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There are many crossroads in our life and with it comes the difficult decision as to which way to go. Considering the vocation of a religious Sister is one of these crossroads. Which way am I supposed to go? What is God calling me to do with my life? With whom is God calling me to be? That is challenging enough, but then we have a chorus of voices giving us advice. Maybe it is family and friends discouraging us or who have a certain opinion of where we should go or when we should go. Add to that the pressure of society which says we are crazy and we are wasting our life. These things sure complicate choosing the radical way. So how does someone make this decision that can be so challenging, unclear and possibly feeling lonely because you don’t know anyone who understands this calling you feel nagging at you? First of a practical nature, getting an experienced spiritual director is helpful. It helps to have an unbiased person listening and walking with you who does not have anything to gain or lose by the decision you make--a totally objective person.
The Feast of our American Foundress,
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, is January 4th.
She is a great model in decision making/discernment at the crossroads of life. We encourage you to read a biography of her if you haven't yet. There were challenges in her life beyond her control, but converting to Catholicism wasn't one of them. She chose to become Catholic despite the terrible discrimination of Catholics at the time. Why and how did she make that decision? Her family and friends were adamantly against her choice and she was disowned by most of them. Yet she didn’t back off from her call to convert because of what it would cost her. She had the strong inner urging and the courage to back it up.
What a powerful force must have been present within her! If you read her journals, especially the one while in Italy, the picture is clear of a woman of prayer. She prayed regularly in her day and steeped herself in the scriptures. Elizabeth Ann discovered Christ in the Eucharist and was hooked. She valued the Eucharist so much that it out-ranked the high personal cost to receive it. So what can we take from this woman who sought God and found holiness? 1. Build a strong foundation of prayer. 2. Make prayer a regular part of your day and set aside time for quiet reflection. 3. Seek Christ's presence and grace in the Eucharist as often as possible.
There are no magic answers as there aren’t any when a woman chooses her spouse—but it is about a relationship with your Beloved. There needs to be an investment of time if it is going to be a solid relationship. Seek Christ as the wise men did and you will find your way—though it may not be as direct as you would hope for!