I have seen both man and women who tried to pursue a life as a religious or priest and even though they knew this call was authentic, due to circumstances (grave matters such as falling into mortal sin, adultery,etc) they eventually missed their vocations in a sense that they were send away. What bothers me is that the standard answer is: it was not your vocation. Or: you will never know for sure if it was your vocation. Or: maybe you should look into other orders. But it´s not that easy, sometimes they are not admitted somewhere else/sometimes they are too wounded. How does the church deal with this. I´m not saying that the single lay vocation or the marriage vocation is meant for the drop out of religious life or something like that. But people seem to ignore that sometimes people need to opt for a second best in a sense that it may not be their actual vocation.
Not really sure what to say to you here. I mean lining up for a leadership position sort of demands leadership material. A guy on wobbly legs could lead whole swaths of people down the wrong path. Or create a huge scandal.
So should there be a runner-up leadership place-holder for guys like that?
I’m not so sure there should be. I think sometimes a guy’s just best to see himself in the mirror on his way out and realize for the better of everyone here and around the corner he maybe should look for something a lot less high profile.
But that’s just my think on this.
Consider that every person has the same ultimate vocation – holiness. Our life is to be spent becoming holy. We do this through our choices, our actions, our thoughts, etc.
Whatever God’s perfect will for my life might have been, it is safe to say that I’ve missed the mark over and over and over again.
So do I now have to “settle for second best”? Of course not! God desires my holiness more than I ever could! And my vocation is still the same – to love God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength. God provides the grace, and we either accept His grace and run with it, or we don’t.
Consider the life of St Augustine – now there’s a man who made some dreadful choices early on in life. He certainly was not following God’s perfect will for his life in those years. But God uses all things for good, for our salvation. We assume, because Augustine is a Saint and Doctor of the Church, that he must have followed God’s perfect will for his life.
But we can’t know that. All we can know is that God provides the grace and some souls accept and use that grace more fully than others. (St Therese, by the way, would say that is a grace as well!)
There is no settling for “second best” when it comes to a vocation. There is only making the best choice possible at the moment and working with the grace God provides to grow in holiness.
It’s about holiness, and the only exterior elements that matter are the ones that impact growth in holiness and eternity. And in His mercy, God provides the grace we need.
And why do you not think they could have been mistaken? I think most people are sincerely mistaken about things at least once in their lives. A sincere desire for the religious life doesn’t mean that it is a vocation inspired by the Holy Spirit.
It will always be the case that relatively very few are called to a high-name position in the Church, which by default, the priesthood is.
Which is just as well, given that our LORD said that from those to whom more is given, more will be required.
I don’t believe that a true vocation would be deflected by being “wounded” as a result of a congregation’s use of its right of refusal. If someone is so easily deflected from their path, arguably they weren’t that committed. Saint Rita was turned aside from several convents, due to her age, after her husband died, but her vocation was not deterred.
The way I see it, finding your true vocation will lead you to having the most fulfilled life. Living a different vocation as best you can will also lead to a fulfilled life, but you may not reach your hypothetical full fulfillment potential.
As a trivial example, if you are trying to choose steak or burger at a restaurant and you go for the burger and it is amazing, it doesn’t mean that the steak wouldn’t have been even better, but you don’t know that, so you leave the restaurant happy.
This doesn’t at all address the global problem of reductions in vocations in some orders of priests and nuns, but it does address it on a personal level - I’m not sure if that is what you were getting at OP, I hope it was
Our true vocation is not about having a fulfilled life.
Our vocation - that is, our life’s work through which we grow in holiness - will require self-sacrifice, even putting our own “fulfillment” on the back burner for hours, days, years, or an entire lifetime! Ask any mom or dad about the sacrifices they have to make day-in and day-out for the welfare of their children and spouse.
Our vocation is lived in this life, but its goal is the Life to come.