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Q & A with Father Anthony



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Is that part of the beauty of the sacrifice?

Melanie asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

I am lost. Over the past three years, God has sent me beautifully, undeniable signs that He wants me to be a religious. He has even sent me an order to which I am a candidate. This life has always been attractive to me and I cannot wait to embark fully on my journey with the sisters as being a spouse of Christ. I know it will not be easy, but worth it. However, my dilemma comes with a past love. Between my freshman and sophomore years of high school, (I am now into my second year in college) I dated a guy that I fell in love with. This seemed right at the time, because it was like God sent him to me. We met as Altar Servers, and dated through our CYO. We spoke of marriage and children often. We were in love. Eventually, we became to "close". I spoke to a priest about it and he suggested that I was too young to be in such a serious relationship and get any closer than we already had and that I take a break. I took his advice. Looking back, I am glad I did, however, my feelings still linger. I feel that since I am almost completely sure religious life is for me, I should not continue to miss the guy or contact him; no matter how much I still love and miss him. I am so confused and still heartbroken. How can I carry out my vocation fully with these lingering feelings...then again, is that part of the beauty of the sacrifice? My spiritual director says if it was true love, I will never forget it...but does that mean I can still be faithful to my vocation? Any insight would help. Thank you for all you do.

Dear Melanie,

As you can see, the advice your priest gave you was prudent, and now it seems it was the means God used to help you become aware of your vocation.

Yes, a vocation is a sacrifice, no doubt about that. However, it is not sacrifice for sacrifice's sake, but sacrifice that comes from love, the sacrifice of things and people we love for a Person we love more. Our human heart is made to love, no doubt about that either. And our thoughts and memory play an active part in the love we cultivate in our hearts.

Now the truth is, the love a man has for a woman or a woman for a man is incompatible with total consecration to Christ as a religious, so if you allow your thoughts, memory and feelings to return to a human love of the past you automatically diminish your ability to respond in the present to the love Christ is calling you to if he wants you to be his consecrated bride.

The way to carry out your vocation is to put these feelings in God's hands. It is not a question of denying the love existed or some feelings still linger, but rather of taking those realities, good things in themselves, and voluntarily offering them to God. "Now that you have revealed your love to me and have asked my for my hand, I leave everything else aside."

God bless.

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