I’ve been quiet about this – at least in the details. I will continue to be quiet until more is understood. I first wrote a letter to a monastery in June, and have been slowly gaining in communication since then via email and phone calls. I will be visiting a monastery from Thursday August 7th through Sunday August 10th. In lieu of a stipend to stay at the guest house, I’ll be working with the sisters for a few hours each day. If I’m really diligent and finalize the vocation questionnaire, I may be able to speak with the Novitiate during recreation one evening.
I’ve told my spiritual director, and three additional friends, the specific details. My parents are not aware. My sister, once she reads this blog post will know precisely the information that is here and nothing more. How come? What happens when you spread your business everywhere – is anything respected? Is it honored? Is it accepted? I’ll bet you a student loan that the answer is ‘No’. Everyone runs roughshod all over your thoughts, your desires, God’s desires for you, and so forth; suddenly everything is up for debate.
In my previous experience in trying to enter the DSMMEs (Thank goodness I did not; I loathe teaching.) I was told a great number of things:
~ we should use this to get more drinks at the bar
~ you’re a lesbian
~ you’re a disgrace
~ you’re neglecting your responsibility
~ you’re throwing your life away
~ do you know how other women will touch you?
~ what about sex?
~ you should go do all the things that you can’t do once you enter
~ that’s a blessing
~ you’ll save your family
~ what grace
See how the vast majority of responses are negative and bitter? How focused they are on an erroneous thought that I’m losing something when I enter religious life. Rather, consider what I gain, in a non-materialist way: God. I have Him. All of Him. His full and complete attention. I get to respond to His love for me in a unique way, a way that I was created to do. I have the ability to work in cooperation with God.
This world will kill you; it will kill me. It will slay me to death with pride, lust, sloth/laziness, anger, greed, gluttony. I do not choose this world. I was born in the world at the time God wanted me to exist here, but He did not make me or you to be immersed in it to the extent that you can lose yourself in it. He bought you and me at the price of His Son’s Flesh, Blood, Soul and Divinity hanging tattered and exsanguinated on a Roman cross at the behest of the Jewish elders.
Keep me in your prayers, I’ll pray for you – you can leave requests in the comment box or you can (I think?) email or message me.
Don’t recall exactly where I left off yesterday, guess that is what happens when I type at 12am. I’ve only a half hour to type. With Lie to Me, playing in the background, I probably won’t have much to say.
Returning to spirituality, I was saying that I would have frowned upon it, and I did, two years past. I remember one client who said she was very Christian and very spiritual during the psychosocial assessment I did on everybody as a Social Work intern. I figure my disgust was all over my face. Spirituality, that’s the stuff for New Age tarot card reading-mantra chanting people. That’s not the ‘spirituality’ I’m considering. That’s spiritism, the belief of spirits and demons without the foundation of religion and dogma to declare one as benign and the other evil; all is ‘spirit’ and all is there to serve us and guide us.
Spirituality is the flavor added to your faith relationship with God that is grounded in the foundation of a religion. I got to a solid understanding of my spirituality over the summer. I delved into spirituality last winter, and came out with a different understanding in the spring. So many are focused on the life, the spring time, the resurrection, the sun and the warmth; I tend towards the winter, the dark, the dark night, the crucifixion, the agony in the garden. I told a friend at a house warming party in July that people need to move beyond what I got, the faith I have is good, go and get what is better. Some of us have to stand at the foot of the Cross at the Crucifixion.
Excerpted from my SMME entrance application:
I want to enter the SMMEs for a few reasons. The first year of my discernment from 2006 through 2007 was spent in prayer and I did not have a spiritual director at that time. I was in contact with a few different religious orders: Mission San Jose Dominicans, Daughters of Charity and School Sisters of Notre Dame. I liked different things about each one, but I soon recognized an undercurrent of apprehension: were those convents the right place? What did they think of me? Would I fit in? Why don’t they practice their traditional charism? why the denuded chapels? why do they have to schedule in community time or prayer time together? why this and why that? When I stepped foot into the SMME motherhouse that Friday evening none of those previously ever-present questions arose in my mind. I was completely focused on God and on just enjoying myself during the retreat. I felt this sense of peace within myself, that I no longer had to search and question and research; no more comparison and contrast with my beliefs and practices with that of the religious community. I felt that it was over – which is why I so readily asked for papers Saturday morning before that evening’s Eucharistic Adoration – I had already asked Jesus Friday night where He wanted me. He gave me the answers one after the other. The whole weekend God was saying “Yes, this is the place” in all those special ways He does in our own understanding of Scripture, prayer, music, people, etc. Lastly, as I was leaving Sunday to go home, I tried to see myself at the SMMEs just as I had tried with the MSJ Dominicans, the DCs, and SNDs; never had pictured myself that way before, so fully.
I’m very attracted to the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist way of life and community for reasons that echo the above. In the years since my Confirmation I have had to re-teach myself the mechanisms of the Catholic Church. I’ve had to learn about charisms, evangelical counsels, virtues of the flesh and theology. Few religious orders and communities actually practice a vow of obedience and poverty as I have seen in the SMMEs. There is a true sense of community: in the Eucharist and prayer life, in your daily life, and your interaction with each other. The vows and community life are faithfully lived out – sacrifice is not questioned, it’s expected. I’ll never forget the visit I made to convent here in Los Angeles and I was asked “Why should you have to sacrifice XYZ?” I don’t have to sacrifice. I could enter a religious community that would permit me to own things – but then I’m not really, fully loving God, am I? Isn’t that Who this is all about? God invites us, we say “yes,” and I’m only supposed to give up what I think I can manage? No. I’m reminded of the verse in Revelations that describes what type of service and love God enjoys — either be hot or cold, but not lukewarm. The Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist are definitely filled with love and passion for God and interested in doing His service and His will. Oh, and you’re faithful to the Magisterium.