Now, don't jam up my combox [not that I recall what a jammed-up combox is since I've never had one] with a bunch of hand waving interruptions and insinuations like nightmares from the past I wish I could forget resembling "But Adoro! But Adoro! Go to this community! Or this Order! And Oh my gosh, Adoro, my twelfth cousin thrice removed liked THIS community and celebrated her jubilee this week so you should go there!".
Please spare me and all we discernment-weary Singles your....uh...distant relative's joy. I already assume it exists and that if God wanted us to know more about it, we'd be the recipient of it in some way, and far more directly than a combox internet-vocational-charitableness assault from someone I don't know and who doesn't actually know me no matter what I've written over the years. (Why do I fell like I'm channeling The Crescat right now?!)
Anyway...yeah...I'm done looking and have been for over a year now. I know where I'm going but God has not opened the door. In fact, even though the community opened the door, I have not been able to enter their program, ironically, because I work for a church and every one of their formation weekends has also taken place on a weekend I have been required to work. Every one. No exception. Not even their retreat was possible for me. That's what I get for having to direct a program I don't even want; but then again, we must be obedient and go when GOD calls, not when we would prefer to go.
Yeah, tell me something I DON'T know. What I AM interested in knowing is whether this ongoing period of purification that began roughly when I lost my first career in late1996 is going to finally come to an end? Gosh, stick a fork in me already! I'm done!
Apparently God isn't into the culinary arts and doesn't have very good aim with the fork. Maybe He should talk to St. Lawrence, who always knew when he was done.
But I digress.
After a conversation with a friend today, who was under the impression that I have decided to no longer pursue religious life, I realized that, well, this limbo is not only Hell for we who suffer it, but also a really confusing time for our friends and family members who have come to "see" us, finally, as religious, and don't understand why we're not living in a community and going around chanting and praying all the time.
Oh, my regular followers are all shaking in your shoes right now, aren't you? You know ALL ABOUT my "Completely Brilliant Plans" from the past and how they...uh...ended...don't you?
Well, you all may be naysayers but really, this is brilliant and this time I MEAN it!
So, here's the deal: there's a lot of we Single Catholics out there who aren't at all sure of our Vocation and are at various stages of discernment. For some it is a new thing, for some, who are veterans like me, we actually squwack cobwebs from our mouths when we utter the word "Vocation", and that's really disconcerting both to us and to our various interlocutors.
Many of us have worked really really hard, with SD's, with friends, with spiritually-wise trusted people to learn to seek God's will, and some of us have, in that journey, even spent thousands of dollars in a Master's in Theology program just to work in a church so that we might become even MORE poor and deprived in a voluntary economic inversion of involuntary poverty we didn't actually understand before it irrevocably buried us.
We discerned seriously, and then the doors closed. We realized we aren't called to Marriage (or probably not, at least), and focused with our entire hearts and souls upon religious life of some sort, and learned that, well, with our debt, the market crash that made it impossible for we late vocations to sell our homes and actually be without debt as canonically required, our student loans, our credit card loans from paying for car repairs not covered by warranty...etc...we're really REALLY buried, and not a valuable finely crafted Trappist coffin among us!
No one will have us. We're so poor we can't pay our own bills, and even though we have the ability, otherwise, to enter religious life, we find there are other obstacles, such as parish work, that literally makes it impossible to even BEGIN to enter the final stages to acceptance to a community...which, if completed, would open doors to mere financial assistance.
But heck, at least we get to experience the poverty-part while seeking. That's such a nice plus.
Gosh, I can't tell you what an honor it is to offer up a near-foreclosure existence while barely staying ahead of disconnection bills. Just riding the holy wave of the almost-destitute....whew! The ADRENALINE baby!
It's so heroic to be single and try to figure out which of my possessions will fit into a box on the corner under the 394 bridge near the Basilica in Minneapolis. I think my wool blankets hand-woven from Mexico, the ones I got in the market, would be wonderful, but I hope they don't pick up vermin too quickly or start to stink if they get wet.
IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE LIKE THAT!
This brings us to my plan:
I'm going to found a new Religious Order!
Are you ready?
But...before I tell you what it is, there will be a certain code of introduction we the Screeners (not "Superiors" as we have no authority whatsoever) will be looking for. It should be something like this:
"Hi, I'm Adoro and I'm a Single in Vocational limbo just when I had it figured out for...hold on I have to count (one...two..three...) Do you have a calculator? No? Ok, hold on... (four...no, wait...ok six...back to...right...then...) TEN! I had it figured out for the tenth time, consistently. Um, except that...well...uh *scratching head, scraping toe on floor* I'm still Single and I THINK I'm supposed to enter religious life except that, ah, well...I can't. And it's not just a matter of funds but...ah, well...the door is...uh....stuck.
Yes, that's right, it's stuck. It won't open. I've tried and tried and the crowbar is defective. See? It broke! And now I'm out $20.00 for the broken crowbar and the store won't take it back since it's "used". Now I have to skip 3 days of Ramen noodles because I have to pay for that bloody crowbar!"
You see, that's what we'd be looking for, although variations would be permitted.
So, are you interested in what Religious Order could come out of the above intake interview?
Here it is:
Who we Are: Singles from all walks of life who have sincerely sought God's will for our lives but broke crowbars and hurst tools while trying to open each and every Vocational Door...at least twice, if not more. We're on the "lowered expectations" end of the scale because most of us have tried sincerely several times and seem to be stuck in a room full of a few doors that refuse to open or be chopped down.
Each candidate goes through a screening process to make sure they aren't just taking the "easy way out"; we Discalced Singles of Perpetual Involuntary Vocational Deprivation worked HARD to get to where we aren't, and we won't tolerate anyone who hasn't put in the honest time and mileage. Most of us are age 36 and above, given the cut-off ages of most religious communities.
We Discalced Singles of Perpetual Involuntary Vocational Deprivation will take ANYONE of any age over and above those accepted by religious congregations. We're like the opposite of the Frassati Society - the flip side of that coin.
Oh, and just to be curmudgeonly, we don't do outdoors things because it's really hard on our feet since we're discalced.
We take vows of Chastity, Poverty (not like we have a choice!) and Obedience to the Magisterium of the Holy Catholic Church, and we will go barefoot (discalced), also because we have no choice because a requirement of membership is actual poverty because the economy crashed and they foreclosed on our houses so now we're both homeless and shoeless and just trying to keep the car running so we can get to work so we can pay taxes, never mind the groceries....
We're still discerning our Charism; the thus far non-existent Discalced Singles of Perpetual Involuntary Vocational Deprivation is such a motley crowd and we so fear becoming modern hippies with vile 60's and 70's colored dyes and ironed hair and designer fringes on the organic hemp clothing being pushed on us by a nearby vegan community who just doesn't "get" our spirituality, man, know what I'm sayin'? (Seriously, just because we're poor doesn't mean we're without taste or have in some way become color blind! Also...we like meat. We actually would be willing to raise cattle as long as we get a good cut of steak every now and then, especially when it's warm enough to grill.)
So...more to come as we continue to discern our involuntary Vocational deprivation....