While reading through my blogroll this morning, I stumbled upon this series being hosted by Morgan and Jen over at "Follow and Believe". This series started the first week of June, and there has been a new topic every week covering singleness, discernment, and dating. After skimming the discussions, it's wonderful to see the great conversation that the series has generated.
Though I'm a bit behind here, I'm going to copy Lauren by jumping right in here and participating as well. I'd like to briefly cover the previous topics in two posts, and then address the topic for this week in a third post. I hope all of you, including those who are no longer single but would like to share their past experiences, to join in the conversation, offering advice and words of wisdom to those Christians out there trying to follow their proper vocations in the light of God's will.
Week One's Topic: Introductions
As you all know, my name is Abigail C. Reimel, and I am a single Catholic who will be starting college this Fall. After many years of discernment and prayer (I highly recommend this nine-week novena to St. Joseph), I have come to understand that God is calling me to marriage. Though I will admit that there are still times when the religious life appeals to me, something always happens to erase my doubts and draw me back to my original conclusion. That being said, I am open to dating or courting, but have yet to have a boyfriend. When I was younger, I dreaded the thought of not dating in high school, but as I began my senior year, I suddenly found myself at peace with the idea of not dating anyone until college. As I've written in the past, it is very important to me to only pursue relationships with Catholic guys who are serious about their faith, because I want my future husband and I to be able to have a strong, faith-centered family that will help us both come closer to Heaven, and that will result in children who will also want to live their lives for Christ and His Church. You can read more about me in my "About Me" section, or by viewing my complete profile on the right. Through my blog, many of you have gotten to know enough about myself, my opinions, and my beliefs, to have enough to go on, but I wanted to give a snapshot of my personal journey for the sake of the topics to come.
Week Two's Topic: Discernment
The discernment process is a very important part of any young Catholic's life. It is necessary for one to take the proper time to consider the three different paths ahead of him, and to seek to know what God's will is, as opposed to his own. As I began my teenage years, I found myself suddenly realizing that marriage was not a given, but was something I had to consider in the light of the Church and God's will. The other two paths- the religious life and the consecrated single life- both appealed to me at different times. There was actually a long period of time during which I was convinced that God was calling me to the life of a nun. But something never felt entirely right about it, I would mentally tell myself that I had figured it out, but the idea never brought peace. Occasionally it would bring jolts of excitement or happiness, but never peace. This led me to reconsider and begin the discernment process again. I went to a retreat where I listened to two different nuns in very different congregations talk about their lifestyles. I read books about finding one's spouse and about choosing the right path. But most of all I prayed. I prayed for clarity, for direction, and for guidance. This greatly increased my devotion to Mary as I asked her for purity and implored her to make her Son's will clear to me. I prayed Rosaries, novenas, and Masses all for the same intention of finding God's will for me. I talked to my parents, to priests, and to others whom I trusted for good advice. Throughout the process I came to conclusions slowly. I knew in the beginning that my calling to write and be a public activist meant I would never be a cloistered nun. As time went on I came to understand that certain desires of my heart, certain longings and feelings which I experienced regularly, were indications of what I had been created for. I realized that God would not have placed such strong feelings within me for the sole purpose of having me deny them. And then I prayed a nine-week novena to St. Joseph. This novena highlighted different aspects of St. Joseph's life and purpose in a way that made my appreciation and devotion to him increase quickly. Even though it had been recommended as a prayer guide for one's future husband, as I prayed it I asked God that through these prayers He would show me which path I was meant to follow. And as each week went on, I found myself becoming more accustomed to thinking of a future husband, to dreaming of the day when I would have a house and kids of my own, and when the nine weeks ended with my mind- which had been open before- full of such a clear and beautiful dream, I knew God was confirming the little hints He had provided me along the way.
All right, this post is certainly long enough now, so I'll tackle "Prayer" tomorrow and the current topic "What I Love About Being Single" on Sunday. Be sure to check out the previous posts at "Follow and Believe", and to stay posted for more to come!