Sunday, May 23, 2021

Am I Becoming a Consecrated Virgin or Am I Getting Married? — Discernment FAQs


Even though I’m no longer active on Twitter, I still get folks from the site who message me on Instagram or the blog’s FB page, asking how I’m doing or (increasingly) where I am in my vocation discernment. I’ve already given you a quick update on my health over the last couple of months so I’m going to tackle the second question in this post so I’m not repeating myself in private messages.

Am I still discerning consecrated virginity? 

Yes and no. Yes, I’m still discerning in the sense that I believe this is what God is calling me to do. I’ve been actively and earnestly discerning this vocation for the past year and a half. I’d previously thought about it but I didn’t have the courage to do it until things became a bit more complicated for me (more on this later). I’ve read the literature. I’ve had a spiritual director for most of my discernment guiding me. I’ve been living my life as if I were already a CV. 

I’m not discerning in the sense that I’m no longer asking God for clarity on whether this is my vocation or not. I feel at peace with this vocation and the discernment journey. I don’t think there’s much else I can do. It’s the waiting game right now. I’m waiting to talk to my SD and see if and when we can move forward with me having my interview with Archbishop Gomez. He (Abp. Gómez) will ultimately decide whether he believes this is my vocation or not. Since we were in lockdown during the first year of COVID and Abp. Gómez has been the USCCB president for the last almost 2 years, going forward and getting that interview has been on hold. Hopefully things will move forward again soon now that things are opening up and his term as USCCB president is coming to a close. 

How I knew I wasn’t meant for religious life or marriage.

Like with everything else, discernment is key. I discerned religious life first. I discerned it more than once because I wanted to be a nun for the wrong reasons the first time, in my early 20s. 

I also dated. I hated dating but my former SD said I had to at least try it so I would be sure it wasn’t for me. He wanted to be sure that I wasn’t running away from the vocation because of my dislike of dating and love of my independence. There was actually someone in my life before I started discerning CV — someone with whom I had talked to about marriage. Engagement and wedding dates were actually planned (and not by me!) but it wasn’t right. I was going into it for the wrong reasons. As hard as it was, As soon as I realized that I hated that Jesus didn’t have all of my heart I knew I couldn’t continue entertaining a possibility of marriage with anyone.

After a lot of prayer, the 54-day Rosary novena, a lot of time spent in Adoration, and attending daily Mass, I knew that I had to discern consecrated virginity. It took a lot of courage to break things off and to disappoint everyone who wanted to see me married but I couldn’t ignore the pull in my heart to give it fully to Christ. 

Did a bad experience scare me off of dating or discerning marriage? 

Nope. I’ve had some amazing men in my life, some of whom are still good friends to this day. My last experience wasn’t the best but even before things went south, I knew it wasn’t for me. I had known for years but a combination of doubts, pressure to marry from the most important people in my life, and my own stubbornness (I really wanted to get married and have a family) were the excuses I used to not properly discern. 

What if Archbishop Gomez says I’m not called to the CV vocation? Will I discern marriage again? 

I’m following what I believe is God’s will for me. If He wants me to become a CV (as I believe He does), I’ve been on the right path. If He wanted me to discern this because it was necessary for me to get in the right mind frame for marriage, than that’s what’s going to happen. If I’m meant to be single and make simple private vows, that’s what I’ll do. I’m just following God over here. 

A dear friend recently put it this way — maybe God is testing me, to see if I’ll do what’s being asked of me. Maybe, at the last minute, He will provide a poor sacrificial ram caught in the brambles like it happened for Abraham. (Side note: yes, I still laugh over that analogy — poor sacrificial lamb of a man if I’m a called to marriage).

Regardless of what ends up happening, I can’t go wrong doing what I believe is His will for me. And, yes, I truly believe God is calling me to this beautiful vocation of consecrated virginity. 

How have I grown during this discernment?

How much time do you have? Lol. This discernment journey has been a massive blessing in my life. I’ve learned so much about myself. God has shown me all the unhealed wounds I’d been carrying. (I’ll post about the healing process and what I’ve learned from it in the next post). I’ve grown tremendously in my spiritual life, though there have been long periods of spiritual dryness.  God has shown me my strengths and weaknesses. I’ve seen my selfishness, pride, and lack of humility. But He gives me hope that I’m not a total lost cause and that makes me excited for the future, whatever it may be. 

Can I still become a consecrated virgin despite my visual impairments?

Yep. I’ve started writing (working) again. I may eventually change careers if I regain most of my eyesight back but for now I have an income and resources which will help me not be a financial burden to the archdiocese. I can do a lot more these days than I did a couple of weeks or months ago. Even if this is it — if my eyesight doesn’t improve any more and I have the blind spots permanently — there’s a lot I can do for the archdiocese as a CV despite the physical limitations. God will provide. 

I think that pretty much covers the questions I often get asked. I don’t think I’ll address this topic again until after I have my interview and know whether I’ll move forward by setting my consecration date (yes, I’ve already picked one) and getting the small things (e.g. picking my consecration dress, choosing a scripture verse to engrave inside my ring, etc.) rolling. 

Please say a prayer for me as I wait and then move forward with my discernment. 

I hope you all have a lovely Pentecost Monday!

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! 


AnneMarie said...

"Regardless of what ends up happening, I can’t go wrong doing what I believe is His will for me."<--Amen to this! This is what I've mentioned to people before when going through my vocation story, since for years I was wholeheartedly drawn to the religious life. Even though I ultimately discerned marriage, I don't regret any of that discernment-it is definitely what God wanted me to do at the time, and it only brought me closer to Him. It's so beautiful to see you persevering and continuing to seek God's will so openly!

Also, since one of your FAQs has to do with visual impairment, I've gotta ask: are you familiar with St. Rafqa? She's a Maronite Catholic saint, and I love her for many reasons, one being that she's the unofficial patron saint of knitters/crocheters since she wound up becoming blind so she mostly would knit socks and pray. I think she's pretty cool :)

Melissa Cecilia said...

I’ve heard of her before but I’m not familiar with her story. I’ll have to look her up. Thanks for the heads up!

Veri Blossom said...

Hey! I just dropped in to wish you a Happy Birthday. Hopefully, you had a good day to celebrate coming this far in your journey. Prayers and wishes for more good birthdays ahead of you in life. I look forward to hearing more about your Consecration and anything thing else God does in your Life He'd have you share. Since AnneMarie left a comment asking if you'd heard of a saint, I thought I'd leave you with a link to a saint's story I came across recently and thought of you. I believe you have been covered with graces and prayers and help from many of the holy ones of God already, most recently Bl. Carlo Acutis. I just thought perhaps it was another for you to know about it should anything come of it.
I heard of her first from here You can always find more information about her on Wikipedia. I didn't fully know what to make of the stories surrounding her, but I did think of you for some reason. Hope it's something you can take along for your journey. God bless you, Emmy!

Areopag said...

Me alegro muchísimo de que tu salud haya mejorado y rezo mucho para que te recuperes totalmente. Un fuerte abrazo desde España, de un oblato benedictino de Twitter