I’ve been discerning religious life for four years. FOUR.
Anyway. For the past three years I have been positive of my vocation and I was not easily distracted or confused. I was certain. My heart was steadfast aimed at religious life, and yes I occasionally thought about marriage, but my attraction and desire for religious life was always so much greater than that of marriage. My greatest struggle was when I would join and what order. I closed the door to marriage and I was okay with that. I didn’t think twice about it, because I was going to be a religious sister and that was all I wanted.
And now here we are. Four years later and I’m back to where I was in the beginning. But I’m not the same person. Four years if discerning religious life lead to me falling in love with Christ and His Church, learning about the faith, understanding the Eucharist, trusting Christ, and more. I was a mess before I started discerning. I knew nothing about the faith, I didn’t like Mass or confession, I didn’t believe in the Real Presence, and I had believed many of the lies of the world. Discerning religious life is what brought me out of that and made me who I am today.
Right now, a spark has been ignited in my heart for marriage. The desire is there like never before and my desire for religious life has decreased in comparison. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be a sister, because that life is still so beautiful and if the Lord calls me to it I will run to the convent with the greatest joy. But, it does mean that all my certainty is gone and four years of discernment feels like a day. I just keep thinking about the beauty of marriage and how important that vocation is. Holy Catholic families are incredibly important. Many saints become who they are because of their families.
So, I decided, because my heart belongs to Jesus and I trust him more than anything, that I will pray the rosary everyday from Easter until September 9th (3 consecutive 54 day novenas) for three things. One: if I am called to religious life then for peace to fill my heart and clarity to return. Two: if I am called to marriage then for a holy Catholic man to enter my life. And Three: for the Catholic Campus Ministry at my future college (I had to throw that in there!). So, we’ll see what happens.
No matter what my vocation is, I can say with great confidence that these past four years have not been wasted. I have grown in love with Christ and His Church. Discerning religious life has prepared my heart for being either a sister or a wife. I trust the Lord and I know that whatever vocation I am called to will bring glory to God, lead me (and others) to heaven, and will fit my heart better than any plan of my own.
So, that’s the update. I am discerning religious life and marriage, but mostly I’m just abandoning all to God and trusting Him. My life is forever in His hands.