Saturday, 24 January 2009
My friends, I will leave it there, as there is so much I need to do. Thank you for your support whilst I've been on this journey. You've been so faithful and I am grateful for receiving your advice. Hold on to your faith and trust in the Lord.
Sunday, 18 January 2009
It is a time that has gone quickly in many ways; slow in others. A time where uncertainty about the future has created fear and doubt. It has been hard to hear people say - "Well you can leave if it doesn't work out" because I have wondered if they have seen something I have not. Yet the Holy Spirit has given me a resolve that kept me focussed on entering Carmel and staying true to my decision, helping me to recall often that moment of peace I received from Him that it was the right thing to do to enter and the feeling of certainty that it was right to not accept the job offer I received, as well as moments of strong desire to serve the Lord by entering; these feelings lasted moments and it would have been so easy to dismiss them or tell myself that because I'd felt more doubt than consolation, that I should forget the whole thing. But Our Good God has given me reason and faith I have come to the conclusion that if it was not the Will of God, He would have not made it possible for me to enter. Saint Faustina was rejected by many orders before she was accepted by hers and St. Gianna considered the religious life, yet God's Will was made known to her to become a mother - He had other things in store for her and now she is a witness to pro-life. As for people's comments, I put it down to their own fear of the unknown and what they may not understand due to not being able to see themselves live the cloistered life. I take strength from St. Faustina - living for the moment and not worrying about the past or the future. What is important is to go down the road the Lord leads me and to place my trust in him, knowing that He desires my love and will not take me anywhere that will lead me away from Him. He is with me every step of the way.
From now on, I will depend on the Divine Mercy of Our Lord, Who desires us to come to Him and ask for graces. In this way, I pray that I will become a good Carmelite and truly belong to Him.
So "Here I am Lord!". I have heard Your Call and I answer.
I will write again before I leave.
God bless you all.
Sunday, 4 January 2009
Christmas was a special time for my dad, as Jesus entered into his heart and brought him back to communion with Him. He also gave Him a generous heart, which caused him to give his blessing for me going to Carmel and saying that it's a wonderful thing to work for the Church and he is proud.
There I was, asking Jesus to be born into my heart, but He was born into my dad's! Instead, I wish for the Little Child to grow within me and for me to grow with Him, since I have much to learn.
I feel glad that all this has happened and hope that when I enter, my dad continues to go to Mass. It is wonderful that my dad has had a change of heart (he wasn't ever against it, but found it hard to understand). He even said that he will tell my nan, where as before he was being cautious should I end up leaving within a few months. This is surely a prompting of the Holy Spirit on his part since he has wondered in conversation with my nan whether to tell her, especially when she told him out of nowhere that someone he knew used to be a nun! He also announced this to me after Christmas Day Mass!
So Jesus has given us His love in abundance and I pray now that he will bless my mom and brother, helping them to have generous hearts and to not feel too sad when I leave.
Carmel is less than 3 weeks away and I must begin to make final preparations. There is so much to do!
Sunday, 21 December 2008
Other temptations have included feeling attached to the world. I've become interested in Osteopathy since being treated myself, especially by the fact that you can work for yourself and earn a good wage. I've been driven past big houses and have felt a desire for them...and for success. So many things! But I recognised this as another temptation because a desire for worldly things doesn't come from above. God doesn't want me to become an Osteopath, He just wants me to show my commitment to Him. I've failed miserably this week, but with His love, generosity and never-ending patience, I have confidence He will help me and welcome me back. I will be like the Prodigal Son, ashamed and weak, yet running to the Lord's Eternally Open Arms.
Lord, help me to overcome temptations and to recognise them before I've given into them, that I may win a little victory for You.
This is a personal thing to reveal, but I am revealing it to help other aspirants and discerners, as they may feel the desire to give up their vocation like I have when temptation comes their way. Be strong! All I will say is, cling onto those moments of certainty you've had about your vocation. You can't get the feeling back as and when you wish, therefore it becomes easy to doubt we ever had it, even to forget it in favour of the abundant negative feelings we have. But those moments of certainty are a gift from God, where the Holy Spirit has really worked within you. Those moments should be remembered...they were real and are more important than all those negative feelings. As I write, I recall my own moments of certainty and hold onto them, for they were certainly a sign that Jesus wants me to follow Him. He doesn't expect me to be perfect, but to ask for His help to overcome my weaknesses.
Thank you for your words of encouragement.
God bless you all.
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
I've been to the hospital, as well as having physio and am now paying to see an Osteopath and thankfully, it appears to be nothing serious. As long as I stretch and strengthen the muscles that have shortened from an old injury, I should be okay. It has taught me two things: 1) never ignore pain, as it gets worse and 2) God is good and I feel that my pain peaked prior to my entering Carmel so that I could get sorted first; it wouldn't work if I went in without having things resolved!
Today, I have spoken to work and as I feel that my health should be sorted by the time of my entry on 24th January, I am writing today to hand in my notice. It feels scary, don't get me wrong, but I remember that the Enemy can create negative feelings to keep us away from God. So I push those feelings of concern aside and place my trust in God, Who I know will be pleased that I am even trying to pursue my vocation. Whether it works out or not, I believe I am doing His Will at the moment.
And as for the forms, I have sent in my request to enter Carmel as a Postulant, but have one more form to sign, which needs a witness and I should be able to get this sorted today!
Monday, 24 November 2008
Currently, I'm off work with a bad back and hip (likely to be linked). Unfortunately, I ignored the pain for so long, I've finally had to take time off. I wonder if this will prevent me from entering Carmel; in one respect it could, as you need to be fit to undertake the life. On the other hand, perhaps I could be accepted and avoid heavy lifting etc. All I do know, is that it's in the hands of the Lord.
Indeed, it could be a blessing that it has come to a head now, rather than later, as I have 2 whole months to rest and get treatment. I'm seeing a specialist in little over a week. So, God in His wonderful ways may have brought all this to the forefront in preparation for my entering, that my health can be resolved.
The only thing to wait for now, is for the Will of God to happen. Not for recovery. Just for His Will. And I thank Him that during this time, I am able to read the Bible and get to know Him better, as my knowledge of the Bible is poor. Who knows, I may write my next entry on my thoughts about God in Genesis!
Friday, 21 November 2008
Yes, I said! Lord, I want to be your spouse!
I came across an exercise for discerners which said to take 10 minutes and write as many reasons as you could for saying YES. I came up with the following - some of them greater in significance than others, but nevertheless, significant.
Here's what I came up with:
(I have slightly altered some of them to make more precise what I believe I meant at the time they were writtten)
1) Having turned away from God in the past, I now want to commit to Him
2) To make up for past sin
3) It feels right and when I contemplate Carmel, I have a deep sense of peace within
4) I’ve thought about it on and off for a long time, so think there is a strong possibility that this is what God wants of me
5) I am attracted to the life
6) In prayer, I have experienced the intense desire to give everything up to follow Jesus
7) I want to become more holy and work to save my soul
8) I want to live in the best way possible with Christ in me
9) When it comes to my faith, it feels like all or nothing
10) There are too many distractions in the world and I desire silence and contemplation
11) I love Him passionately
12) Everything seems to have been building up to this
13) My path is clear
14) I feel I’m suited to the life - I am a natural contemplative
15) I want to surrender to Him completely
16) I will be accepted for me; be able to be myself
17) It is a chance to live with like-minded people
18) I can learn and grow spiritually
After this, I noted down the areas of concern I have about going to Carmel. Of course, I have in fact made up my mind to go, so don't feel further discerning as such is possible at this point; there will be a chance for further discernment in the Novitiate. However, I feel it's important to be honest with myself about what fears I have in regards to Carmel and through facing them, I may be able to resolve them and better deal with them when I enter.
Here were those fears:
My family are against it and don’t think I’ll persevere
Only God and I know what I have experienced spiritually. Earthly parents aren't always right, yet God Our Father knows what is best for me. It is He Who I believe placed this desire within me, so He will help me to persevere should this be what He asks of me.
I will be giving up my family
"And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life." (Mt 19:29)
They will still be my family, despite the distance and they will receive a hundredfold, too.
It may not work out and I could end up with nothing
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (Mt 6:30)
I might get bored with the life
A heart that turns [from God] becomes bored with its own ways, but a good person is satisfied with God's ways. (Prov 14:14)
It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? (Heb 12:7)
You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. (Mt 10:22)
I wanted children
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)
I then came across this quote:
“If you are what you are meant to be, you will set the whole world on fire.”~
St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, Dominican Mystic (1347-1380)~
And on a Dominican website about confirming your vocation, I discovered this helpful paragraph:
Confirmation; experience peace with your decision. Seek confirmation by offering the decision to God asking for peace and inner joy. Look for confirmation from both external and internal sources. External sources may include sensing affirmation from people, circumstances seem to be supportive, etc. Internal confirmation usually includes a deep sense of peace, a real felt compatibility with the choice made, a sense of satisfaction, a time of tranquility sets in, etc. Although there may be some negative responses these do not change your deep convictions about the decision.
Oh Lord, I thank You. I did not have to ask You for inner peace and joy; in Your generosity, You gave it to me early on in my discernment. Lord, You have also made my way clear; there is no reason for me to stay away from You a moment longer! You have offered me a life in Carmel, to draw me nearer to You, and I accept, O Lord. I will hide myself away with You; seek only You. Let me hold Your Divine Hand and do not let go of me. May I persevere always for Your Sake.
Amen.Whilst this exercise started for my own purpose, having had a challenging day at home and facing doubts from others, I realised that this could actually help someone else who is discerning. I hope it does, as it's not easy.
Thanks be to God for the strength He has given me from the Holy Spirit, which makes me persevere!
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17)
- Carmelite Aspirant
- I've just turned 27 and am entering Carmel on 24th January 2009. My first full day will be on 25th January, the Conversion of Saint Paul, of whose year this is and whose school I went to and sisters I loved. So I am depending on him to help convert me into a good Carmelite! I've wanted to become a nun on and off since the age of 11. Although I can't remember the moment I felt drawn to Carmel, I think it was partly because of reading about St Therese when I was 11 or 12. I feel I may have a natural inclination towards this way of life, altough getting up at 5.30 will not feel natural, I'm sure! I spent 2 weeks as an Aspirant in October 2008 and I loved it and came back feeling that I should go back and see if becoming a Carmelite is the Will of God and my route to holiness.