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the spiritual thing

Saturday, May 12, 2007

If you've been following by blog for a while now (you must be very patient indeed), you're probably thinking, "Uh, what discernment? I don't see anything about discernment here."

True enough, I've not blogged much about it, or church or religion or such. I toned it down a long time ago in an effort to not obsess over it. "It" being my desire to enter religious life. Truth is that I think about it every morning upon waking. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about it. And since I think about God most times when my mind is not otherwise engaged for other duties, the thought of religious life goes right along with it.

I don't have much of a prayer life, but it is standard for me to do my formula prayer every morning, say three Hail Marys on the drive in to work, and offer my day to Jesus. Then at night I read my usual two prayers, one for the souls in purgatory and the other to offer God my every breath and heartbeat. Now I did say read ... sometimes I'm not really into it, but I do make it a point to read those two prayers, even when I'm on the road. I try to attend daily mass during lunch but do miss sometimes, and sometimes I'm only physically there--my mind being elsewhere or I'm just outright asleep. It's been a long time since I last went to adoration or cracked open the bible.

And of course, I attend Sunday mass. This has been something of a transitional time. One of my volunteer gigs is on summer break, the second volunteer gig is undergoing some technical change, and I didn't make it to any of my third volunteer gig dates. Our pastors will be leaving the parish after Easter next year; I think they're going to try to take it easy from now onwards. Our parish has dropped one of the Sunday masses for the summer months.

I occasionally listen to one of the Christian radio stations we have in the area. I think I'm reasonably solid in my Catholicism to be okay with a Protestant program. I don't usually pay much attention to their bible teaching. Else there is some good stuff there, some food for thought. The Protestant approach is more focused on practical application--more "how to" for every day situations. The Catholic approach is more focused on worship; that is, orient your whole self to God and everything else should fall in place. Once in a while I catch some Catholic bashing on the station; that's at least a little annoying and for sure it's unproductive.

Back to the topic of discernment: it's ongoing. I have plenty of moments of doubt and discouragement. But for all my discouragement, I can't drop the idea either. On the one hand, I'd be disappointed if religious life is not for me. And on the other hand, I have to remember that ultimately what I want is for God's will to be done. If God deems that I should go to hell, then I hope to willingly enter hell in obedience to His will. So on a lesser scale, If God deems that I should not enter religious life, then may I find joy in following His will. I don't think that I'm hanging on to the idea, I think it's just persisting. If God sees fit to send something to displace this idea (such as a love interest, a handicap, or an illness, etc.) and give me something else to chew on, then may His will be done. Until then, I seem to be waking up every day with religious life on my mind.