Choosing a Vocation

Would a person miss out on eternal life for choosing the wrong vocation?

Not if that person lives a holy life.

I am a huge believer that the Lord calls us to a specific vocation, but if we refuse it/miss it/misunderstand it and choose another, that He can do great good in that “wrong” vocation.

St (note that: Saint) Anthony (pray for us) was convinced that he wanted to be an Augustinian until he saw the Franciscan martyrs-to-be, and became a Franciscan. :slight_smile:

Even if you choose the wrong vocation, God is still going to give you the grace to make it to heaven. Living the wrong vocation may give you less joy since it is not the vocation God had intended, but you can still live a life of holiness. It is important to note that if you make an honest attempt to discern your vocation, God will make it known to you eventually.

Is it possible to choose incorrectly?

I once asked a priest, “How will I know for sure that God wants me to be a wife?” He responded, “When the Church receives your wedding vows.”


No, because at each and every infinite moment in your life God has a plan in place for your salvation. There is no wrong path that will lead you away from God permanently. If we can be forgiven of any sin and receive eternal life, surely we can be forgiven of vocational misstep (if such even exists :)).

Vocation is always tied to life circumstances. Some people have graces that predispose them to one vocation or another, but one’s ultimate vocation, calling in life, is eternal life in heaven.

I agree :thumbsup:

Thanks everybody:) This makes me feel much better!!!

Nope. There is no “wrong” vocation because God loves us enough to give us the gift of Free Will. Therefore, the idea that there is “one” right job, or one right place to live, or one right person to marry is not a Catholic viewpont. As already posted above, God can work wonders and draw straight lines out of our crookedness. So long as we seek Him, there is no wrong choice.

Very true:) I guess I’ve sometimes looked at free will as “choosing God or not choosing God” but I guess there is more to it!

That is awesome:)


I was always taught that choosing the wrong path will endanger your happiness here on earth just like it will make your way to heaven more difficult. God has a specific plan and you can indeed choose something that He did not intend for you. I have heard of people who knew that they were called to a specific state of life but decided to do something different for various reasons. None of them were ever fulfilled.

To put it simply: Not all people are in the right state of life, but the Mercy of God will always be greater than our sins.

Ave Maria!

St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote, "Yes, without doubt, he who is not called to the religious state may serve God in every place, but not he who is called to it, and then from his own inclination wishes to remain in the world; such a one, as I have said above, can with difficulty serve God and lead a good life."

Mary, Mother of Vocations, pray for us!

In the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary,

fra John Paul

How would a person know if they were called to the religious?

Basically and generally speaking, there are three signs of vocation :

Attraction to the life
Ability to lead the life (health and motivation)
Acceptance into the life

Initially the first two signs apply and are potential signs of vocation. The third sign is not present until one is actually accepted into a community and the two first signs are also present.

Our primary vocation in life is Baptism, which is our call to holiness. Our role in The Church (marriage, priesthood, consecrated life, single life) is an invitation and a further call or vocation only to that path along which we might travel to holiness. If we do not take up that invitation (and there can be many reasons indeed), The Lord is not ‘mean minded’ and withhold from one joy and fulfilment in life, happiness, and all the Graces necessary for holiness.

I think probably the notion that if one refused a vocation to religious life or the priesthood, one was going to find life and holiness difficult to some degree or other was a pre V2 notion only within Catholic culture generally. However, I very much doubt that a person would refuse a vocation and path in life to which one was attracted (first sign of vocation) and choose a non attractive path instead. It could occur however.

We are not bound to hold to the writings of the saints.

If one should not follow an invitation to a certain vocation and feels at a later point that they have failed and are unhappy, The Sacrament of Reconciliation would be the recourse and in which The Lord’s Loving Mercy is absolute returning the person to that state as if they had never failed in the first place. If unhappiness continues despite a good Confession, one would be most wise to seek spiritual direction and perhaps even counselling. The unhappiness would be some sort of problem with the person, not with The Lord withholding any of His Graces in life, including Peace and Joy.

Very helpful:) I guess one last question would be this. How do I know how to listen to Gods voice? Like I ask him to help me do so, but sometimes in prayer I hear the word “mother” or “nun” or “marriage” or “religious”. So I don’t now which are God and which are just my own thoughts. And I feel so much more comfortable thinking He is telling me marriage…I just hope He is…

My opinion only: actually hearing the Voice of The Lord in spoken words in some way is known as “locutions” and this is very rare and ‘peculiar’ to the mystical life most often. St Teresa of Avila and one of our greatest mystics and certainly the one who explains the mystical life per se very clearly has stated that unusual mystical states can be very dangerous and should not be desired. They can be very open to deceptions of one’s own imagination (very powerful human faculty) and even of the deceptions of evil. Unusual experiences such as actually hearing The Lord speak to one in words, she also advises, should be held as suspect and ignored - until they are subjected to sound spiritual advice and that advice taken up and followed.

More commonly, The Lord is speaking to us in the various circumstances of our lives.

The best advice is to speak with a spiritual director of your concerns or questions. Certainly, Catholic Discussion sites can be very helpful - however, sometimes they can create confusions as they can be very different opinions expressed. A good spiritual director nowadays has training and the gifts necessary to sound spiritual direction.

Ave Maria! I have never heard this before. Do you have a source for this? As far as I know, it does not seem to coincide with any Church teachings or writings of the saints.

Ave Maria!

fra John Paul

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