VISION Vocation Guide

EIGHT MYTHS ABOUT RELIGIOUS LIFE

🕔20:30, 29. Jan 2015

Adapted from an article by David Nantais, S.J. and Scott Opperman, S.J. for VISION Vocation Guide. Read the complete article at: http://www.vocationnetwork.org/articles/show/49 As men in religious life, we would like to debunk eight common myths and illustrate the beauty, contentment, and psychological health one could potentially find in this unique lifestyle. MYTH 1: Religious orders are dying out There are hundreds of men's and women's religious orders. Each of these has its own distinctive gifts and many still welcome new members annually. Religious life will continue to survive as it faithfully adapts to the needs of the church and world. MYTH 2: Nuns teach and priests say Mass While teaching and presiding at the Eucharist are two important ministries there are hundreds of other ways to serve. Within the ranks of religious life are doctors, lawyers, economists, writers, administrators, architects, engineers, scientists, artists, and actors. Religious life is a way to live, not a line of work. MYTH 3: Taking vows of poverty, chastity and obedience is strange Religious vows, like vows of marriage, are taken as a means to a greater end. The vows serve as a countercultural witness, especially in a world that overemphasizes money, sex, and power. MYTH 4: Religious life is a life of suffering To expect a life without suffering is unrealistic. Men and women in religious life do not hope to suffer, but if their lives are lived authentically in love, suffering is going to be present at times. Thankfully God is often most present to us when we suffer. MYTH 5: Religious pray constantly There is a wide spectrum of religious temperaments in religious communities, from those who experience Christ in a mystical, immediate way to those who discover him through service. The unifying factor is what's important: all are disciples of Jesus. MYTH 6: Religious are docile Religious take vows of obedience, not submissiveness. Obedience requires mature listening and dialogue between a religious and his or her superiors. The vow of obedience is most directly linked to carrying out the actual purpose of a religious community. MYTH 7: Religious give up their families and friends Upon entering religious life, relationships with family and friends change, but they never end. Just as people's relationships change after they marry, a shift takes place for religious, too. The quality of the change is different depending on the type of community people enter. But these relationships are never replaced by the community. MYTH 8: Religious are asexual Sexuality is a gift from God and a fundamental part of human identity. Religious men and women vow to live out their sexuality without engaging in sexual behavior. If you thought religious life was outdated, dysfunctional, or dead, we hope you can now look beyond the stereotypes and see the gift it is to the church and world

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