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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Passion

Have you ever climbed a mountain?  Or just a large hill or bluff?  What about a tower, one to which you had to travel?  Do you remember, during your ascent, looking behind you, and at first, you saw only the bare path over which you'd just crossed.  And after awhile, maybe a few switchbacks, you look back again, and you can see the treetops, but not much else, other than your car in the parking lot.  And so you give up, but then, some time later, as you climb higher and higher, you come to a lookout point.  And at that point, your trail guide says to you, "Look!"  And you look out over the valley, transfixed by the view, seeing the road, the other lookout points, the intersections, and the trail you've climbed.  In that view, you understand a lot more than you did as you traveled along it; the overhead view gives you an entirely different understanding both of where you've been...and where you're going. 

My vocational discernment has been a lot like that for me, only it looks, from my current vantage point, a lot like the exodus of the Israelites as they wandered the desert for 40 years.  Stumbling upon a mountain that has lead me to a vantage point has been pure Grace for me...on my own, I'd still be bumbling around and picking cactus spines out of myself.

Actually, I am. 

Over the last couple months, a great deal has been brought to my attention. First, the Cistercians, which I think now is not where God is drawing me;  rather, I think He has used them to get my attention. As of this point, I don't know if I'll be visiting them; in fact, I highly doubt it. 

In this ascent, the view has changed. I see something else, something I'd seen before, but disregarded because they didn't fit "my" definition of what "I" thought I wanted. 

I was asking the wrong questions.  I was still looking at religious life through the lens of my own will. 

The ONLY way to approach Vocation is through the view of God;  what does HE see?

So God invited me to ascend a bit further so that I could see the highways and valleys and mountains in a way closer to that of His view. 

As I have turned to look out over the valley in the company of Our Lord, I've not only seen where I've been, but the signs that have directed me to Him. I've seen more of who I am and where, from the very beginning, He has directed me to be.  Who He is directing me to become. 

At this time, I'm not going to go into the details, but a great deal has come into my understanding in recent weeks, and I've taken action to further where I believe God is drawing me. 

As of this point, I believe I was mistaken to think I was called to the Dominican Order.  While I'll always have a special place in my heart for the Dominicans, I now believe they have simply adopted me in order to guide me to my destination. 

One of my favorite works of art is Fra. Angelico's depiction of Father Dominic kneeling at the foot of the Cross, the blood of Christ dripping upon him, both in shared anguish.  

In fact...ALL of my favorite works of art involve an aspect of the Passion of Christ;  in my bedroom, each day I wake up and look upon the Agony in the Garden.  Each night I sleep under the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, an icon that points to the Passion of Christ.  Every time I pass a crucifix, I cannot help but stop and stare at it, taken in, wanting to remain in its shadow. 

My spirituality isn't Dominican, or Fransciscan, Carmelite or Salesian. While I admire the Benedictines and embrace the Augustinians, in reality, none of them are home to me, although ALL, in a way contribute, and, in turn, my spirituality is a part of theirs as well. 

In looking over everything that surrounds me, everything that attracts me to Christ, I have to admit that one of the communities that first got my attention is back on the radar screen.  And I never thought I'd truly consider them; not because of who they are, but because of the discipline of their lives. 

I believe that I may be a Passionist.  

It's throughout my blog; woven into my writings, into what I think, how I think, how I pray.  

When I first saw the Passionists, I rejected them, thinking, "Oh, they're cloistered", and I didn't want  to be so. 

But a Vocation is not about "me". It's about God. As I have climbed this mountain, I've come to realize my only focus needs to be on Christ Himself. Nothing else. It doesn't matter what I think I want. I've done so much, and truly, nearly everything I've wanted to do. 

My only regret, if I were to go into an enclosure right now, is that I haven't had the opportunity to travel to the Holy Land.  I want to physically walk through the life of Christ, and to travel along the Via Dolorosa, and kneel at the site of His Crucifixion.  

Otherwise, this world has nothing for me.  This world has never loved me, nor do I want it to. 

The biggest question I've had to ask myself is this:  Where can I find Christ?  

At the Cross.  

And He bids me to follow Him. 

So be it, if this is truly what He wills.   

19 comments:

Catherine Lucia said...

I will pray to St. Gemma Galgani for you. You and I both know that God takes care of us most amazingly with His saints guiding us!!

I ask your prayers, too. Until about a week ago I was so sure I wasn't called to the religious life. Everything has gone totally topsy-turvy for me and I'm all but helpless as to "what next"?? So please...adopt me in your prayers too.

Thanks in advance and God bless!!

Hidden One said...

Praying for you, Adoro, as always.

Chris said...

you are in my prayers too, Adoro :)

Mark said...

Thanks for another thought-provoking post on the issue of vocation discernment.

Tara said...

A Passionist!? I have never heard of a Passionist. Go to the Holy Land Adoro--and then become a Passionist! I'm going to goole Passionist.

Adoro said...

CL ~ Praying!

Thanks for your prayers, everyone!

Tara ~ It takes money to go to the Holy Land, and I'm about $1.00 shy of declaring bankruptcy right now and may lose my house this summer. If God wants me to go to the Holy Land, HE'LL have to send me.

Anonymous said...

Hi-

I've been reading your blog recently, and a lot of it resonates with me. I'm a recent "revert" to Catholicism, and I think I may have a vocation... I'm not sure. It's all very confusing, as you know.

I really admire you for jumping from your own desires to the Lord's desires for you. It's something I try to do but often fail at.

Keep faith that God knows all and knows best. With Him, you will find your community.

Thank you, and you're in my prayers.

Adoro said...

Anon ~ Thanks for reading and for your comment! As a "revert" myself, I do know what you mean, as I first got my "call" shortly after coming back into the Church. I really had just fallen in love with Jesus, and don't know whether it was a call or not. But...it hasn't gone away.

There is no guarantee that I have a Vocation to religious life; sometimes God calls us in one direction in order for us to learn something specific. The joke would be on me to meet some guy and fall in love and get married! (I've told a LOT of people I'm not called to marriage...lol.)

The problem is that my desires DO still rule my life. God has done a great deal to get me to where I am now, but it's a constant battle against my own will and what "I want". We all fight this battle.

So...welcome back Home, and I will keep you in my prayers! I've written a lot on discernment, some stuff general, some more specific. If you click on the "Discernment" or "Vocation" labels at the bottom of the post, you'll find a page or so of other posts on the same topic, and will see where I've gone over the last few years.

I'm guessing you're experiencing some of the same things, and I know that others have, as well.

God bless you!

Vincenzo said...

Tara wrote: "A Passionist!? I have never heard of a Passionist. Go to the Holy Land Adoro--and then become a Passionist! I'm going to goole Passionist."

I hadn't heard of them either. The all black Ninja-habits that these Passionists in MO still wear look interesting:

Passionist Nuns Monastery

Then there's this one in KY:

http://www.passionistnuns.org/

And this one in PA:

macc.catholic.org/passionist...

Adoro said...

I just wanna make it very clear...any community I enter (IF!) will wear full habit. I'm looking at Whitesville or Erlanger KY, or if St. Louis MO is still an option, maybe them.

God's will be done.

Hidden One said...

Where can one go (online) to learn a lot about the Passionist charism and vocations and such?

Adoro said...

www.passionistnuns.org

The Ironic Catholic said...

This does make an awful lot of sense. I wish I had the money to send you to visit--but we don't know how we're paying the bills the next few months either. I'll pray for you today.

Adoro said...

IC ~ thanks, need lots o' prayers! And EVERYONE is having a hard time paying bills. :-( Tough times for all. I'm afraid for so many families. At least if I lose my house, the damage is limited to me.

theluminousmiseries said...

You are accepting prayers? Then I will dare to step back into praying for you Adoro. On the St. Patrick's Day I pray the Breastplate prayer for you and may God grant you both wisdom and strength to recognize and follow God's will.

Adoro said...

Owen - I ALWAYS NEED PRAYERS! Always!

Maureen said...

Here's another Irish prayer:

Weakly I go from the load within,
Deeply repenting with woe my sin.
I acknowledge the faith of my God this day
With love from my heart and with hope alway,
From the foot of Thy cross I call to Thee.
Jesus, Lord, bow down to me.

Good luck, Adoro!

Anonymous said...

This is interesting in your love for the passion of Christ and relating it to the passionists, but I can also see how their are passionists
of sorts within the different orders- those religious and often mystically gifted saints that are especially devoted and close to the passion and love of Jesus Christ. Perhaps you are definitely called to the Passionists but perhaps you are called to live close to the Passion of Christ to a greater degree even if you are not called to that particular order. Many times it did not matter what order certain religious bound to the Passion were in but they existed more solitary within their orders or living more as a tertiary or hermitic contemplative life with a special gift.
Consider St. Margaret Mary, St. Julian, St.Catherine of Sienna, St.Catherine of Emmerich, or the recent French mystic, Marthe Robin.
As I have been considering vocations I find that the Passion of Christ is very helpful to meditate upon for any Christian vocation, so it was helpful to read.

Adoro said...

Anon ~ Thanks for your comment. Of course what you say is true and in no way did I mean to imply otherwise. The fact is that the ONLY way to holiness is through the Cross. Period. So of course ALL authentic spiritualities involve meditating on the Cross.

In all honesty, though, I've been discerning for YEARS (unfortunately off and on),and I've considered ALL of the other ones...this is an end point for me, I think. Or at least nearing it. And I've never ONCE wanted to visit a community as much as I want to visit this one. And that is a big indicator that there is something going on.

Good luck in your own discernment...and if your own has taken the scenic route, well, then enjoy it just the same1 :-)