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Q & A with Father Anthony



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Should I enter now or after College?

Paula asks:

Dear Father Anthony, I'm sure that Christ is calling me to be His bride in the religous life. I also am very drawn to a particular order of Franciscan nuns. However I just graduated highschool and I'm torn on whether to enter the convent now or wait until after four years of college. This particular order doesnt require college but I want to make sure I'm entering for the right reasons. How can I discern what the right reasons would be? I hope that made sense! Thank you for helping me!

Dear Paula,

If as you say you are sure that Christ is calling you to be his bride in religious life and you want to do as he wishes, that is a right enough reason to follow his call.

Now, what happens to us humans is that we tend to be complicated and there are probably other reasons mixed in there too, and I would imagine that this is what's worrying you. Very easily there can be some vanity involved, we feel special, we think of what people are going to think about us, we imagine ourselves being really holy and admired by others, or there are external things we like about the order such as the community, where they live, the apostolate they do, the habit they wear, and we know that all these are not what is fundamental to the vocation and of themselves they are not a sufficiently deep reason to build a life of consecration on, and some of them (such as vanity) on their own would even be a false foundation.

But keep this in mind: when you start off on a vocation it is only the first step on a long journey of Jesus bringing you ever closer to him. He is faithful and he will lose no opportunity to draw you closer to him, to purify your intention, to very deeply and utterly detach you from everything that is not him, which is a lifelong adventure. When you enter, all you have to want is to give yourself to him without reservations. He will accept you as you are, with all the other complications and inferior motives that might be mixed in there, and if you trust him, let him and follow him he will eventually accomplish in you what St Paul tells us he does in the Church:  Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her to make her holy by washing her in cleansing water with a form of words, so that when he took the Church to himself she would be glorious, with no speck or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and faultless. (Ephesians 5:25-27) That is the hope that we all live, although we always seem so far from reaching it.

I will say a prayer for you.  

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