from a catechism published in 1897. It’s very comprehensive and unimpeachably orthodox. I hope it will help you in discerning your vocation - whatever that may be.
Thank you very much.
This is an excellent article. I learned a lot from it. Thank you!
Thank you, maritain, for posting this link - it’s very good. I’m confused in relation to one part, though; namely, Chapter II (Necessity of Following a Vocation). Previously, I’ve heard a few times that wilfully choosing not to follow our vocation would not be a sin but it would make life more difficult and less happy than if one had followed God’s call. Conversely, it says here that “if we should wilfully neglect to follow our vocation we would be in danger of losing our souls.”
Of course, I can understand the reasoning given below (particularly in bold), but I’m just surprised that I haven’t heard it said before. Maybe it has been said but I just haven’t heard it emphasised in this way.
Could someone explain this or otherwise offer words of wisdom (your own or from the Church and/or Saints)?
Thanks and God bless…
NECESSITY OF FOLLOWING A VOCATION.
Q. Are we obliged to follow the vocation which God gives us?
A. Yes; if we should wilfully neglect to follow our vocation we would be in danger of losing our souls.
Q. Why so?
A. Because God attaches to our vocation special graces to help us to resist temptations and to discharge our duties properly. Hence, if we neglect God’s call, we lose also His special graces; we then easily fall into temptation, and thus we are more liable to lose our souls.
Q. Can you quote reliable authority for this doctrine?
A. St Alphonsus Liguori says: “In the choice of a state of life, if we wish to secure our eternal salvation, we must embrace that state to which God calls us, in which only God prepares for us the efficacious means necessary to salvation.”
St Cyprian says: “The grace of the Holy Ghost is given according to the order of God, and not according to our own will.”
Q. What does St. Vincent de Paul Say on this point ?
A. St Vincent de Paul says: “It is very difficult, not to say impossible, to save one’s self in a state of life in which God does not wish one to be.”
Q. Has any one of the Popes given his views on this subject?
A. Yes; Pope St. Gregory the Great teaches that our salvation is closely connected with our vocation.
The Emperor Maurice having published an edict forbidding soldiers to enter the religious state, Pope St. Gregory the Great wrote to him these remarkable words: “This law, forbidding soldiers to enter the religious state, is unjust, because it shuts heaven to many; for there are very many who cannot enter heaven unless they abandon all things.”
Q. Can this doctrine be explained by a comparison?
A. Yes; a master feels a just indignation against those servants that do as they please and neglect the particular duty assigned them.
The work done by such servant may be very good in itself, yet it is not pleasing to the master, nor will it be rewarded by him, because it is not in accordance with his designs.
The same principle holds with regard to God: **“Not every one that saith to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doth the will of My Father Who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Q. What is to be said of those that know nothing about vocations?
A. If they are ignorant of the matter without any fault on their part, God will not hold them responsible for such ignorance. By providential circumstances many are, without adverting to it, in the state of life in which God wants them to be.
Q. What is to be said of those who, having opportunities, give this subject little or no thought?
A. We answer with St Alphonsus: “In the world this doctrine of vocation is not much considered by some persons. They think that it is all the same whether they live in the state to which God calls them, or in that which they choose of their own inclination; and therefore so many live bad lives and damn themselves. But it is certain that this is the principal point with regard to the acquisition of eternal life. He who disturbs this order, and breaks this chain of salvation, shall not be saved.”
Q. What is the remarkable saying of St. Gregory Nazianzen on this subject?
A. St Gregory Nazianzen says: “I Hold that the choice of a state of life is so important that it decides, for the remainder of our lives, whether our conduct shall be good or bad.”
Nahbios, I think what he’s saying there is that God intended a vocation for all of us, and that he gives special grace to those follow that vocation. I don’t think he means that those people who do not adhere to that vocation will necessarily be damned - it just makes it harder for them to save their souls.
This book will be of help
[quote="maritain, post:6, topic:211089"]
Nahbios, I think what he's saying there is that God intended a vocation for all of us, and that he gives special grace to those follow that vocation. I don't think he means that those people who do not adhere to that vocation will necessarily be damned - it just makes it harder for them to save their souls.
Thanks Maritain. After searching around, it seems like all the saints said 'yes' to God's Call for them, even those who may have misinterpreted it at first. I'll keep discerning!