Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ask Away

I get asked a lot of questions about religious life, and I really enjoy it.  My favorite came from a couple of kindergartners.  They asked me if my mom was a nun.  I thought that was a very good question.  We do learn from our parents.  Often we look up to them and want to do what they do.  In this case, however, I explained to the kids that if you're a nun, you don't get married and don't have kids, so my mom couldn't be a nun.

I know some people have questions, but they are hesitant to ask them.  One reason may be because that person may not want the question to be misinterpreted as a desire of seeking religious life for his or her life.  I guarantee you that if someone asks me about religious life, I won't assume that that person has a personal desire to be a religious sister, brother, or priest.  On the contrary, I would see it simply as an openness to learn more about different lifestyles and vocational choices.  When I was looking into religious life, I prayed for openness and courage.  I was scared to ask questions for this very reason.  The internet was a good resource for facts, but personal contact and the information gained through asking questions about real life experiences and struggles are also important. 

Another reason a person may be hesitant to ask questions is because maybe that person doesn't want to intrude.  It is my personal life you're asking about, after all.   I think it's equivalent to asking a woman what it's like being a wife, mom or grandma.  If there's joy that comes from that, you want to share it with others.  The same is true with religious life.  I love my vocation.  It's not all roses.  Just like being a mom isn't wonderful 100% of the time or being a wife isn't all glamour and glory.  There are difficulties and sacrifices in every vocational choice; but as crazy as it sounds, I can think of nothing better I'd rather do with my life.  Ask me questions, it helps confirm and deepen my commitment. 

Maybe questions aren't asked because the person is afraid of asking a "dumb" question.  Let me state again that I really do love answering questions about religious life.  I think I've been asked it all, including what my 2nd favorite color is.  I've given talks to elementary school students, high school students, college students, and adults.  I can assure you, I've never been asked a "dumb" question.  I can think of no dumb question other than (obviously) the one that isn't asked. 

So, if you have questions, please feel free to ask.  I guarantee I won't assume you're interested in joining and give you some sign-up papers.  I won't feel burdened or annoyed in sharing about my life, and I certainly won't think the question is dumb.  I would feel honored that you were interested and overjoyed to share something that means so much to me. 

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