted my penances to be traditional and my sacrifices to be obvious.

What I 'got' was a modified habit if chosen and my own name if preferred. I got a Formator instead of a Novice Mistress and a Prioress who is called Sister instead of Mother. I got a 1991 Constitutions which allows for nuns to leave the enclosure, not only for medical reasons but also for human reasons such as funerals or association meetings. I got a convent where I can help myself to a cup of tea or a snack if I need it and a cell that has a heater and an electric blanket as well.

At first I thought I was living in luxury and i worried that this Carmel was not 'austere enough' and not 'really a Carmel'. I looked down upon them and judged them from my loftly height as a wannabe saint. I was more holy than holy in my attitude and 'just knew' how God wanted the Carmelite life to be lived.

I was an arrogant prig.

What I REALLY got was a Prioress who joins her sisters by taking her day for the cooking and her week for the dishes, and a Formator who lets me debate with her about my own point of view and tries to help me see beyond my own limited perspective to a true understanding of Carmelite spirituality and love of neighbor.

What I got was a community of incredibly kind and loving women who have given their lives and their hearts to God, each one an individual and a human being and a 'sister' to the others. I got sisters to love and who appear to love me, despite my arrogance and my spiritual snobbiness. I got real women living real lives of sacrifice in learning to love each other.

What I REALLY got was a sacrifice of self that was designed for me by God, and not a pretty picture perfect world of my own imagining where I could live out a fantasy life of sanctimonious and shallow spirituality. I got God's will for me. And I feel lots of fluttery feelings about Him, an abiding and passionate love for His infinitely patient and loving care for me as a person. :love:
[/quote]

Smiles gently... I was praying to hear you say these words nunsense. There is great hope for the future now. God's will has no why it just IS. I think we must remember not to go overboard in the other direction... for neither of the attributes of a 1990 or 1991 community are mutually exclusive of the other. Both have their beauty and you will find a full spectrum of both within Carmel as each Carmel is different.

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[quote name='nunsense' timestamp='1284341984' post='2172470']
This, right here. :like: Spot on MithLuin!


When I first got to my new community, I couldn't believe that God wanted me there because I was still pining for the 1990s style convent that I had been in before. I wanted to kiss the floor and do refectory mortifications, and kneel before 'Our Reverend Mother'. I wanted the full St Therese habit and and all the romantic trimmings, including the fluttery feelings. I wanted my penances to be traditional and my sacrifices to be obvious.

What I 'got' was a modified habit if chosen and my own name if preferred. I got a Formator instead of a Novice Mistress and a Prioress who is called Sister instead of Mother. I got a 1991 Constitutions which allows for nuns to leave the enclosure, not only for medical reasons but also for human reasons such as funerals or association meetings. I got a convent where I can help myself to a cup of tea or a snack if I need it and a cell that has a heater and an electric blanket as well.

At first I thought I was living in luxury and i worried that this Carmel was not 'austere enough' and not 'really a Carmel'. I looked down upon them and judged them from my loftly height as a wannabe saint. I was more holy than holy in my attitude and 'just knew' how God wanted the Carmelite life to be lived.

I was an arrogant prig.

What I REALLY got was a Prioress who joins her sisters by taking her day for the cooking and her week for the dishes, and a Formator who lets me debate with her about my own point of view and tries to help me see beyond my own limited perspective to a true understanding of Carmelite spirituality and love of neighbor.

What I got was a community of incredibly kind and loving women who have given their lives and their hearts to God, each one an individual and a human being and a 'sister' to the others. I got sisters to love and who appear to love me, despite my arrogance and my spiritual snobbiness. I got real women living real lives of sacrifice in learning to love each other.

What I REALLY got was a sacrifice of self that was designed for me by God, and not a pretty picture perfect world of my own imagining where I could live out a fantasy life of sanctimonious and shallow spirituality. I got God's will for me. And I feel lots of fluttery feelings about Him, an abiding and passionate love for His infinitely patient and loving care for me as a person. :love:
[/quote]

I really love what you've written here. I had a real problem with this myself during my religious discernment. I decided I would not even look at a community unless they met MY expectations. Unfortunately, I feel like this made me develop a barrier between God and myself and it took a long time for it to come down. Being faithful is all about trusting God's will and what He wants for you, not the other way around. I think, as Catholics, we can develop extremes just like any other religion. I think it's important to practice moderation so we don't develop habits that become self-serving and prideful. My obsession with traditional communities made me focus on only the exteriors, not the passionate desire to serve Christ completely among the Sisters. I was lucky to end up with such beautiful communities along my discernment path and I wouldn't trade my experiences in each for anything in the world, but if I could do it all over again, I'd do it somewhat differently.

I urge discerners to not focus so much on the exteriors (habit, practices, etc) so much as you focus on what you feel in your heart. Try as hard as you can not to develop that "holier than thou" attitude. I think it might even be beneficial to visit several different types of communities before you start seriously discerning so you can develop a respect for all different kinds of religious. I know I started to look down on non-habited and "middle of the road" communities as being less than they could be, but now, as long as they are faithful to the Church in all matters, I don't see anything wrong with them. I embrace them, just as I embrace the traditional communities. :)

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