Good evening Father!
I am writing to you to share with you a situation that happened to me and left me a bit shaken.
At the end of September, I was in Lourdes and it was an exciting and immensely beautiful experience, one that I will carry forever in my heart; I hope to be able to go there again.
In that place, I really manifested my immense gratitude to Our Lady for the many graces that I have received, and I offered her a few prayers. Among the various situations, all of which touched me deeply, there was one that happened at the pool in which, as you well know, one can immerse oneself: before I entered, one of the ladies who work there told me to look at the painting of Our Lady and entrust her with an intention in prayer. I entrusted everything to Our Lady and I had a feeling inside me as if I was receiving an answer, and I am not able to explain it precisely, but I felt as if I should consider becoming a nun. I do not know if it was a momentary delusion; years ago when I was much younger I thought about it a few times, but now at … years old, when I look at myself in the future I imagine myself as a mother, as a wife, because I have always thought that one can reach sainthood in that way as well, not necessarily by following the religious path that I have always admired. What do you think? Was it a momentary delusion?
Answer from the priest
1. It is not possible for me to say whether it was a delusion or a vocation.
You should verify this together with your confessor or your spiritual director.
2. One may happen to feel that one is made for the consecrated life. But his or her confessor might say: “Look, it is not so. You are not made to be a priest or to be a nun”.
3. Having said that, I would like to clarify two aspects about what you wrote to me.
The first one is that the vocation to become a nun is not for those who do not feel attraction to marriage.
The second is that, in the same way, religious life is not for those who think that one cannot become a saint while carrying out the duty of being a mother or a wife.
4. In fact, a plurality of vocations is latent in each one of us.
From a purely natural point of view, it is the most normal thing for one to feel that one is made for marriage, to be husband and wife, to be father and mother.
But from a supernatural point of view, it is not to be excluded that the Lord might call exactly those people, who feel a just attraction to becoming father and mother, husband and wife, to another kind of spousal relationship and to another kind of fatherhood and motherhood.
5. Certainly, however, to be able to consider this as a vocation to become a priest or a nun, attraction is necessary.
The Lord, as He calls, inspires and attracts with sweetness.
Something must happen that is similar to what St. Augustine experienced, who, while he felt attracted by lust and sensuality (I could not speak in his case of attraction to marriage because it was precisely an attraction to impurity) at a certain moment began to feel a sweet and caressing charm towards chastity.
He himself recounts it: “I was held back by miseries of miseries and vanities of vanities, such old friendships of mine, which shook my fleshly garment and whispered softly: ‘And so are you leaving us? And from this moment on, we will never be with you again? And from this moment on, you will not be allowed this and that ever again?’ And what things they did suggest to me with that expression: ‘this and that’, what things they did suggest, my God! (…).
But from that side, where I kept my face set upon and towards which I was anxious to take the step, the chaste beauty of continence showed herself to me, serene and modestly happy, inviting me in an honest way to go on without doubts, stretching out to welcome me and to embrace me such pious hands from within a multitude of good exemplary people; boys and girls, many young people and people of all ages, austere widows and elderly virgins; and in all of them that same purity which is not sterile, but rather is a fruitful mother of the children of joy to You, husband, O Lord.
And she gave me an encouraging smile as if to say: ‘And will you not be able to do what these men and these women have done? Perhaps these men and these women have such strength in themselves and not rather in the Lord their God? ‘(…). Such was the battle that was taking place in my heart: me against myself” (Confessions, VIII, 11).
In the end he chose the path of chastity towards another Spousal relationship and another Paternity that he lived in an exemplary and very fruitful way.
I am close to you in prayer so that with the help of God and of your confessor you can in any case take the path of sainthood, and then specifically the path through which the Lord most attracts you.
I wish you well and bless you.