From Mary: Last week I mentioned that Young And Catholic was going to be running a post from a contributor: Kaylee! Here is her post, as promised. Enjoy!
Something I have been really wrestling with lately is the idea of some sort of religious vocation. For a while I was very interested in it; I thought that it made my heart fly with joy; I was giddy! Then not to long after that, I would be very stubborn against it, insisting that I was called to marriage. It went very back and forth like that a handful of times. It has been happening since I started viewing religious life as an actual option for my life.
Just recently (as in: it ended today, recently) I had my worst episode of “Nope, I am going to fall in love with a handsome man and we are going to be mushy gushy lovey-dovey for the rest of our stinkin’ lives” that I’ve had yet. It was so bad, in fact, that it had thrust me into a pit of selfishness. I was frustrated that God might be calling me to a life that was without “materialistic” love. Why couldn’t I have what they have? Why can’t I have someone to hold me and tell me as a fact that they loved me? That’s what life is lived for; that’s what is on everyone’s mind, everyday.
Last week(ish), when my latest “I don’t want to be a nun” phase started, I began to really hold onto the lyrics of some of the popular songs. That might sound kind of lame and overdramatic, but it’s true, and I used those lyrics as a stencil for my hopes. I was starting to desperately cling to the idea of having “someone to hold in the rain.” I was gradually (but somewhat quickly) throwing God out the window, but I was doing so indirectly. It was more of me pulling other stuff in that caused God to be squeezed out.
I want a boyfriend. I want to hold someone’s hand. I want to get married. I want a man to love me. You know what? I’m just going to go out with an “I’m single” attitude, and let the guys gawk at me (but just a little, you know. Can’t let God think I am totally self-centered).
I was convinced, with a deep sadness at this point, that I was not “saint material.” Since I am not able to live up to God’s standard (for me) of sanctity, then I am going to live a perfectly happy life inside a good moral standard and just allow myself to slip into Purgatory, narrowly avoiding hell. Lukewarm. That was a pitiful goal and I was well aware of it.
I realized something tonight as I worshipped God with some of my friends. Love isn’t something that I should seek to get anything out of. Love should be selfless. Love is a sacrifice of oneself for the sake of the other.
All along, I was thinking of love so selfishly, seeking that I be comforted and held and watched after. I wanted a man to tell me I was worth it. I wanted a man in order that I would feel fulfilled. I wanted to date someone so that my friends would have something to talk about, so that others would know that I had it in me to date.
When I look at the crucifixion, I see love—a better love than I know how to understand. And I realized that the reason that is such a beautiful and perfect love is because He didn’t do it for Himself. The reason that love is so beautiful is because it is selfless. I realized that religious life isn’t the absence of love; it is the perfection of love.
My heart was given peace tonight as I realized I am strong enough (and you are too)—by the grace of God— to do without material shows of love. We don’t need that. I don’t need a man to hold me in order for me to know that I am loved; I just need to love Jesus because it proves that He has first loved me (1 John 4:19).
Pray with me as we pray for the strength of those called to religious life, that they may know that love is more than a physical reassurance. True love is self-sacrifice (John 15:13).