Real vocation?


Hello :slight_smile:
I’m sorry to join the forum with one request and very little to contribute but the majority of people I know haven’t been able to help because of a lack of Catholic perspective. I’m also sorry that it’s probably going to be a long matter. I don’t really know who to talk to about this, and I found the forum while looking for whether someone had a similar situation and all the married men who posted that they wanted to become monks only made me even more confused :frowning: Thank you in advance for reading through it.

I know that vocations should be a matter of things between God, the person and the Church, but the person himself admitted than in this case it affects a 4th person, which is me, and he wants me to support him (he knows I wouldn’t have given that up easily because of my caring nature anyway).

My boyfriend had already abandoned noviciate in a monastery and the path to ordination as a priest because he felt he was called to have a family and he was doing that just because that was what his priest pushed him to do before meeting me. He says he liked it, but he had doubts, and he got into trouble for being err too friendly with one of the nuns (as there’s a female house there too.). He wasn’t a virgin when he met me either, and I have the impression he struggled with sexual feelings much more than I did before meeting him.
When we met after some circumstances that seemed to both clear evidence that Someone was bringing us together we were both confident that marriage was our call, and that we had now started the journey towards it together. I had separated from the Church for years after abuses that were going on among the young people in my local parish and meeting him was to me like I was called home, so I started my own journey of reconciliation so that we could be married and raise our children in the Catholic faith. Marriage seemed so secure he also asked me if I would dress him should he be ordained as a deacon, as he still had a call to serve in the church (while I had one of my own too).
Meanwhile, some awful things happened in his life and he felt like God was punishing him for leaving the monastery and he says that he is confused about what his vocation really is. He suffers from anxiety and I managed to convince him to try and seek help with it because he is in a too vulnerable position right now to make a decision, but he gave himself a deadline to decide and it feels to me like it’s too little time to take a decision from a position of emotional peace. He didn’t open much about his feelings (it’s not in his character) but he told me if he didn’t meet me he would have probably gone back to the monastery, and he asked me whether I would take him back should he realise it was a mistake to go back. I asked him what has changed since the last time he was a novice to make him think this time it’s the right thing and he says that he doesn’t know. He speaks of himself as being in a desperate state emotionally that is showing physically and he wants me not to have to see him in such a dreadful state. He says his feelings for me haven’t changed and that I’m an amazing woman he doesn’t deserve, and says that he only hurts people when he’s around them and that’s why he should be away from them. He has considered becoming a Trappist but then changed his mind because too strict for him. If he returned to the monastery he left he wishes me to remain his friend because he wants to be there for me, and this whole thing about finding it hard to let me go is bothering me. The whole situation to me seems like he would use the monastery to run away from his problems, which doesn’t really sound like a real vocation to me, but I don’t want to push this to him as only he and God know.
I don’t really know how to cope with this apart from praying, but every time I open my devotional or attend Mass there’s something that reinforces what my version of our call is and I’m crying in church (and anywhere really) so often you’d think I’m mourning someone passing away if you saw me.

What does one do to support someone discerning a vocation without interfering, and without losing themselves in it like I’m doing right now? :blush:
Thank you again for reading through it, any advice or prayers will be appreciated.


Your boyfriend is in no condition to discern a vocation. He needs to get his emotional life sorted out first. If he feels called to be a deacon, right now he is not able to get married.


:thumbsup: Perhaps you could encourage him to find a spiritual director to discuss the potential calling and help him with the spiritual side?


Not sure.

One possible way would be to allow him to pursue this path, distance yourself from him.

My brother spent 3 years in the seminary but ultimately left, got married.

He may indeed be running away, but if he is, he might be best left to that realization if he is just allowed to continue on his path, if it involves celibacy, allow things to take their natural course.

I would say not to resist his decisions. If he says he wants to become a monk, allow him to, support his decision. If it’s wrong, it will resolve itself with time, in my opinion.

Some say if we love something, to let it go, that if it returns, it’s ours, if it doesn’t, it never was.


You two need a break. He has to discern his true vocation and you need to consider if he is The One for you. The last thing you need is to marry this guy and have him tell you 3 years and 2 kids later that he made a mistake and he REALLY belongs back in the monastery.


Thank you. I thought so, I guess I got worried that I might be putting too much emphasis on that just because I have an investment in the situation.
We wouldn’t be in a position to actually get married even if he came to the realisation that’s still what he wants, so if the diaconate is the actual call it will become clear eventually.

Thank you. I kinda suggested this before not knowing that there’s actually a specific figure for it because I believe some people pushed their own interests on him, which is something I’m trying to avoid doing myself. Maybe I need one too, because I’m going through a deep crisis of faith myself at the moment. I’ll see if the chaplain at uni can help or I’ll ask around about spiritual directors :slight_smile:

Thank you. If I’m not too indiscrete, has your brother ever had any second thoughts after leaving that you know of? Because this would be his second time joining, and he also spent a relatively long time in seminary…
We technically took a break from being together, and I intended to walk away and let him be but he was too upset, after opening up about his feelings and hearing what I had to say he decided that I need to be part of this decision for some reason.

Thank you. You’re right, that’s absolutely not what I wish to happen and at the same time i don’t want him to go back and stick to it even if he thinks he made a mistake because he convinced himself that surely I found happiness with someone else who deserves me more than he does (because he already thinks that I should be with such person when he is such person).
I know he is the one for me, I’ve just started to doubt the source of my confidence when initially I thought what needed doubting was the source of his vocation. Maybe the evil one is playing with both.


Praying for you!


A priest will tell him the same thing I said.


Thank you. God bless you!

It was indeed wise advice, so I believe this would be the case too.
Maybe that’s what he needs to hear from someone whose opinion he trusts to be beyond personal interest (even though at times I have the impression he wants to hear it from me too). I will pray for him to come across such a person.

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