My February blog mentioned some signs of God’s invitation to pursue religious life (https://oppeace.org/blog/ 2018/02/01/signs-gods- invitation-pursue-religious- life/). Though there are many signs, many young people are reluctant to enter religious life now. Why? Some of the reasons are the fears and concerns they have about this life. Let’s list the five out of many common concerns about this call:
- Self-sacrifices: I don’t want to give up my pets or house. I like to hang around with friends and shop, but being a sister may not allow me to do so.
With any life choices there are sacrifices. When you marry, you consider your family’s needs along with your own. The same is true of religious life, but we still have friends, go on vacations, and other activities. There are sacrifices, but there are great benefits as well. God will give you the strength to make those sacrifices with love.
- Prayer: I cannot wake up early to pray. I cannot pray three or four times per day in a chapel.
I hear you. I’m not a morning person either, and I find it difficult to get up early to pray together as a community or go to mass. After a few years, I found it is the perfect way for me to begin my day – to be inspired, to be aware of the needs of our world, and feel peace before going out for work.
Not every person needs to sit in a chapel all the time in order to pray. People can choose various places and forms for their personal prayer time, such as praying outside in the midst of the beauty of nature or listening to spiritual music.
- Family:I like children so I cannot be a sister. I cannot live far away from my family because I’ll miss them. I am an only child and I need to take care of my parents when they get older. Also, they want grandchildren.
It is perfectly natural to want children. We love and like children dearly too. You are encouraged to remain connected with your own biological family. Some sisters can go home to take care of their parents if there is a need to do so. When you get married, you make decisions with your family. As a sister, these concerns are decided with the community.
- Career: I don’t want to relocate because of my stable job. I like my career, but if I became a sister, I may have to change careers. I can be involved in many worldwide activities so I don’t need to enter religious life.
Congratulations on having a job you love. However, becoming a sister is not just a work choice, it is a call from God. Some congregations do require you to change careers and serve in a common ministry. However, others allow you to use your gifts and experience in choosing a ministry. I am an engineer doing research which I love and is approved by my community.
- Education:I don’t like to study theology because I consider it boring. I earned a degree, which does not fit into the life of a sister.
You’d be surprised at the variety of ministries sisters do today. We have doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, spiritual directors, engineers, artists, translators, hospice workers, and farmers. Yes, farmers!
Each sister is encouraged to discover, develop and use the gifts God has given her to further God’s kingdom here on earth.
More concerns will be shared in my April blog. In the meantime, if you want to explore more about a sister’s life and vocation call, why not have a conversation with a sister or Vocation Minister (firstname.lastname@example.org) who can help you clarify these concerns. Give yourself time to love this call and give this call time to grow inside you, then you will know the meaning of “we live by faith but not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7).