Even today, a generation after the (Second Vatican) Council’s affirmation of the universal call to holiness, there is still evidence that some young people do not consider joining the priesthood or religious life because they do not feel that they are “holy enough.” – Sr. Patricia Wittberg, S.C., Pathways to Re-creating Religious Communities
I can tell you that this was a fear of mine when I first started to look at religious life. How could I possibly be holy enough?
For one thing, there was a time in my life where I was not going to Mass on Sundays. I had just moved away from home and was trying to discover my faith for myself.
I disliked going to reconciliation, and avoided it at all cost.
Later, when I began look at religious life, I was not attending daily Mass at my parish – it was at 6:30 a.m. I am not a morning person! Plus, I was working 2 jobs.
I thought that I had to be doing these if I was to enter a religious community. That I was not holy enough.
I did pray daily. I went to Sunday Mass and to Mass with my students.
I worked for the church as a Catholic school teacher and volunteered in my diocese for retreats for people with special needs.
I was in my church choir.
But even with those activities, I questioned, “Am I holy enough?”
As I visited and now live with my Benedictine community, I have learned that we are all working on our relationship with God. I believe that is why Benedict says we are seeking God. That is, we listen, and pray, and practice Benedictine values together as we seek – and build our relationship with – God.
We all have good days when we feel as though we are holy enough, and we all have not-as-good days when we say we feel not holy enough – even as religious women. It is a work in progress for all of us, whether we are single, Sisters, married, Brothers, monks or priests.
This is a journey and we are not perfect. Please don’t fear unholiness or inadequacy … just join the club!
If you feel God may be calling you to religious life, please check it out – even if you doubt that you could be holy enough. And if you want an ear – especially from one who isn’t as holy as she’d like to be – feel free to contact me. I’d love to help!