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Out of the Monastery. So, What Now?

I was pretty fresh out of the monastery when it felt like I had hit a stump. What did the Lord want from me if He didn’t want me to be a Poor Clare nun? Every religious order was at once attractive and unattractive for various reasons. I just couldn’t find the perfect religious order. Did that mean I wasn’t called to be a nun? Was God asking me to discern marriage? Or continue to pursue religious life? There was even this thing called consecrated virginity that I had just been introduced to. Was God calling me to that?

There was just too much going on in my head. I was dizzy, different nun habits circling around my head. Nothing made sense. Everything seemed chaotic.

So, I was at Holy Mass and the first reading was from Habakkuk. I never knew I would learn so much from some prophet that I knew nothing about.

“How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen!” (Habakkuk 1:2)

Exactly what I was praying! Did the Lord realize how long this vocational discernment was taking? I was begging Him to help me, but it felt like I was talking to a brick wall. Did He not hear my prayers? I wanted to marry Him as a bride of Christ.

Do you have any prayers that look like they aren't being answered? Do you ever feel like God isn’t listening to you? Are you waiting on the Lord? Are you crying for Him to help you?

I cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord. (Habakkuk 1:1-3)

I wondered if the Lord saw me when violence surrounded me and even surrounded the world. It was not just a physical violence, but a spiritual, emotional one. I looked at my own life and the life of others and I could see ruin. I saw misery in my own self. I was frightened by the destruction and violence that were before me. They came in the forms of dry prayer, feelings of irritability, and anger. For me, it could be a feeling of despair. As if I was in the pit of despair, I tried to climb out of it, but there was strife and clamorous discord. My vocation seemed lost and buried away and I would never find it.

Have you ever gone through a rough time? A time when prayers don’t seem to be answered? As if you are looking misery straight in the face? Where is the Lord when all you see is violence? It could be violence in our world, in our families, and inside ourselves.

Then the Lord answered me and said: (Habbakuk 2:2)

Surely the Lord would always answer us! He always had and I knew He would continue to do so, despite the violence that may surround me.

In times of trouble, He comes to save us, whether it is obvious or not. When crying out to the Lord, do you look for His answer? Is it right on the page in front of you? A sound to listen to?

Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. (Habakkuk 2:2)

It then occurred to me, while listening to this reading, that the Lord had indeed answered me. He was inviting me to write; to write down the vision clearly upon the tablets. Now, most of us do not receive mystical visions, but we do have moments of consolation in which the Lord feels near, unlike Him feeling far off in the earlier part of Habakkuk’s message. I knew what God was asking me. He was asking me to record my “visions,” my consolations, and “mountain top” experiences. This was so one could read it readily. Well, guess what? The words I inserted in this article today came directly from October 6th, 2016! And because I wrote such experiences down, I can now “read it readily.”

Do you journal or have a diary? Do you ever look back on past posts, papers or essays? Do you see God in them? Do you see how you have grown through the years? What if God is asking you to record writings or video recordings for a time that is yet to come?

For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. (Habakkuk 2:3)

For these experiences that I recorded will be fulfilled in time. The promises God made to me and commands me will surely come. I will wait for it, though it seems to delay. God’s timing is never late. As I wait for the unveiling of my vocation, I don’t need to be disappointed. It will come. It will not be late.

Are you waiting for God to move you to the next step in life? Are you struggling financially? Spiritually? Emotionally? Do you know that the Lord may seem to be delayed, but that it will surely come?

The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live. (Habakkuk 2:4)

I have a tendency to be rash. For example, I would like to drop all things and reenter the monastery right now. Or, I want to go live on the streets with the homeless. Mostly, I want the realization of what my vocation is. I was waiting when I wrote these notes in 2016. Now I am still waiting as I come back to these notes at the end of 2023!

What will you do when you want God’s will to be done? Are there any signs? Anything you can look back on in your past? Or in your present condition? Surely with the Lord, there is something to look forward to. Do you need to jump off a train and into the firm arms of Christ? Prudence is important though. As is wisdom. What are you called to? Discover your charisms (your gifts) and write down your experiences, so you may always look back and see that you are the "just one." Do not be rash, so that by your faith, you shall live.

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