Lay vocations


#1

I am 52 happily married and empty nester. I own a small business that requires my constant attention Monday through Saturday 8 months of the year.

I was asked to consider the diaconate, but cannot financially afford to take the Fridays and Saturdays from work. We don't have retirement savings and have two buildings with manageable mortgages that will last another 6 or 7 years.

What other religious vocations are available? What is a secular order? Society of Apostolic Life?

I often think my vocation is to serve more fully right where I'm at, but I feel God is pulling me to make a bigger commitment. I am having trouble discerning if that pull is real, or if my pride is at work.


#2

Tagged for interest.


#3

Have you heard about Opus Dei? Ive just read about them. Look themup.


#4

Have you considered getting more involved in your parish? I don't know what your interests are, but there are needs ranging from liturgical (lectors, EMHCs, choir) to educational/formational (religious education for adults or children, RCIA) to social justice (caring for the poor or homeless). At least some of these things could be done on Sundays since your time is so limited.

My knowledge of Oblates, third orders, etc. are that they truly are a vocation and require prayer time and so on every day. They're wonderful, but they're also a commitment.


#5

As was mentioned, you may want to check out ways to help in your parish. Maybe a Catholic organization like the Knights of Columbus.

Most Secular Orders and Associations require a little more commitment then one day a week. Just using the Secular Franciscan Order as an example since that is what I am a member of, if you are lucky enough to have a local fraternity that just happens to meet on Sunday, the fraternity would also need to have its formation on Sunday to meet your schedule. Most fraternities don’t do that, they usually have the formation on a separate night.

Usually when you approach a Secular Order, if you say you are real busy and don’t think you can spend a lot of time doing stuff, they will probably tell you it might not be the right time yet. You can use the time to investigate the various orders, find out about their charisms, Rules and way of life.

If you feel called, check out the following thread:
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=179983

It lists several Lay Organizations. It is the same thread that is in the sticky’s above this section.

A very simple definition of a secular Order is a branch of an official Order, like the Franciscans, for those people that for some reason or other can’t take vows to become a religious brother/sister. Usually secular Orders are for lay people and/or diocesan priests/deacons.


#6

I’m involved heavily in the parish. RCIA, finance, choir, bible studies. Like I say, this may be a call to more radical discipleship right where I am.
I am definitely intrigued by the prayer life I see in other vocations. It is difficult to take regular prayer time.


#7

[quote="Marauder, post:5, topic:313280"]
As was mentioned, you may want to check out ways to help in your parish. Maybe a Catholic organization like the Knights of Columbus.

Most Secular Orders and Associations require a little more commitment then one day a week. Just using the Secular Franciscan Order as an example since that is what I am a member of, if you are lucky enough to have a local fraternity that just happens to meet on Sunday, the fraternity would also need to have its formation on Sunday to meet your schedule. Most fraternities don't do that, they usually have the formation on a separate night.

Usually when you approach a Secular Order, if you say you are real busy and don't think you can spend a lot of time doing stuff, they will probably tell you it might not be the right time yet. You can use the time to investigate the various orders, find out about their charisms, Rules and way of life.

If you feel called, check out the following thread:
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=179983

It lists several Lay Organizations. It is the same thread that is in the sticky's above this section.

A very simple definition of a secular Order is a branch of an official Order, like the Franciscans, for those people that for some reason or other can't take vows to become a religious brother/sister. Usually secular Orders are for lay people and/or diocesan priests/deacons.

[/quote]

Well, the OFS is it's own order with it's own minister general. :D


#8

Finding time for a regular prayer life, especially when you’re already busy with work and church commitments, is a challenge. But I don’t think the challenge will necessarily be easier if you join a group where prayer is an expectation.

I’m not sure I’m saying this right.

Let’s say you join a group where Morning and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours are part of what is expected from members. In one sense it might be appealing that everyone participates in this form of prayer. But there’s nothing stopping you from doing it now except, perhaps, a lack of time.

Have you considered trying out a new form of prayer? Perhaps one of the hours from the Liturgy of the Hours would be a good starting point. Or the Rosary. Or lectio divina. Something that wouldn’t be hugely time consuming (if you start out with the idea that you’ll spend hour upon hour in prayer you’re doomed to fail), but that would enhance your spiritual life. In your prayer be open to where the Spirit may be leading you and see if some type of vocation is appropriate for you.


#9

I do some of the prayers from the breviary, mostly the day prayer at different times, schedule permitting. I do adoration once a week and pray the rosary and Divine Mercy, although not as part of a routine.

One of things I am thinking about is whether I am experiencing a general dissatisfaction with life, and interpreting that as a call to something "bigger and better". I don't know. But dissatisfaction wouldn't be a valid reason to pursue an added vocation. Things like the diaconate are really attractive to me, but I want to do it for the right reason.


#10

Do you have a spiritual director? This would be a great topic to explore with him or her.

My general sense is that God calls us by attracting us TO something rather than just dissatisfaction with what we have. But perhaps dissatisfaction is an initial sign that there’s “something more” out there for us.

It sounds like you have a pretty full spiritual life. A lot of prayer and a lot of involvement in ministry. If you visualize yourself being happy and fulfilled, what would you be doing that’s different from what you’re doing now?


#11

[quote="SuscipeMeDomine, post:10, topic:313280"]
Do you have a spiritual director? This would be a great topic to explore with him or her.

My general sense is that God calls us by attracting us TO something rather than just dissatisfaction with what we have. But perhaps dissatisfaction is an initial sign that there's "something more" out there for us.

It sounds like you have a pretty full spiritual life. A lot of prayer and a lot of involvement in ministry. If you visualize yourself being happy and fulfilled, what would you be doing that's different from what you're doing now?

[/quote]

Spending lots of time reading, learning, teaching, and discussing with others who really care about these things. My wife doesn't want to hear about it. She has a great prayer life and is wonderful, but she is not interested in TOB or Augustine's confessions. The parish bible studies are are a nice study of scripture with lots of talk about how the Church has gone wrong and what we can do about it.
Another bible study is ecumenical, and when I talk about the Church or what this or that saint says I get blank stares, even from the Catholics.
The faith is interesting to me, stimulating. I realize a vocation is not a hobby either tho...

From RCIA experience I feel that I can explain things to people well, in a way that is relevant to their lives, and I'd like to do more of that eventually.

I think a spiritual director is a good place to start. I'm going to see our deacon tonight.
Thanks
And thanks for the links above. Fascinating stuff.


#12

Wow, it didn’t take you any time at all to come up with ideas about what would make you happy.

Perhaps taking a class would be enjoyable. There are programs like the Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (vlc.udayton.edu/) where you can take one or more classes. There are also places where you can do online degree programs though that’s a longer-term commitment.

I took a number of classes through VLCFF and enjoyed them (some more than others, of course). Then I wanted something meatier and ended up getting a master’s in theology through an online program. So there are options that go beyond your local parish or diocese.


#13

That’s why I said a SIMPLE explanation of a secular order :wink:

Didn’t want to get into all the nuances and inner workings since it didn’t sound like the OP was interested in that level of detail, SFO is its own Order but it is still part/branch of the Franciscan Order.


#14

I know. I was just messin’ with you :smiley:


#15

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