How can one resolve a mistake of 30 years?


What will you do if you spent 30 years climbing a building, but when you finally got to the top you realized it was the wrong building that you climbed? (With regards to one’s vocation and his/her response)


Be assured that with God all things are possible. His mercy is unending.


Thank God for the huge file which will go under “E” for Experience; humble oneself before Him; and ask how you can serve Him with that past experience.

Everything happens for a reason. St. Francis de Sales says to gently redirect yourself to the Lord for this is how the Holy Ghost gets things done–gentleness and attraction.

I notice “pacomius” is your moniker. Have you read the Angelic Rule?



If you cannot change anything, continue to work the best you can in your present reality.
Maybe you made the wrong choice, but we can only live in our present reality, and within it you still have to make the same choice, to love God in choosing His ways, and to love others with practical kindness. That is basically what God asks of you, of each of us.

“No need to recall the past,
no need to think about what was before.
See I am doing a new deed,
even now, it comes to light; can you not see it?
Yes, I am making a road in the wilderness,
paths in the wild.”

In failure

Jesus, I put my trust in the apparent failure of the Cross, for You are condemned to a criminal’s execution and it seems that Your mission has failed, You who alone could redeem humanity. Yet You are triumphant over sin and death!

Who can accept that it is God-incarnate whose sweat and blood drips into the dust, from Your drained, dishonoured body! Yet Your human cry of abandonment by the Father is belied by the triumph of love and faith in Your final confident submission. You die, but You have not betrayed the Father’s trust.

Jesus, to my sadness, I fail in many ways and sin against others by my failures. Have I betrayed Your will or mistaken Your purpose? Will You restore me to grace now, Jesus? To do what? Will You show me? Will You fuse together the broken pieces—of my life, of my service—to make a new and better creation? Am I to step around the fragments and to pass another way?

I ask to walk with certainty along the humble path of holiness that You choose uniquely for me. If not, then please allow me the certainty of buoyant faith. I ask courage to continue through the enveloping fog, trusting each small moment to the illumination of faith and grace.

Jesus out of seeming failure, You rose in glory. Out of my failure, loss, and sorrow please bring healing and goodness luminescent as priceless pearls grown around grains of suffering, for Your glory, and for mine and others’ remedy and blessing


Make the best of it. It’s too late to get down now.:shrug:


Look around you where you are.
Think of your “missed opportunity”
What are the positive aspects of the life of that vocation?
How can you institute those aspects of vocation into your current life.

For instance, if you are currently married, but you feel you should have joined the priesthood. This vocation is notable for its
*]devotion to God
*]service to others
*]liturgical participation


As a married man
*]Pray regularly throughout the day
*]Study your faith in an organized way, pursue available Catholic classes
*]Read and study the scriptures
*]Get involved in social outreach to the homeless, abused, inprisoned, etc.
*]Teach CCD, get involved in RCIA, etc.
*]Become a lector, greeter, choir member, etc.
*]Volunteer in your parish
*]Keep your vow
*]Practice chastity


This will never completely compensate for the lost vocation. But, it can be a way of fulfilling your calling in another form.

Also, consider this…all things work toward’s God’s plan. Perhaps THIS is precisely where you were intended to be! Make the most of it! Happiness does not lie in having what we want, but rather in wanting what we have!



Just keep God in the center of your life at all times. A life is never wasted in God. All the other things, are just that…things. The only mistake, in my opinion, would be if we forgot God. Whether a chosen career was right or wrong is ultimately of little consequence if we keep God in the center of our life.


Some people will say that you should live with whatever place you find yourself now, but I feel differently. If, for example, you spent thirty years as a monk and now you feel this was wrong you can begin the process to leave. On the other hand, since you have not stated exactly what the problem is, if you have been married for thirty years that is where you must remain. So, the answer is it depends. One thing for sure is that it is never too late to answer God’s call for your life it just may be very difficult to do.


A friend of mine was an extremely successful corporate executive before he decided to enter the seminary.

Just consider what the higher priority is and act accordingly. What did you spend 30 years building? If it is material, then forget it.


Assuming you made no unbreakable vows, I say start climbing down and prepare to climb the correct building!




Thanks a lot everyone. I really appreciate the answers. I’m sorry for not being very specific initially. The vica general of a religious congregation here in Italy got married last week despite his many years in the priesthood, his missionary experience and his office as a major superior. I have been wondering ever since whether there is any justification for leaving the priesthood in favour of marriage. Should a priest apply for laicization after thirty years if he realizes that he has been climbing a wrong building?


Suppose I, a mother and wife of many years, suddenly realized my true vocation was as a nun?

Well, what of it? my vocation *now *is of wife and mother. Whatever was in the past is in the past and can’t be changed, but now my vocation is that of wife and mother and I need to live it to the fullest and be the best I can be and use the vocation I’m in to grow in holiness.



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