200

I’ve written 200 posts on this blog, in just over 2 years. The journey I’ve undertaken, and am still undertaking, has been remarkable.

I am not a patient person. When something takes hold in my heart I want to act now, it consumes me. That is what religious life was to me. It took hold in my heart, it consumed me, and I acted very much now. I’ve posted already about the immediacy of it and I wonder if my feelings of doubt that I’ve experienced in both feeling called to religious life and called to marriage are a part of my tendency to rush. I am feeling very much at the moment that I was right in thinking that not right now is the way to approach these things for the moment.

It seems very trivial, and I am not daring to think that everything will be wonderful now, but since my moment of grace I have found myself able to pray for the first time in along time. I am not yet at where I used to be, where prayer was natural and comfortable and I could pray without words. My prayers are recitations and for so long I would say the words and feel empty still but now they have some meaning back, there is connection there. I am not foolish enough to believe that God listens to them, but I have hope. 

Deja Vu

I felt I was called to religious life. I was discerning with a wonderful community that I loved and that were happy for me to apply. Yet I had this little voice in my head that went “What if you’re wrong? What if you’re called to marriage?” and I was so scared that it might be right and I prayed so hard for it to not be right.

I feel I am called to marriage. I have a wonderful relationship with a man I love with all my heart, who wants to marry me. Yet I have that same little voice in my head saying “What if you’re wrong? What if you’re called to religious life?” and I’m so scared that it might be right and I pray so hard for it to not be right.

Are these feelings a temptation? Is one of them right? Which one?

I don’t know how to tell.

Grace and Intimacy

Recently I have felt very much like St. Augustine’s famous prayer: “Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.” I’ll do your will Lord, but not yet. I’ll stop this sinful habit, but not yet. The conflict between temptation and conscience is especially hard when one is experiencing darkness. But it’s when you are in your darkest times that the grace of God really amazes you. I haven’t felt His presence or His grace in a while. This weekend I had this moment of grace and while I’m not all the way there in repairing my closeness with God I now know that I can do it and that He is still with me. God is indeed good! 

Something I have been struggling with is how to find intimacy with the Lord again. My closest intimacy with the Lord came from my discernment of religious life, I understood my relationship with Christ very much as being His bride. So for me, I now have to see my relationship with Christ in a different way, and learn to understand it in a different way. I haven’t seen before how and I still can’t quite see it.

But I have hope. 

Never vs. Not Right Now

When I was discerning religious life the call I felt was an immediate call. It was very much a right now. I visited a community two or three months after beginning to seriously discern and went to St. Cecilia’s two weeks after that. My live-in was six months after that, and that was the first opportunity I had for a visit that long since I was at university. When I ‘officially’ announced I was no longer discerning religious life, I was already in a relationship.

I have realised that I am no longer in a position to be urgent in the short-term. I have financial responsibilities I must attend to, amongst other things. I couldn’t enter a convent anytime soon anymore than I could get married anytime soon. But my mind is still in that place of immediacy, of wanting everything to be right now. I think that is a significant part of the distress I have felt recently – I have wanted things to be more immediate than is possible.

I have been so rushed, so hurried that I think I need to take space from any kind of vocational discernment and think about now for a while rather than focus on the future. I need to find myself again in my spiritual life without discernment.

Pain and Healing

 

Today, I saw about Mother Mistress’ Silver Jubilee a few months ago, and it stabbed at my heart again. I should have been there. I saw the photos, I saw Mother Mistress and my dear friends in the novitiate and I saw the abbey and the choir and it pained me. I torture myself by looking for news from them, I know that. I have no right, no reason to feel this pain and this longing. I am mourning the loss of something that I never had to start with!

do believe that [marriage] is probably your path. Oh, how those words stung me! I am happy, but I am not at peace. I know, I know that the door to religious life is shut behind me. I took my foot out of the door when I was given those well-meaning and true but still stinging words. Now, I’m like a toddler throwing a tantrum because they want to get into the one place they’re not allowed. Not only that, but they also don’t want to leave the room they’ve been let into. No wonder God doesn’t listen to me anymore, doesn’t speak to me anymore. No wonder He didn’t want me.

I long for that peace, that total trust in God that I’ve lost. I can feel a stirring within myself, a desire to return to that. I can only describe this as a kind of progress. For a long time I have felt a great affinity with that famous prayer of St. Augustine, grant me chastity and continence, but not yet, only all aspects of faith. I’m not angry, although I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been. I’m just hurt and betrayed and I want to turn to God for comfort but I’ve lost my trust in Him. How can I trust in His will again when it has lead me to so much pain? How can I trust that I even know what His will is? How do I know that I was even doing His will?

Lord, have mercy.

7 Quick Takes (2 days late)

— 1 —

Yes, this is late. One thing that comes abundantly clear when you read my 7QT posts is that I am never on time.

— 2 —

At the moment, I’m reading Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. I’ve barely started so I’m still in the first chapter, but it’s fascinating. One of my favourite books is George Orwell’s 1984 and so many people have recommended Brave New World to me because of that, so when I spotted it in the library I just had to get it.

— 3 —

My dog and cat have fleas. Fleas. Despite the flea-massacring stuff from the vet, it makes my skin feel all creepy. My poor dog keeps getting upset that I won’t let her sit on the sofa (not that she should be there anyway).

— 4 —

Despite knowing the season finale was last week, it only dawned on me this evening that there is no more Downton Abbey. I only got into it this season, and suddenly it’s being taken away from. Boo.

— 5 —

My internet here is useless. For the past three days we’ve had barely any connection. It genuinely drives me crazy. How, in 2013, can it be so difficult to get a decent internet connection? It’s not like I live in the middle of nowhere.

— 6 —

I don’t like fireworks. There were fireworks at my aunt’s birthday party this week, and with Bonfire Night recently as well I’m really sick of fireworks. I just don’t see the appeal. They’re pretty for about two minutes but fireworks displays always go on for at least 10, by which point I’m bored and have a headache. Fireworks just do not appeal to me. Sparklers, however, are cool.

— 7 —

How is it halfway through November already? Where has the time gone? It’ll be Advent before I know it.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Trusting in His will

Today, I finally found something about the solemn profession of my friend last weekend. I sought it out, because she is my friend and I wanted to hear about it. I smiled at seeing her in a black veil, and thought how happy I was for her. But I also felt this pang of envy and hurt. The actual day I dealt with better than I thought I would. But it still hurts. I shouldn’t hurt like this. My boyfriend is a wonderful person, and I love him more than I ever thought possible. I am so happy when I think of us getting married. I don’t want to not be with him. So why is the sting still there? Why can I not simply be happy for my friends without feeling this hurt and envy?

I am now perpetually afraid of being wrong. If I could be so wrong once, could it not happen again? How can I be sure that what I feel is God’s will is true? How can I trust His will now? I’m too angry, too hurt, too betrayed. 

Patrons, Virtues and Continents

As I talked about last year I have some friends on Phatmass who, guided by the Holy Spirit will pick a patron saint for you and a virtue for you to practice and a continent for you to pray for over the coming liturgical year. Last year, I got:

Saint: Camillus de Lellis
Virtue: Honesty
Continent: South America

Recently the lady who does the virtues and continents did a “harvest” ask to see how we’d found our picking. Here are my thoughts on what I had:

St. Camillus de Lellis: At first, I struggled with this one. Having a lesser known saint, after my initial research I felt a little like “what more can I do?” But I’ve tried really hard to stick with it and get to know him better. I’m not very good at getting to know “new” saints, I’m very stuck in my ways. Although, I’ve been struggling with an old ankle injury that just will not heal and he was plagued by a leg wound so I guess that’s a link (if a tenuous one). And I do think I’ve got to know him, and added another saint to my heavenly friends.

Honesty: I didn’t even really think about this for ages until she asked and then I had a moment of “oh my gosh this totally applied to my life”. I’m not a dishonest person but I’m not a very open person. I really struggle to be open with people, it makes me really uncomfortable. I’d been having some problems with my family and I had to learn to be honest with them, and that is very uncomfortable for me. But I did it, and I’ve slowly been getting better at honesty. So really, a perfect pick for this year.

South America: This was admittedly very easy for me. I am South American so I always check the news for the region to see what’s going on, so this was just adding a prayer element to that.

It’s been an interesting and fruitful year! But it’s coming to an end so my new picks will be coming in soon. This year I’ve got:

Saint: Maximillian Kolbe and Joan of Arc
Virtue: Generosity
Continent: North and Central America

Double pick with the saints! I am SO excited because these are two saints I’ve always liked but never really taken the time to get to know. Although I hope two martyrs isn’t an ominous sign…hehe.

Generosity will be interesting to see how that comes out. For me generosity tends to come in bursts and then I lose interest. I will definitely have to work hard on that one.

I’m quite excited to have gotten a continent that I don’t know very well, since I’ve lived in Europe and in Asia and am from Europe/South America.

With the new liturgical year approaching quickly, I’m looking forward to getting started soon!

Surprises

Today was the day I was in a way dreading. One friend is at a retreat with the community she is discerning with, asking for application. Another was clothed today. Another made her solemn profession. I have truly felt happy for them, I was unhappy for me (if that makes any sense at all). That is terribly self-centred, I know.

None of those things occurred to me all day. Only in the evening did I remember the solemn profession, and only when I saw another friend post about the clothing photos (the sisters are quick!) did I remember the rest.

When I did remember, I was only happy for them. It hasn’t made my wounds sting in the way I thought it would, in the way it has the past few days. I can’t pretend the wounds have healed, but they have not been re-opened as I feared.

7 Quick Takes Friday (I remembered!)

It’s Friday already? Where did the week go? I feel like time is going really fast at the moment. This is super late again because I work on Fridays and never have time after work because I have to cook. It’s a hard life. Haha.

I’ve been painting this week. I have a load of these A4 boards for painting so I figured why not try do something to spruce up my sister’s room at uni. She lives in a very old, very decrepit old halls. Even my halls at uni were better and I lived in what looked like a prison block (a prison block with a view of the sea, but a prison block nonetheless). I accidentally got bright pink paint on the dining table. Like bright pink. Luckily I managed to get it off before my mother spotted it. I even got a charity shop frame today to put my masterpiece in.

Two people I know have ended up in hospital this week. One of my best friends was hospitalised after a car accident, she’s out now but has to see specialists still. Then today we found out a friend of my mother’s is in an induced coma after an accident. Prayers for both of their recoveries would be very much appreciated.

I’ve stopped biting my nails. Really. Having bitten them all my life, I’ve stopped. Obsessively painting my nails is doing the trick. But they feel too long! I have claws. But they’re oh-so-pretty-painted-sparkly-blue claws.

Have you seen that super cute video of the kid that sneaks into the Holy Father’s chair? If you haven’t you need to.

The bit where he gives Pope Francis a hug is just so sweet.

I realised today that next month is 5 years since my Confirmation (feast of St. Ambrose, in case you were wondering). It seems like such a long time ago, but at the same time I can’t believe it was 5 years ago. Believe it or not, the thing I remember most is praying that I wouldn’t fall over when I went to kneel in front of the archbishop. My high school graduation in a floor-length dress and heels up steps was a piece of cake in comparison.

 7 

My family are not Catholic. They’re not overtly anti-Catholic, but they’re not fans. I posted this on my tumblr page today, it happened a few months ago.

My sister: Catholics hate gay people

Me: No, Catholics don’t hate gay people

My sister and my mother: Yeah they do

Me: No, they don’t, and it’s offensive of you to say that

My mother: Who’s being offended? It’s true.

Me: I am offended, and no it’s not true!

My sister and my mother: Ugh, stop overreacting. You’re so oversensitive.

My face: