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Q & A with Father Anthony



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Are my thoughts of being a nun coming from God or myself.

Mary asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

Let me apologize from the start about the length of this question! I am about to graduate from college this December, and that has thrown my whole life into chaos because I have absolutely no idea what career/life path I want to follow, and I am very indecisive, always afraid to make the wrong decision. I have looked into law school and received exceptional scores on my LSAT (Law School Entrance Exam). As a dedicated Catholic for all of my 21 years, I have occasionally wondered whether or not I should be a nun, but always dismissed the idea because I really didn't want to do it. A few weeks ago at Mass, the priest's homily focused on God's calling for each person. He said that you will know what God wants you to do because it will be the thing that you resist and usually don't want to do. I immediately related this to my dismissal of being a nun. Ever since then I have been completely fearing that God is calling me to be a nun, even to the point that the thought if going to church stresses me out. Add to that the stress of finishing my last semester of college! I actually had a panic attack today when I was trying to figure out if I have a calling to the convent.

I finally spoke about my concerns with a close friend, who is also a Catholic, and while talking with her I realized a few things about myself. I have never had a boyfriend or any close relationship with any guy. Basically I am scared to death of intimacy, physical and emotional. And, because of the strict sheltered way I was raised, I feel guilt and shame when dancing with a guy at a club or even thinking about getting close to a guy. To try and sum up, I don't know if my thoughts about being a nun are coming from God's calling or because it would be an easy out for me, allowing me to not have to make any decisions about my life and to basically never face my fear of men.

Dear Mary,

 You have some pretty important things still to sort through before making any major decisions as regards your vocation and your future.

You were raised in a sheltered way, and that has the advantage of having protected you from many dangers, which should not be underestimated. Now, however, you are facing some of the limitations of your upbringing. It is not a question of dwelling on the past and seeing if there was something wrong with the way you were raised (and, by the way, no parents are absolutely perfect), but of stepping forward without losing all you received in the past and dealing with the next stage of your life using the good fruits of your particular past.

I don't dare say more in this context than to encourage you to find a spiritual director, since as you can see yourself there are several issues at play, and it will take a little help, time and patience to sort them out well.

God bless,

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