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21 February 2011

So, I'm no longer living religious life.

The funny thing about hosting a blog is that it can be kind of burdensome that I'm writing for a particular audience. It's the paradox between obligation and non-obligation all at the same time. The one thing that I ask of you all the time is to pray for me. I never specify what that reason is....

As many of you know I was with the Order of the BVM of Mercy not all that long ago and am in a bit of recovery mode at the moment, but at this point, I felt it necessary to explain a few things. Before I do my reflection, I need to write a few things most people aren't familiar with.

a. A religious vocation is not someone that anyone has a right to. That is to say one can be determined to not have a call to a particular religious order for various reasons. These reasons may not be a bad thing. It's just that a particular spirituality or charism does not fit with a particular order or what not. It doesn't mean that the person does not have a religious vocation, just not to that particular community. Or likewise, it could be the reverse where the order doesn't fit the personality of the person.

b. The American system o economy is really not suited for the Catholic Church and her mission. (More on this point a bit later)...

c. The subjective feelings that I may be going through do not overshadow the objective nature of things learned as well as the various other goods that have happened.

So, I'm sure you have a laundry list of questions for me such as the following:

1. What was living religious life like?
2. Are you going to be joining the diocese or another order soon?
3. What did you learn about yourself?
4. What did you learn about others and living in community?
5. How did you know that you weren't called to that order?
6. Aren't you a bit pissed off?

And many other questions that I'm sure that you want to ask me. Well, I'll answer them within reason.

1 What was living religious life like?

Well, read my other entries on how religious life was. :)

2. Are you going to be joining the diocese or another order soon?

Well, from a legal standpoint, I'm supposed to wait a full year before entering a diocese or religious order. At this point, I'm still recovering from the break up. I won't be thinking about Religious Life for a long time at this point. For those of you that know me in real life, know that I think intensely and am very detailed, and do not like sudden changes.  Perhaps one day I may talk with the soon to be new archbishop of LA about my situation. (Oh yes, that's another thing which I'll talk about later). Perhaps I'll join another religious order, at this point, I don't know.

3. What did you learn about yourself?

There are many characteristics that I've known about myself for a long time. I'm stubborn (in both a good and bad way), I'm a pretty good teacher, I have a love for academia, I'm a night owl, I'm not a people person, I'm quite introverted. I have a hot temper, i'm quite a paradox at times, It's quite interesting how these qualities came to play out in religious life.

a. Stubborness..

Some people like to use the word "control freak" to describe this quality. I'd disagree, I'm just very particular about how things will get done. I'm fine changing something, but I'm not fine with changing in a particular manner. I'm going to go about doing it my way. Let me give an example of this in the academic world. There was a certain professor who thought I was an idiot. So, come the next class, I showed him up. I have a very feisty personality which will fight when I get the chance to prove someone wrong. (Of course later, I got that professor fired). Or another example, if someone tells me, Joe, you should cover that before you put it there. Me hating when others try to read my mind, or assuming that I'm an idiot, will purposely not do something. I taught physics enough to know that 1:30 of uncovered time isn't going to damage anything. It's like moving a stone wall with me at times, but it does move in slow patterns. It took me time to adjust to the dress of religious life. Since I detest suit and tie (I don't mind the suit, tie not so much), I'd do everything in my power to avoid it. Eventually, I adjusted my dress to match everyone elses' (though I was still a bit cold and my knees act up from time to time, so I would have a degree of variation). I never did it to draw attention to myself. I was just merely cold, that's all, and because of the metal in my body, it was necessary that I be warm :).

b. Teaching

As a matheamtician, I always break things down from complex to simple. I was able to sue these skills quite well, in particular in my classes where I did quite well. (I could have done better, if it wasn't for the bell curve in a particular class, but I passed that one). I guess, thinking like a professor helped me to do well with formation academically, and learning what I was learning with the order.

c. my love for academia

I do have a teachers' heart, it's a pretty well known fact about me. I got along well with a particular professor. (My math skills are still fairly sharp, I was able to correctly deduce my prof's age and after doing that, it's no secret why her and I got along so well, we're in the same age bracket.). As much as I complain about the system (and that's quite frequently, and it does need to be changed), I still love those that are in the world, and my heart is in teaching and research. I'm a person when the professor isn't out to kill me and making my life miserable, is quite dedicated to his studies. (more on this point later).

d. Being a night owl

Clearly does not suit well for religious life when one has to be at prayers by 6:30 am. I study better at night than I do in the day time. I'd rather stay up til 3 studying, than go to sleep at 10, period. This was a difficult point of adjustment for me. I'd have periods where I was better than other days, I was starting to get better at it, yet at the same time, once I'm on a roll working, I don't like to stop working. During the day I get distracted because of all the things that I'd like to do, and at night I'm much better able to focus on the things that I'm able to do. I did well in my academic formation classes so I know that the system works. I've tried studying in the day time, it just does not suit myself or personality. I learned this quickly about myself, and pretty much refused to change that aspect of my work ethic. (Work was getting done, and bear in mind I wasn't up every day until 4 am). I've used the stone analogy before. I'm willing to compromise...say 12 instead of 4 to go to sleep...but, studying in the early evening wasn't working for me, and will never work. (I'm a person of extremes).

e. Not a people person/introvert.

One thing that people don't realize is that when people refer to themselves as introverts and extroverts it's not the same thing as being shy. Introversion is the way that one processes information. I do it better when I'm away from people and away from the spotlight. Both of these came to a full understanding during my time in religious life. I like to sit myself in the back away from people, and I did this more than once during community time. For one I like to observe and make detailed notes of what goes on. For another, I'm a bit shy myself and will generally keep to myself unless there's a gun to my head where I have to be with people, or see a situation where being with people would be beneficial. For example, I don't mind teaching students or being in front of people. I love to pass on my knowledge onto someone else. I do mind being the center of attention and the focus of something. Like when priests point me out during the Liturgy, I shy away and hide.

f. hot-headedness

Though no one in the community ticked me off and got to see my hot headednes. Early on in this semester, there was a professor who was testing my patience and was about to find out how hot headed I can be. I don't like being compared to other people or assumed that I'm someone else. I'm different and don't have the same characteristics of everyone else. One thing that drives me crazy is when people place themselves on a pedastool thinking they're God. That will always set me off. As that one professor found out many years ago, when my intelligence is insulted, I swing for a knockout, and I get it 100% of the time. (I got that professor fired, my idea, my work, haha)...Various factors can contribute to that. Considering the fact that I was sick off and on since January didn't help matters for me.

4. What did you learn about living in community and religious life?

It's hard. It's no wonder that religious life is purgatory. It's not easy to live in a house full of guys, and the varying temperaments. Most of the things in this category are inter nos, so I won't talk about them.

5. How did I know I wasn't called to the order?

In religious life, God's will is spoken through our superiors. In this case, the order determining while I had characteristics of a person with a vocation it wasn't to their particular community. I don't leave them on a bad note. I remain friends with everyone in the monastery and hope to maintain some form of connection with them. in what way, I don't know yet, I still have a ton of things to pray about.

6. Aren't you a bit pissed off?

Now that I've had a week to cool off and realize what has happened. I think I'll be okay. God's will be done, not my own will. Whatever it maybe. H.E. Cardinal Mahony will be retiring next Sunday. I'm going to be doing a giant new years' eve type thing wth the ball drop if I can find one for the retirement party, it's going to be great. But I will say this, I gave all of myself that I could, it didn't work out. I'm exhausted at this point. It'd be beneficial, if this was not brought up in actual conversation unless you're "in the circle" or I bring it up in conversation. This will be my final word on religious life for now :)

Anyways, thanks for listening, and joining on this pat of my journey, pray for me as I will pray for you.

14 February 2011

Your prayers

Do pray for me...God has made it clear what His will is for me...and it is not where I am...I'm going into hibernation for a few weeks/months...however long I need...

02 February 2011

A few things of note.

a. Prayers for the repose of the soul of my friend's father.

This friend happens to be a dear one to me and someone who has been near me through my own sorrows. (I could go on a huge explanation of what she means to me, and how she's been there, but that would alas take too much time). I would sincerely appreciate it if you offered prayers for her and her family as well as for the repose of her father's soul. It hurts me much to see her going through this. Going through this with my mom, grandma, and a another friend who also lost her father it's been especially trying on me.

b. An extension on pt. a

Please also pray for me. This has really brought me down to the point where I didn't even bother getting up this morning because I was so depressed and in tears. (No, there is no visual evidence of such, I grieve privately). I wasn't known to the blogging world at the time of my mom's death (didn't have a blog, let alone the term blog), but that time was both physically and spirutally draining on me. As these memories came into my mind, this is what broke me down at vespers the other day (albeit quietly)...and has made me for all intensive purposes a numb robot ignoring everything....Aye yai yai....As if being sick last week and struggling wasn't enough!

c. The good Cardinal

aka Cardinal Rigali gave a good talk to us yesterday. Focused on the new translation and remaining in God's love as well as the letter from Pope Benedict XVI to seminarians. I didn't have a chance to mention to the cardinal that I'm from his home town.

d. A blog of note...

Island'd be nice if a few more Bishops spoke like this