Discussion related to living as a Catholic in the single state of life. As long as a topic is being discussed from the perspective of a single Catholic then it will be on-topic.
Tobias and Sarah's story is from the Book of Tobit, and his journey is guided by Saint Raphael.
Learn More: Tobias & Sarah as led by Saint Raphael
I just thought I'd share this link that I find very inspiring from Vicka, the reported Medjugorje visionary, regarding marriage... for anyone interested
Just wanted to share this quote from St. Francis de Sales as it is his feast day today..
“Our business is to love what God would have done.He wills our vocation as it is. Let us love that and not trifle away our time hankering after other people’s vocations.”
- St. Francis de Sales
How can “hankering after other people’s vocations” lead me to be discontented with what God has chosen for me? How does it deprive me of grace? In what ways can it lead me into sin?
Thank you for sharing the quote from St. Francis de Sales, his words do make you think though.
I have wanted to be married since I was 7 years old. I have also felt a call to religious life since I was 7. It's been an interesting decision-making process, realizing, and re-realizing, and wondering and waiting. Just last year I was in contact with several monasteries. When I was 7, my parents had me start praying for my future husband. I set up a small shrine to Mother Mary in my room and I would read Bible stories by it. I loved to hide in my closet and burn incense and think and pray. The idea of religious life has always been like an itch, or a whisper in the back of my mind, but at the very forefront of my mind has always been: marriage, family, children. So, because it has always been the forefront thought, it is something I truly desire, I have decided: this whisper, this itch for religious life is a push toward marriage, it is to guide the way and light the path of all the joys and sorrows in my life toward my destination, rather than it being the destination.
It's hard to explain. But that's the best I can do...
Mary thanks for sharing. Having had experience in religious life, I thought I would just share my two cents. I think it's important to keep in mind that those who have a desire for motherhood (or fatherhood) and children should not automatically rule out religious life in their discernment. In fact, it is not only natural (as we know), but also necessary for one to experience these longings, as every vocation is meant to fulfill these longings, albeit in different ways. Spiritual motherhood and fatherhood are just as real as physical motherhood and fatherhood.
Having said that, I wanted also to pass along something I heard from a priest professor I had that shed new light on this discernment process; it is simple and makes total sense. He said that UNLESS you feel called to religious life, single life, or the priesthood, you know that you are called to marriage. Okay, so you're probably thinking, "that doesn't make it any simpler." The reason for this is because that was the first vocation given to man. Jesus goes BEYOND this natural vocation (to which Victor alluded earlier) and asks that those who can accept it, accept it.
Mary, what exactly do you mean that your itch for religious life is a push toward marriage?
I do not feel I am called to the sacrament. I feel it is distrubing as a man for me to want to get married. There is so sort of perversion if you seek out such a vocation without the other's permission. HOWEVER, I do feel I cannot keep my light under a basket. With the gifts the Lord has given me they appear to be suited for marriage. I build those traits so if there is that moment then I am fully ready. There will be so many obstacles either missing or reduced in a marriage with me on the lessons I have leared from the married.
My life has been to develop the traits for a husband instead of that of a religious or parish priest. I meet regularly women several years older than me and younger than me that marriage probably would have been great if that age difference was not there. I will be that age someday and she will get older too. So I just keep Jesus as my focus and put effort into meeting a woman who is running the race the same as me. My face is set like flint; so rejection is not a hurdle.
William, I am not sure what you mean in your first three sentences?
The thing is I really WANT to get married and have kids, but I'm scared that if I pray about it God will lead me towards religious life. Religious life is a wonderful vocation, but I am hoping for marriage because that vocation is also beautiful. I would get God and a husband and a family. I know God puts desires in our hearts and if God was calling me to the religious life and I prayed about it I'd be happy to let Him lead the way. I'd love religious life, and realize I'd be happier there than I would be in marriage. However, I'm hoping that if I do pray for my vocation that it is marriage. I pray for my future husband, but I've never prayed for God's will on my calling. Does this make sense? Is this normal?
Marita, I think you're right on about the fact that it is God who places desires on our heart. Of course, it's a given that we need to open our hearts to the desires he wants to put there. I would encourage you to take that step and pray for God's will to be done in bringing about the desires of your heart, entrusting to him whatever may result. Remember, to make any vow -- whether that be as a religious or a married person -- we must do so freely. In order to do so, we must be free from the fear of whatever unknowns which God might have for us around the corner. But, have no fear: whatever God has for you, he wants you to be happy!
Honestly, I don't know for sure. I have a sense that marriage is the vocation God has in mind for me, but it's hard to discern this without someone to discern WITH. I think it would be much more clear if there was a face on the mystery man of my dreams.
In the meantime I'm seeking to give God every opportunity to introduce me to my spouse. Additionally I will be living at a Dominican convent for two weeks in May. Trying to keep my heart open!
Christine, be assured of my prayers for you as you open your heart to whatever the Lord may have for you in May. He will indeed bless you for your openness! The community to which I used to belong was Dominican, and so I have a special place in my heart for them. Anyway, I wanted to comment on something you said, which was regarding your apparant struggle to discern without someone with whom to discern. I would have to disagree that one needs someone with whom to discern. Dating someone in particular has its own unique challenges, and throw all this into one's discernment on whether one is called to marriage in the first place, and that's frankly quite a load to discern.
I think it's important to remember that Jesus is the ultimate Bridegroom of our souls (as someone mentioned earlier), and if you're looking for someone to discern WITH, consider him first. I don't mean to say you're not already doing so, but I think it helps to heighten our awareness of the reality of what we're dealing with - namely, the question of how God wants us to experience the interchange of His love for us: is it to be through Him alone, or through another person? Something that he helped me to see after having left the religious life is that His will is for me to experience His love in a different way; it's that simple. Now guys, I hope this gives you some food for thought too...
Thanks for all the great advice and great stories everyone. Last night I began to pray for my vocation. I don't think I've ever wanted to become a nun, but not my will but God's and he will put it in my heart if he wants me to be one. Right now I'd like more than anything to become a wife and a mom. But I know I have to a least ask and pray about it.
Marita, you beat me to it - I did not read your later posts. Praise God for leading you to this openness. May His will be done.