Spoiler alert: I’m being hinted towards religious life. I keep thinking, “Should I become a religious nun?”
Reality check: It’s not confirmed.
I really liked sitting on the front benches at Catechism class in school (unlike Math class). I’d raise my hand up at every question so I could answer as many.
One such day at class, the teacher was speaking about Priests and Nuns.
“Nuns and Priests go to heaven.” He continued. “All of them. Because they leave their houses, families and dreams for God’s work. It’s not an easy sacrifice”
“Ah! That makes sense”, I thought. “For all that they give up, Heaven seems like a fair trade after all. A good shortcut. Like seriously, if heaven was so much more attainable simply because one was a Priest or a Nun, I don’t mind being a Nun. It’s pretty easy, and besides, heaven is guaranteed.”
And then, without a moment’s delay, Satan attacked my vocation…
“What’s difficult is that you can’t wear makeup or shiny printed clothes. You can’t have a car or a Snapchat account. Imagine all your friends wearing amazing clothes at school reunion and you showing up with a white habit, stepping out of a filthy rickshaw.”
“No shopping or eating at cute cafes. No budget to buy fiction books. You can’t send memes to friends on Instagram. Wait, what will your 392 followers on Instagram think of you?”
“No more Biryani. And no more Butter Chicken. You have to wear the same white habit in all your photos. Maybe they won’t even allow photo-shoots in the convent after all?!?! What will you post to IG then?”
“I don’t want to be a nun. It’s too hard.” I said right away, and catechism class was over. The subtle call remained unanswered.
I was at this full day retreat from CYP (local youth prayer group). A nun was there too and at lunch break, I went up to her with a question.
“Wasn’t it difficult giving up the good stuff just to be a ‘nun’?” I asked.
“When God calls you, nothing is difficult anymore. Nothing seems to stand in the way. You just get drawn to it and you don’t really feel sad about giving up. You feel joy, instead because you give up stuff for something far better. The good stuff doesn’t seem good to you anyway”“When God calls you, nothing is difficult anymore. Nothing seems to stand in the way. You just get drawn to it and you don’t really feel sad about giving up. You feel joy, instead because you give up stuff for something far better. The good stuff… Click To Tweet
That was too much philosophy for a 14 year old girl asking a woman why she chose to give up on Biryani and Butter Chicken. The subtle call was unfathomable, and hence, remained unanswered.
A couple confirmation classes at Church were devoted for us to learn how religious life worked, what they study, how they live and so on. Now, this might seem weird, but it is true.
Somehow, whenever the speaker spoke about young girls who decide to become nuns and sacrificed everything, I felt conscious. Conscious as if he was pointing at me and hinting at me while speaking. I felt as if the whole class were pointing at me, as if I were being dragged into a congregation that very minute. A deep inner compulsion, almost.
A surge of motivation burned inside of me and I could feel heat in my heart somewhere. I got uncomfortable in my chair as if it was made of moving bugs. I thought being a nun was heroic, but my logic was never convinced.
Then I got busy with grade 12, and the call remained unanswered.
Fast forward to today:
I still have vague feelings about this. What I felt more than five years ago, I still feel. It has not changed a bit. I often watch videos of ‘Life in the day of a nun’ even though all they do is go to the chapel and then to the kitchen and then to the chapel and then to bed.
Unlike other typical girls, I have never had dreams of an aesthetic wedding as such. Just the man. (I have a huge list about the man). But really, marriage was not necessarily anything like an important priority to me. Maybe I just never thought of it that much.
Especially, Unlike Monica.
But really, what if I end up becoming a nun? Should I willingly become a nun?
Dreadful and dark.
I often think to myself, “I’m so very lazy and I can get tired of praying sometimes. A lot of times actually. Honestly, I don’t socialize enough and I don’t like many people. I have all these ever-evolving taste buds and I need so many snacks and biscuits. I love prints and cute shoes and scented shampoo. How in the world could I become a Nun? I possibly can’t leave all of this.
“It’s not happening” I say, trying to convince myself. “Never”
But let’s face it. God can do anything. Nothing is ever impossible for Him to do.
On the other hand, living a life for the sake of following Jesus, visiting the Holy Chapel often, daily Mass, several prayers, a noble cause, the study of deep philosophy and theology excites me. And, a clean white gown never hurt, right?
So what conclusion am I to come to, then?
Like always, I AM CONFUSED.
Many of us probably don’t appreciate the idea of religious vocations. We all know how khadoos principals at school can be. I mean, we also have horror movies about Nuns. Who’d want to be a Nun after all that? Many of nuns we know don’t make up the ideal that we need, to convince ourselves out of these stereotypes. Models like them simply aren’t capable enough of changing our minds for good.
“But, let’s not think of that. If God calls you, nothing can stop you. Not even some stupid old principal.” Says my mom.
Maybe it’s true. Maybe it’s just my mom. And not only my parents. My friends at church also usually predict that I will end up being a Nun.
That’s one side of the coin.
But, what of my dreams? What of my dream of having a cute, tall husband and 3 babies? What will my crush think of me? A psycho sinner like me suddenly wearing a white habit instead of jeans and a t-shirt? No one saw that coming, I bet.
What about my travel bucket list? And my IG followers?! Will I ever get to go to Disneyland? Imagine a nun (me) on a roller coaster ride in Disneyland! White habit and all. Not working very well, obviously.
This seems like an absolute joke. Except that it is real life for me. Whether or not I like it. Why is everything in the universe hinting me?
Who knows what the real thing is…
I don’t know the answer to all that. I just know that when He calls, you can do nothing but say YES. It is a sort of a sensual attraction, beyond words or evidences. You just have to go. You’re not forced. You’re being drawn with love.
And unless you have been called, you cannot get out of desiring for all the good (not really good) things in this world. Like I say, you can’t leave Biryani and Butter Chicken unless you have a SERIOUS call.
I know that even though I think leaving earthly good things is hard, God will never ever bail out on my dreams. He is a loving father, not a boarding school headmistress. He will never force me. My call will be nothing less than a lavish wedding because my Heavenly Father cares for me.
And after all, a religious nun is married to Jesus- the best husband anyone could ever find.
When I entered the church doors in procession for my confirmation ceremony in April 2017, I told God in my head-
“If you call, I will come.”
So, for now, I’m waiting on a call. And if it does come, if indeed He does call me, I will go.
IF HE CALLS YOU, WILL YOU GO?