Often when I talk to anyone in religious life, I like to ask how they found their vocation whether that's to being a Sister, a Brother, or a Priest. Today I talked to a Brother and he told his story which is very similar to others I have heard: he grew up knowing someone of that lifestyle, he had many conversations with people in that lifestyle, he joined, or began to "date" them, and he fell in love with it.
One of my favorite priests, Fr. Clement, once said about the topic, "to ask a priest or anyone in religious life how they found their vocation is like asking a man why he married his wife."
In mid-conversation with the Brother I was talking to, I joked, "And you just didn't find a reason to leave yet, right?" His response shocked me: "Oh, there are many reasons to leave." He then explained that even though there are dificult parts of his life, he rests himself in prayer every day and finds the answer that he is right where he needs to be with God.
One of my favorite brothers, Bro. Jim, once told me, "everyday I have to wake up and choose to be a friar."
Now I believe with any vocation, whether that be married, single, or religious life, it's not always a hard choice, because our motives are derived from joy and happiness. But what about the times when the moment of life simply is not enjoyable, is not fun, and is actually quite hurtful?
One of my favorite men, a husband and father of two, had a scary quarrel with his wife that lasted for months and was on the brink of divorce. They got through it, and afterwards he told me, "Matt, I guarantee you that fights that people who get divorces have are the same fights that people who stay married have. The difference is that people who choose to stay married find a way, together, to stick it out."
There are many reasons to leave. Father, may you be the reason I stay firm.