How to define a calling to a vocation?


#1

I am having a bit of difficulty understanding what it means to be " Called" to a Vocation…

some do not want to say it is a choice, but we have free will, so if people choose to get married because they love each other, how is that not being called to marrage , maybe two people do not feel they are soul mates, but that they " fit together " or " compliment each other " two terms i have heard numerous times but not personally prefer.

I do not feel at peace in the secular world, I don’t feel like i fit in at all. I have always felt at home and at peace at Mass and being raised as Catholic.

I have always had a need to serve others, and have in various ways all my life.

But having to hold down a 9-5 " job " it isn’t working for me, and I have come to a realization over the years and with reflection on my life the one consistancy in my life that i have always loved, is Christ, and the Church and being Catholic.

and a " 9 - 5 " isn’t working for me because i have zero passion to do so, and i guess one could say well you are just lazy, but i am digressing and that isnt the case, i just dont want to write a novel explaining everything and need to get back to my original question in a moment.

I am having strong feelings that I probably have a strong mission to serve as a priest or brother, at this point in time i cant say which.

And I can not properly articulate why ,

what i can say is becoming a Priest or Brother would allow me to serve others through ,with,and for Christ. and allow me to be able to fully and properly pray at any time with out anyone saying well, that is nice you are Catholic and have a holy day of obligation coming up or want to spend a week in retreat and prayer, but we have a deadline coming up and our clients or customers really need this product or report and well you have to choose now, your job or your Faith, pay your bills or lose everything and then you can truely live poor and destitute and pray when ever you want.

I can’t do both, I cant serve Caesar and God .

But if I fully devote myself to a vocation to a new life I am open to fully serving God in so many more ways than i can just living as a devoted lay person.

I see that I have so much to offer, and I am certain I will never live a fullfilled life outside the Catholic faith, Church , or Christ.

I mean if I wanted to I could in a few months say ya know what forget it, im going back into the military, I would hate it 100% but they would take me, they wouldnt ask why i was rejoining after 10 yrs of not serving, they wouldnt care why. Just sign here and off you go to what ever is open. I could do it, I would feel a little bit of honor and pride, but I would mainly be doing just enough to get by until i can retire while avoiding as much hardship as possible.

I could just buck up and say well these feelings i have of a religious life is really admirable but since i cant define why I am being called, or why I think I should be a priest or brother, i should really just stick with what ever degree i can barely get out of college and find a job that wont make me completely miserable that i can at the very least tolerate .

I plan on going on a personal retreat this summer to a Benedictine Abbey hopefully for a solid 3 days, for hopefully some clarification.

I feel that I would bring some much needed honor to the Priesthood, and would love serving a parish, I also feel i could live a life of prayer and service to a community as a brother.

I see myself as either, I know I need to explore and research more, but at what point, and how do i tell a vocational director I am being called and this is why.

I have an unsettling feeling that there is no real way to define a calling, and that very rarely is there a true divine calling by God to a person where that person has a true vision and understands their mission in life.

At some point I will have to make a real discernment as to which it is going to be and why, and present myself to a vocational director to the best of my ability, hopefully with enough honesty, clairity, wisdom, and articulation that I can only hope the Holy Spirit will grant me when the time comes.

and if i am completely wrong about myself, if i am just full of hot air and wishful thinking, God is really going to need to talk to me a lot louder and clearer so I can see what I am supposed to do with my life , now that I am 33yrs old. Because I am about out of fruitful and passionate ideas of what to do with this life if this is not the path for me .


#2

Sounds as though you do have a Calling. The difficult part is.... a Calling to do what? (deacon, priest, religious? - it's a really hard decision but you just pray that God will lead you to make the right decision).

The only thing I have to say is that if you have the strongest desire to serve your God and Church with all your will till the end of your days...... that's a Calling.

I'd be very cautious if you have a strong desire to leave your present employment because this can magnify your feelings toward a Church vocation - when in actual fact the hard work of being a priest, brother or deacon can be even more overwhelming at times.

The advice I got was to throw myself into service at the local parish because, over time, that is the best way to get to know if you have a Calling. If you are serious, for example, to become a brother, go and stay with them and find out what it is really like.

Oh, and ask your friends to pray for you.


#3

ty i have just sent an email requesting information on a personal retreat at an Abbey in Fl.


#4

Remember, first, that what you are explaining shows a beautiful faith. You are pointing to a reality that ALL Christians (not just priests and religious) should understand: our happiness is in God, and ultimately in Heaven. Nothing on this earth will fully satisfy.

That being said, the things you have described show that you should at least pursue a priestly/religious vocation. You say that you have a hard time articulating why you may be called, but your post did a pretty good job. If you told a vocation director what you said in that post (that you love Christ and the Church above all things, that you are most at peace when at Mass, that you have a lot to offer to the people of God, that you love prayer and the idea of serving a parish)...I don't think you would be asked "Well, why do you feel you are being called?"

If it is God's will that you be a priest or religious, He will make things clearer to you over time. But, He's given you a good start: a lack of fulfillment in the things of this world and a desire to serve God as a priest. If you want more clarity, follow these first signs. And He will help you, no matter where you end up.

So, you had asked about free-will, and it's an important discernment question. God calls, He asks of us, but He never forces or demands. Of course we have freedom in our vocation. But if one prays, listens to God and learns who he has been created to be, there is one particular path that will bring him to the greatest possible fulfillment and holiness. That is his vocation. He is free to say no to pursuing it, to ignore it completely. And God will not abandon him. But that is where his true freedom, his true happiness, lie.

God bless you and continue to guide you on your journey. Be consoled that He has led you so far, perhaps more than you know.

In Christ through Mary,
Frank


#5

john78 it is so great that you have a strong desire to join the religious life, that itself has to be a vocation. I am trying to discern one myself, but I don't know what I would have to offer to people I would be serving. I mean to say that Im not really a social or entertaining person nor am I that athletic or any such thing. It would be great if you could be a priest and I will keep you in my prayers, as I try to discern my vocation in a similar way.


#6

cominghome, ty for your reply after re reading what i posted, i think i may be on to something, and will be copying what i put here in my journal for reflection and possibly a reminder for later if needed,

i am deff keeping an eye on this thread here, a lot of good information is coming my way, and i need to keep up on it, and ty for the prayers from the new trial member there, glad you found my thread and will make sure to include you in my prayers as well as you embark or are currently on your journey.


#7

[quote="john78, post:1, topic:286353"]
I am having a bit of difficulty understanding what it means to be " Called" to a Vocation....

some do not want to say it is a choice, but we have free will, so if people choose to get married because they love each other, how is that not being called to marrage ,, maybe two people do not feel they are soul mates, but that they " fit together " or " compliment each other " two terms i have heard numerous times but not personally prefer.

[/quote]

You are definitely on to something here. The priest who is vocation director here often speaks about people "failing to discern their vocation"... or else "not responding to the call to a vocation". All of this points to free will.

Let me put it this way: Would God want there to be a priest shortage? The more obvious answer to us would be: No... which means that God has been calling people to the priesthood, and they have not answered His call.

Discerning whether you are called is indeed hard. And it is often a lengthy process. BUT, it IS a definite process. If I could reccommend a single resource for discernment it would be the book: To Save A Thousand Souls by Fr. Brett Brannen

There is a whole chapter called "Signs of a Vocation to Priesthood, and characteristics of a good candidate"

Anyways, I could either quote significantly from that chapter in this post... or just tell you to buy it on amazon no matter how much it is!!!

However, I looked real quick, and it's $20.00 new and starting from $13 used. :D Seriously, I highly recommend that you get it. It will help you to get closer to definitively saying: YES I have a calling, or NO I don't have a calling to the priesthood.

[There's literally a list of 20 characteristics of someone who might make a good priest... and if you decide not to get the book, I might send those to you via PM... just tell me]

Anyways, whether you are called or not, I wouldn't want what I do for the rest of my life to hinge on "I could buck up and do it, I'd hate it, but I'd just get my retirement money as fast as I could and get out as soon as I could". Not exactly a ringing endorsement :D

It really sounds like you have a passion for serving the Church, so I would at least pursue discerning where you might be called. God wants us to enjoy what we do in life and be fulfilled by it... whatever it is.


#8

Semper, thank you for the input, I will deff consider this book,

I am also looking at things from a different perspective, can i with my heart be calm and at peace while praying for extended periods of time, how do i feel afterwards , do i feel like i just wasted that time or do i feel deeper on a spiritual level with the Holy Trinity with Mary, Joseph and the Saints that leaves me wanting to write down what I just experienced, share it with others, and find a way to go out into the world and do something, anything that at the very least makes someone else smile.

I am starting to feel less and less that i am full of hot air, full of myself with insightfulness, and feeling like i am just some wishful fool trying to mimic others,, i dont see myself as being that way.

I feel more honest during prayer, and afterwards, and my mind feels clearer as well.

though i am so overly cautious too, for me this isn't walking on sunshine, oh look how wonderful the world is kind of attitude.....

I am actually starting to consider the impact I will have on peoples lives, how a vocation will be me , denying myself and following Christ, how others in scripture asked Christ what do i have to do in order to follow you, and the reply was " sell everything you own " roughly paraphrasing, and then what did the man do, he hung his head and turned away.

or how we are told of those who were given talents, or money, two invested their money and or talents and made a profit or impact on others for the good of God, while the other buried the money or never used the talent and in turn suffered the concequence.

I will never forgive myself if i enter into a vocation, become ordained or take final vows, and later down the road say, i want out, or start having so much turmoil in my heart that i can not honestly pray.

I worry that I have been ignoring what ever talents i have been given, but chalk it up to immaturaty at the time, and now i am starting to grasp what talents i might actually have.

I look forward to talking to my S.D this month.

lucky for myself and others, God doesnt give up like humans do, I just fear that time is running out for me at 33yrs old, that if i dont figure out what my calling in life is soon that i will be too old to enter into a vocation or make a fruitful life for myself and maybe a family of my own, and then what am i supposed to do ? And my faith is the only consistancy i have in life , God has never failed me. I just hope I dont fail God.


#9

Hey,

Sometime you don't have all elements to define calling to a vocation. But you just have to abandoned all in Christ hand an trust un him. You have to dare your life with him and thus you will have you answer.
Don't look the fact that you are 33, because if you decide to look about priesthood it will never be a lost time.

The fact that you think about priesthood or religious vocation, and in the same time don't have all elements to define this vocation means that there is a precious vocation.

It's my case. Now I'm 28 and after 10 years hesitation, questionment, I finally decided to dare my life to Christ and this August I ll enter higher seminary.

God bless you,

http//:leandresz.com/en

[quote="john78, post:1, topic:286353"]
I am having a bit of difficulty understanding what it means to be " Called" to a Vocation....

some do not want to say it is a choice, but we have free will, so if people choose to get married because they love each other, how is that not being called to marrage ,, maybe two people do not feel they are soul mates, but that they " fit together " or " compliment each other " two terms i have heard numerous times but not personally prefer.

I do not feel at peace in the secular world, I don't feel like i fit in at all. I have always felt at home and at peace at Mass and being raised as Catholic.

I have always had a need to serve others, and have in various ways all my life.

But having to hold down a 9-5 " job " it isn't working for me, and I have come to a realization over the years and with reflection on my life the one consistancy in my life that i have always loved, is Christ, and the Church and being Catholic.

and a " 9 - 5 " isn't working for me because i have zero passion to do so, and i guess one could say well you are just lazy, but i am digressing and that isnt the case, i just dont want to write a novel explaining everything and need to get back to my original question in a moment.

I am having strong feelings that I probably have a strong mission to serve as a priest or brother, at this point in time i cant say which.

And I can not properly articulate why ,

what i can say is becoming a Priest or Brother would allow me to serve others through ,with,and for Christ. and allow me to be able to fully and properly pray at any time with out anyone saying well, that is nice you are Catholic and have a holy day of obligation coming up or want to spend a week in retreat and prayer, but we have a deadline coming up and our clients or customers really need this product or report and well you have to choose now, your job or your Faith, pay your bills or lose everything and then you can truely live poor and destitute and pray when ever you want.

I can't do both, I cant serve Caesar and God .

But if I fully devote myself to a vocation to a new life I am open to fully serving God in so many more ways than i can just living as a devoted lay person.

I see that I have so much to offer, and I am certain I will never live a fullfilled life outside the Catholic faith, Church , or Christ.

I mean if I wanted to I could in a few months say ya know what forget it, im going back into the military, I would hate it 100% but they would take me, they wouldnt ask why i was rejoining after 10 yrs of not serving, they wouldnt care why. Just sign here and off you go to what ever is open. I could do it, I would feel a little bit of honor and pride, but I would mainly be doing just enough to get by until i can retire while avoiding as much hardship as possible.

I could just buck up and say well these feelings i have of a religious life is really admirable but since i cant define why I am being called, or why I think I should be a priest or brother, i should really just stick with what ever degree i can barely get out of college and find a job that wont make me completely miserable that i can at the very least tolerate .

I plan on going on a personal retreat this summer to a Benedictine Abbey hopefully for a solid 3 days, for hopefully some clarification.

I feel that I would bring some much needed honor to the Priesthood, and would love serving a parish,,, I also feel i could live a life of prayer and service to a community as a brother.

I see myself as either, I know I need to explore and research more, but at what point, and how do i tell a vocational director I am being called and this is why.

I have an unsettling feeling that there is no real way to define a calling, and that very rarely is there a true divine calling by God to a person where that person has a true vision and understands their mission in life.

At some point I will have to make a real discernment as to which it is going to be and why, and present myself to a vocational director to the best of my ability, hopefully with enough honesty, clairity, wisdom, and articulation that I can only hope the Holy Spirit will grant me when the time comes.

and if i am completely wrong about myself, if i am just full of hot air and wishful thinking, God is really going to need to talk to me a lot louder and clearer so I can see what I am supposed to do with my life , now that I am 33yrs old. Because I am about out of fruitful and passionate ideas of what to do with this life if this is not the path for me .

[/quote]


#10

Thanks for the response there, and congratulations to you as well.

Just today I answered a literal call, via telephone, it was a director for my parishs' Perpetual Adoration, She had noticed I had been attending via the sign in book, and had asked me if I would be interested in an open time slot from 3am-4am on Tuesdays.

She even told me she had thought maybe the Holy Spirit was in turn asking her to call me ( cant remember exactly how she phrased it. )

well here is the thing, She has no clue that I am in a discernment process and I cant chalk this up to coincidence either. Plus she also said that there was a committed adorer covering this shift on top of others through out the day; so I was like well this person really needs some help, so at least in a small way I can help someone else..

How could I have possibly ignored this call, or said no.

I keep thinking of how many times through out my life I "asked for a sign". Give me some clue please as what You want me to do.

How much clearer does something need to get when it comes over the phone ?

and it is a daunting time to go I might add, I mean fighting the sand man and warm blankets sheesh.

I am still very hesitant as to say yes I am ready... but not so close minded as to not heed something that is presented to me.

So now I have a set hour with Our Lord in Adoration once a week, on top of Mass on Sunday and my first start as an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister in July as well.

Starting to turn into a very interesting summer.
I also am preparing to schedule an upcoming retreat at a monastery in Ga in July, and I have some things to still research as well.


#11

[quote="john78, post:1, topic:286353"]
I am having a bit of difficulty understanding what it means to be " Called" to a Vocation.... I have always felt at home and at peace at Mass and being raised as Catholic.

I am having strong feelings that I probably have a strong mission to serve as a priest or brother,

And I can not properly articulate why .

[/quote]

Not being able to "articulate why" is the evidence of calling, IMO. God calling isn't practical or sensible or reasonable, it's spiritual.

I will tell you two things: one people always tell me and two I always tell people:

  1. You think too much! :p

  2. The secret to happiness is: do what you love no matter how much or how little it pays and.... marry your best friend.

Sounds to me like you want to do exactly that. You have nothing to justify. The statement: this is what I long to do is entirely valid.

From the first sentence of the first post I read of yours I felt you were going to be a religious. I can't say I ever felt that about another poster. Reading your posts makes me smile and have peace, too.

I'm so glad you are going on a retreat. I think monk would suit you quite nicely.


#12

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