I'm confused about whether I have a calling ...?


#1

This is going to be a long story, just as a warning!

I remember when I was in elementary school, I considered 3-5 “jobs”. Not that it matters because as we grow older, we change our minds a lot. At one point, I wanted to be a doctor, then another point, a priest (and then maybe law and pharmacy in between). When I was in elementary school, and maybe up to grade 7, I was an altar server. For the whole year of my grade 7, I remember praying the rosary every day and praying for at least an hour. I loved my faith. Even up to grade 9, I had the goal to be a saint. lol.

Going through high school and middle school, I was more and more attracted to health care. At the same time, starting around grade 7, horrible things were beginning in my family that I didn’t know what it was about until grade 8. Let’s just say my dad was involved with more than alcohol and leave it at that. This was about the time my faith started to come apart. Because of my dad’s irregularities of being at home, I was unable to complete my confirmation year. Thus, I started to drift from the faith. At the same time, I have always been inquisitive in nature; the way catechism was taught did not mentally stimulate me; it presented me with flowery things instead of reason and I got bored. So through my middle/high school years, I started to lose a lot of faith. I still believed in God and I held onto the Catholic values, but maybe from grade 8-10 or so, whenever my mom would say God will help us or something, I would ask her “If God is so good, then why is He letting this happen to us? Where is this good God now?”

Then I graduated from high school with over $30,000 in worth of scholarships – my whole tuition was paid for, my books, my transportation, and other things. Initially for the first two years of university, I wanted to go into a different health faculty, but by my third year, after my mom had anxiety attacks and among the hospital visits, I changed my mind and wanted to go into medicine instead (my initial health faculty option was not involved in “saving lives”). My major is in math by the way – I already finished my pre-medicine requirements. Now going through university, I was still struggling with my faith and I wasn’t happy where I was. I guess fortunately, we were required to take humanities courses (I was so against the humanities; as a science student, I thought the humanities was dumb). So I took a philosophy course and we covered Aristotle and Aquinas each for about a week. I absolutely loved it. My final paper was based on these two. This piqued my interest and I started reading St. Augustine’s Confessions. I’ve only read the first few chapters but I found him relatable and it just radically changed my way of thinking. So in January 2014, after talking to my friend, she said something like “Dan, I want you to go to church on Sunday.” So I went and I liked it. Shortly after, I contacted the RCIA program in my local parish (and went to confession in February) and got confirmed in June(?). I was able to get over my racist thoughts (because as I had my family struggles, it was always in relation to a certain race my dad associated with), I was able to get over my fear of germs and was able to shake hands with a homeless person, it became clear to me to no longer be for capital punishment – I was able to see God in all things, in all aspects of my life. I was able to move on from my past and the sins I had committed.

Throughout the whole time, I had been praying to God, to show me where He wants me to go and to give me the strength to follow; that I will follow Him wherever He may lead me. In June, I was offered a job with our government. I was contracted to work from July to August if I accept. But during that summer, I was supposed to be studying to take the medical entrance exam. I thought to myself, “If I don’t make it into medicine, at least I can use the experience I get from this job as a stepping stone to a back up plan.” Also, both my parents were saying “If you can handle it, take it. But it’s up to you.” My dad added, “But this is your chance and if I were you, I would take it.” But ultimately it was up to me. Out of obedience and out of practicality, I took it.
Then in August, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. This meant she wouldn’t be working, and since my dad isn’t working (he hasn’t been working since elementary school), all the financial obligations would fall on me. Thankfully, my boss asked if I would like to stay with them for two more terms (until May). I accepted. It’s like God had plans to shelter us financially. When I was returning to university (I was going back because my tuition is still free and I wanted to upgrade my degree), I knew there was a chance of failure. Still, I had trust in God. At the same time, I’d like to stress how I used to be so uptight about my GPA. I was a planner; I liked knowing where I am going with things. But when I was returning, I was a bit more calm about the possibility of failure for some reason. Anyway, I got my results from last semester and I failed one course. I have never failed to obtain anything I want academically in my life. At the same time as that semester, I was teaching catechism (so I started in September, 2014 and am still teaching now). Before the catechetical year began, it was actually the sister who taught my RCIA class that said she wanted to suggest me to teach a class. I felt the call and took around two months to pray, after which I responded to God’s call and accepted.


#2

After a Christmas pageant for our students at our parish, I was hanging out with a co-catechist, the pianist, and our priest. We were just chilling, sitting/lying down in the lounge, talking about whatever our conversation lead to. The priest asked me how school was going and I was honest; I failed a course. I decided that I would set a time to just talk to him about my current situation. So while talking to our priest about my family life and how I’m so confused about the things going on in my life, he said “I was thinking about you a few weeks ago and I thought you’d make a great priest.” I said “Thanks, but I’m hoping to go into medicine.” And he said “It’s just a thought I wanted to put out there for you.” At the same time, the past few months, people have been telling me I would make a good priest; a nun and my friends included.

But I kept denying it or diverting it away from myself. Some nights, it’s just me and my mom at home. One time, she collapsed on the floor in the kitchen and I helped her make her way back to bed really slowly; I was essentially supporting her to get to bed. At that moment, I felt like God was asking me if I was willing to share in the suffering of others. I even helped my mom bath (like I had to touch everything) and I had never done that before. But I have always felt God’s love at those times and the will to share it. I had to make sacrifices in my school life, my social life, and financially. From reading a bit of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s encyclical Deus Caritas est, I understood that love is sacrifice. I feel like my love for others ultimately stems from my love for God who I always try to keep in mind; before I leave home and after I leave home (I’m even on here!).

Before entering into my period of challenges (which started when my mom was diagnosed with cancer), I felt like God was telling me to listen. Anyway, I had plans that if I wasn’t able to make it into medicine, I would want to do a masters in statistics or something related. But my job with the government is office work and I’ve come to realize I can’t stay in an office all day, it is way too boring for me and I am not in direct contact with others or helping in the way I wanted to (my work is in economic research). Health care has the kind of help that I want to give where I am more involved as a person. The other career pathway with my degree is to go into teaching (few options and varieties for math degrees). It so happened also that I was offered a position to co-teach a math lab at my university (starting September) which I also accepted (so I was studying and working over 2 jobs at the same time). Teaching math wasn’t very satisfying for me. I love what I study but I realize that I can’t see myself doing it for my whole life. I feel like God has presented me with these jobs to show me that the career options I’m considered with my degree are things I won’t enjoy should I not make it into medicine. This confuses me even more. After coming back to Church, I realized to fully trust in God, to stop questioning God in an accusative way, “If God is so good, then why is this happening to me?”, because looking back at my life, He lead me here with a scholarship which probably helped me to choose math as my major (I would have chosen something else that’s practical which I probably wouldn’t enjoy if I had to pay for it with non-scholarship money), and help me to take the philosophy course which would lead me back to Him (I probably would have taken a more practical humanities course if I wasn’t on a scholarship). My math course, being heavily based on logic, helped me to learn what I believe and to help me think philosophically which lead me to learn more about our faith which makes a lot of sense to me. It all came back full circle and I came back stronger, so I’ve learned to trust God fully.

I’m scared God is calling me. I told Him I would respond, but I am so confused. If I left to enter seminary, nobody would be there for my mom. I was just hoping for some input.

Thank you.


#3

Praying to the Holy Spirit to give you guidance, direction, strength, fortitude & wisdom in your discernment.


#4

This is how it started for our parochial vicar and at least half of our permanent deacons: they were living their lives, minding their own business…the priesthood and/or permanent diaconate were the farthest things from their minds, then wham someone planted the seed. :slight_smile:

Why are you scared? God calls all of us to one vocation or another. :yup:

God doesn’t call someone to a vocation and then make it impossible for the person to answer that call. If your mom is dependent on you, this is probably not the time to consider going into the seminary. Waiting shouldn’t be a problem. Our current parochial vicar was ordained to the priesthood at the age of 67, after having been married for 25 years and raising three children.

But **please **discuss this with your priest and/or the vocations director for your diocese. They can give you more pertinent advice than I.

Remembering you in my daily prayers nonetheless.

God bless!


#5

I’ll be praying for you.

I would also recommend you get a priest to be your spiritual director. They can help you make sense of everthing


#6

Thank you so much to everyone who has answered so far!


#7

I’m not sure, I guess the better word was confused. I think it’s because the task is so great (in a different way than marriage) but also somewhat obscure. I think when we see the vocation of marriage, we somewhat have a better idea (or at least we think we do) than what really goes on in the vocation of a priest or someone in the religious life. For example, do they sometimes feel lonely? If a seminarian drops out, how do they “readjust” to society? It seems like a huge struggle. I guess in some ways, it’s kind of the idea of plunging into the unknown. Now that I talk about it, it does sound somewhat irrational. lol. The path of life itself is unknown; we don’t know where it will go. At the end of the day, I think that you won’t know unless you try and that at the end of the day, it’s not about my will, but God’s will. I hope to have the courage to follow Him wherever He may lead me.

Well, it’s more like my dad isn’t reliable. I don’t trust him to stay at home to take care of my mom – his priorities consist of his friends and himself. Meanwhile, I don’t know if I can depend on my sibling who’s younger than me. So there are people there who could help, but I don’t know if they would help. It’s a confusing family dynamic.

Thank you, UpUpAndAway! At this point, I’m still trying to figure things out among everything else that’s going on. I’ll need some time of peace to think about it before I do anything else.

God bless!


#8

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