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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« on: April 06, 2010, 09:02:06 PM »

Hello, All. 

I have never been the relationship type.  sure, I had a girlfriend in middleschool for 2 days, but that wasn't a real relationship.

When I went to my first confession, my priest told me to preserve my chastity until I meet the one I'll spend the rest of my life with.  He also told me that I'd know when I'd met that person.  He also said:" Unless it's your destined to become a monk"

today at school, we were doing Romeo and Juliett.  We got a paper where we wright the qualities we'd look for in a "life mate".  there was a flip side for our parents to fill out, on what qualities they hope we look for.   I had to be honest.  I put that I really don't want a "life mate", I just want to be alone (I'm not as pathetic as I sound, I assure you Wink )

the other guy were saying that a girl needs to have the right curves, know how to cook, etc.  I really don't want a spouse, or a "life mate".

I have been doing alot of thinking.  I wonder if I should be a monk, at least my love for religion and silence would fit in!  But, as nice as it would be, I don't know if God wants me to take up a life of monasticism. 

I really am starting to feel different from the others at school. I'm also wondering if I'd fit in more at a secular career or at a monastery.


some advice would be nice.  I'm just pouring out my feelings  Smiley

thanks, God Bless.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2010, 09:06:52 PM by trevor72694 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2010, 09:14:32 PM »

Trevor, you're 15? 16? Even at 25, many men are still "sorting themselves out". The advice about preserving one's chastity is very good, for males and females alike, but to feel that you have to decide now on a life in the world or in a monastery at your age is quite unrealistic.

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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2010, 09:20:14 PM »

Trevor, you're 15? 16? Even at 25, many men are still "sorting themselves out". The advice about preserving one's chastity is very good, for males and females alike, but to feel that you have to decide now on a life in the world or in a monastery at your age is quite unrealistic.



believe me, I know.  I don't mean I actually want to become a monk, I just want to fit in.  (Oh no! I'm a teenager!)
I've just been thinking about how my circle of friends is not too large, and I'm kindof starting to feel lonely, yearning for a place to fit in.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2010, 09:22:59 PM by trevor72694 » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2010, 09:24:33 PM »

Quote from: 1 Timothy 4:12 (KJV)
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Don't worry about your age, or let anyone discourage monastic ambitions because you are young. God will make that calling clear to you if it is your path. The Mother of God said "Yes" at around age 14, and many great saints and martyrs have been "mere" teenagers. Right now these questions are completely in the abstract. If I were you, I would visit the nearest Orthodox monastery and stay there for a few days, just to see what it's like in the real world. We can often idealize these things from books and hagiography.

What are of the country do you live in?
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2010, 09:28:02 PM »

Quote from: 1 Timothy 4:12 (KJV)
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Don't worry about your age, or let anyone discourage monastic ambitions because you are young. God will make that calling clear to you if it is your path. The Mother of God said "Yes" at around age 14, and many great saints and martyrs have been "mere" teenagers. Right now these questions are completely in the abstract. If I were you, I would visit the nearest Orthodox monastery and stay there for a few days, just to see what it's like in the real world. We can often idealize these things from books and hagiography.

What are of the country do you live in?

I live in Colorado.  we have one monastery that I know of, only one nun!  there is actually a monastery in New Mexico that my godfather wants to take me too, when the men of our church make our annual trip.


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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2010, 09:31:23 PM »

I've just been thinking about how my circle of friends is not too large, and I'm kindof starting to feel lonely, yearning for a place to fit in.


That's very normal, so don't let it worry you.  Just relax and try to make friends where you can.  If there's a club on campus about something that interests you, it might be a good thing to join.  Or try to get together with people around your age at church.

There have been times in my life when I've had very few friends.  It's OK to be the kind of person who doesn't want to be surrounded by a big crowd.  Pray that God helps you find a few people with whom you can really talk and hang out with.  You really only need a few good close friends.

Regarding the marriage/monasticism thing, LBK is right:  Give it another 10 or 20 years to really know what is right for you.  You may not think there is a girl out there for you, but you never know.   Smiley  Your priest's advice about chastity is, of course, very wise, and you need to keep that in mind when you do start dating.
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2010, 09:33:43 PM »

In the creation accounts in Genesis, God says everything is good after He makes it with one exception. He says that it is not good for man to be alone. Humans are social creatures created in the image and likeness of a Triune God. Even hermits don't exist outside the boundaries of the Church as a body. As for marrying or becoming a monk, I'm in agreement with LBK that either way it is good to lead a chaste life and that your teenage years are not the best years to decide whether or not to become a monk. I'm 28 and still don't know all the answers to everything.
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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2010, 09:37:34 PM »

Some of the greatest saints of the Church became monks when they were teenagers. You all shouldn't completely discourage his ambition in this area.
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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2010, 09:41:26 PM »

I want to thank you all for your replies. 

I love being encouraged to take up the monastic life.  Although, I should wait a few years before deciding for sure.  The monastic life attracts me beyond measure, the constant prayer, living with peers who are as religious as you, etc.  it sounds like heaven! 

I will look into joining clubs and organizations a school. Smiley

thanks again!
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« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2010, 09:42:02 PM »

Quote
The Mother of God said "Yes" at around age 14,


Yes, but this was after she had been dedicated to the Temple from the age of three, and was prepared from this time for the awesome task of bearing the Messiah.
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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2010, 09:56:58 PM »

Trevor,

When I was your age (I'm now 33), I often wrote similar responses to questions about prospective "life mates" or spouses.  I always responded the same way--I didn't want a relationship; I wanted to be left alone.

Now, 18 years later, I have been in several relationships (though they have been fairly recently) and I'm still going through a discernment phase as to whether I would like to "settle down" with a wife and have kids or become a monk. 

Discernment is the key.  You won't know if you're "destined" to become a monk unless you have lived the life of a monk and discerned that such is for you.  Similarly, I think that you should also discern about relationships and the only way to do that is by experiencing them.  I'm not suggesting that you do this by involving yourself in intimate activities.  The point is that you are young and that you have time to make discernment. 
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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2010, 09:59:40 PM »

Trevor,

When I was your age (I'm now 33), I often wrote similar responses to questions about prospective "life mates" or spouses.  I always responded the same way--I didn't want a relationship; I wanted to be left alone.

Now, 18 years later, I have been in several relationships (though they have been fairly recently) and I'm still going through a discernment phase as to whether I would like to "settle down" with a wife and have kids or become a monk. 

Discernment is the key.  You won't know if you're "destined" to become a monk unless you have lived the life of a monk and discerned that such is for you.  Similarly, I think that you should also discern about relationships and the only way to do that is by experiencing them.  I'm not suggesting that you do this by involving yourself in intimate activities.  The point is that you are young and that you have time to make discernment. 

well put, thanks. Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2010, 10:56:18 PM »

When I was 18, I thought that I wanted to be a monk, even though I was Lutheran (my father always called me a "closet Catholic").  Even by the time that I was 20, I had only been on one date.  Then I had a short circuit between my brain and . . . well, we won't go there, and became interested in a certain young woman to whom I have been married for 28 years.  We both converted to the Orthodox Church 16 years ago.  There have been times that I have wondered what it would have been like if I became a monk . . .  Smiley 
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« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2010, 11:15:48 PM »

When I was 18, I thought that I wanted to be a monk, even though I was Lutheran (my father always called me a "closet Catholic").  Even by the time that I was 20, I had only been on one date.  Then I had a short circuit between my brain and . . . well, we won't go there, and became interested in a certain young woman to whom I have been married for 28 years.  We both converted to the Orthodox Church 16 years ago.  There have been times that I have wondered what it would have been like if I became a monk . . .  Smiley  

My point, exactly.  laugh

OTOH, I have a very close relative who became a monk just shy of twenty. But he had been sincerely drawn to the Church and Church life since before he was ten. His parents never had to hassle him to go to church - if anything, he was the one who, even as a little kid, was prepered for the coming service (morning or evening) beforehand, in good time, and who would rarely miss a service. He's now in his late fifties, and is an abbot of a rather large monastery. But, to put it bluntly, one look at him, and the verdict is: Yup. There's no way this lad could have ever been anything other than a monk. But, it must be remembered, that for every monk like this, there are dozens of lads who think they're monastic material. Many are called, but few are chosen.
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2010, 07:41:36 AM »

The decision to become a monk is something you should leave until you really feel that you are mature enough to properly understand yourself and make the decision. Do you honestly feel like you are in that position at the age of fifteen?

Think about it. You could become a monk and live an incredible life of prayer, study, research, preaching, etc., and service to the church. You might find that you want more than anything else to have a family and raise children, teaching them the Orthodox Faith and sharing with them the wisdom which you accumulate throughout your life. Monasticism is noble and beautiful, and so is family life. Both are incredibly serious. Just don't rush into anything.
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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2010, 02:12:18 PM »

Both are incredibly serious. Just don't rush into anything.

Both are good and excellent vocations in life, not one being superior to the other. 

At the same time, I would also suggest that there has to be a third way.  Not everyone can fit into one category or the other.  I know that we have had this particular discussion on this board; it's probably been a few years, but when making discernment about marriage and monasticism, it's not either this or that.  There must be a third way.
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2010, 03:02:26 PM »

Both are incredibly serious. Just don't rush into anything.

Both are good and excellent vocations in life, not one being superior to the other. 

At the same time, I would also suggest that there has to be a third way.  Not everyone can fit into one category or the other.  I know that we have had this particular discussion on this board; it's probably been a few years, but when making discernment about marriage and monasticism, it's not either this or that.  There must be a third way.
There is, and a fourth as well. Some choose first marriage, then monasticism; while others choose a vocation but never marry, and are quite content with that life. We don't fit neatly into categories.
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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2010, 03:22:17 PM »

Trevor, I didn't realize you were only 15. That's extremely young to be making any of these decisions, or to be pressured to have a girlfriend. Just concentrate on doing well in your studies, and living a pure and holy Christian life. Reach out to others in ways that are beneficial i.e. volunteering at a hospital or food bank-doing something for the good of others and also learning to forget about yourself.
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« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2010, 03:29:09 PM »

I have to agree with Alveus and Mr. Y (naturally Wink) on this.  Sometimes it's not a choice of get married or be a monk.  I have several friends who are devout Christians and are single, whether by choice or circumstance.  I also have several friends who are married and work harder at their salvation than any monk you'll read of.  I would also encourage you to spend time at a monastery and if it's not possible to do that, try reading about monasteries and monastics.  As others have pointed out, many Orthodox saints started their monastic life at an early age.  One that particularly comes to mind, if only because I read his biography fairly recently, is St. John of San Francisco.  I don't recall at what age he became a monk, but he was showing an inclination toward monastic life from early childhood, elementary school age and became a novice around 20, I think.  Pick up his biography if you can -- he has an amazing life story and he only reposed about 50 years ago so to me, I feel that his struggles are not so distant-feeling as the earlier saints.  

In any case, keep in touch with your spiritual father about this.  I know my own priest has expressed concern about the decline in monasticism so don't be too surprised if your priest is thrilled about any inkling toward monasticism.   Wink  And of course, as others have mentioned, don't feel that you need to make a decision on this any time soon.  Take time to thoroughly research and enjoy your youth.  Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2010, 01:57:58 PM »

Both are incredibly serious. Just don't rush into anything.

Both are good and excellent vocations in life, not one being superior to the other. 

At the same time, I would also suggest that there has to be a third way.  Not everyone can fit into one category or the other.  I know that we have had this particular discussion on this board; it's probably been a few years, but when making discernment about marriage and monasticism, it's not either this or that.  There must be a third way.
There is, and a fourth as well. Some choose first marriage, then monasticism; while others choose a vocation but never marry, and are quite content with that life. We don't fit neatly into categories.

The reason I brought that up in the first place Trevor is that there are many Orthodox christians (both laity and clergy) who believe that if you're not married, you should be a monk.  I don't think that works especially with the society that we currently live in.  So, don't feel pressured that it's either one or the other.
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