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Pining Heart

Sisters, lately I have been reflecting on intimacy and the very painful desire I have for it. Bear with me, this may sound like the ramblings of a frustrated 20-something, but it keeps coming up in my prayer and I can’t seem to escape it.

I am on a Retreat in the Daily Life (RIDL) journey, an Ignatian modification of the Spiritual Exercises. It’s a 7 month commitment of daily prayer through scripture, weekly prayer meetings with a small group, and bimonthly meetings with a spiritual director.

Needless to say, it’s been an intense experience and I’m only a month in (prayers are appreciated). We’ve been covering topics ranging from finding awe in God’s creation, recognizing how precious we are to Jesus, and (even more fun) disordered attachments we have that keep us from true relationship with God. Right?

It’s soul-ripping stuff.

Through this exhausting and emotional rollercoaster, a recurring emotion keeps coming up: pining. The feeling manifests itself physically through a pain in my chest that makes it hard to breathe for extended moments of time. It’s most potent when I’m alone at night and in the morning during my prayer time. The frustrating thing is I can’t put my finger on exactly what I’m pining for.

Yes, it is intimacy, but is it intimacy with God alone or intimacy with God through a partner?

A little background on me; I’ve been single for the majority of my short life. In college, I was seriously discerning religious life. I visited various religious communities, met with several vocation directors/priests, and devoted a lot of attention in prayer as to whether or not I am called to become a bride of Christ. The short-term relationships I had been in previously paled in comparison to the joy and fulfillment I had when actively discerning religious life.

Long story short, I fell into a season of disenchantment and frustration with my faith including the very thought of religious life. Currently in my late twenties, I’m more engaged with my faith and living contentedly as a single person. Which is why this pining I’m experiencing is all the more perplexing.

I’m happy with where I am, but why do I constantly feel like I have this unfillable void in my heart?

I don’t have the answers. I believe the Lord is trying to show me something big yet beyond my sight. The difficult thing for me right now is letting go of worrying about my true vocation and just allowing God to lead me. The lesson here, I believe, is that God is indeed in the waiting.

I need not despair waiting for something to happen. God’s timing is perfect and mine is lacking.

He knows my heart and honors my pining.

The void in my heart can in fact only be filled by Him alone and how beautiful a journey it will be. Pursuing him will bring many blessings, and the chase is thrilling.

My prayer for you sisters is this: cling to Christ even tighter if you are in a similar season. Take part in the sacraments, especially Reconciliation and the Eucharist. They along with your personal cultivation of a prayer life will be your companions on your journey.


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Juliane Pierini

Juliane is a mid-twenty something cradle Catholic navigating a complicated, crazy, beautiful world centered around the Sacraments. She is passionate about working with young people in their formative years in college by enabling them to see their full potential as children of God while pursuing their dreams.

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