Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

January 18, 2010

Radically Open

I was at a wedding over Christmas break. The bride, a friend from highschool, and the groom (who I did not meet until after the vows were said), were set up by a young Jesuit deacon. The celebrant gave a homily which detailed the long list of connections and coincidences that brought these two people together (over 40 years worth). It was a wonderful witness (to all present--some of whom weren't believers) to the way God works through our lives.

But one phrase of the homily really struck me. This Jesuit deacon said: "They will have a blessed life and a happy marriage. Why can I say this with such assurance? Because they were both radically open to the religious life." That openness, and willingness to dedicate their entire lives to Christ, to put their desires second to Christ's, will help them, in marriage, to live for each other, and seek out the others good above all else.

His words struck me. I'm often asked if I have ever considered the religious life. My standard line is "Well, I've never felt the call, so I don't think about it much." And that is true: I never have looked and nuns and desired the life they life. I admire them so much; I am overjoyed for every friend who enters the religious life, and marvel at their courage and fortitude. But I don't ever feel the slightest inclination towards that life.

But the single life is characterized by an openness to Christ. We don't have the sacramental bonds of marriage or the priesthood; but we do have the bonds of the Spirit, though Confirmation. We ought to always put our needs aside and Christ's first. Does that mean we should all drop everything and try to join a convent?

I think not. Our desires are from God, and God uses them. This bride and groom are a perfect example of the fact that lives radically open to Christ will take very different paths, and ultimately find peace in the One we seek.

1 comment:

healthily sanguine said...

Lovely thoughts! I was just reading an article in Communio by David Crawford that got me thinking along the same lines. We are all called to give the totality of ourselves, to vow, but that self-gift of love will manifest itself in different people's lives according to their particular vocations. Isn't it awesome!

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