Still discerning? Do something!

Dear Beginner, 

 A couple years ago at a catholic conference I met a not-so-young man who told me that he was discerning religious life. And if I remember well, he had been thinking about entering into a certain monastery for the past... ten... years... but... wasn't QUITE sure and maybe perhaps he should get married... but didn't even have a girlfriend. And I got the impression that he was teetering back and forth like that for the past ten years. After listening for awhile and then encouraging him to actively discern, we parted ways and he had very clear what he had to do, quite simple: DO SOMETHING.

Being a beginner, you may not be aware that there are people who go back and forth constantly about serving God or not. I have a feeling that it is very common, and I know that even among people who do respond to their vocation to priesthood or religious life, it is usually years after the first time they felt the Lord's call. Sure, each person has his reasoning, each person has his excuse, but it is quite sad if you think about Who they are denying. Here I'm just going to mention one excuse: a common one, and one that perhaps people don't even realize is their reason: Fear.

In my case, the culminating moment of the fight against my vocation was during a homily. Fr. Rafael, our founder, was speaking very clearly and, once again, his words were like arrows to my heart and my conscience. In my mind I was going through my list of excuses: Let me finish school first, my dad is sick, I don't want to leave my country, I don't want to speak Spanish for the rest of my life, I won't be able to play sports, I want to get married, I, I , I... Since I didn't understand Spanish, one of the sisters was translating for me, and I was reaching the point of asking her to stop when suddenly Fr. Rafael shouted: "DO NOT BE AFRAID!" At that moment, it was as if someone were to say, "If you lift your head out of the water, you'll be able to breathe." Of course! Why didn't I see that before?! What I was experiencing was fear, and the Lord said not to be afraid! And if He was calling me, then I could trust in Him.

The same goes for you. Certainly your reasons differ from mine, and they could even be more "valid" (if you'd like to use that word) as well. Each person has their responsibilities... and desires, but we cannot forget that God has a plan for each person, and it is a made specifically for that person for their sanctification. He gave you certain gifts, having in mind all the people He wants to help through you, and how much glory He wants to receive from you. I understood that if I was called to leave my family and follow God's plan for me on another continent, then it was also God's plan for my family that I would not be with them. If I truly wanted to love God above all else, then I would have to take the leap of faith in order to live that and do His will. It was hard for me to respond, and I can't say I did so jumping up and down and saying, "Fiat!" But rather, a reluctant "fine." But that was all He needed to enter and show me the beauty of following Him radically, and thank God for the grace to respond! He gives that grace: ask for it, and do your part, you won't regret it. He who created you knows how you are going to be happiest; He who loves you, wants that; and He who calls you, is showing you how.

Okay great, you're saying, so what do you expect me to do? You already know.

1. Be steadfast in your commitment to daily prayer and frequent sacraments.

2. Pick up the phone, dial the number, and talk to the person who you know who have to. Ask if you can visit.

3. Don't cop out, as they say here in Ireland. Stick to your word.

4. Do #2 right now. 

Sr. Clare, a few months before her death, wrote: "I am happy, happy, happy! Even though there are days when things are difficult. It is worth it to give one's life to God, who is so great. This is what my heart has always desired, and is the reason why no human love, plan, or thing has ever been able to fill it." 

I hope the same for you.