I just wanted to ask for some advice or support on discerning my vocation, it might help to say a little bit about my faith journey. I was born catholic and was taught nominally in the faith but went to mass, never knew why. When i went to confirmation I had serious doubts about my faith and used the opportunity to ask the church questions. I even called myself an atheist during this time. I won’t go into it, but I had a profound religious experience, which didn’t convert my heart, but helped me to stay in the church even if I didn’t know or want to know it. As I grew I learnt little by little, and I began (praying) demanding a girlfriend from God. Of course this didn’t happen. Went to Uni, kept the faith but fell into a very dark place, only to have been dragged into the light when that dark place accused my church (this was around November last year). After lots of pary, and petitions to Our Blessed Mother, I made my first ever true confession and have only moved forward since; developing a profound love for my Catholic faith.
Throughout this time (i.e. my life) the question of priesthood was always at the back of my mind, sometimes my answer was yes!!, it’s a possible route, I don’t want to, NEVER. But I think of now I have been called to serve the Lord at the altar. However, just at the point where I was certain about this vocation, out of the blue (or perhaps not) an old acquaintance (as in I know her name but otherwise never spoken to her), a very quiet, sweet, pretty girl, a person I always admired starts contacting me and now i not sure what God is calling me to do. I’m not saying “I’m either going to marry her or the priesthood”, but could this be an indication that I am being called to serve God through marriage? or perhaps deacon?
My head and heart prefer to do God’s will, but all are vitious vocations.
well … welcome to life, you have choices to make , you can either pursue what ever is developing between you an this woman, and if it develops into a serious relationship and eventually marriage if you still feel a call to a religious life you would still have the option to become a deacon, and if not, then you will know you were called to marriage, if on the other hand you want to find out if you have a true calling to the priesthood, then you need to pursue that calling first instead of a relationship.
other than that be prepared for at least 3 responses of being told to find a spiritual and vocations director and do not be afraid to look at the stickies posted in the vocations section.
Dan, not knowing your age, education, or vital life experiences it is difficult to summarize what advice should be given you. I also seriously considered the religious life, as a missionary. I eventually married and had a professional career. However, I am very active in my Church and I do not look back at my life, wondering if I should have lived it differently.
The life of a Priest is difficult and demands many years of intense education. I suggest you spend your present time continuing to pray daily, going to Mass weekly, receiving Communion. Live a life of giving and forgiving, doing charitable works, and having a respectable relationship with you female friend. Do not rush into any decision, let time pass and with fervent prayer and Christian ideals God will point you in the direction that is best.
Its called FAITH. God Bless You…
First, I want to say that I am not a spiritual director, so take what I say with “a grain of salt,” so to speak. I’ve been discerning my own vocation for quite some time now (too embarrassed to say how long), and part of that journey led me to the Abbey of St. Walburga to discern a possible call to become a Benedictine Contemplative Nun. I left after only a short while, but have since been going back and forth between consecrated lay life and life in a religious community.
So, what I have to say to you is that discerning a vocation is not easy! I would suggest reading “Becoming Who You Are” by James Martin, SJ. It’s a really good book. Basically, what I’ve learned, is that your vocation will demand some change (otherwise what’s the point?), but it will not demand a drastic change of who you are. A Sister gave me some great advice when I first went to her (she was the vocation director for the Archdiocese of Denver at the time), which I, of course, ignored. She said not to divide yourself into different compartments (i.e. this is my religious part, this is my adventurous part, this is my secular part, etc.) but to take into account your entire personality. After many years, I have to say, she’s very very right.
I also got some great advice from a monk I met at the Abbey (he was on retreat there when I was visiting). He told me to “Take it one day at a time.” I, of course, ignored that advice as well, but, again, he was right. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself. Taking everything one day, one moment at a time. Let tomorrow take care of tomorrow. I say that because we can easily stress ourselves out feeling like we need to make the decision RIGHT NOW, but that is not the case. You have time. Also, remember, you can’t make a mistake in your discernment. Even if you choose the path that God may not have had in mind, He’s great at working with what you give Him. That’s another piece of advice I received from a few different priests.
My other major advice to you is GET A SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR! They can ask you the questions that you need to ask yourself to get to the heart of what God is asking of you.
I hope this helps! I’ll keep you in my prayers. Good luck in your discernment and don’t forget to enjoy the journey along the way!
Thanks guys, very helpful. But I realise now me posting this is a bit silly. I think it makes more sense to seek the advice of those who have found their ture vocation and are in the company of God, e.g. the Saints. So what I have done is said “I am open to what God will’s”, I’m hoping to attend a seminarian weekend in a few days and I have recently gone out with this wonderful Girl. I can see that the experiance of having these two possiblities will help mould me in to the person God has destined me to be. I’m beginning to understand the truly wonderful gift of Freedom!!