I thought of the priests I know who, like it or not, are offering Mass at 6:30 a.m. or earlier, or even in the evening on Sundays, 9 or 10:00 pm if they are assigned to a college campus. Their preferences matter not; they have laid their lives down for Christ, and it is He whom they serve, according to the needs of the Mystical Body, no matter how inconvenient.
Yes; I was pondering married life and the sacrifices required of any couple.
I thought of those who were single women, who left behind or dispensed with what they had or combined their property with that of their beloved. I thought of those men I knew who sold or gave away their property in order to receive that of their beloved, and together, make their home.
I meditated deeply upon those families that combine their resources. Fundamental to my meditation was, actually, my mother's expressed position that those who marry our relatives become members (are absorbed into) our family. She did not reference any relative as "removed" as in the terms "a cousin once-removed" or "twice-removed". Those were mere legal terms; they did not express the reality of our family.
I could recall many times my mother deflected me away from legal definitions in order to help me understand that marriage bound one family to another, helping me to see that the fruit of the various marriages were my own relatives, those bound in the Sacrament truly became my own cousins or aunts or uncles. If they were related in any way, they were family and should be received as family and acknowledged as family.
This reality came home to me in a special way after my parents divorced when I was a child. Family on Mom's side always asked after Dad and his family. Family on Dad's side never acknowledged the fact we had other relatives.
That said a lot. A lot.
I considered that for so long I have been an "old maid", so accepted in our culture, yet...so unnatural in God 's own order.
I'm tired of being alone. I'm tired of being an anomaly, of being the "old maid" in a culture so PC it can't call a spade a spade for fear of being sued by the ACLU.
A man and a woman, when they are married, make some very serious changes to their lives.
I know that, as a woman, if I married, my life would change. I would embrace a different schedule, adopt traditions belonging to another family and make those traditions my own. I'd make sacrifices and my life, as I know it, would be no more. Period.
My definition of "freedom" would change, for I would give up my life for love, I would forsake my belongings for love, and I would look to a future with my beloved, rendering mere "stuff" unimportant.
In this regard, entering religious life is no different than marriage.
When I enter, I enter, as in marriage, with all that I am and all that I am not.
I will take on another family, and that family, in turn, will absorb me and mine into it. We will become bound together. Life will not be the same. Whether I am married or whether I enter religious life it is the same; I cannot continue as I am, as a single woman.
I look forward to and welcome the change. Yes, it is a struggle as I look around my house and realize my attachments, but I know my attachments make my sacrifice greater, for if I didn't care, or rendered it all as "nothing" then I would ultimately go to Our Lord empty-handed, my offering meaningless.
Yes; I want to give everything to Him, for Him, through Him.
I want to enter my new family as a contributing member, knowing that any vows I take bonds my blood-family more closely to Our Lord, for, if my family's premise hold's true, they do not lose me, but only absorb another family.
If Jesus is my spouse, what does that mean, according to Mom's philosophy?
What family would not want to claim Jesus as a member?
I pray Mom lives long enough to see my final profession if it be God's will. I pray my brother not feel abandoned as he sees his sister enter "the cloister".
Yet...I haven't even begun....nothing is formal, I have no entrance date.
Just faith, hope, and love. Nothing more, nothing less.