Question & Answer
Fr. Bernard Nguyễn Trọng thưởng, CMC Phụ Trách

15. I really want to go to the convent now.
What can I do?

Dear Father,

I heard God's calling me in my heart. I want to follow Him. I want to be a nun, but my parents don't support me. They were very angry when they knew that I was going to a convent. My family just came to USA almost 2 years. We are having a tough time. My dad is studying English. My mom is babysitting. I am 18.5 years old. My mom will be very sad when I leave her. But I really want to go to the convent now. What can I do? My mom said: "If you go to the convent I will go there and wait until you come back home with me." My mom cried a lot. They are following me every minute. I don't have money to buy a ticket to go to TX. They are keeping my green card and social security. What can I do? I am very sad now. God bless you. (TT)

Dear TT,
Vocation is long journey and it often has many obstacles that you must overcome. Keep saying "yes" to God's calling in your heart, but be sensitive to the situation that you are in. Your parents seem to be persistently against your going to a convent so far probably because they need your support right now at home. So you might want to give them some time to prepare for that. Say to them that you are going to a convent in 1 or 2 or 3 years depending on your judgment how much time your family needs. In the mean time try go to school and arrange ways that your parents have help when you leave them. The vocation of consecrated life is rare and precious today, so try to preserve it. It is tough but it brings true happiness. Good luck and don't forget to pray. God bless.

16. For what purpose did God create us?

Dear Father,

When I went to a religion class a nun ask me: "For what purpose did God create us?" Well, I said because he wanted to talk to somebody and that he was lonely. But her answer was that "to serve him" and, does that mean that we are his slaves? Or does it mean we listen to him? And one more thing if we commit a sin, why does he still love us? Is that bad for him? And he knows that we sin a lot and he doesn't like it; why would he still want to create us? Well, Father, thanks for the reply. God bless. Love. (Jeni)

Dear Jeni,
The nun did not give you a complete answer. God created us to love and serve Him in this world and to share his happiness in eternity. She left out a very important part; that is love. Because we love God we serve Him. A mother loves her child so she serves all the child's needs. She is not her child's slave. We love God because God is infinitely good. We don't have enough words to describe His goodness. We serve God not because He needs us but because out of his infinite goodness He gives us life, parents, friends, health, and many many other gifts. When a rich man gives you many gifts, you want to do something for him in return, not because he needs a favor, but because you need to do that. Obeying God is not to be his slave. When someone gives you an advice of wisdom you want to listen and act on that. God is all knowing. Wisdom is his expertise. So listening to God is a "super" wise thing to do and not listening to Him is a very very foolish thing to do. Is it bad for God that we sinned a lot and He still loves us? Well, our sins cannot hurt God like we hurt each other physically or emotionally. However, sin does damage to sinner first and to the most extend. God loves us so much that He feels hurt because we hurt ourselves by sinning. God is a mystery that is beyond our understanding and description. So I cannot explain to you how God is infinitely happy in eternity and still hurting because of our sins. However we know that God cannot stop loving us because that is his nature. He always loves no matter what. He created us because He loves us and wants us to share his happiness. He wants us to be free so that we can choose to love him or not. This is the mystery of love. I hope this answers your question. God bless.

17. My close cousin fell in love with my distant cousin.
Is that bad?

Dear Father,

Thank you, it really does answer my question now. I really feel stupid. I should know all this and shouldn't been asking you in the first place. Thank you so much for your words does make me cry. Well Father, I got a little something that bothers me. Well, my distant cousin came over and met my other cousin who is my close cousin. Well she fell in love with my distant cousin. Is that bad as I think it is? And I don't know what to do because I think it is weird that she does that. And other thing, well, this guy calls me a fob and it really hurts. He said that I need to learn more English and I think I speak OK; everyone understands me. There was a guy saying I speak like white people. But this one called me a fob, and I didn't really like that. It hurts my feeling and I can't do anything because he keeps on repeating that. What should I do? Well, thank for your good advice. God bless! (Jeni)

Dear Jeni,
You are welcome. It is hard to explain why this girl falls in love with that guy and they happen to be cousins. The Church allows marriage among people who are related more than 4 degrees apart, which is as following:


/ \

b    c

/       \

d         f

/            \

h              n

If your cousins are related to each other as (h) and (n), we can calculate the degree by tracing from (h) back to the common ancestor which is (a) then go on to (n). Each slash is one degree. (h) to (d) is one degree, to (b) is 2, to (a) is 3, to (c) is 4, to (f) is 5, to (n) is 6. So in this case (h) and (n) has a blood relationship of 6 degrees; the Church allows them to get married if they wish. People of direct line in blood relationship such as (a)-(b)-(d)-(h) or (a)-(c)-(f)-(n) are always forbidden to married each other. Five or six degrees of blood relationship seem to be close for marriage and it does not happen very often, but it does sometimes. So do not be surprised and condemn those who do so. If your cousins were related beyond four degrees I would support their love for each other. There is nothing wrong with that.

If someone tells you to learn more about English, well, there is nothing bad about that: we all need more learning and improving ourselves. But if he claims that he is superior in English, he'd better check his vocabulary. I would ignore him and do my things. Don't let a barking dog bothers you. You might want to show him this email. Don't forget to pray. God bless.

18. I have an advice for those who say that
they hate and fight their parents.

Dear Fr. Bernard,

Thank you very much for the advice. I was so excited when I saw my name in bold print. Everybody in my town, Rock Port, TX was proud of me for asking a question like that. I got many compliments. But yet, I have another problem. While I was waiting for the next issue of TTDM to come out, my mom had to go to the hospital because of an emergency. She stayed there for a week. While she was there, someone broke into our car and stole everything we had all of our money, credit cards, jewelry, and important papers. After that, I wondered to myself, what would I do without my mom? I learned that how she always tried to protect me, but I did not listen. I learned that when she was punishing me, she was trying to teach me a lesson. I finnaly opened my eyes and realized how I loved my mom.

Father, I have an advice for those who say that they hate and fight their parents. What if they were not there? What would you do? Do you really hate them? Ask yourself those questions before you raise your voice to your parents. (Sylvia Ngo)

Dear Sylvia,
It is not God's will that people broke into your mom's car. But it is God's will that we learned from every experience of our life and grow, especially when it is a bad experience. Thank you for your reflection. Questions help us to learn and grow, so don't hesitate to ask. My prayer is for you and your mom. God bless.


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