Difficult case of discerning vocation


I am a young man in the twenties and I am considering what I should do with my life. I was received into the Catholic Church about a year ago. I am the only child of my family, and the rest of my family is Protestant. They don’t have a problem with my Catholicism but they have not been willing to convert, either. My family is quite well-to-do. I have already inherited a valuable apartment and a bit of cash, and I am probably going to inherit quite a bit more. As a single person, I could probably do quite much anything in my life and never worry about finances.

I am not certain if it is ever possible for me to marry. I am not sociable in the conventional sense, though I can get along with most people. I have not had many opportunities for dating, and the ones I have had I was not interested. I am quite selective who I want to be involved with. Besides, I couldn’t imagine marrying someone who is not Catholic, which is a small minority where I live, so the probabilites don’t seem too good. Of course, I would accept someone who is willing to convert, but I don’t think the chance of that is realistic, either, at least according to my past experiences. I don’t feel compelled to marry. There are reasons I would like to marry, but I am not sure if they are based on unrealistic expectations. There are plenty of possibilities that would make married life difficult, so I am probably afraid. After all, not everything has gone according to my plans in the past, either.

I have considered priesthood. I like teaching the faith and helping others. As I said, I think the vow of celibacy is not going to be an obstacle. But I am not sure I would make it in other ways. I have participated in a Bible study group with technology students. They like my sense of humor and explanations of the Bible involving jokes and analogies from science and mathematics, as I am into that kind of thing. It is a kind of peculiar humor not many people understand. Still I am not sure I would be as successful with the general population. I could end up as a failure, which I would not want. I have not been successful in my current career, so I am also worried if considering priesthood is an escape from that. But the difference between failing in the career and failing in priesthood is that nobody has to know about failing in the career, if one has enough money.
I am not sure if living as a priest would get too stressful in the end.

I also like a bit of personal freedom. I have had problems in the past, which would have never been solved, unless I had taken the initiative and experimented with different solutions. Nobody else was either willing or able to do anything. I was fortunate that I had enough money then to try to solve my problems, and did not have to explain to anyone what I am doing and why. So, I am a bit hesitant to give up control over my personal life.

Some people have suggested counseling, but I have not had great experinces with that in the past. There are fundamental issues that I am just interested in different kinds of things than most people, and I don’t think any amount of counceling is going to change that. That is, even if I am around other people in a sense, I seldom feel ‘at home’ with them.


Hi Voluntas,

Thanks for sharing such a personal journey of faith. I would love to advise but I too am in a process of discerning vocation and so I'm probably not in the best position to advise.

Have you considered seeing a priest or religious for spiritual direction? I know its easier said than done, but it would give you a chance to speak in depth to somebody over a period of time about the issues you've raised here and to discuss and share your doubts and concerns, thoughts and feelings about the various options, and to learn more about how to recognise God's voice on a daily basis. I believe that He ultimately would lead you to the state of life He's callling you to and daily prayer is integral in learning to recognise His voice. Think of the story of Samuel - God had to call him 3 times (i'm not sure if it was literally 3 times of course) before he recognised it was God calling him and responded to His call. It was the guidance of an elder that eventually helped Samuel to recognise God's voice.

I leave you to continue to journey to a deeper understanding and knowledge of who God is and how He relates to you and your response to this.

I assure you you are in my prayers.

God bless


What about saying the rosary for this intention of vocational understanding, but also asking our blessed mother to find you a priest/religious that you can seek help from who will give you wise counsel? It is wise counsel that those of us discerning need - somebody who can help us learn discernment tools for life, and help us be grounded in prayer and sacraments.


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