Thursday, August 11, 2011

How I Got to Religious Life

Last summer I had a crisis of faith.  My prayer life had stalled out, it was going nowhere.  My prayer life had not grown or changed in many years.  I had not worked at it out of fear of my own prayer life.  God, for reasons that I do not begin to understand, had favored me with the ability to slip into contemplation and He has chosen to favor me with gifts that I do not deserve.  When I work at my prayer life, when I pray, when I allow myself to go beyond contemplation I can physically feel Christ and the Virgin with me.  I weep for the sins of others and am overtaken by the sorrow that abounds in this world.  My prayer life exhausts me.  So I never worked at it.  However when it stalled out I got scared.  I knew that everything had to change and that frightened me too.  One of my dearest and closest friends suggested that I start praying the rosary and praying novenas and trying the more traditional prayers of the Church.  When I finally learned the rosary I found a connection I had never known.  Praying the traditional ways of the Church led me to that place of peace and serenity I knew the day in the church.  I started going to daily mass and adoration.  I found my peace and serenity.  Then several friends that I have a deep and abiding respect for suggested that I should investigate religious life.  I took this seriously and started looking.  I was scared though.  I never thought religious life was my calling.  I could not imagine giving up men and my life.  I dated the man that taught me the rosary and taught me to love it.  When we broke up I dove into religious life with zeal.  I had always had a great affection for the Dominicans, but now I learned as much about them as I could and I fell for them.  I allowed myself far more time to pray and go to adoration.  I was seduced by Christ and I fell in in love with Him, a love like I have never known.  To be in the world is painful to me.  I long for my lover, to be with Him always, to never leave the state of contemplation where the world disappears and I am alone with my love.  I found a spiritual director.  He is wonderful.  He is a Dominican priest who pushes me further and farther in my prayer life.  The farther I go in prayer the more in love with Christ crucified I become.  I can feel Him with me always.  I feel Him fill my soul with His warmth, love and compassion.  I long for my lover in a way that I have never longer for another human.  I feel His pain and long to be with Him.  As I progressed in my prayer life and these feeling became stronger it became clear that the life of an active sister was not meant for me, that it was the contemplative life that I am called to.  I am called to a life where I am free for Christ alone.


Thomas Catherine

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