A Story and a Calling


#1

My name is Joshua, I’m 19 years old. I’ll try and keep this short, but that probably won’t happen, and I apologize in advance.

For the last couple years of my life, I’ve seen things that I hope no one my age should see, but I’m not divine, and God has a reason for doing everything.

To tell me story, I need to start where this will make sense. As a kid, I was always raised and taught the ways of being a Catholic. I believed, (and still do), in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I attended Mass whenever possible, and took my sacraments wholeheartedly. I was picked on in school, and tried best to get good grades. I’m not a genius, but I like to think I’m a little above average. I didn’t have many childhood friends except for a gay friend named Kelsy (she wasn’t Catholic and please don’t treat her with disrespect) and a couple of friends from elementary school. Kelsy and I both had ****** home lives (neither of our parents were together), drifting from house to house because our parents couldn’t afford rent, sometimes living homeless, but what kept us strong was our trust in each other. In High School, Kelsy was homeless and had dropped out of school. Her parents were abusive, both physically and mentally. I did what I could for her, but often I was limited because of my own circumstances. In 2011, she attempted suicide several times. I saved her as many times as I could, but unfortunately, one night she had called me, apologized, and shot herself. I was hurt, I felt betrayed, and I questioned everything I believed in. I hated being the only one there for her, I hated how her family treated her, and I hated myself for not being quick enough to save her. After that day, I attempted suicide two times, and had self injured through cutting many times.

Then I went to college, Ithaca College in New York. I started seeing a counselor, went to group therapy, and got really involved in the Ithaca College Catholic Community. I went to a place called Nazareth Farm in West Virginia, and honestly, almost cried and how beautiful the place was. Not as in look wise, but at how the people there were. They were kind, wholehearted, loving, and a beacon of God’s loving light for me. What I learned there will stay with me for the rest of my life.

In my spring semester of 2012 at Ithaca College, I joined the Army ROTC but after I had gone to military processing, I was permanently disqualified from service for having self injury scars. At this point in my life, I no longer had been cutting, but the scars were still visible. I tried explaining this to them, but they thought I was too unstable. To make things better, I had to leave Ithaca College, the one place that I considered home all my life because of financial reasons. I had to leave my friends and what I am going to call my family. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother with all my heart, but the people at Ithaca were something else, something I couldn’t describe to you in words.

Now, it is Septemeber 14, 2012, and I’ve been on/off homeless (too long to explain here) and I’ve decided I want to go back to college and study Theology. Ever since I started getting involved with Nazareth Farm, I’ve had a strong pull towards a vocation. I’m not sure why, but I think this is what God intended all along. I’m worried though that I can’t afford to go to college to become a priest. And I know money shouldn’t be a factor in a religious life, but I can’t help but think about it. I don’t care how much money I make in life, I never believed in wealth being material. If I could, I’d give every dollar I ever earn to the Church for the chance at becoming a priest. I do not need anything but my faith. If it meant it, I’d give the clothes off my back to help others.

My faith has kept me alive, and it has brought me this far in life. I feel the call, but I’m just not sure.

I look at this world, and I hate to say this, but those with faith are a dying breed. Now, by those with faith, I’m not talking about just going to Church and leading a good life, being a servant of God is much more than that. Having faith means living it daily, and not just once a week or by donating some clothes every couple of months. Faith is something that you have or don’t.

I’m proud to say I believe. I’m just not sure what I should do with that strength that the Lord has given me.


#2

Hi Joshua!! This is beautiful…thank you SO MUCH for sharing your story! I too am entering the religious life, a beautiful convent. I fought it long and hard, but I always knew I was “different” somehow…called to something greater than myself, you know?

I truly believe our world (especially our country) is seeing a shift in young Catholics and starting to see more vocations since the 60’s!! So great that you are open to what Our Lord might be inviting you to! Don’t worry about money, my friend had no money (like 50 cents in his bank account) and he’s going to seminary on scholarship. I don’t know how he did it, but it has something to do with the diocese. People in parishes are donating money every week, a portion of it goes to the seminarian fund! I’d ask your local priest about it!! You’ll be glad you did :slight_smile:

So beautiful…our Lord often calls the weak to become strong for all of us in the Body of Christ. I will be praying for you, my brother! PS-Even if you feel a pull to the Seminary, don’t put limits on God. Take it slowly and pray fervently, even in dry spiritual periods…those droughts we experience are God stretching us so we are able to love Him even more! Also, remember there is no pressure to complete seminary, so take one year at a time and let Him lead you where He will :slight_smile: God Bless!!!


#3

God Bless you my friend. Like said above, start talking with a priest- they can put you in the right direction as to who to call, etc. Enjoy this journey and where it leads you. You will be in my prayers.


#4

You have suffered a great deal for such a young man, I am praying for you right now. May God bless you with a clear path for yor future and help you find way to accomplish His master plan for your life. There are many “Nazareth Farm” type experiences on this earth, open your heart to those around you, keep on walking through life with this hope in your heart. God will take care of you, be patient.


#5

Thank you for your responses. I scheduled a meeting with my Diocese’s vocation director for this Monday. Hopefully that will help a great deal. Obviously, the above story isn’t the whole story, but, for those interested, I took a seminar last fall about the humanities and the medical world, and decided to write about my experience in the form of a story. I can send you a link to it if you want, just message me. It’s too long to post here, I think about 10 pages long.

And thank you for all your support again, I really do appreciate it. Even though I might not ever meet you, know that each and every one of you are in my prayers, even those didn’t post here, even those that just viewed, or chose not to view it, Catholics and all others alike.


#6

Joshua,

A very sad story, but where there is life there is hope and you have a lot of hope.

If you’re not already doing it, start saying the rosary every day. Attend the sacraments frequently, confession every week and Holy Communion preferably if possible every day.

All of these things are very important for discerning a vocation. It it is God’s will for you to be a priest and you follow the above advice then the Lord will provide you with the means to make it happen and will open the right doors in order for it to be fulfilled.

God Bless!


#7

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.