Do you think i have a vocation to Religious Life?


#1

Im sorry if this sounds repetitive to some who have read my other posts on this matter…but i want to pose my question in a clearer way:

Now…i know that no one can make this call for me, as i am the one who ultimately has to make this decision…but i would like some more input. I’ve posted recently about discerning Gods call…and while ive been praying a lot about it, i’m not making any more progress currently.

The issue is that i don’t exactly desire to join to a Religious community. The idea of Religious Life intrigues me more on an intellectual level than on the spiritual level, or matter of the heart. I think it would be pretty awesome to be a Monk in a religious order. But i don’t *feel *like im meant for that. Nonetheless, its often on my mind. Its not on my mind like a woman might be on the mind of a guy who is interested in her. I’m sort of coming from the approach of very much wanting to be married and having kids and just living a simple life as a wood worker or carpenter, but im almost physically unable to pursue that “ideal vocation” because i feel a great amount of guilt and anxiety that i might be saying No! to a possible vocation to religious life. I wake up every morning with my mind going in circles, arguing with myself as to who i think i am called by God to be. It feels like my heart says “Marriage, family, children” and my mind says the opposite. If i am being called to Religious Life…wouldn’t i feel the calling deep within? Or as they say, in my heart?

I may have an anxiety disorder that has recently manifested itself. When i’m alone, just killing time on facebook or here, i know that i really should be doing something productive or maybe spending time with people, or perhaps praying more. When i spend too much time alone, naturally i get lonely…but i begin getting VERY tempted to satisfy that loneliness through less-than-holy means…if you catch my drift.
But, when i join in on friend or family gatherings, I often feel very anxious about being there and my mind begins to tell myself that im better off alone anyway because of my natural affinity for moments of solitude out in nature and on mountains or lakes. And i think to myself, or rather make myself think a “mantra” of “maybe i should be a priest or brother because that’s probably just what God wants for me.” Seriously, that’s generally the thought pattern that makes an anxiety grow in me that stifles any ability to enjoy myself or be at ease with a group. Such has never been the case up until recently (the past year maybe). It used to be that i did well in social settings, and i got my energy from spending balanced amounts of time with people and periods of being alone/reflection. Now, like i said, being alone is just easier for me because the anxiety is far less when im by myself…its not that i enjoy being alone, per se. But also like i mentioned…if im alone too long, i sort of get depressed and tempted to commit private sins. Its like i cant win…because im nervous and anxious in social settings these days, even with family, and all my thoughts return to how i would “rather be alone as a monk in a monastery or a missionary traveling to far off places with just me, myself, and i, doing the Lord work” but when im alone, its sort of the opposite; I wish i was married and had kids running around this empty home im in.

I rent a house with 3 other Catholic guys, but they work all week and i only have a part time job right now. So i dont have many places to go during the week.

If this helps describe me at all: I’m 24 years old and single (no girlfriend at the moment, though i was involved in a rather serious relationship up until 4 months ago when it ended badly) i enjoy helping and working with people (when im not stressed or anxious) and I feel accomplished and fulfilled at the end of a day of physical labor. I take pride in the work i can do (I used to work full time as a carpenter but quit to pursue another “career” which i though would be better…only to find it wasn’t what i expected) so right now i dont have much work and im trying to find work in the carpentry field again. I often “dream” of having my own farm someday and working the land. I’m a very hands on type of person and i like to get my hands dirty. But i also enjoy periods of quiet reflection and prayer. However, an hour and a half is about the longest i can sit quietly in Adoration before i start to go stir crazy :stuck_out_tongue: My relationship with God is a “hot and cold” relationship at times…but its especially strained and dry when im thinking about a religious life vocation. Mostly because i don’t see myself as a priest nor do i really wish to be one. However, i cant imagine myself doing something that is obviously not Gods plan for me, because i know it could not make me happy even if i wanted it more than anything. I just don’t know if God has other plans for me besides marriage, or what. Im at the point where i need to at least do something different with my life soon or i will self implode. I feel far more at peace at Adoration lately, since the anxiety has been manifesting itself more in social settings. But, there could be 5 or 10 other people when im at the chapel and it doesn’t bother be at all. I believe this is because Jesus is putting my heart and mind at rest while im there. And honestly, the intense thoughts and musings about Religious Life more or less disappear. And i can think about Good things that make me feel joy without feeling guilty about desiring them (such as having a family of my own, or my interest in guitars, or woodworking/carpentry. But as soon as im home, my mind and heart are restless and i don’t know what to do with myself.

In short, does this sound like a typical case of a young man who has a calling to Religious Life and is fighting it? Or am i just a lonely, listless guy looking for something more in life than what i have now?


#2

[quote="Sirach614, post:1, topic:271091"]

In short, does this sound like a typical case of a young man who has a calling to Religious Life and is fighting it? Or am i just a lonely, listless guy looking for something more in life than what i have now?

[/quote]

There are no answers here. Go find a monastery, contact them. Go stay for a while. They do that. You are discerning a call not making a lifelong commitment. See how it feels to be there for a week.

In other life, you are working part time. GO VOLUNTEER. Go tell your Pastor you do carpentry work and have some extra time on your hands. Then go find the US Government career area and look into being a National Parks ranger.

And why would anyone stay in Adoration for an hour and a half?

Now go do something.


#3

Maybe you are called to the single life.


#4

I think you need to discover who you are first before making such a life changing decision as entering the priesthood. Without knowing who you are and where you stand, you may find yourself inadequately prepared to deal with the rigorous requirements of a religious life. I am not saying your desire is not real, I am just saying you need to take a step back first and see what's really going on here.

Most people are called to have a relationship with God at the place where they are, but oftentimes people mistake it for a calling to the priesthood. While the desire to become a priest is a noble one, it requires prayer and discernment and I feel at this stage of your life, you are still searching to discover yourself and God as well.

We do not always have to do the grand thing in order to please God. God is pleased with you where you are right now, with whatever's going on in your life and wants nothing more than to have a real relationship with you. You sound like you just need to enjoy life a little bit more and that may entail getting out of your comfort zone, but when you do, your world will expand and then you will begin to see the kind of life God truly has in store for you.

Keep the Faith


#5

You need to find a spiritual director- or at least a regular confessor. Remove the things from your life that cause you to sin, and devote time to prayer. In order to know what God wants of you, you need to spend time getting to know Him. In time, God will make his will for you more clear.


#6

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