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torn and confused

Friday, February 24, 2006

I vacillate on the issue of whether I should join the Dominicans. There are days when I would probably have grovelled at their feet, begging that I be given the grace of being considered for entrance. It is very impressive that they have a huge heritage of Saints, including St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Catherine of Sienna. St. Augustine is a favorite Saint of mine, so I was delighted to find that the Dominicans follow the Rule of St. Augustine. Also, the Dominicans are a studious bunch and they have a solid program of study (after all, you gotta know what you're preaching and teaching). This is not to say that other orders don't have a solid program of study; I really can't imagine an order that doesn't.

Then there are days where fear strikes my heart: What if they're not Catholic enough? (I know, that sounds really absurd.) What if they teach me more "new age" or "earth worship" or something "touchy-feely" than true faith? What if they're soft on morality?

I feel like Saul, zealously guarding what I believe to be true faith. Then if I do join the Dominicans, no logic can explain it. Not that I feel like I owe anybody any explanations. It's just that we act on emotions then justify our actions with logic. If I can't explain it to myself, then it's just crazy. My only reason would be that they've captured heart. It's been said, "Don't marry the one you can live with, marry the one you can't live without." So it's more like that.

I've tried to shut up about it. And yet here I am talking to you guys because it's exploding my head. I'll just keep trying anyways. In fact, I might try to not even think about them. I'll talk about it only if someone else brings it up. Yeah, I think I'll attempt a fast from "Dominicans." Maybe the feelings will go away and then I can actually think.


Anonymous said...

Maybe the feelings are there because this is where God has been leading you for this long journey of yours, and now you're just standing on the doorstep wondering if you should ring the bell or not.

seeking_something said...

Maybe so, T.O.!

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

Do you have a spiritual director? Sounds like something you should be praying about and discussing with them.

Also, remember that starting a connection with a community is a long way from marrying them. I don't know about this community, but from the time I became a pre-candidate with my groovy sisters to the time I take temporary vows will be 3 1/2 years, and then 3 more years until I take perpetual vows! That's a lot of time for discernment on your part and theirs, and more than enough time for God to help you see if this is where you belong.

Also, I'd suggest asking to read a copy of their constitutions or governing documents. My guess is its firmly grounded in the "true faith" you are looking for, not new age mumbo jumbo. That might make you feel more secure?

Some thoughts....

As always, you are in my prayers.


Lisa said...

It sounds like lots of questions are bouncing around your heart and head. In addition to what Susan Rose suggests, I'd like to pose a different question for your prayerful consideration -- Not is it time to enter the Dominicans, but first, is it God's time to deepen your relationship with God by moving forward toward religious life? To me, that is the first question, that can be coupled with. Is it time to move into a deeper relationship with this particular Dominican community?

What Susan says is very true -- moving forward in the discernment process with a community is just that -- moving a few steps forward. Entering more deeply into discernment with a community is a step towards knowing God's will.

I know you have concerns about expressions of orthodoxy but I think you will find it beneficial to see the breadth of orthodox expressions of Catholicism and the richness of interacting with Catholic people (women religious) with a variety of approaches to living out their Baptismal call and evangelical consecration.

One lesson I learned as a teenager, and it came as a surprise, was that many of the Sisters who externally appeared more "orthodox" -- in this case they wore habits and veils and had changed names -- were far more "liberal" than some of the unhabited and unveiled Sisters who kept their Baptismal names.

We are all complex creatures of God, Sisters included. And we are all on this journey together. If the charism, spirit, and spirituality of these Dominican Sisters resonates with your search, then perhaps God is asking to "come and see" more closely.


seeking_something said...

Thank you Lisa and Susan Rose. I've been delving a little into the history of the Dominicans and am enjoying it very much. In their history I find the values I treasure. I have not yet peeked at their constitutions, since I got side-tracked by their history instead. Thanks for the note on orthodoxy.

When I met with them on Tuesday, they got a few chuckles from my observations. They understood my concerns, and we agreed/concluded that if we're grounded in our faith, then it does us no harm to explore outside of our faith and traditions. From that viewpoint, I suppose I can expect a core of orthodoxy.

I think they are patient enough to allow me a better look, more "come and see." For all their troubles, I hope I afford them some amusement. Yes, I can't help but take a closer look at them.

Anonymous said...

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