Called or Conflicted


I’m a married guy with a bunch of kids.
I perpetually feel like God is tugging at me, possibly to ministry.
I have explored the diaconate. Went through the application process. Wife & I decided now is not the time. That’s a possibility in years to come when my children are a little older.
I have had many people ask me if I ever considered becoming a deacon. I like the idea…But maybe I like it too much. :confused:
How do I know if I am being called to a certain ministry or if I am just wanting to be in a certain capacity? I pray about it. I set before the blessed sacrament weekly and just ask, “Jesus, what do you want from me?”
I want to minister to people so badly. Sadly, I have even had thoughts of, "If only I were Anglican or Lutheran, I could be an ordained minister.) :blush:
I guess I have a bit of an issue with the celibacy of the priesthood. :shrug:
Any one else ever felt somewhat like this?


It seems apparent your first call is to marriage. However, that does not mean you don’t have a second calling. It may not be becoming a Deacon though.

There are other types of callings that married couples can be involved with. Have you and your wife ever thought of becoming Marriage Preparation Counselors for your Parish? Are both or either of you involved in being Lectors or Eucharistic Ministers.

As for opportunities outside of the Church, there are tons of them, and you could involve the kids as well. Helping out at animal shelters, visiting the elderly in nursing homes, working in a soup kitchen. All of these could help satisfy your desire to serve more. You could even consider a prison ministry, or working with troubled youth.

Don’t lock yourself into one idea. Look into several options and see if something sticks out for you. Any work done for God and out of love of God is bound to bring others closer to Him and be good for your soul.


Although I never had the feelings you describe, it seems that you are very committed to be the best servant of God you can be. That is a very good thing. Discernment can be a difficult journey. Some thoughts:

Develop a relationship with a Spiritual Director.

Analyze more thoroughly whether you are focusing on your will versus God’s Will. Read today’s (Sunday Jan 26) second reading: 1 Cor 1 10-13, 17. We are reminded by St Paul that we are to be Christ centered. One very strong reason to be Catholic, IMO, is our Church is indeed the one Christ established, the one with complete authority from Christ, the one with the fullness of all the Sacraments. Any step away from the Catholic Church SO THAT one can do what he wants seems to be a step away from Christ.

Search out Pope John Paul II’s excellent reasoning for a male, celibate Priesthood.

Questioning is good. Getting the correct answers is better. Those answers are found in Catholic Church documents. Accepting them and supporting them is best. And it seems to me a pre-requisite for public ministry with the authority of the Church. Hence the value of a Spiritual Director.

If becoming a Deacon is God’s Will for you, it will happen at God’s appropriate time. Meanwhile seek and be patient. Your discernment journey will lead to a proper decision.


Sorry but this sounds like a huge Ego, getting in the way of everything else.

You can serve Jesus just as well, being a garbage-collector as being a Eucharist minster etc. Most of the greatest saints were not Church men but ordinary little insignificant guys. If Jesus wants you to serve in another way then you will soon know. Perhaps it’s really the ‘other guy’ prompting you and pumping you full of strange fantasies & ambitions. I should have thought a man with a wife & marriage has a pretty fulfilled vocation already.


You’ll never be spiritually fulfilled if you leave to become a minister in a Protestant order. I was once an Anglican, no Eucharist there, no presence of Jesus…
I doubt Jesus would call you away from him.
Pray and explore other options in Church and ministries you can be involved with. Pray for humility, you already are blessed to have found your primary vocation in marriage. Like another user said, be wary of ego, be humble before God and sometimes God calls us to the lowly positions to humble ourselves yet pleasing him. Remember it’s not just about what you want, it’s what God wants. Even just joining a prayer group as simple as it sounds can save souls.
Other options: help out with RCIA, teach children, volunteer in church, join other group/ministry in church


hi, i would like to share…then on topic…on your problem/solution…as you ask:" what do you want from me?"
discouragement can be in the problem statement (here to illustrate a process) ; firstly to define the problem-to start something-a desire for a second step…-as they say:‘living the gospels-which i often inquire into…only sometimes seems impossible…except if it were not to dive into, gladly, the baptismal font—yet to plan to climb a second step on some ladder:“why so that i fall back?” i wonder-my questions show frustration …as i speak of my experience… so i continue to wonder, …while i am distracted by work and computers-(how would i live the gospels with a sense of urgency?- i find no immediate answer) i can’t seem to come up with an a theological answer-of when jesus exclaimed: “Why” on the cross…still those flowing waters of my baptism-today, remind me of such an opening of the Holy Spirit-i tell myself-the next step should be easy…but no…i stumble back…i like to pray a rosary specifically in personal prayer, with some intuition, to expand the third luminious mystery…;as the ministry of christ are the reflections…so the power of the rosary is a great discernment device-depending on help from mother mary- with focus on the many levents of jesus’ ministry- those to reflect in vivid imagery-the many healings, the women who touched the clothes of jesus- jesus on the shore when the fishing nets tear; well to give an example of an intention of the last one-as intention to "allow Mr. XYZ to be called to the love of christ, then superimposing an image-jesus, fisherman, and fish, =next superimposing , praying out loud…“now…and at the …etc” (notice the word ‘now’ has a sense of urgency;) very layered isn’t it?..these impact-reflection could be thought of to redefine problems of prayer and climbing a ladder in a new way…


It’s good that you want to know God’s will for your life. Sadly, many people don’t ask or don’t care.

My advice, based on years of my own struggle with discernment, is to try being the best Catholic man you can be. Love Jesus as completely as you can and love others (including your wife!).

You may be surprised, as you are doing that to the best of your ability, that opportunities will present themselves.

Also, in addition to being a husband, you say you have “a bunch” of kids? Maybe give yourself a break.

When I heard a call, a few years ago, I thought my priest was brushing me off when he suggested I take a breath, focus on the basics and just live a Catholic life for a while. But looking back, I see he was right. God may have been calling me but I could not rush God into doing what I wanted or revealing his plans before I was ready. I can see now how each step has prepared me for where I am now.

Pray like crazy and be thankful- for your faith, your life, that wife and that “bunch” of kids! Amen? Daily rosary, with one decade for discernment, should be a no-brainer.

God bless you.


I can sympathise with you–really–but I have to take issue with these two statements I quoted above:

  1. As a married Catholic man, you can be an ordained minister. Deacons *are *ordained ministers.

  2. Anglican and Lutheran orders are not valid. I know what you were getting at, saying “if I were Protestant, I would consider them ordained”, but let’s not lose sight of the objective reality, here!

  3. If you were Anglican or Lutheran, being a pastor would be a full time job, with all of the same constraints on your family that being a Catholic deacon entails. How on earth could you think you could do either of those jobs, if your current family situation doesn’t allow you to minister as a Catholic deacon? Being Protestant wouldn’t magically make your kids older, or your family obligations go away. The divorce rate for Protestant pastors isn’t pretty.

Don’t lose sight either of CCC 1578. Many celibate, holy men enter seminary intending to be priests and come up empty, often under extremely unjust circumstances. Let us live our lives for Christ, no matter what the cost–and whether the Church calls us to an ordained ministry or not!

  1. No one has a right to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. Indeed no one claims this office for himself; he is called to it by God. Anyone who thinks he recognizes the signs of God’s call to the ordained ministry must humbly submit his desire to the authority of the Church, who has the responsibility and right to call someone to receive orders.


Give consideration to become a volunteer with a local non-profit hospice. There is an application process with a background check and training. You can minister to male patients of the Catholic faith in hospitals, nursing homes or at their residence. Visiting with the patient is a remarkable experience.The volunteer coordinator is helpful and understanding and will utilize you to the extent you are able to serve. Its a very good opportunity to serve and discern the permanent diaconate.



Absolutely NOT!!!

The bolded statement needs to be discussed with a good and faithful priest spiritual director.


Thanks everyone for the input.
I set up an appointment for spiritual direction with our pastor for next week.


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