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I’ll See You in the Eucharist

It’s time for me to prepare for martyrdom.

Dramatic intro? Maybe. But it’s also deeply true. I’ve come to learn in my discernment that in every state in life vocation there is an element of martyrdom. A radical laying down of one’s life for another. Total self gift in the name of love. Dying to oneself so that God’s will, not mine, be done. That His kingdom may come.

I’ve been accepted as a candidate for consecrated virginity. In formal terms, the way it was phrased in my letter from the bishop earlier this year, I’ve been accepted as a candidate to the Order of Consecrated Virgins for Women Living in the World according to canon 604.

What does this mean?  The Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity Lived in the World specifies the requirements that:

  • that they have never married or lived in public or open violation of chastity;
  • that by their age, prudence, and universally approved character they give assurance of perseverance in a life of chastity dedicated to the service of the Church and of their neighbor;
  • that they be admitted to this consecration by the Diocesan Bishop who is Ordinary of the place.

The paragraph above this also elaborates:

“Those who consecrate their chastity under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit do so for the sake of more fervent love of Christ and of greater freedom in the service of their brothers and sisters. They are to spend their time in works of penance and of mercy, in apostolic activity, and in prayer, according to their state in life and spiritual gifts.”

The simple answer, and the one that I usually default to with non-Catholics or Catholics I’m sure have never heard of this vocation, is that it’s almost like being an undercover nun. I’ll be married to Jesus but still living in the world like any ordinary person. Just writing that, though, there are all kinds of clarifications my internal editor is screaming I need to make.

  1. Consecrated virginity is NOT religious life. I actually ruled out religious life fairly early in my discernment. But Consecrated virginity is the oldest form of consecrated life, as well as the oldest (or second oldest, depending on which theologian you ask) vocation in the Church. The USACV has an interactive vocation tree that can be helpful in making sense of where different vocations do (or don’t) fit together.
  2. The more accurate terminology would be that I’m mystically espoused to Jesus. Consecrated virginity isn’t a reflection or a reduction of marriage; rather, consecrated virgins live, in this life, the heavenly reality of which marriage is a sign. The vocation that is intended for all humanity in heaven is what consecrated virgins are called to live out while still in this world.
  3. I say “living in the world like any ordinary person,” but actually I do have daily duties that necessarily draw me out of the world (daily Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, spending at least one hour a day before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament). And there was a controversy in the early Church about consecrated virgins living too much in the world that I don’t have the time to get into here.

 A lot of the congratulations have come with things along the lines of “You’ve waited so long for this!” But now that I’m here, in candidacy, in formation, it doesn’t feel like the wait was long at all. There’s an endpoint in the road to consecration, and that timeline (one to two years) suddenly feels like such a short preparation for a vocation that isn’t just for this life, but for all eternity. Yet in some ways, unconsciously on my part, I feel like God has spent my entire life preparing me for this. And as the saint on whose feast I was Baptized put it,

“I’m not afraid. I was born for this.”

Joan of Arc

To be clear, I’m not yet accepted to consecration itself. In this time of formation, it’s still possible that I could discern this is no longer where God is calling me to move forward. And it’s still possible my bishop could decide, for whatever reason, that I’m not actually called to this vocation (as is his prerogative). And the reality is that neither I nor any human being could ever deserve such a call. This vocation, like every vocation, is a superabundant outpouring of God’s grace. Because it is He alone who can sustain us and grant us the perseverance necessary for His call on our life.

One of the great beauties I’ve found throughout my discernment of this vocation is it’s not a sacrament and there are no vows. The closest corresponding vocation to consecrated virginity is Baptism, the most fundamental rule of life a radical living out of my Baptismal vows.

In essence, it’s a witness to the reality of not only what the Church is, but who she is and Whose she is.

Our Lord has been ever so gently and lovingly guiding each step, restructuring whole areas of my life, opening and expanding my heart to live this vocation by loving in the ways He’s calling me to love.

caitlyn pszonka

In entering deeply into this time of preparation, Our Lord has been ever so gently and lovingly guiding each step, restructuring whole areas of my life, opening and expanding my heart to live this vocation by loving in the ways He’s calling me to love. In many ways, I was already living as if consecrated in my daily life; the nature of this vocation is that the only way to truly discern it is to live it out and test that calling.

But part of that guiding, He’s made clear, is that it’s time for me to step away from my ministry with Little With Great Love. And in place of the time I spent here, I’ll be entering more deeply and more fully in the ways Our Lord wants to form me as mother, bride, and spouse.

If you want to connect with me in any of my future work, you can find me on Instagram @chmpszonka and @hearttosacredheart or check out my Etsy shop.

Please pray for me during this time of transition! I love you all. I’ll be praying for you all. I’m so grateful for the time I’ve spent serving alongside the Little With Great Love team.

I’ll see you in the Eucharist.

About Author

Caitlyn Pszonka serves as our Editor. She is first and foremost a beloved daughter of God and uses her gifts as a co-creator for love of Him and His Body, the Church. With degrees in Creative Writing and Theology, she loves to get at deeper truths through telling stories in various forms, including novels, poems, plays, and songs. Caitlyn shares her visual art, in addition to reflections on diving ever deeper in love with God, at Heart to Sacred Heart.

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