Confused about desires and whether they are something from God


#1

Hi,
I have been in a relationship for 3 years and am seriously considering marriage with this wonderful woman.

I’m confused because recently I came across an article about: ‘signs you are called to consecrated Life’, and I resonate with some of them like: wanting to radically give my whole life to God, the love of prayer, an attraction to the state of virginity and celibacy to be exclusively of God…

Im torn between continuing my relationship (which I have always been very happy in), and proposing soon…- or to see if these desires are worth giving more attention… I don’t know exactly I’m a little confused


#2

The best you can do is to speak to a priest or religious, they might help you see what your vocation is. And pray, pray a lot for Lord to show you clearly what He intends.


#3

Sit down and discuss it with a priest and then with the woman.


#4
  1. I would say talk to your parish priest, I am sure they will be a big help.

  2. It is possible to be holy while being married. We are all called to Holiness, and no vocation is greater than the other. If you are have always been happy in the relationship why ruin it? There is a reason why you have been with her for 3 years and you are happy. Maybe God has made you her key to heaven. Our faith is not always about our own spiritual life but those around us too. Don’t leave her out on this.


#5

Firstly, I think whatever you do, you should not lead this woman on if you do plan to join the consecrated life.
I think when it comes to vocations, too much focus is put on the idea that you receive a magical “call” from God and everything becomes clear. It rarely happens like that. You may indeed feel an attraction to the celibate life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re called to it. I’m a married man, but I tried out religious life and determined it was not for me. But there are still some times when I miss that and I would still feel an attraction to the priesthood. But at the same time I’m perfectly happy in my married life and I wouldn’t change it for anything. In my case the desire for family life is greater than the desire for priesthood.

Also, as a married man you are radically giving your whole life to God. By loving your wife and children you fulfill the married vocation and in the process, bring your family closer to sainthood.

It is possible that the article stirred up some desires in you. But that is not necessarily a sign that you are called to that life. I don’t mean to sound bad, but in the three years you’ve been going out with this woman, have you not been thinking and discerning about marriage to her? Part of the purpose of dating is to discern if you are called to marriage with that person.
I think that if you are planning to spend time discerning your possible call to celibacy, you should tell your girlfriend all this. It would certainly not be fair to leave her hanging on while you figure all this out.

One other consideration, if you were to approach a vocations director about this he would probably advise you to journey with him of some time (a year or more) before you would be accepted. The fact that you were in such a long relationship would have a bearing on how long the period of vocations direction would be.


#6

Your area should have a vocations director, go talk to him and ask him these questions, he is best able to guide you.

Other than that, pray and be patient…


#7

Thanks for the response, I do agree that marriage has its own beautiful way of giving outlets life to God and I am strongly attracted to this too.

I haven’t mentioned this to her yet because I first wanted to give it the test of time and see if it is something fleeting or not…(if I bring this up I know it will hurt her a lot so I rather be sure it’s something concrete) like you said an attraction doesn’t mean a call…

Thank you for the advice


#8

Thank you, that is true, and I wanted to make sure what this is before I go ahead and ruin my relationship by telling her of an attraction I have which may not be a call… I haven’t mentioned this to her yet because I first wanted to give it the test of time and see if it is something fleeting or not.

What you said about marriage and holiness is beautiful too


#9

And yes, I have been dating her to marry her, I don’t date for the sake of it, thats why I am confused to be honest because I was sure that my vocation was marriage, now just have some doubts after this happened…


#10

Ok, well in that case I think if you’re going to entertain this, you need to consider what is the best thing for your girlfriend too. You probably shouldn’t spend too long “discerning” whether to be a priest if you are in a relationship. The time you spend doing that is also time your girlfriend could be discerning marriage with someone else, or discerning her own vocation. You could go to a few vocations retreats and see how you feel about the life that’s involved. I would say to consider your feelings about your girlfriend too, do you think you could happily spend the rest of your life with her? Would you be thinking of the “higher calling” of celibate life of you were married. I know when I spent time with the Dominicans, my one issue was that I felt I’d miss family life too much if I went on to be a priest. I wanted kids and the closeness with another human being that only comes with marriage. I never think, “oh I’m sorry I wasn’t a priest”…but I did think “I’m sorry I wouldn’t be married if I go on with this”.

Your own preferences and desires, as much as anything else, are the best indicators of what your vocation might be. I think the best advice for discerning vocation would be “follow your heart, but with the guidance of Christ.” At the end of the day, The Lord desires your happiness in this life and the next. You won’t be called to something that makes you miserable, and remember too that you receive the graces to live out your state of life.


#11

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