Selfish vocation?


#1

Hello all,

I am currently discerning vocation. I am pretty sure that I will enter religious life, but I have studies to conclude and debts to settle first, as well as earning some money to give my parents a comfortable retirement.

I am currently reading about the Salesians of Don Bosco, and the Missionaries of Charity Fathers. I feel that either of these are a good choice for me.

My question is this: Is it wrong that I would prefer to be 'posted' (if that's the correct term) abroad, in a third world country where there is physical suffering and poverty, rather than remain in the UK where there is so much hostility to faith, but also a lot of spiritual and emotional suffering?

I feel called to help the poor and stand in solidarity with the suffering, but I also want to bring souls to Christ and teach the faith. I don't want to be a glorified celibate social worker.

Any help is appreciated, as are prayers.

God bless,

Peter


#2

Once, when I was concerned that I was having too much fun in my vocation, a wise person told me that my vocation is not only my gift to God, but also God's gift to me.

It is perfectly reasonable to have preferences for how and where you would like to serve. That's part of what will help you discern what community you might be headed to. Be open about it with vocations directors so there are no surprises.

Of course you will have to be obedient to your superior, and that may include stints in less favorable circumstances, but generally I would expect the Church to be very glad to have friars/brothers/priests who want to work in less "cushy" areas.


#3

[quote="LDNCatholic, post:1, topic:214881"]
Hello all,

I am currently discerning vocation. I am pretty sure that I will enter religious life, but I have studies to conclude and debts to settle first, as well as earning some money to give my parents a comfortable retirement.

I am currently reading about the Salesians of Don Bosco, and the Missionaries of Charity Fathers. I feel that either of these are a good choice for me.

My question is this: Is it wrong that I would prefer to be 'posted' (if that's the correct term) abroad, in a third world country where there is physical suffering and poverty, rather than remain in the UK where there is so much hostility to faith, but also a lot of spiritual and emotional suffering?

I feel called to help the poor and stand in solidarity with the suffering, but I also want to bring souls to Christ and teach the faith. I don't want to be a glorified celibate social worker.

Any help is appreciated, as are prayers.

God bless,

Peter

[/quote]

Peter,
I will give you my opinion and my experience.

I think it is good to have an idea of what you would like to do but to also be open to other things that the religious community/order does.

My province of the Carmelites runs parishes, retreat houses, a shrine, high schools, and then has men working in one off ministries that they felt they were called to and the provincial prior (our provincial superior) agreed to (things like spiritual direction at a seminary, college professor, counseling, just to name a few). There are also the internal ministeries such as vocations directors, formation, runing the province (among other things).

When it came time for my internship I really did not want to go to one of our High Schools but I was open to the option because that is one of our ministeries and I thought I should not exclude it. I also believe that my formators and superiors are not going to send me someplace that they know I will fail, that maybe they see something in me that I do not see.

All of our assignments are a dialogue between the individual and the superior, no more finding a letter in your mail box telling you where you are going. So we discussed and agreed that it would be a High School for my internship. Now I am sort of sad that my internship will be ending at the end of this school year (God Willing, there may be issues due to an illness that may extend it). I am really enjoying it here and am contemplating asking to be reassigned here after my studies and ordination (again God Willing) because of my experience here. I came in almost at the point of refusing an assignment at a High School and now I am at a place where I am thinking of making this my ministry within the order.

So my advice would be, when the time comes, be open and be obedient. If there is a serious need someplace you are not sure you want to go but your superior would like you to do it, then be obedient and do it. There is always the future to move on to other ministries within the community.

I hope this helps a bit.


#4

[quote="LDNCatholic, post:1, topic:214881"]
...to help the poor and stand in solidarity with the suffering, but I also want to bring souls to Christ and teach the faith.

[/quote]

Hmm ... parkminster.org.uk/ perhaps?

What could be more like the suffering poor than to disappear from society, live alone, and die in obscurity, dropped into an unmarked grave? What more effective method of bringing souls to Christ than to pray for them unawares? What better lesson to teach than to demonstrate it yourself? Work, pray, study, die. For the rest of your life.


#5

[quote="ByzCath, post:3, topic:214881"]
Peter,
I will give you my opinion and my experience.

I think it is good to have an idea of what you would like to do but to also be open to other things that the religious community/order does.

My province of the Carmelites runs parishes, retreat houses, a shrine, high schools, and then has men working in one off ministries that they felt they were called to and the provincial prior (our provincial superior) agreed to (things like spiritual direction at a seminary, college professor, counseling, just to name a few). There are also the internal ministeries such as vocations directors, formation, runing the province (among other things).

When it came time for my internship I really did not want to go to one of our High Schools but I was open to the option because that is one of our ministeries and I thought I should not exclude it. I also believe that my formators and superiors are not going to send me someplace that they know I will fail, that maybe they see something in me that I do not see.

All of our assignments are a dialogue between the individual and the superior, no more finding a letter in your mail box telling you where you are going. So we discussed and agreed that it would be a High School for my internship. Now I am sort of sad that my internship will be ending at the end of this school year (God Willing, there may be issues due to an illness that may extend it). I am really enjoying it here and am contemplating asking to be reassigned here after my studies and ordination (again God Willing) because of my experience here. I came in almost at the point of refusing an assignment at a High School and now I am at a place where I am thinking of making this my ministry within the order.

So my advice would be, when the time comes, be open and be obedient. If there is a serious need someplace you are not sure you want to go but your superior would like you to do it, then be obedient and do it. There is always the future to move on to other ministries within the community.

I hope this helps a bit.

[/quote]

Thank you Brother, it was helpful. And thanks to Evelyn as well. If I was to join an order I would of course be obedient to my superiors. After all, the point of the vocation is giving up earthly goals etc, at least in my understanding.

Apollos, thank you for your suggestion too. I do not feel called to contemplative life, though I have great respect for those who do, I believe I am called to actively help as well as pray for people.


#6

Mate, everyone is individual and for every guy who wants to work in the third world, there will be a ton of folk wanting to stay in America etc.


#7

[quote="LDNCatholic, post:1, topic:214881"]
I feel called to help the poor and stand in solidarity with the suffering, but I also want to bring souls to Christ and teach the faith. I don't want to be a glorified celibate social worker.

[/quote]

I understand whatyou saying, However, I do not see anything that it is wrong with being a "glorified celibate social worker." I feel that I am called to the priesthood and probably to religious life, and I love to serve as a psychiatrist or the like. Naturally, hearing confessions and offering spiritual advice also sound attractive to me. I really admire people like Albert Schweitzer and Blessed Theresa of Calcutta, but one must remember that the life of a missionary in a Third World country, while not impossible, can be very difficult.


#8

[quote="Young_Thinker, post:7, topic:214881"]
I understand whatyou saying, However, I do not see anything that it is wrong with being a "glorified celibate social worker." I feel that I am called to the priesthood and probably to religious life, and I love to serve as a psychiatrist or the like. Naturally, hearing confessions and offering spiritual advice also sound attractive to me. I really admire people like Albert Schweitzer and Blessed Theresa of Calcutta, but one must remember that the life of a missionary in a Third World country, while not impossible, can be very difficult.

[/quote]

You misunderstand me.

When I said I don't want to be a ''glorified celibate social worker'' I meant I didn't want to be one of those liberal priests I have seen so much of in the media.

The type who are more than happy to build a well, or hand out rice, or teach literacy, but who are frankly terrified of or opposed to bearing witness to the truth of the Faith.

I feel called to be a priest. If I wanted nothing to do with teaching the faith I'd merely stay celibate and go volunteer overseas or something.


#9

[quote="LDNCatholic, post:8, topic:214881"]
You misunderstand me.

When I said I don't want to be a ''glorified celibate social worker'' I meant I didn't want to be one of those liberal priests I have seen so much of in the media.

The type who are more than happy to build a well, or hand out rice, or teach literacy, but who are frankly terrified of or opposed to bearing witness to the truth of the Faith.

I feel called to be a priest. If I wanted nothing to do with teaching the faith I'd merely stay celibate and go volunteer overseas or something.

[/quote]

Oh, I see. Forgive me for my error.


#10

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