Somebody who used to come to me for spiritual direction just pronounced his final vows in a religious order. Since I witnessed his discernment to enter religious life, I wanted to attend. Public dedications to service, holiness, and love are privileged times not to be missed.
His superior preached about how vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience made my friend’s life different from the lives you and I lead. True to some extent, I thought, and I had to resist the temptation to ask if I could throw in my own two cents.
What I kept thinking was that rather than making religious life different, poverty, chastity, and obedience actually indicate how all our lives are alike.
Don’t we all need to decide what role money, sex, and authority will play in our lives? Religious vows celebrate one road to personal and Christian authenticity, but all of us have to choose a road of our own. How much money is enough? What responsibilities does wealth hold for us? How will we love and be loved? Who or what has authority in our lives?
Luckily these questions come with graces of their own.
Image: freedigitalphotos.net/Victor Habbick