... You think, "If only", applying today's knowledge and hindsight to yesterday's ignorance or naivety. Living your present in regret of the past, you wonder "If only I hadn't flitted away my youth, I could have been a nun." If only.
It's one thing to learn from our past, it's another thing entirely to be consumed with regret which leads to despair. Too often I hear fellow female Catholics say "I missed my calling." I used to say that. But did I really? Did you?
I tend to think if it was a true calling, one ordained from the will of God, we would have most certainly known at that time and not some 20+ years later when we are unable to act upon it. We would have felt the call, pulled to it like a magnet. This is how I know I am not called to be a nun. When I converted in 2005 my vocation was already chosen for me, motherhood. If I was truly meant to follow Christ from the confines of a convent He would have seen to it that I would have at least discovered Catholicism at a more opportune time in my life.
He picked the time He picked for His reasons to know, but most importantly, for me not to question. To continue on desiring something against God's will for me is spiritually corruptive.
To have a true religious calling is a rare thing, a very special grace filled and rare thing. And though many may desire it, the truth is God calls only those special few that have the ability to handle such a monumental gift. It doesn't mean He loves us less or thinks us less special and deserving. It just means He knows us best. Better then we know ourselves.
I've visited and stayed at enough convents now to know there's no way in hell I can wake up at 5am seven days a week. Nuns are tough broads and I am too soft.
Instead of saying we missed our calling to a religious vocation, think instead that our calling is exactly where we are in our lives. Maybe you are living your vocation and are exactly where God wants you to be at this particular moment in your life. Instead of looking back with regret and trying to look ahead to what may not be, just live where you are with gladness and thanksgiving.
My vocation is motherhood. And being single. I'm not always thrilled about my circumstances but God has never steered me wrong before. I've always come out every situation with a little more knowledge, a lot more patience and my trust in Christ reaffirmed.
This advice can go for anyone in the discernment process. If you are finding all your attempts and inquiries combated and it seems if all the odds are against you, it is quite possible you do not have a religious vocation. At least not at this time. God needs you to wait a bit. It is not necessarily "No", maybe just "not now".
I have been told that when you're truly following God's will there comes a certain peace. If you are constantly struggling to see your dream of becoming a nun/ priest/ monk become a reality then maybe you need ask yourself is this something YOU want for yourself or what God wants.
I hope this doesn't seem like I am discouraging vocations. On the contrary, I want people to live their vocations joyfully and without regret... their vocation of married life, single life etc. Please know that just because you might not have a religious calling doesn't mean you have no calling. Christ calls us all. But most importantly, He calls us according to our capabilities.
Domenico Ghirlandaio, Calling of the Apostles.