Does God Want Me to be Happy?
By Victoria Clarizio
I’ve been sharing my story over the past few weeks and today I’m going to take you back to the beginning of my call to discern religious life.
In July of 2007, I attended the Steubenville East Summer Conference for the third time. I was about to enter my senior year of high school and had been growing in my faith. I was earnestly seeking God’s direction for my future. During the Saturday Holy Hour, God began to reveal His will for my life.
As I looked at Jesus in the Eucharist and let Him gaze at me, and let myself be swept up by His love, a peace filled me. I felt an intense love for God and was set on fire with zeal.
“What do you want from me, Lord?”
I can still hear His response ringing in my heart.
The next morning, as I was waiting for Mass to begin I heard an announcement: “Would any sisters present please come up to the stage before Mass?” Every year at the conference, all the teenagers present are encouraged to be open to a vocation to priesthood or religious life. They ask anyone who feels called to stand up in front of everyone. I had never felt inspired to stand up when this invitation was extended, so when I was reminded of what would be happening I didn’t give it a second thought.
But Saturday night had changed me. God had asked for everything and I was willing to give it.
I closed my eyes again and I saw myself standing up, publicly proclaiming that I feel a tug towards religious life–something I had never felt. Where did that come from? It was not my imagination, not a passing thought. This image was accompanied by a sudden conviction.
“Do you want me to be a nun God?” I sat in stunned silence. “But this will mean giving up marriage and having a family.”
“I asked for everything.”
It is terrifying, that everything should mean this. I thought I could have what I wanted and still give God everything.
“God, please don’t make me do this.”
I knew what God was asking of me, but I pleaded with Him to take the urgency away. I fought what I knew I had to do until communion. As if this moment had been planned for all eternity, we sang “I Surrender.” God gave me the words to say yes to Him.
Just before the final blessing the priest said, “I’m going to invite Sister up here.”
I almost jumped out of my seat before the sister finished speaking. I felt like the Holy Spirit had lit a fire under me. I looked at myself in amazement, that image I saw so clearly playing out in real life. I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. As if standing up in front of my friends, brother and thousands of other teenagers wasn’t enough, the sister asked us to take another step.
“Come up in front of the stage and we’ll pray a special blessing for you.”
I looked around at the other girls walking up with me. Most of them were smiling. I was terrified. The others seemed to take this lightly, as if saying, “I might as well be open to it–you never know.” I was almost angry at them.
“God is making me do this,” I wanted to say.
“We are simply asking you to discern for one year whether God is calling you. Just give Him a year.”
One year. I can do that. Maybe He’s not really calling me.
If you have ever wondered if following God’s will means giving up everything you want or you’re scared to say yes to him, keep following my story to learn how I came to learn that God’s will is the only path to true happiness.
Author Bio: Victoria Clarizio is a Catholic writer and teacher. She blogs at One Pearl about prayer, scripture, Ignatian meditation, and Jesus the Bridegroom. She encountered Christ in a deeper way through praying with scripture during her time discerning with a religious community and hopes to help others do the same. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Fairfield University and is working on a memoir about her spiritual journey. When she’s not writing, Victoria is hanging out with her rambunctious ninth graders(mostly boys!) at the homeschooling co-op where she teaches. She lives in Connecticut with her parents and is excited to see where God calls her next.
Photo by Matthew Henry: Burst.com
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