With that said, I know monastic life isn’t for everyone. Does that make us any less than our religious brothers and sisters? No. A priest (and Benedictine monk) once explained it all to me in a way that made sense. Not all are called to religious life. However, that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have a plan for them too. Some go on to give birth to children who do get the call to religious life. Others simply learn to truly love Christ after learning to love their husbands or wives. After being in a relationship with my fiancé for 7 odd years, I have learned more about how to love God and live selflessly than I knew when I was planning on entering a convent. I am a far less selfish person and I am a lot more patient than I once was. I have also delved deeper into my faith over the years. In learning to love my fiancé, I have learned to love Christ as God intended for us to love him. Religious life brings people closer to Christ, but marriage does as well, only in a different way.
Regardless of where you stand on vocations as a parent, sister, brother, aunt, cousin, grandparent, etc… I would like to stress that ultimately, God knows your loved one far better than you do. He knows every strength, weakness, thought, heartbeat, and feeling as intimately as if it were His own. Taking all of these things and many more into account, he knows what vocation is best for this person. He knows the Martha’s from the Mary's. He knows which ones will profit most from inviting Him to their home and which ones will profit best from accepting an invitation to His home.
The world profits from doctors who speak out against abortion, just as it profits from religious sisters who pray for an end to abortion. The world profits from the missionaries just as it profits from those who pray for the world’s conversion. People today don’t really appreciate the power of prayer. However, as the stories of our saints will tell you, it is prayer that often leads to a small conversion in the heart of even the most hateful individual. Perhaps it was the prayers of the monastics that ultimately brought Blessed (and soon to be canonized) Pope John Paul II to Poland and ultimately helped spark the end of the USSR. Perhaps their prayers, united with JPII’s openness to God’s plans, made it possible to convert this area of the world when so many of the Martha’s out there had given up on sending missions here, etc.
I support my younger sister’s vocation, regardless of where it takes her. Yes, it may one day mean that she will live far away from me and we will not be able to see each other as often as I would like. However, it will also mean that my family will constantly be prayed for, even when I end up falling asleep mid-Rosary when I am on the train. It will mean that another young woman had the courage to say give God a wholehearted “yes” when He invited her to give Him her all. It will mean that regardless of how awful our world will get within my lifetime, there will be at least one more person out there in a community that is focused completely on God. God will have a resting place in the hearts of each religious, even when our hearts are tainted with the sins that come so easily in everyday life in an increasingly hostile world.
If you are reluctant to support a loved one’s vocation, please take a few moments to reflect on why you are reluctant and what you would wish for this individual. Is your reluctance selfless or selfish? Is your reluctance based on your own personal needs, or the needs of your loved one? Are you truly unwilling to give up a loved one to one that willingly gave His own son to the world so that you would be saved? Please consider supporting the vocation of your loved one and giving them all the love and help they need to pursue the mission that God laid out for them. It isn’t an easy road and they will need all the love and support they can get.
Please pray for more vocations