A joyfully Franciscan view of Catholic life, inspired by St. Clare (Santa Chiara) of Assisi!

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Chiara Offreduccio (St. Clare) was born in 1194. It is said that when her mother had Chiara in her womb, an angel appeared to her and said, "your child will be a light that will illuminate the world!" Hence, her mother named the child Chiara, which means "light. As G.K. Chesterton put it, St. Clare was a romantic figure just like Juliet was. However, instead of running away from her family in order to be with an earthly man, Clare gave up everything and ran away from her family for the love of her Savior!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Strength of Our Lady: Support for Women Whose Boyfriends/Fiancees Seek the Priesthood

I was blogging this evening, only to come across on several blogs news that there is an A&E documentary called “God Or The Girl.” I have not yet seen the show- all I did was go on the official website for this series. The premise is that the lives of four young men in discernment are tracked over the course of several months as they grapple between the priesthood and their girlfriends. I can make no judgments about the show, although it did bring to mind an experience that I had two years ago.

Many of you know that last semester, I was in discernment as to whether to become a nun. However, that was not my first close-encounter with discernment. Long before I ever dreamed about religious life, my boyfriend was seriously considering becoming a Dominican Friar. At the same time, he happened to be steadily dating me. He was very open to me about his discernment and he consulted with his spiritual director, who gave him “official” approval for him to date me. Discernment is an extremely difficult time for the person discerning….but it can be an even more difficult experience for a woman who is in a serious relationship with a man in discernment- I have felt the pain first-hand.

Thus, if there are any women out there who happen to be in that situation, I want you to know that my heart feels the pain and confusion that you are experiencing. More importantly, I want you to know that I am dedicated to praying that God give you the strength to get you through this experience- I’ve been there, and you do need strength.

You might initially feel angry at the Church or even Jesus for “taking away” your love from you. I felt that way for a brief period of time. However, keep in mind that Jesus loves you just as immensely as He loves your boyfriend….and if He doesn’t intend your boyfriend to ultimately be your husband, Jesus has a more beautiful plan for you that you haven’t even dreamed of. He might call you to be His own Bride as a nun or a sister, or else he will lead you to another wonderful man. Just keep in mind that the entire situation is the will of God, and whatever happens is ultimately for the best.

Despite the knowledge that everything will turn out for the best, you’re still initially going to be in a lot of pain. However, DO NOT STOP PRAYING! Here are some things that I did during that painful time that helped me:

*Pray the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary. NO ONE UNDERSTANDS YOUR PAIN BETTER THAN OUR LADY. Just as she watched her son being offered up on the cross, you are watching your beloved being offered up to the world as an alter christus. Mary was in emotional anguish on the day her son sacrificed Himself, and you are in pain too- let Our Lady be your mother and comfort you. Indeed, it was during the time of my boyfriend’s discernment that I said my most passionate rosaries….never have I felt as close to my Holy Mother as I did during those difficult times.

*Pray the psalms. Do not hold back your pain from Our Lord. During my experience, I prayed Psalm 102 every day- “O Lord hear my prayer, let my cry come to you.” The psalms are really helpful during prayer, because they allow for you to express your sadness, but still help you to place your ultimate trust in God’s will.

As an added note, don’t be afraid to let your boyfriend know that you are a bit upset. Tell him that it saddens you to know that he might never be your husband, but also let him know that you truly love him- and as part of that true love, you want whatever Christ wants for him.

Fellow bloggers, pray with me to Our Lady for these women who are experiencing the pain of having a beloved boyfriend in serious discernment of the priesthood:

Most Holy Mother, I humbly ask that you look after your daughters
Who faithfully love your Son
And who have faithfully loved their boyfriends
So much to the point where all they desire is God’s will for them

Just as you tearfully watched your Son die on the cross,
Be with them as they watch their beloveds sacrifice themselves as an alter christus
However, amidst your pain and anguish, you knew that your Son’s suffering
Would redeem the world
Help them to realize that their beloved’s sacrifice will also be for the ultimate good

Ask your Son to bestow His blessings upon these faithful women
May He give them the strength to pray for the discernment of their loved ones
Despite the pain and confusion that these women might feel
Help them to continue to be women of God, faithful to the Church
And ask that they too may be led to the vocation that your Son wishes of them

Ladies, if you happen to be in this difficult situation and would like further advice or support, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at chiara1194@yahoo.com. My prayers are with you.


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