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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chastity and Community

Well, believe it or not, I'm actually posting two days in a row.  This is just a super honest post about something I've been thinking and praying about lately.  I'm going to be totally honest.  Chastity is hard.

The tough thing about living with women much older than you is that they love love stories and romances.  There's nothing wrong with those beautiful hallmark movies about families and love and children and marriage and all that wholesome goodness.  However, when you come from a broken family and you've sacrificed that part of your life for the Kingdom, it does start to wear on you during the Christmas love story season.

On top of that, it is difficult at times to see children come in and out of your classroom where you love them with all your heart and  they don't realize it.  It is increasingly difficult I think for young women entering religious life to reconcile their lived family situations, which are increasingly difficult, with the experiences of many sisters with whom they live.  It is painful for me sometimes to think of the idea of family because of my own family experiences.  I've been wallowing in it a little bit these days.  I know that isn't the best or correct thing to do but it's just where I've been.

Anyway, tonight when I was wallowing, I got a phone call from a friend.  It is amazing what friendship in religious life can really do for you.  I became friends with this sister who is about 40 years older than me, when I took care of her sick sister, who was also a religious sister.  I only talked to my friend for ten minutes, and not about chastity; however, I left the call feeling loved, strengthened, and ready to continue on my way in spite of the sadness I've been feeling.

Community can both be a challenge and a blessing in trying to live the vows.  Sometimes we are so worried about being "holier than thou" that we shy away from challenging one another to live the Gospel more radically.  Sometimes we are so concerned with keeping up appearances that we forget to share with one another our struggles and needs, especially when it comes to chastity.  Sometimes we get so defensive we lose the freedom to be obedient.  In short, humanity comes in and makes things confusing and hard.

God is so good though because just when I think it is too difficult He takes care of me through the sisters He has chosen for me.    His ways are mysterious and as I told my kids recently, you can't find a better man than Jesus.


  1. Dear Sister,

    (i'm sure what i'm about to say, you already know well - but no harm in reminding you - and i say this to encourage you in your Christian vocation)

    When i have thoughts/feelings you express here, i ask God to transform NOT repress those physical instincts into creative energy - a creative energy for loving God and other people (creative energy for prayer / contemplation / work / communicating with others etc). But an energy controlled by God. When God transforms those instincts, magic (or grace) occurs, leading, possibly - when a deep, genuine love for God and neighbour exists - to spiritual ecstasy (different types of) - spiritual ecstasy because the soul is united with God.

    Pray for your instincts to be TRANSFORMED into creative energy - creative energy, ultimately, for loving God and neighbour, radiating, a loving, shining light to those around you.

    Chastity is beautiful. And never forget, God gives just the right amount of grace for chastity to work. But, of course, it involves prayer, and struggle at times.

    And please don't forget how much the world needs nuns, priests and religious. I'm so grateful there are people like you in this world. God Bless you and have a very Happy Christmas.


  2. Need to add, the evil one, will try and put particular, specific temptations your way (as opposed to just general, animal instincts). Again, only prayer / turning to God and struggle can over come these, of course.
    But don't forget Our Lord experienced temptation, too. And He was/is, of course, sinless. So experiencing temptation, in itself, isn't a bad thing - only when succombing to it.
    Again, God Bless you sister, and keep you safe, always.

  3. I find romantic films etc extremely unhelpful! I avoid them for the most part, and if I do watch them I make sure to add flippant commentary at the most romantic bits, to spoil the atmosphere. I don't fry bacon on Fridays to sniff the smell ...

    St Therese and Teresa are both quite down on novels, aren't they?