Tonight I was talking to my friends about my future plans of nunhood. I’m growing to love these conversations because they make me really examine my calling and sometimes even help me see it from a new perspective. Besides the usual questions, one of my friends expressed genuine surprise at my life choice. She pointed out that I’ve always been a “hopeless romantic,” and she’s right. During high school I hopelessly pined for my best friend, then in college had a different crush every week. A Walk to Remember gets me every time. I’m the kind of girl who squeals over every adorable baby that comes within a 100 feet of my baby-radar. I used to pour over those cheesy quotes about unrequited love such as:
So you can see how my friend would be confused. I thought for a second about how to explain this radical choice I’m making and then decided to be boldly honest: in a way I’m doing this because I am in love. I am hopelessly, desperately in love with Jesus. So much so that I am willing to give up my life so others will know how incredibly much He loves them and so that they can learn to love Him in return. It’s hard to explain this to someone who doesn’t share a religious vocation, and even harder to explain to someone who has no faith. How do I explain that sometimes I miss Jesus so much that it physically hurts and that sometimes all I want is to feel His arms around me?
Being a nun is not against my hopeless romantic nature, in fact it perfectly fulfills my desire to be part of a dramatic love story. Jesus died for me! He gave up His life for love of me! How much more romantic can you get than that? I am taking part in the greatest love story of all time. Now I am giving Him my life in return, so I can be united to my lover.
For anyone who is feeling uncomfortable right about now: go read Song of Songs. It is raunchy and surprisingly erotic. It is about two lovers searching for each other and is meant to symbolize the relationship between God and His Church. This book describes in a powerful way the intimate love that God has for each one of us and how desperately he wants to pursue us. One of my favorite passages in Song of Songs says: “Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm; For stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion; its flames are a blazing fire. Deep waters cannot quench love, nor floods sweep it away. Were one to offer all he owns to purchase love, he would be roundly mocked.” The bible is filled with romantic poetry such as this that God wrote directly to our hearts.
Ultimately, all longing for love and intimacy is secretly a longing for God. He is the only one that can truly satisfy us. We will only be complete when we are united with Him. If the analogy of marriage seems weird to you, think about what marriage really is. It is complete union with another person – the two become one flesh. It involves dying to yourself and being concerned with the good of your beloved. That’s exactly what God wants our relationship with Him to look like!
That being said, we all have a natural desire to be united with our fellow human beings, especially in marriage. There seems to be a misconception that because I’m going to be a nun, I don’t want to get married. I would love to get married – to fall in love and have a lifelong companion, all the intimacy and romance that comes with that. But God is calling me to give up this good and natural path which human kind in general was made for. He’s calling me to a supernatural life, so I can remind people that all their longings cannot be fulfilled in this life. When I am lonely and crave intimacy, it will remind me of the one who can fulfill those longings.
I’ve faithfully kept a journal for a few years now and it’s amazing to see how my focus has changed. In high school a typical entry would have consisted of me talking about the boy that I happened to like that week, or who was going out with who, or about the drama happening between my friends. These days, I’d like to think that I’ve matured. These days my journal chronicles a different kind of love story. Somewhere along the way, I stopped writing about boys and began writing about my struggles to submit to God’s will, about the joys and pain of falling deeper in love with Him.
So, yes I am a hopeless romantic and that is why I need to be a nun.
There are plenty of songs that describe the love of God, but I am particular to this one:
Oh wait, and this one: