“Aspicientes in Iesum” and vocation discernment

A.M.D.G.
J.M.J.
A.T.C.

Laudetur Iesus Christus!
Nunc et in æternum!  Amen.

Saint Anthony the Abbot

Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbot

Before I get into my post, let me share my excitement about one thing:

*takes deep breath*

HOCKEY SEASON STARTS ON SATURDAY!!!!!

THE RED WINGS ARE PLAYING ON SATURDAY! (home opener on Tuesday … my sister has a ticket … *snarl*)

YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!

*calms down*

I was really thinking (along with many other hockey fans/Wing Nuts) that there would not be a season this year.  And while it took a few months to iron out the issues (about money, of course), I am so happy to see that the Wings are back.  Winter has a purpose!!!  YAY!!!

So yeah, I may have this song as my default ringtone on my phone.

Oh, and some of you may know about my hockey fangirl crush on Chris Osgood (who ought to be in the Hall of Fame, BTW).  Yeah.  It’s no secret.

I may have randomly figured out the possible source for my hockey fangirl crush on Ozzie.

When the Wings won the Cup for the first time in about 40 years, I was a young un at SJA.  A few days after we won the Cup, we were allowed to wear Red Wings gear with our uniforms.

My parents took my sister and I shopping for something to wear.  The girls’ section lacked Red Wings stuff so we went over to the boys’ section.  There, on the rack, was a sweatshirt that had an image of the view of the ice through a goalie mask.  It was epic.  It was cool.  It had “Red Wings” on it.  That’s what I wore for school.  My parents later got my an Yzerman jersey for Christmas.  lol

Why the significance?

Chris Osgood was a goalie and he wore the old cage and helmet mask.  The view that was portrayed on the sweatshirt front.  The seed of my hockey fangirl crush on Ozzie could have been planted by that top!

Chris Osgood

I have to find that sweatshirt.

NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE!!!!

That all seriously popped into my head while I was getting ready for work this morning.  Seriously.  There is something wrong with me.

Okay, one last Ozzie picture.

Tee hee hee

Mah lurve is purah.

Tee hee hee hee!  Regardless of the vocation, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Ozzie.  Some of my friends call him “No Good” to get on my nerves.  I correct them and say that it’s really “Osogood.”  lol

Speaking of vocation …

What a segue that was, eh?

Last Friday, I was at work and at one point, I checked my RSS feed reader (I use Google Reader).  I follow 345 sites (No, I don’t read them all.  Yes, I should probably clean them out but I just haven’t done so in a while).  One of them is the Archdiocesan newspaper: The Michigan Catholic.  While their print edition comes out every two weeks, they post some articles over the period between printings, usually obituaries and such.  Then, around the time of printing, they post some of the written articles (that are not obits or classifieds) on the website.

Two things from this past Friday’s feed made my heart stop:

The first article that caught my attention had the headline: “Consecrated virgins rejoice at being ‘espoused to Jesus'”

The second article which was attached to the first had the title: “Consecrated virginity goes far back in Church’s history”

What really caught my attention was the subtitle under the first article: “Archdiocese of Detroit considering formation program for little-known vocation”

That was the part that made my heart really stop.  I literally F5’d (refreshed) the feed reader tab to make sure I wasn’t seeing things.

Nope.  It’s still there.

I was beaten down with gids.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I had a HUGE stupid grin on my face.  HUGE.

Why?

Because I had been praying about my vocation a lot recently (I pray for it every day and think about it often) and consecrated virginity has always been on my mind.

Except for one thing: the Archdiocese of Detroit lacks a formation program for those women wishing to be consecrated.

These articles (and that subtitle) show me that there may well be a change for the better in the future (hopefully near future).

So now, I am praying for Archbishop Vigneron to say “yes” to a formation program for consecrated virgins in the AOD.

That’s really been the sole reason since I left the convent why I haven’t been actively discerning that vocation since if I was going to do it (become a consecrated virgin), I want to be attached to the AOD.

That has been one of the “constants” in my vocation discernment.  The “constants” as I have discerned them thus far (they may change but they don’t seem to be at this point):

-I feel called to a special relationship with Christ.  I am a girl head over heels in love with Christ.  I am really feeling like this “special relationship” is a spousal relationship.

-I feel called to dedicate my life in one way or another to serve in the Church of Detroit (the AOD).  Kinda like how a diocesan priest is attached to his diocese and his bishop, I feel called to be attached to the AOD and her archbishop (at the present time (and for a long time coming, I hope) Archbishop Allen Vigneron).

-I feel called to dedicate my life (my apostolate and my prayer) in a special way to the priesthood.  Not out of collar ambition angst but out of love for the priesthood.  Remember, without the priesthood, we would have no sacraments … no Eucharist … no absolution of sin through Confession … no anointing of the sick and dying … the list goes on.  I pray for my priests every day but I feel called to do something more for them.  We have to remember to not just pray for the faithful and fervent priests; we have to pray especially for the tepid and fallen priests.  The Devil hates the priesthood because of what the priest does on a daily basis for souls so he is determined to undermine and destroy them at any chance he gets.

Mary Queen of Virgins

Mary, Queen of Virgins, pray for us.
Maria, Regina, Virginum, ora pro nobis.

Before I found out about consecrated virginity as a vocation in Holy Church, I was really truly having vocational angst because I wanted to do all three of those things, I felt truly called to those three things but it seemed that I would have to sacrifice one or more of them in any order/congregation at which I looked.

And I knew it wasn’t just me being willful.  Some told me that I had to “die to myself.”  Yeah, I get that to a point but, and here is the minuscule feminist in me talking, why can the guys feel an attachment to their diocese and do something about it but not women?  Why is a woman’s attachment to a certain diocese suddenly “willfullness?”  Why?  Because she won’t march lockstep?  (Women are their own worst enemy btw)

But then, I discovered, through a blog by a young consecrated virgin, this vocation that seemed to fit perfectly!  Here is this young woman (not much older than me) who is pretty much doing what I have always felt called (and she’s studying a favorite topic of mine: Canon Law!).

So I search the Archdiocesan website for a mention of consecrated virginity.

Not.  One.  Mention.

I was sad.  But perhaps it wasn’t the Lord’s will.  Besides, I was already on my way to entering the convent.  Maybe this is where He wants me to go, at least at this point, though when I entered, I planned at staying in for the rest of my life.

’twasn’t God’s will.  I came home a year ago this month.

Discernment didn’t start anew (as I had begun to think) but rather, it’s been re-oriented.  I have learned some things about myself that I did not know before.  One thing that had been such a major part of me for so long took a bit of time to get over:

-Odds are, I am not called to religious life.  Not cutting out consecrated life but religious life is probably not it.

Why?

-Because while I figured I could get used to living in common, it never clicked for me.  I never saw common life as an integral part of my own vocation.  I just kinda took it as part of the package (which it is and ought to be when it comes to religious life).  I enjoyed it many times but there were times when it was quite obvious this wasn’t for me.  *not dissing the sisters, I love mah Felicians*

-Because I want to be with the people.  I want to live in the world but not be of the world.  I kinda did like the dimension of physical cloister we had (there were parts of the house that were only for sisters/postulants) but I think that cloister had become a bit of a psychological bubble for some.  There is nothing wrong with separating from the world but it’s just not for me.  I want to be with the people.  I always though that the life of a diocesan priest had a good balance (of course, it depends on the priest but I have had some excellent examples) of being consecrated to God for God alone and yet being with the people and still being themselves.  Consecration to God doesn’t necessarily mean having to get rid of your personality and such.

The consecrated virgin blogger to whom I referred earlier told me that she too felt like she had a spirituality like a diocesan priest (you know, sans the whole “ordination thing”) which is its own spirituality that kinda allows for personal devotions (this is, of course, a view looking in, not from experience so correct me if I am wrong if you happen to be a secular (aka diocesan) priest and read this).  It’s kinda hard to put without sounding like a “religious life hater” which I am not and a “wymynpryst wannabe” which I am DEFINITELY not.

-Because, here it comes again, I feel a special attachment (and it’s not just “homesickness” or something like that) to the Church of Detroit.  When I entered the convent, I had resigned myself to the fact that odds are, I wouldn’t get to do that but I figured I would learn to embrace it.  Death to self.  Death to self.  That was my mantra so many times.

I still want to die to myself.  I try to do it a little bit more everyday.  Some days I fail, others I do well, others it’s a mediocre attempt but it’s not bad enough to be a failure.

I try to work toward perfection and unity with the will of God.  But I get in my way sometimes: my own fears, my own reservations, my impatience, my pride, my lack of confidence with some things, etc., etc..

Thank the Lord for spiritual directors.

I guess this is where I can tie in my Latin title.

“Aspicientes in Iesum” which, in English, is translated: “Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus” which comes from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews.

I need to keep my eyes every fixed on Christ.  If I never break my gaze from His, I can’t go wrong.  If I let fear cause me to look away or look back or look forward in fear or anxiety, I will fall without fail.  I need to keep the eyes of my heart and my soul fixed intently, lovingly, and completely fixed on Christ.  No matter what may happen.  No matter what the cost.

It isn’t going to be easy.  It’s going to have pain and sacrifice.  But tell me one thing that is truly worth having that does not require some degree of suffering, pain, and sacrifice?  If we’re willing to undergo minor sufferings for some passing happiness of this world, should we not then, logically, be willing to undergo all the more for an eternal happiness with Christ, Our Lady, and all the angels and saints?

And I think it’s during those times that I really fall for Christ more because I know that, unlike man, He will never fail me or abandon me when things get tough.  In fact, when things get nasty, He is even closer to me.  Love embraces me more when it seems like I am surrounded by nothing but darkness and despair.  Sounds depressing but what is that line from the Salve?  In hoc lacrymarum valle?  In this vale of tears?  That’s this life: the vale of tears.

That Latin phrase popped into my head in prayer a few times over the past few weeks but with a real regularity over the past week.  It’s popped into my head “randomly” even when I haven’t be praying expressly (like in the morning or at night) though I pray throughout the day by means of little chats with Christ or my angel in my head (mental prayer works when speaking aloud might win you a one way ticket to the loony bin).

Then it hit me.

Where is this phrase from?  I knew it was from one of Saint Paul’s Epistles but it came from something else.

Then this appeared in my mind’s eye:

Archbishop Vigneron's Coat of Arms

I have a very visual memory.
Click for an explanation of His Excellency’s Coat of Arms.

Yep.  That’s Archbishop Vigneron’s coat of arms.

This isn’t any coincidence.  I don’t believe in those.  When you have a God Who is the Lord of all and not one thing happens without Him willing it or permitting it (explicit and permissive wills of God), coincidences (things that just happen “randomly”) don’t compute in my mind.

Why would this Latin phrase keep popping into my head?  Why would this motto of the Archbishop of Detroit have so much meaning for me?  To me, it’s kinda like being at Holy Mass and you hear a reading or a homily that seems like it was presented at that moment just for you.  It strikes you so intimately.  It cuts to the quick.  Like when you are having issues in one way or another and the Lord reassures you with the balm of His word and His truth.

That also happens for me when I am praying my Office.  There will be a psalm, a responsory, or a reading that hits me like a 2×4 (one of my favorite images) and grounds me and gives me proper orientation.  It reassures me to keep going and keep trusting.

I think the fact that this just so happens (ha ha ha) to be the episcopal motto of the Archbishop of Detroit is NO coincidence.  Out of all the possible sayings the Archbishop could have chosen, it was this one.  It’s like timing being perfect.  Of course it’s perfect, it’s from God.

Maybe I am reading too much into it but maybe not.  It just kinda hit me.  When it kept coming to mind, all I thought about was the meaning of the quote itself, not the place from whence I had heard it.  Then when I realized the special attachment that quote had, I was all, “M’kay, Lord, You are not the God of Random so it can’t be just for naught.”

So yeah, that’s kinda where I am right now.  Head over heels in love with Christ.  Desiring to dedicate my life totally to Him and His Church.  Feeling called to serve a particular part of the Lord’s Church (Detroit).  How?  I don’t know yet.  Hoping grad school gives me time to figure that out though God will provide nonetheless, He always does.  Feeling called to offer my life (prayer and apostolate … w/e that may be) for priests (I would love to teach at the Seminary or do some diocesan work … Canon Law?!).  But, again, God will provide.  He will show the way.

I must, we must, keep the gaze of our hearts, souls, and lives fixed on Christ because with Him leading us, we cannot go wrong.  It won’t be easy.  It will be hard.  It will be difficult for some to trust completely but we must.  We cannot look back.  We cannot look away or be distracted by what is around us.  We cannot look beyond the gaze of Christ and fear for what is unknown, what is uncertain (I have a tendency to do this).  We must look eyes with Christ and keep them there.

May God give us to grace to do that because by our faithfulness to Christ and in doing His will for us, we attain a happiness much greater than any happiness the world could ever offer us.  And the happiness God offers us is perfect and eternal.

Imma head to bed.  Gotta pray Vespers and Compline still.  Yikes.  lol  I typically pray Vespers and Compline in Latin.  I always smile when I am praying my Office in Latin and I can figure out what the psalm is saying since I am starting to learn what I am praying (one of the perks of a psalter cycle), it’s really great help for really thinking about the words I am praying (the repetition and the Latin).

Nighty night!

GO WINGS!!!

About Ms. Allie

I am a Catholic young woman who works as a Theology teacher at a Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of the Detroit. In Spring of 2015, I graduated with an MA in Theology with a concentration in Systematic Theology. My MA thesis was titled: "Mary as Woman of the Eucharist in the Theology of Pope Saint John Paul II." I also hold a BA in Theology (with a dabbling in Philosophy) and is a member of Theta Alpha Kappa (θΑΚ), the National Theology/Religious Studies Honor Society. Prayers are appreciated.
This entry was posted in Church Lady Stuff, Contemplations, Detroit Stuff, Musings, Prayer, Random Fun-ness, Red Wings/Hockey, Spiritual motherhood, The priesthood, Vocation and Discernment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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