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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

On monasteries, convents and suitable mates....still on the single series

Several questions have arisen from readers on the series on being single. I hope to address some today. Tomorrow I shall post about the Order of Widows and Consecrated Virgins, about which some people in England have expressed to me, they know nothing. I have two acquaintances who are Consecrated Virgins. As to the Order of Widows, last year I heard that at least on bishop in the States wanted to resurrect that old tradition. But, first, let us consider the religious state.
May I add that in a dysfunctional society, there should be MORE vocations to the monastic life, as in Benedict's day, when society was changing so quickly at the Fall of the Roman Empire and the aftermath of that huge upheaval. But, first, let me address some concerns brought up either in comments or in conversations. As a reminder to readers, the official Fall of the Empire dates at 476, and the foundation of Monte Cassino is 529. For example, one man from Spain told me today that young men are not making committments to marriage as there jobs are so insecure. Well, in the past, many of those young men would have followed Benedict or Francis or Dominic. Look how many nobles followed Bernard into Citeaux-30. In times of upheaval, there should be more, not less, religious vocations. The following of a celibate vocation in the Church requires that one views the Kingdom of God as now. Citeaux has only 35 men at this time. It should be full. 

Now, back to 2012 and answering questions or comments.

Firstly, the question of dating. Now, I am an old-fashioned Catholic who firmly believes that one does not date if one is not in the pool of marriageables. Dating should be called "courtship". If one wants to get married and sort out the Predators and the Peter Pans from the Protectors, that should happen in a discernment period. The new marital interviews in the Church before a wedding can help. Men and women should not see dating as "entertainment".

Secondly, the question of who is suitable has come up. For a Catholic, for me, IMO, this means a Catholic, first and foremost. Then, it means a man who can afford a wife and family for a woman, and a woman who is willing to have children and be a stay-at-home mom for a woman. Now, stay-at-home moms can do lots of things. I set-up and ran a Montessori school as a stay-at-home mom, and I taught some RCIA classes. Plus, I was in the church choir. I also home-schooled and helped out in home-schooling-cooperatives. I painted and did all the home decorating.  I blogged, eventually. I have been told I was hyper-active. Life as a stay-at-home mom is great fun and very rewarding.

 I also cooked hot meals daily, entertained my partner's work buddies, students, and priests, and had a great time.

Many years ago, in 1994, I read the great novel A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. It was fascinating to finally see the choice of the young lady in her husband. Of course, as the story was set in India, it involved a decision in which the entire family took place. However, the decision was her choice. I shall not spoil the plot for those who have not read it, but let's just say some were surprised. ( I have not read all of the world's longest novels, but some.)

1520 Church Window-note dog on bed-Tobias and  Sarah
Suitable means something I put in the very first blog in this recent series, although I have written about this earlier. The word indicates common interests, common culture, common religion, common goals, common morals. And, if there are no singles in your area, move. I am serious. If you feel called to marriage and can move to a place where there are many Catholic singles, do so. Why not? This is not a new idea.

People of all ages who could not find mates moved in order to do so, even in ancient times. In fact, read the Old Testament stories and you will find that many times the young men had to leave their homes in order to find their God-given mates. This would be an interesting Bible study for some of you. Here is a list of couples who were not from the same area: Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, Leah and Rachel, Tobias and Sarah, Esther and King Ahasuerus, Ruth and Boaz, Moses and Zipporah, etc.

Thirdly, some singles think the spouse has to be everything to them. No, only God is Everything. Think about that.

This entire discussion has also included the call to the religious life and the priesthood.
As to a religious vocation, too many singles I have talked to have never visited a convent or monastery. How do they know they are called if they do not try? Go, look, see. Please, for the sake of the Kingdom of God. I am so amazed at this. At one time, it was normal for a girl to at least spend some time with sisters or nuns to see what the life was like.

How many times I have been in discussions with singles, talking about religious vocations, only to find out that these delightful people have never visited or stayed in a monastery or convent. One must try and discover one's vocation, if it is not obvious to one. Most orders of women take girls and ladies up to 45. Most orders of men do not have upper age limits.

Lastly, our society has delayed adolescence into the thirties. Fight that horrible trend. Too many people are getting too much unnecessary, unused education. Pray, think, act.