Sr. Helena- Thank you for taking the time to respond. I really liked what you said about religious "living heaven on earth!"
I am a little confused by some conversations I have had recently...I am
not called to the religious life, pretty certainly...although I have
dear friends who are. Someone recently "informed" me that because
religious life is a higher calling that religious who are faithful to
God will necessarily be closer to God in heaven than a lay person who is
faithful to God. That is one reason I wondered if there is a
"difference" once we get to heaven, or if that is just something that
some people think in regards to their own possible vocation. Do you
have any thoughts about that? It is a little childish but I think it
would be quite "unfair" for the religious to first of all be "closer" on
earth and then "closer" for all of eternity. A little pride to
overcome on my part, admittedly, but just wondered if it is true or not
in the first place. Am I just missing something here?
Thanks again for your kindness!
God Bless you!
don't believe that union with God has anything to do with the
"station" which He had placed us. Holiness has more to do with
conforming our will to the will of God, wherever we find ourselves by
God's providence. Religious life is a perfect state, although Religious
are far from being perfect. The consecrated life, by the profession
of the vows, is the life of Jesus himself, it is perfect. But a
Religious does not automatically become perfect just because a person
chooses to embrace it. Choosing it is just the beginning. Living our
consecration to the full is a work of a lifetime. In our Lady's
apparition in Fatima, she showed the children a vision of hell, and
sadly the children saw Priests and Religious in that place. We all
have to face the tribunal of God and will have to give an account of
our stewardship. Religious would have more to answer for because all
the "tools" of holiness are given us- the Eucharist, life of prayer,
silence, solitude, opportunities for sacrifices and total service to
others, Confession, ,retreats and many more- these all comprise the
religious life and are more readily accessible to religious than an
ordinary person living and working in the world, saddled by multiple
concerns and responsibilities. Jesus said, "to those who are given
more, much will be required." But to answer your question- all you
have to do is look at the variety of canonized Saints we have and see
how different they all are in states of life. We become holy by loving
God above all things and our neighbors as God loved them. To do that
we strive to forget ourselves, conform our wills to God's will, and be
transformed by His grace. That is how I see it.