Discerning any Vocation in general


#1

Sincerest Apologies ahead of time for this long posting :p I cant explain myself well without being wordy..

I've been trying to take Vocation discernment more seriously lately. More than i ever have before. I'm 24, and I've dated twice in the past 2 years. I never thought much about my vocation as a young adult.But i knew that someday i wanted to be married and raise a big family. But being the shy and anxious kid i was, i didnt date til i was 22. i really had some maturing to do anyway before i was ready to be in a relationship. So, my first dating relationship ended after about 7 months when she broke it off in order to focus on school. It didn't break my heart that much, because i was finding that i wasn't as interested in her as i had previously thought. Shortly after we "broke up" i heard a homily from a visiting priest at my church about vocations. And he mentioned Vocations when he said how we need more men willing to become HOLY priests more than simply just more priests. I thought for a week or so about it and thought maybe i could look into it..but that idea left me and i continued on with life as usual. I didnt really feel called to that life, despite several attempts by our diocese vocations director to get me to go on a discernment retreat.

4 months later, i was dating another girl. This time it was tough, because a month into dating, she revealed to me that she had been cutting herself. It had gone on years prior to me knowing her, but had begun to resurface when we began dating. She hated herself and only found my attraction to her to be a "joke God was playing on her." She didnt see herself as worth it, and cut herself badly one evening while she was alone. I only learned of it 2 days after because i wasnt able to get in touch with her by phone. Turned out she had been brought to the hospital by her mother. It was horrible to see her arms cut up like that..and honestly i was terrified. But i chose to stay with her and see her through what she was dealing with. At the time, i didnt realize that issues like the one she was dealing with didnt just come and go. They stayed. The cutting continued for a while every now and then..and she contemplated killing herself one night after we had a serious talk about her issue and i brought up the fact that i was thinking about a possible call to religious life. I had been "feeling" like God was calling me to something other than a relationship with this girl, though i was still very fond her her. At this point, you might be asking "why did he still stay with her??" I was conflicted. I cared a lot for this girl despite her problems..and i knew if i broke up with her, she could have gone down hill even more. And still..the thoughts of religious life were beginning to literally preoccupy my mind. I began to almost become paranoid, if you will, that God was going to make me a Monk only because i DID NOT want to be one. He was out to spoil my plans of marriage, i thought. It bothered her a lot and we broke up so i could finally settle the matter. At this point, she was a LOT better off than when we started out. She was a much happier girl, and our friendship was still strong enough that we didnt go separate ways. So i decided i needed to figure myself out.

I even took a 5000 mile road-trip alone to Colorado to clear my mind :p Upon coming back, i felt a strong pull to resume my relationship with this girl, since any thought of religious life or priesthood had completely vanished. I did a TON of praying about it during my trip and it seemed legitimately like the right thing to do. But she wasnt too sure, and we dated another few months before agreeing to end it completely.

And that brings me to where im at today. I have thoughts about religious life now and again, but i still very much desire to be married and have kids. Im even interested in a girl i know, but im afraid to ask her out or pursue her if God might be calling me to another vocation. Yet again, it creates turmoil in my soul because i want very much to do Gods will, and i desire to serve Him by becoming more holy every day. When i think and pray about religious life, it only seems attractive inasmuch that i wont have to deal with the headaches of family and marriage, and most Monks and Priests i know seem to be very happy, content people. I desire to attain the level of holiness i see in some priest/brother friends of mine. But i also desire to be just like my older brothers who are all married with kids. When i start to get my heart set on pursuing marriage, i begin to get very anxious and fearful and start again to have thoughts of religious life. Its that feeling as if someone is standing on my chest, and it becomes heard to breath and i just feel like poop. The thoughts of religious life dont really bring me peace..they simply make me irritated and upset. I get very hard on myself and i struggle with lots of negative thoughts. Ive gone to discernment meetings, and ive met with a priest about this, and its just not helping me any. It just makes me stressed out and gives me migraines. I used to be super confused about it, but i will say that prayer has made me have a clearer mind about all of yet. I pray very often and visit Adoration. Im just still not sure of what God is asking of me to do. I feel like if i continued pursuing a religious vocation, i wouldnt feel drawn to it enough to continue with it and i would just be going through the motions. And if i pursued this girl im interested in, maybe i would continue to have thoughts of religious life. Some have told me im just afraid of being in a relationship again after my last one, others tell me that i could be "fighting" a call to religious life and thats why im always so anxious. What im asking is...what would you do in such a situation? Theres way more to say, on my part, but i'll end it here for further discussion :p


#2

I have no idea what anyone who has discerned a call to priesthood would say. But I believe calls from God are very often accompanied by increasing peace rather than increasing anxiety.

Maybe deal with the anxiety issues first?


#3

The best move would be to seek the advice of a spiritual director - and the vocations director in your diocese may be able to help if you do not know how to contact a spiritual director.
You do seem to have anxiety issues - and you might possibly need therapy for this. But contact a spiritual director first and be guided by him or her. I think with a spiritual director and getting things into correct perspective this may well deal with the anxiety.


#4

Almost made it through the original post, I had to skip around a bit due to hearing about cutting, which makes me a little uneasy.

But I would see a spiritual director. I think God has some great plans for you, that is what I personally think. I believe you can serve God both in Marriage, and Priesthood. Not both at the same.

But I will keep you in my prayers, and for your girlfriend. It must be difficult. But prayer is an essential to discerning you vocation with God. It may not come immediately though. But place your trust in him, that he will lead you to a fulfilling vocation.

Also Confession may not seem like it will help, but frequent confession does help.


#5

Darren, she is not my girlfriend any longer, but maybe you skipped that part. Im sorry it made you feel uneasy.. Imagine how it made me feel to know my girlfriend at the time did that. Or don't imagine it.. :p

I will agree that i have anxiety issues. Im quite aware of it at this point. Some have even gone so far as to say i could be bi-polar. But i know bi-polar people..and i surely dont meet that description. I just dont know what has caused the anxiety to become so prominent at times. I always used to be such a chill, laid back, easy going kind of guy. But since my relationship with my last girlfriend, many things that once were no big deal to me now make me nervous and, yes, anxious. Even thinking/planning about pleasant things (Like a night out with some good friends, or a camping trip, or hiking, or whatever) can spark anxiety to the point that i dread the thought of doing the things at all. Of course, once i actually get into whatever it is i planned, and let my walls go down a little..i find that im actually enjoying myself and the anxiety subsides. For example: I went to a Christmas party tonight, and i felt anxious and out of place as soon as i entered the door. That was until i started having this fantastic conversation with a guest there about philosophy. I know nothing of the subject, but he educated me on quite a few things and the more we talked, the less my anxiety bothered me. I didnt even think about being anxious :p It even got to the point that i didnt really want to leave :D And it was approaching midnight at that point. Time flies when youre having fun, they say.

So..i do want to say that im not a fan of therapy. My ex-girlfriend had anxiety issues..severely..and her therapist didnt do jack for her really. Yeah, maybe she had a lousy therapist..but it didnt give me a lot of hope in councilors/therapists. Just sayin'
I'll tell you right now though, that my anxiety level has decreased significantly since my ex and i ended the relationship once and for all. But it still becomes a hindrance for me to this day..from time to time.

I want to assure anyone that i definitely do pray about this. Very often..and im sure the prayer is what gets me through most days. Especially the Adoration hour+ i do every week. When i was driving west to Colorado (I live in Maine) i prayed a lot. And thought a lot. And all the prayers seemed to be answered by a resounding "yes" that marriage was my vocation. But now i dont always have that same confidence as when i got back from my 5000 mile journey. I suppose getting back together with my friend was a mistake..though it surely seemed like the right thing to do.

Anyway, i will keep praying as usual. And i will take all your comments into consideration as i pray about it. And i realize i need to address the anxiety as well somehow. Lets just say i don't exactly have money for any form of counseling..nor do i have insurance or whatever. Thanks for even reading this :p God bless you all.


#6

Yep, I probably did lol. I think you are on the right track, on discerning. God is often a mystery about when and what he want’s us to do. But he always times it according to his will.
Don’t worry about me being uneasy lol. I get teased about it alot, and I can handle it. I discontinued reading during that section, But I hope she got better!


#7

Ok I read on, she did get help. I have close friends that have the same problems. She did the exact same thing, with her arm.

And I feel the same way, I love talking about philosophy and everything close to it. I can talk to someone about God and the church for hours. But if it is something else I can't think of anything.

Priest's are often good counselors, I would suggest seeing one in person or via email. Also you can start a blog like I did, and rant.

Not good to keep emotion's locked in. But I will remember you in my rosary I am about to pray.


#8

I agree its not good to keep emotions locked in. That's what my ex girlfriend did a lot. She would hardly ever talk about how she felt. Which is very rare for a woman! But yeah, sure i could start seeing a spiritual director..and i have a few ideas about where to start. But if you knew me you would understand that im not the kind of person that asks for help.. No one in my family is. You could say its pride..but we would rather go it alone and just tough it through whatever we're doing/going through. We're mostly boys in our family, so us men are rather self-sufficient, or would like to be more so. Nearly all my older brothers are self-employed to some degree. But i digress.

I think i am on the right track as to why i'm discerning; that is, to be sure im doing Gods will in my life choices. Catholics are some of the most worried, anxious people though..i believe. Because we have a better sense of right and wrong and we're more aware of the evil around us. We have a lot more to be worried about; The salvation of our Soul for instance!

I dont exactly enjoy talking about philosophy, to be honest. I like to learn more about it, but it would never be my topic of discussion choice :p Im not a mathematical or philosophical thinker. Im far more of a literal, practical thinker. If i got into philosophy and learned more of it, and with my tendency to over think things a LOT, I would be a goner! There would be no hope bringing me back from the deep abyss of my brain :p But to talk about life issues and faith and reasoning and family/relationships really makes me more lively. I feel like i have a lot more to offer to that type of conversation than a philosophical conversation. Having 24 nieces and nephews like i do (Big family, lots of married siblings) i love children and talking about family and things of that nature. I definitely stay far away from trite, shallow conversations too. They dont do any good for me, or anyone for that matter. Oh and in case you couldn't tell..I was never a fan of academics. I always wanted to be anywhere else other than in the classroom. and i was home-schooled for crying out loud :p Im certainly the odd one of the family, seeing as that im 24 and not married or settled down in any manner, and there's no one else quite like me. Except my older brother Christian..im very close to him and he's like my family role model, of sorts. Of course, nobody is perfect :p But ive always wanted to be like him. We love to have deep conversations when i visit him and his awesome family (he lives 12 minutes from where i live now) about faith and self discipline and overcoming ones faults and failures..things of that nature. We both share very similar interests and we just generally get along well. But now im rambling!

As for writing a blog...nah, that aint me. I occasionally write "Notes" on Facebook about random things/emotions/frustrations/rants and it just ends up looking like a "poor me" monologue. They are not very often well received by some i am connected with on FB.

Im off to Mass now. Its gonna be a good day. I'm singing this afternoon in a Christmas choral concert at our Basilica. Yes, we have a basilica in Maine :D


#9

I think the key here is finding someone who you can trust absolutely, and then talk with them on the subject. Preferably someone trained in spiritual direction, though I'd say at minimum a good Catholic who is not connected socially to anyone you are friends with (this may be hard, depending on what area of Maine you live in, but important from an objectivity standpoint).

It is important to remember that walking that journey alone can be somewhat misleading, if you don't have someone for counsel. At the same time, and coming from personal experience (as well as the experience of a good priest-friend of mine) the feeling comes and goes... I wouldn't say that everyone who has that feeling is called, but I think at some point, "all that is hidden, will be made clear".

Having been in a relationship with one of similar issues (admittedly nothing worth being hospitalized over, but still), I feel your pain there.

But I digress...


#10

Hi! This may help you: thinkjesuit.org/fear-and-the-vocational-discernment-process/

It talks about how to make sense of anxiety and/or fear that come from discerning if religious life is right.. hope this helps!

You are in my prayers. God Bless! ;)


#11

It was kind of helpful…but it wasn’t at the same time :stuck_out_tongue:

Today has been confusing. Im at work now on my break, so i have a bit of time to post here. Ive been feeling very confused and anxious…like im back at square one. It seems like every time i think im gaining ground in discerning my vocation, i lose it all in the course of one afternoon or even a moment. I woke up feeling very frustrated and confused this morning, only made worse by having to drive 30 min through the fresh snow to get to work.

Earlier this week i had been feeling quite stress/anxiety free. It was great. Sunday was a great day. I had a clear, upbeat mind going into Monday and when i prayed a rosary each day, i had clearity. I was working on some job applications and i was hopeful and just happy. I go to Adoration every tuesday night, and as usual i went this past tuesday. I had a real clear desire on my heart to pray about something thats been on my mind for a while; the attraction i have for a female friend of mine. In my first post i mentioned that im interested in a girl i know. I like her, from what interaction on Facebook we have had lately. Basically, i needed to pray if i ought to at least ask her if i could take her out once. I was thinking just a coffee after work or something. I’ve known her since i was 13. We were both homeschooled and i saw her a lot at homeschooling family picnics and such. About 3 months ago we reconnected through Facebook after a 5 or 6 year span of not being in touch at all. I have no idea if she would even be interested in me…but i cant get her out of my head! The last time i saw her was at the last youth ministry dance i could attend as a teen. She asked ME if i wanted to dance but i was WAY too shy to accept… So anyhow, I discovered she is on CatholicMatch and single (has never dated either), and i knew she’s my age ,and she’s grown up into a very attractive young woman. So i wanted to reconnect to see if there could be a possibility of at least getting to know her better. Even if just friends. So anyway i was praying at Adoration and i was very much at peace. I was in a very joyful mood the whole day. The evening before, i had told my brother that i wanted to ask her out on a date and he said “Go for it, she’s a pretty girl! But just a date, not to be your girlfriend yet” So at Adoration, the thought of being married (which ive always wanted) made me feel very much joy as i prayed. So that led me to think that it was God speaking. I even nearly wrote to her that evening to ask her on a date but i figured i should try to catch her when she’s actually online. I was lying in bed and i had to stop myself from getting up and going to my computer :stuck_out_tongue: The only contact i have for her is through Facebook and we’ve been chatting every so often and she comments on things i post, etc.

So i was determined to ask her when i could catch her online. But then Wed comes along and im still feeling confident about it until i got a phone call from my Ex-girlfriends mother :mad: Her other daughter owes me a fair amount of money that i lent her, and the mom didnt believe she still owed it. So the argument devolved into being about my ex and how she told her mom ive been spreading rumors about her. Which is false. Somehow, someone in their social circle learned about my ex girlfriends issues, second hand. She told me i was guilty of “grave sin” so to cover my bases i went to confession that afternoon. The priest said there was no grave sin, but i was imprudent to have informed a mutual friend about the issues she had been dealing with. This friend and i are pretty tight, and he knows my ex pretty well. So we had been discussing frustrations that we both were dealing with, and even this very subject that im posting about. And my ex girlfriend was an unavoidable part of the discussion. It would have been impossible to avoid speaking of her. Be that as it may, it got me very riled up to get this phone call.
So here i am on Friday afternoon and i feel like im back at sqaure one. I feel that if i asked the young lady out, the anxiety would cause us both more harm than any good i could do. I keep dwelling on “my vocation” and i dont know why, but religious life keeps resurfacing when i feel confused. And it just makes me more confused and upset! Honestly, it makes me want to scream. I dont have a desire nor do i want to be a priest or religious…but sometimes i just cant leave that behind either, though i want to.

And now that ive written this, i find that my axiety has significantly lessened and i really dont feel so confused. But I think what someone said is very true…i need to get this anxiety issue taken care of before i can make any clear dicisions.

I’m kinda crazy, aren’t i? :stuck_out_tongue:


#12

[quote="Sirach614, post:11, topic:266685"]

I'm kinda crazy, aren't i? :p

[/quote]

Join the club!

I was wondering how old you are? My daughter, once she was in her thirties, said she couldn't believe how much she changed between 21 and 25. For instance, part of what you learn is to keep things in appropriate place. When the mother calls to talk about her daughters, you disengage. Whatever the issues are, they aren't between you and her, and you don't talk about them with her. We learn to draw appropriate boundaries and not turn our lives into a soap opera.

But I also think there is wisdom in dealing with your anxiety and maybe chatting with a counselor who is not part of the religious aspect of your life. You have some time, and don't have to decide everything all at once.


#13

Dear OP,

Peace be with you! And thank you for your openness and honesty in what you’re struggling with. You’ve clearly been through a lot lately – not just vocational discernment, but struggles with anxiety, worrying about your ex-girlfriend’s health, etc. – and it sounds like you are really doing your best to work through this faithfully and lovingly. That is really admirable.

Just a few thoughts from someone who has been through the discernment process a lot in the last few years, especially re: relationships vs. religious orders.

  1. I agree with people who have posted that it is always good to have a spiritual director. Conversation with one person who will really walk with you faithfully through all this is vital.

  2. Sometimes this process takes a lot of time. Ignatius’s rules on discernment are really good, but sometimes it takes time to internalize them and exercise them. I would advise going back to that link about good/evil spirits every once in a while. Things in that article that didn’t speak to you this time around may turn out to be full of wisdom the next time you come back to them.

  3. I remember being in a position once where I had to decide by a certain date whether to break up with my girlfriend and apply to this religious order that was waiting for me to give them the word. I was a nervous wreck and had that feeling of, like, when you’re up at 3am working on a paper that’s due the next morning and you haven’t written a word and you’re like: “How on earth is this going to get done within the next few hours??” As the deadline to make a decision approached, I felt completely torn, 50-50, and I had no idea how I was going to shake myself out of this paralysis and make a choice that would affect the whole course of my life.
    Now, what ended up happening was that I broke up with my girlfriend, entered a religious order…and one year later left the order. That’s not the end of the story, either: I am still discerning a possible vocation. Thing is, now I can look back at my stress from way back when and just kind of smile at myself, because I’ve seen that however much I’ve been through, God has been with me the whole time and turned it all to good. I think the key is not “predicting one’s future” (as though we ever could!) so much as “accepting one’s past” with joy. Because sometimes, friend, we don’t figure the Mystery out so much as just love and embrace the Mystery. God is not there waiting to see if you circle the right answer on the test or if you get it all wrong and ruin your life. Rather, he is waiting to see what path you take given your limited information and desire to serve Him, and then whatever you do, He will be there to take things from there. The future is always open. All you need is to be patient with yourself and rejoice in God’s own patience. Together, you will find the right path eventually.

  4. On that day that I had to make my agonizing decision, one of the sweet old ladies in the church where I worked noticed how agitated I was. She made me cry a little by coming up to me and whispering, “I don’t know what you’re going through, but whatever it is, just remember: God only wants you to be happy.” I think these are wise, wise words. At one point while I was in the novitiate and I was thinking about leaving, I was filled with guilt: If I were a holier person, wouldn’t I be willing to sacrifice marriage for God? Doesn’t God need me to be a priest, to do great things for him?
    Then I realized: Asking what I can do for God is important, but it’s even more important to be humble. All this time I was asking, “How can I show my love for God?”, I was neglecting the question, "How does God show his love for me? And can I accept that love?"
    You have had to be a care-giver for a girlfriend was sick. Remember, though, that God is longing to take care of you through all this, too. If you’re not ready to make a decision yet, you don’t have to. Just be at peace, take some time to rest. Things will be ok whether you ask this new girl out, or not, because God is watching out for you. You don’t have to figure things out in order to be happy; it’s the other way around. Allow yourself to be happy, and then you will be able to see clearly enough to figure things out.

Those are just some thoughts that came to mind…so far they have worked for me…but of course, I am confused about many things, too!

Merry Christmas to you, friend…may this season, in which Christ comes to us as a little child with His whole life ahead of Him, bring you much joy and peace.
+AMDG+


#14

So..

Everytime you're with a woman, you're thinking about vocation. And everytime your alone, you're thinking about a woman. Classic! (Sorry if my humor is off)

But that's a classic case of anxiety. And based on what you've provided, I would assume there are some early childhood issues with some parent coming in or out of your life. Without divulging, the short answer is that there is a spiritual remedy for a developmental illness. Pray for Trust. Read in Acts of the Apostles about the story of the man who was called to meet Saul and welcome him into the Church. And get a Breviary, a priest's "wife". And don't worry, if you're called to priesthood, you'll be a "father" to many, like Abraham!

Shalom


#15

@ Julia Mae: I am 24 years old. And even at this young age, i can certainly notice how I've matured and grown since i was 18 or whatever.

@DasErlibnis: In fact, your first statement was about right :p And actually, I have no early childhood issues with an absent parent. My parents have been married 34 years, and beside my dad being more on the stern side with discipline, we were all provided for very well as kids. Im number 7 of 9 kids, btw, and there were years that my parents nearly lost the house to foreclosure, but we were never deprived of our basic needs. My dad is a hot-tempered Frenchman, but he loves each and every one of us more than i know, i'll tell you that much. And he's mellowed out so much in the past 5 years or so.

And @tuviskazinai, a lot of what you said is great advice. Its what many people close to me say as well; What matters the most is that i do Gods will in my life TODAY. And to learn to be happy and content with the Now, and the future will naturally follow.

Of course, that doesn't stop me from being restless and impatient :p

So, i want to wish a very merry Christmas to everyone, if I'm not back on here in the next day :)


#16

Interesting. Your family pattern is a lot like mine, at least youve provided. So you can possibly remove psychological blocks. Then a spiritual block would remain.

Every man on earth is dutybound, man needs a sense of purpose. You may not be content with mediocrity. You may have it in your heart to do something so noble..

Maybe some cursory questions can be asked:

What's your gift? What do you do well? Do u practice a trade? Are u an intellect? What about the gift of prayer? The gift of tears?

That's charism.

Regarding a vocation, well, you admit restlessness, and u already know the answer to that. "Our hearts are restless until they rest in God." - Augustin

Could it be though that you are called "away"? To mission? It's worth testing.


#17

I don't really know what you mean by a "Spiritual block." Ive been Catholic all my life, and I've always taken my faith seriously. More so as of lately, but still..ive always been "into" my faith in one way or another. And i love God and Jesus like any good Catholic ought to. And i don't know if this sounds bad..but i don't have this burning desire to spend my whole life with Him as a Brother or Priest. Yes, i love Him and want to do everything i can to do His will..but i don't have this "Passionate and burning love" as so many people describe of themselves. I guess what I'm saying is i would rather be married to a Woman my whole life than be married to the Church..I feel like i would make a mediocre monk if i became one. I know an few Brothers and the one underlying thing about them is their passionate love for God and their passion to serve Jesus and serve the poor/needy/etc. I know we're all called to serve the poor and those in need in some fashion..but i dont feel as if its my greatest lifelong calling either.

BTW, i know that the priesthood is not for me. If anything, i would be looking at Brotherhood. I am not a fit for the duties and responsibilities of a priest. And ive come to this conclusion through much prayer, trust me :p

As far as my "gifts" I guess i can describe myself as being outgoing, yet reserved at the same time. Many people say how "humble" i am (though i dont want to toot my own horn..) I have the ability to make people feel comfortable around me, even if im feeling very awkward and definitely NOT comfortable :p People have always said im easy to talk to (if im in a good mood..) and they dont feel threatened by me at all. Children are naturally drawn to me for some reason :p There could be a room full of adults to entertain them, and many of them will flock to me to play games with them. But i love kids (I have 25 nieces and nephews) so its as much of a joy to me as it is to them.

As far as any trades; I've been a carpenter for 6+ years up until recently. Work has slowed down. Its typical of the winter season anyway. And im hoping to get a job doing woodworking and furniture building if possible. Ive been working on a resume and i plan on sending it out to a few shops around my area. I have student loans to pay off, and the bills are starting to lag behind..so my part time job at the Post Office isnt cutting it.

I sometimes try pretending to "want", or make myself want to be "married" to Christ and it doesnt bring me that sense of Joy that so many people describe. Or even a sense of peace. I just feel like one would feel when they have to do a very much undesirable task. "I don't really like it, but I guess I'll do it" kind of mentality. Now its possible that i must force myself to change that mentality, but i also dont want to force a vocation just to say ive become a monk and im serving God. Because then i wont be happy.

They say "Grace Follows Nature" And my nature is to be outdoors and physically active. Anything that breaks a sweat. Its also my nature, like i mentioned, to be good with kids. Everyone who sees me handle a baby or play with a toddler says im a natural and i would be a good dad. Those who know me really well have never mentioned anything about how i would make a good priest or brother, unless i mention the thought to them and they go "Yeah...i guess i could see that, maybe." The only people who have ever asked me to consider it have been my diocese vocations directors (the present one and the past one who has since become a monsignor). And i gotta be honest..it IS/WAS there job to ask young men about it. Oh and a nun after Mass once told me i look like i should be a priest because "Im tall and have a loud voice. And i have a commanding look about me" Many of my brothers all got the same comments and they are all married.

So anyway, im still praying about it, but i havent been feeling compelled to look further into any certain order. Im going to join in on a discernment group meeting in two weeks, because the vocations director invited me. It cant hurt, i tell myself.

Oh and i dont think im called to mission work. I would do it for the experience, if i had the money..but ive traveled away from my home state before and i always feel a strong pull back. I love New England and im sure this is where im meant to live. My 5000 mile road-trip confirmed that very strongly for me.


#18

The spiritual block doesn't imply that there is something you have failed to do of anything bad. It just means that for now, your calling is still a mystery to you, and that there doesn't appear to be something else that would confound it.

You know what they often say of a good priest? .. that they would have made a good husband. That's what they say. The qualities are so similar.

As to the enthusiasm, well, there us a saying for that too. The brightest stars burn fastest. I didn't meet anyone in seminary who walked in sooo eager who also didn't discern out, although usually it was "discerned" for them. Rather, it was always the quiet ones, who gave up much, and struggled through seminary, who came to recognize themselves as priests and who ultimately made really great priests.

I don't know any brothers who aren't also priests now. But I know that loving women ain't a bad thing, loving marriage ain't a bad thing, not for a priest or a brother. They have to marry folks all the time, so its natural to look with awe and splendor upon it. I often hear married folks say, "you got the better of it" for wanting to be a priest. And I often hear priests say "you got the better end of it" for getting married. How's that! Ha!!

As for discernment, I think it would be fair of you to allow yourself to enter seminary, if at least for a year, in order to discern. But then, I hear you say "brother" not "priest". So, perhaps a year of missionary work using your skills as a carpenter, overseas to keep it fleD and distinct. If you just go help the guy next door, you would remain clouded. There's a reason that old formation process wouldn't even allow you to speak to your family, for clarity. But then, after a year, give it a year, you'll be better equipped to say, it was wholly discerned.

Most if the men I knew in seminary, saw it and experienced culture shock, stayed on, and became ordained. Some did not though. But all gave it a year.

Do this and your mind will never be in a different place than wherever you are.

"Amen!"


#19

Im curious...are you a priest? Or are you considering a vocation? Just wondering..

Allow myself to enter a seminary huh? With what money? I have bills to pay, and i have to work to pay them off. And as it is, im barely making enough to pay them. And on top of that, i have this heavy burden over my head of trying to figure out the impossible will of God. Im just getting really ticked off with this whole discernment thing because i sit in Adoration or Mass and i hear nothing. I dont hear this voice calling me to one thing or another. Or at least i dont recognize any "voice" All i have is my own personal desires which is to have a family. I was working at my parish yesterday afternoon helping clean up the hall with my brother in law who had just painted it, and after we were done and he left i decided to sit in the chapel for a few minutes. I kept asking God for some kind of sign..like maybe Monsignor, who knows im discerning, would walk in or some stranger would come in and approach me or whatever..i was "hoping" for something out of the blue to happen like what seems to happen to everyone else who discerns this kind of thing. And i just felt so frustrated and felt like nothing was heppening..like God was just sitting there silently watching me get frustrated..so i got up and said "screw this" and walked out. I pray all the time for a sign to happen, and nothing happens anymore. And that evening, i went to Adoration for an hour and 20 minutes, and again i prayed and prayed for some sort of sign that evening. Again..nothing. And im not gonna lie..im about ready to give up on this and just ask this girl out. Because im not getting any sort of sign on what to do. And if she said no, i would take that as an obvious sign that its not meant to be. Im honestly sick and tired of praying and praying and having nothing happen. And im sorry to rant and vent on here..its just getting old real fast.

You're absolutely right i could said it was wholly discerned..but going to those lengths? I simply dont have money or time on my hands to go do mission work or anything of the sorts. And in my opinion, there is just as much work to be done for my neighbor (meaning anyone in need here at home) as there is overseas. All you have to do is go downtown in my hometown and you'll find neighborhood areas that border on Slums with apartment buildings ready to fall over. When i hear my roomate talking about how he wants to plan a mission trip to Nicaragua this spring, all i can think is..why not do a mission trip just a few short hours north to the friggin slums of Washington County, the poorest county in all of Maine and New England and probably even the poorest county on the east coast! Im really sorry..but it gets me very frustrated when i hear stuff like that. I know you're trying to help, and i appreciate your input and i do think and pray about it a lot. There is just a lot to make sense of..


#20

I'd like to offer a penny for your thoughts on the discernment process. :D A good priest friend told me this story:

"I once knew a young man who was discerning the priesthood. He prayed to God 'If you want me to become a priest, O Lord, please allow the priest distributing communion to drop the host.' Now what do you think happened?

The priest didn't drop the host, and the man became a priest anyway.

To suggest something happen like that is not only testing God (which is clearly shown as wrong by Jesus being tempted by the devil in the desert), but also attempting to control God, by suggesting He answer with a dropped host, or otherwise assume that He does not will the priesthood."

To be honest, I (personally) have never known God to convey things in such obvious ways anyway, but your mileage may vary.:shrug:

Just ask the girl out and see where it goes. Marriage is a vocation which needs to be discerned just as well (if not more, as it involves two), and certainly isn't in any way a lesser to holy orders, it's just another way.:thumbsup:


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