Oh the sighs that escape my being when I think of the blissful existence in a cloistered convent. Of course I’ve never experienced it, but there is something tantalizingly attractive to contemplate existence for the sole purpose of prayer and growing closer to Our Lord while we wait for the call to go home to Him.
As a younger teenager I used to fear the idea that God would call me to enter religious life. And I don’t think I am the only young women to have gone through that. It’s a scary thought – giving up all you know and love to devote your life in prayer for the Church, not to mention living with all women. ALL WOMEN. I used to think that was the scariest part. Generally getting along better with boys growing up than girls, I couldn’t imagine life where men weren’t an everyday interaction. I’ve never had time for unholy girlish dramatics, and the thought of spending all day everyday with only women was enough to make me turn the other way and run full speed!
But it might not be living with other women that is the hold back… it might be the idea of having to follow a mother mistress, always being “under someone’s thumb”… or following the same routine day in and day out, never doing anything “exciting”… or maybe it’s the boring meal menu because you love juicy buttery French cooking and can’t imagine eating beans everyday. Well my lassies, it’s time to move beyond such worries. I’ve come to realize over the past couple of years that living with all women in a convent certainly couldn’t be too bad. In fact, it would be incredibly lovely. Ultimately the whole group of women are striving for the same goal – to grow in holiness, humility, and charity – and, although they will have their disagreements and frustrations, would be far better off then the lot of us in “single land” where you have to deal with the general public at work or at school. In a convent, women are surrounded by women of the same faith, with the same desire to be close to Our Lord. In the world, women are surrounded by women not of the same faith, who are blindfolded to the True beauty of life. I, for one, am saddened by the lack of love shown to Our Lord and neighbour through the common everyday occurrence of blasphemy and unbecoming dress. Mention anything liturgical and receive rolling eyes, endure the jabs that you “need to get out of your shell”, turn the other cheek to the degrading comments made. It is difficult to live as a soldier of Christ in a world that is constantly at arms against us. We grow weary – for it’s simply exhausting at times.
For those of us blessed enough to be a part of a love-filled family, a thriving parish, a solid Young Adults Group, etc, it’s our tavern, where we can enjoy a hearty meal and a pint of beer after a long stretch of battling hard and strong. But imagine not having to face the foe directly on the battlefield. Instead you are in the castle towers sharpening swords, carving arrows, sewing bandages and packing supplies, sending out the tools needed by the soldiers to win their battles. Without you, the soldiers run short on weapons and supplies. They might turn and flee for fear, or be slaughtered on the battlefield. This is the job of nuns. They sharpen the weapons. They pray hard and fast for each and every one of us. They pray for our salvation. How beautiful a way to spend one’s life.
If the “convent concern” is apparent in your spiritual life, work to flush it out. To strive for God’s will in our lives means to be honestly open to any avenue He may desire us to take. And there is no reason to fear any certain path, since God will always take you down the most direct one to heaven for you personally.
* Recommendations of flushing out the Convent Concern:
1. Read “The Story of a Soul” (St.Therese’s autobiography).
2. Speak to someone who has spent time in a convent. Ask questions, listen to their stories.
3. Go on retreat to a convent.