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I just missed this one. So I will reply to Antigonos here.

[quote]I never wrote that Catholicism is exclusively a belief system, because it obviously is not. But when you compare it to Halachic Judaism, it is very different. An Orthodox Jew not only has special very complex dietary requirements, he is commanded to pray three times a day plus on a number of other daily occasions [in fact, there are blessings to be recited on all occasions**], does not wear clothing made from certain combinations of fibers, separates himself from bodily contact with his wife at certain times, wears certain ritual garments, and puts on phylacteries and puts mezuzot* on his doors--heck, the list is almost endless. There are particular religious requirements for women, such as the monthly immersion in a ritual bath at the conclusion of their menses. Very much like the horarium of a convent or monastery. We don't have sacraments in the Christian sense at all, because we don't have a priesthood with special powers. In fact, the main influence that Judaism has had on Christianity, all forms of it, has been the ethical and moral side, what Judaism calls the "commandments between man and man" [Honoring parents, for example, or giving to charity]. These are regarded as the equal of the commandments between man and God.[/quote]

There are certain precepts of the church that all Catholics must keep, such as attending Mass on the Sunday and Holy days of obligation, going to confession at least once a year. Off course devout Catholics take on much more. One generally should if they want to grow in holiness.

Our priesthood exists to offer sacrifices, and preside over the sacraments, which are also type of covenants between God and us.
But, I agree this a whole different subject on it's own.


[quote]
I'm not keen to debate theology, if you will excuse me. However, a priori, as I understand it, a Christian must believe in the divinity of Jesus.[/quote]

Yes. Catholicism just has a hierarchy of truths as well as sins. Some are more important than others, etc.

[quote]This is one of the theological differences between us. While the religious Jew does believe in Heaven, it is a very different Heaven than the Christian one. An old Jewish joke is that a very eminent rabbi had a dream in which he was given a guided tour of Heaven by one of the angels, and to his surprise it looked just like a yeshiva [an institution of Jewish learning]. The angel, seeing this, chided the rabbi: "You think these rabbis sitting and learning Torah are in Heaven, but really it is that Heaven is in the Sages". We cannot conceive of being "married to God", btw.[/quote]

Being married to God is a metaphor. It is not literal. It's used as a way to describe the intimate relationship between God and us.

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Here is my story, shared briefly and without many details. I have been considering life as a consecrated woman in a secular institute. This means that I will live by vows of poverty, chastity, and

After a beautiful little post in the Raising Small Humans board, I thought I would start a thread here. VS often changes due to people entering religious life, new people coming and going, etc. I k

This is probably the most sanitised version I can muster. I was born into a mixed marriage', my father being the catholic parent, but the love and support came from my mother. My father was a c

The problem of parents vs. children happens not just where a call to religious life is concerned. As an only child, when I finished nursing school, my parents, whose marriage was quite neurotic, made strenuous efforts to get me to come back home to live, as they had convinced themselves that they had stayed together "for me". The very idea of having to deal with each other frightened both of them although, in the end, they did work it out. [BTW, nothing happens in a vacuum: when I saw that they were finally developing a viable relationship, I felt distinctly abandoned for a while, even though I'd been straining at the leash for a long time. Negative attention is still attention.] Cutting the "silver umbilical cord" was, for me, quite traumatic.

As a parent, it is entirely natural to want to protect one's child from making "the same mistakes I did". I think this is especially true when the child is still an adolescent and announces some really major decision that can affect his or her entire life. And let's face it, most teenagers lack the wisdom to discern between a genuine attraction and the need to push parental boundaries. Even children who are officially adults, in their 20s, are perfectly capable of making the most disasterous life decisions. It is extremely hard to step back and say, "you're on your own now". I've just been through this with my 29 year old daughter: she has decided to remain in what my husband and I consider a bad marriage, and it is REALLY tough not to want to "sort things out" for her.

Sometimes when I read here of problems with parents who get very upset when a daughter is still in high school and makes the pronouncement that they want to enter a convent, I know exactly how both sides feel. But that, I expect, is what comes from being an Old Trout who has lived long enough to be both a child and a parent. Anyone remember the Cat Stevens' song "Fathers and Sons"?

Prior to V2, it seems that it was extremely difficult to leave religious life if one found that one was unsuited to it, both in terms of the actual procedure of laicization [sp?] and the stigma of being a "failed nun" in secular life. From what I read here, that is not as severe a problem as it once was, and the period of discernment is much longer and intensive, so that a prospective religious has a lot of time before the final committment.

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[quote name='Antigonos' timestamp='1324364120' post='2354322']
The problem of parents vs. children happens not just where a call to religious life is concerned. As an only child, when I finished nursing school, my parents, whose marriage was quite neurotic, made strenuous efforts to get me to come back home to live, as they had convinced themselves that they had stayed together "for me". The very idea of having to deal with each other frightened both of them although, in the end, they did work it out. [BTW, nothing happens in a vacuum: when I saw that they were finally developing a viable relationship, I felt distinctly abandoned for a while, even though I'd been straining at the leash for a long time. Negative attention is still attention.] Cutting the "silver umbilical cord" was, for me, quite traumatic.

As a parent, it is entirely natural to want to protect one's child from making "the same mistakes I did". I think this is especially true when the child is still an adolescent and announces some really major decision that can affect his or her entire life. And let's face it, most teenagers lack the wisdom to discern between a genuine attraction and the need to push parental boundaries. Even children who are officially adults, in their 20s, are perfectly capable of making the most disasterous life decisions. It is extremely hard to step back and say, "you're on your own now". I've just been through this with my 29 year old daughter: she has decided to remain in what my husband and I consider a bad marriage, and it is REALLY tough not to want to "sort things out" for her.

Sometimes when I read here of problems with parents who get very upset when a daughter is still in high school and makes the pronouncement that they want to enter a convent, I know exactly how both sides feel. But that, I expect, is what comes from being an Old Trout who has lived long enough to be both a child and a parent. Anyone remember the Cat Stevens' song "Fathers and Sons"?

Prior to V2, it seems that it was extremely difficult to leave religious life if one found that one was unsuited to it, both in terms of the actual procedure of laicization [sp?] and the stigma of being a "failed nun" in secular life. From what I read here, that is not as severe a problem as it once was, and the period of discernment is much longer and intensive, so that a prospective religious has a lot of time before the final committment.
[/quote]

Spot on here. It's difficult for parents to let their kids lead their own lives and make their own decisions because they do have more experience and wisdom, but it is also difficult for the child because all they want to do is become their own person and take responsibility for their own life.

And the good thing about religious life today is that it does take more discernment before entering, and longer periods of formation before final vows. Parents can do a lot to help by reassuring their future nun or priest that if things don't work out, they will always be loved and accepted at home. The discerner can do a lot to help by not getting impatient with their parents who are probably dealing with fear and by reassuring their parents that they will think carefully and fully about their options, and listen to advice from their parents (even if they eventually don't follow it), thus making them a part of the process. It's a little like grieving, the parents are going to experience a loss, especially if a cloistered life is chosen, and they need time to prepare and to let go, just as the discerner will need time after entering to deal with homesickness and their own feelings of loss. The important thing to remember is that everyone is going to feel emotional about it and time will be needed to deal with all the feelings involved.

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ireallylovejesus

I was a Non-practicing Catholic before. Non-practicing because I rarely went to Mass nor had time to go to confession. Anyway, because of an accident (I was driving drunk from a bar where I had to drink all my family problems down), I was hospitalized and was in a very critical condition. I recovered after a couple of weeks and that's when I started to feel the presence of the Lord. He gave me a second life and I'm doing the best that I can to serve Him now. :)

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I would just add a possibly humorous addendum to what nunsense wrote with an anecdote. Catholic parents who have a child who becomes either a priest or a nun have both feelings of pride and grief, for obvious reasons. They are regarded as having "given" a child to the Church, which is very praiseworthy, but often face the reality that the connection with the child will be partially if not completely severed.

I discovered the equivalent in Jewish terms when I got married. My husband is a native-born Israeli [sabra] whose family fled Iraq in 1951. Middle Eastern Jews are very different in a number of cultural ways from the average American Jew, who is almost always from Eastern Europe. My husband, for example, is fluent in Arabic but knows neither Yiddish, the "Jewish" language of the shtetl, or English. His mother tongue is Hebrew.

At one point at the reception [the wedding was held in the US as my mother's health didn't allow her to travel to Israel], she wanted to introduce me to a couple of friends of hers. Right in front of us, one of them turned to my mother and said, "Lenore, you are so brave to let Antigonos go to live in Israel". I found this a bit surprising, considering that I was 31, that they thought my mother still made such decisions for me, but then, I saw my mother "kvelling". That's a Yiddish word which sort of translates to "smug preening" and I realized that having a child move to Israel was practically the equivalent of "giving" a child to the Church. Added to that, of course, was that her daughter, by marrying an ISRAELI, and indeed an Israeli who couldn't speak English--almost a super-Israeli, one might say!--was letting Mom score quite a few "Brownie points" with her friends [some of whom had non-Jewish sons and daughters-in-law, still a contentious issue in most Jewish families]

So it isn't just Catholic families who can be ambivalent...

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[quote name='Antigonos' timestamp='1324387173' post='2354357']
I would just add a possibly humorous addendum to what nunsense wrote with an anecdote. Catholic parents who have a child who becomes either a priest or a nun have both feelings of pride and grief, for obvious reasons. They are regarded as having "given" a child to the Church, which is very praiseworthy, but often face the reality that the connection with the child will be partially if not completely severed.

I discovered the equivalent in Jewish terms when I got married. My husband is a native-born Israeli [sabra] whose family fled Iraq in 1951. Middle Eastern Jews are very different in a number of cultural ways from the average American Jew, who is almost always from Eastern Europe. My husband, for example, is fluent in Arabic but knows neither Yiddish, the "Jewish" language of the shtetl, or English. His mother tongue is Hebrew.

At one point at the reception [the wedding was held in the US as my mother's health didn't allow her to travel to Israel], she wanted to introduce me to a couple of friends of hers. Right in front of us, one of them turned to my mother and said, "Lenore, you are so brave to let Antigonos go to live in Israel". I found this a bit surprising, considering that I was 31, that they thought my mother still made such decisions for me, but then, I saw my mother "kvelling". That's a Yiddish word which sort of translates to "smug preening" and I realized that having a child move to Israel was practically the equivalent of "giving" a child to the Church. Added to that, of course, was that her daughter, by marrying an ISRAELI, and indeed an Israeli who couldn't speak English--almost a super-Israeli, one might say!--was letting Mom score quite a few "Brownie points" with her friends [some of whom had non-Jewish sons and daughters-in-law, still a contentious issue in most Jewish families]

So it isn't just Catholic families who can be ambivalent...
[/quote]

Your story also explains why families get so upset when 'one of theirs' converts to another religion. We probably all have a sense of 'pride' about our own religion (and I would even go so far as to say that everyone thinks their religion is the 'right one', the 'true one') and because of this, we grieve the 'loss' of a loved who leaves the 'true path' for what could be considered a heresy (in whatever language that religion uses), or even the loss of their soul.

We are all happy to know people of other religions but we don't want our own loved ones to follow those religions. And not only do we feel loss and grief and fear for them, we also probably feel a small sense of betrayal as well, which can cause anger. I know that my own daughter has been meeting with a Protestant chaplain in the military and she speaks very highly of him. Of course, I don't want her to give up her Catholic faith and even though I am glad she is getting spiritual help, I would much prefer she do so with a Catholic chaplain!

But in the end, we can only be responsible for our own choices in life, and if we love someone, we accept that they will sometimes make choices that we disagree with and that the best thing we can do for them is to pray for them, for their well being and for God to hold them close. That way, if they do change their mind, then they know we are still there for them. And if they don't, then they know that we love them anyway.

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[quote]I would just add a possibly humorous addendum to what nunsense wrote with an anecdote. Catholic parents who have a child who becomes either a priest or a nun have both feelings of pride and grief, for obvious reasons. They are regarded as having "given" a child to the Church, which is very praiseworthy, but often face the reality that the connection with the child will be partially if not completely severed.[/quote]

This is true, but we also have a situation today, where a lot of younger Catholics are more observant or religious than their parents, esp. in the West. This makes their parents confused about their decisions, and they wonder where they went wrong.

This is the hippie generation that fought against authority, and self-aggrandization was the most important thing. That their kids should choose poverty, chastity and obedience to authority is often unthinkable.

This off course does not apply to every family.

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[quote name='MaterMisericordiae' timestamp='1324403163' post='2354477']
I think this thread has been hijacked. :hijack:
[/quote]

Not if you consider that Our Stories can mean a lot of things - and encompass the totality of our lives (including fears of grief and loss) and not just the skelton of who, what, where, when. After all, the title doesn't say Our Discernment Stories, does it?

Anyway, I think it's all been relevant even if not everyone else does.

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[quote name='nunsense' timestamp='1324435603' post='2354733']
Not if you consider that Our Stories can mean a lot of things - and encompass the totality of our lives (including fears of grief and loss) and not just the skelton of who, what, where, when. After all, the title doesn't say Our Discernment Stories, does it?

Anyway, I think it's all been relevant even if not everyone else does.
[/quote]

nunsense, I didn't specifically point the post at you. I'm just saying that it felt like it went off in a tangent. Please don't take it personally. I did not mean to offend anyone.

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[quote name='MaterMisericordiae' timestamp='1324439722' post='2354751']
nunsense, I didn't specifically point the post at you. I'm just saying that it felt like it went off in a tangent. Please don't take it personally. I did not mean to offend anyone.
[/quote]

No offence taken MM - I didn't take it personally. I assumed you were talking about the turn the conversation had taken into grief and loss and various religions etc... and personally I enjoyed hearing about the Jewish perspective and the Lutheran perspective and it made me think about how hard it is for everyone when discerning or converting. Our lives are very complex, not one dimensional and it helps me to understand what others are going through as well. Otherwise I tend to think that the way I see things is the only way or the right way... when there are billions of people in the world, all with OUR STORY to tell.

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[quote name='brandelynmarie' timestamp='1324436603' post='2354744']
Yes, Happy Hannukah!

[img]http://congkins.org/image/smiley.jpg[/img]
[/quote]

Thanks. Hanukah is really a minor holiday--it's importance has been exaggerated in the US in order to be a Jewish "antidote" to Christmas [it is very hard for Jewish children to have listen to all their Christian comrades bragging about their presents]. However, since we are commanded to "advertise" the miracle of Hanukah, here in Israel it is really very lovely to walk about and see hanukiot [the Hanukah candlelabrum] in the windows of just about every house. Gift giving is not really a part of the holiday, but we eat jam doughnuts and potato pancakes [cooked in oil, you see], and generally, before the 8 days of the holiday are over, copious amounts of Alka Seltzer :hehe2: It is also usual to give children a small amount of spending money, called Hanukah gelt in Yiddish, or a bag of gold-foil wrapped chocolate "coins".

I happen to have a rather special hanukiah I inherited from my mother, who ran a small Judaica shop for some years. A Holocaust survivor made it from railroad spikes -- 6 inch nails -- which he split lengthwise and soldered together. He only made 36* per year, and no two are exactly alike.

*There is a Hassidic legend about the 36 hidden saints or Just Men [the word "tzaddik" means both] in each generation, who may not even know that they are contributing, by their travails, to hastening the coming of the Messiah. A perfectly marvelous book--IMO the best novel about the Holocaust-- was written by a Frenchman whose parents died in the Holocaust called "The Last of the Just", and it is about this legend. Why precisely 36 I don't know, btw.

Incidentally, according to the weather forecast, [Latin] Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are supposed to cold, wet, and nasty. Hope, for the pilgrims' sake, the forecast is mistaken. :unsure:

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