Strong Calling

I know people have callings to the religious life, but I’m a little bit confused about my case. Doesn’t God give us free will to do what we want? What if I don’t want to go into the religious life? Ok, deep down, I have a really strong feeling telling me to go and become a priest or monk. I’ve prayed in church many times for guidance, and today it was so overwhelming, I need to act on this. I know God has a master plan and extends his hand to us when we need help, but I’ve been praying desperately for a good girlfriend, and to be a better person. On the flipside, what if I was an amazing spiritual teacher? What if I really made a change in the world instead of raising a family, not discrediting that, but just saying. The answer is, I need to pray more. I really wish God could just give me a clear sign of what to do. Like a dream, or some kind of very distinct indication. I realize my faith sounds shaky, but it’s not easy.

For those of you who acted upon your calling, please tell me that ‘deciding factor’ of yours. Did you just decide “ok, I should be in the religious life, maybe I’d be good for it” or were you 100% convinced like you just saw a ghost that this was the thing for you?

I don’t think the answer to the calling is as obvious as you’d like it to be.

I think the calling is God’s prod toward discernment, and I think the final answer will be when one steps into (in my case) the convent that feels like home, if God intends any convent for me. A good family friend – a priest – has told me that it’s key to approach this process with utter peace and freedom (being open to both a call to religious or married/lay life). If God intends it for you, He will make it undeniably clear when the time is right.

God has a divine plan for all of us. Free choice doesn’t mean that we separate ourselves from that plan. Free choice is choosing to commit to or reject that plan – and thus God – directly.

You shouldn’t make any choices without exploring this calling farther. Make sure you find yourself a spiritual director, if you don’t yet have one, and start to make calls to the appropriate monasteries, seminaries, etc. (I know very little about the process for males.)

May God bless you! I’ll keep you in my prayers.

My priest gave me good advice to discern.

He said, every day for 2 months, pray hard for a sign of your vocation. You should receive a sign by the end of that time.

You are thinking too much about yourself. I found that for me clarity came when I surrendered my will to God and just asked Him to guide me.

I’m in a very similar boat as you are, Tektonik. Deep down i have some kind of sense of a calling, and the only way i can describe it is: I have a yearning for something Good, and Real, and truly Awesome. And i cant decypher if that means im supposed to be a husband (which i want and desire to be a Dad. I think that raising good Catholic children would be my greatest joy in life) or if im supposed to be pursuing Religious life (which i sort of feel drawn to on some levels…but sometimes not for the most right or humble reasons). Ive been in two seperate relationships with girls that had some issues, with the most recenty one having serious issues. The relationship was rocky and ended rather badly. And it frustrates the heck out of me because i just want to experience a good, holy dating relationship…and the only two girls ive dated were high mantainence basket cases :stuck_out_tongue: And furthermore, i recently asked a girl i sorta liked out on a date, and she declined. And it didnt make me sad or anything, i was just bummed because it could have been a sign that im supposed to be a Monk or Priest. And i really dont care to be one just yet…or maybe not at all :stuck_out_tongue: That could be Gods way of saying “Hey Isaac, dating and marriage is just not for you” Or it could mean that the right Woman just has not come along. Sure, being a Priest would be an awesome thing, but i dont know if its right for me.

I constantly ask God to make me more interested in the priesthood or religious life if thats what he wants me to do. and i wonder if thats sort of “testing” Him or what…but i mean, we should at least be interested in our calling, whatever it is, right?? :shrug:

So yeah, im in the same boat as you. I would like a clear sign, and sometimes i notice things that remind me of Religious Life or Priesthood…but im kinda dense in the skull, i guess…because they dont convince me that they are actually signs. Like for instance, i started praying a novena to St Therese and i am asking for a sign of a rose if im to pursue a religious vocation. I just started it yesterday, but since i started i had a dream last night in which i found two roses in my truck on the seat, and today while working at the Post Office like i usually do, i sorted through some mail and came across a piece of mail that had two roses on the envelope and it was from the Society of St Therese, or something like that. Obvious signs? I dont know :stuck_out_tongue:

Your signature may give you your answer.
Remember too that the first at least 5 - 6 years of religious life are years of discerning, both by you and the community. There is a similar passage of years of discernment in the seminary. No need to make any firm decision about vocation until you are not so confused. You may be confused now, but with prayer and especially coupled with spiritual direction that confusion will gradually clear.
A Catholic Discussion Site could increase the confusion. Not necessarily of course, but potentially. Seek out a spiritual director which is a one to one relationship and if you dont know how to locate one, contact the Vocations Director in your diocese.

Here’s a simple exercise for you.

Imagine yourself in the three situations as follows:

  1. You’re a family man, with a profession and a good income, 2.4 kids, a house and two cars. You go to work, come home, put food on the table, join a golf club, you go to Mass every Sunday, perhaps participate in the life of the parish as much as your time allows. Basically the cookie-cutter ‘American Dream’ life. You raise a good family who follow your ideals.

  2. You’re a priest. You live in the presbytery, you open your arms wide to the congregation at every Mass, you listen to their hopes and fears, you absolve them from their sins and put their souls and minds at rest, you baptise them, celebrate the Mass for First Holy Communions for dozens of kids each year, you marry them, you bury them, you console, comfort, listen, teach, etc… You’re a spiritual ‘warrior’ for the Faith, working in the community for everyone and with everyone.

  3. You’re a Religious - a monk, perhaps ordained (most usually are, but there are some ‘brothers’ as well). You live a life of simplicity and regular prayer, you live in common with other men who have the same aim in life. You might be a part of a teaching order or a contemplative order: the type will determine whether you’re ‘in the world’ or sequestered; both will have vows of poverty.

Think of yourself as the family man in that situation or as the priest celebrating Mass with a different sort of family (the people of your parish) or as a monk dedicating himself to either prayer or specific types of charity in the world.

Which one pulls at your heartstrings the most?

God’s a nag. What’s more, He’s omniscient and Loves you perfectly. And you’ve been praying! You’ve been praying for what you thought you wanted and He’s using that prayer to return to you what His Will is, which is what your spirit wants even if you don’t know it…

Now you’re stuck between a rock and hard place, because you think it’s about free will. But it’s not a struggle between giving up your will in favor of God’s Will. It’s a struggle between your SpiritualSoul and your human nature, your Eternal self and your temporal self.

You don’t have to decide this now. You can’t, anyway, you can just possibly choose to follow the path and see where it leads. You don’t know if God is calling you to a religious life as a monk or friar or priest or if He just knows your whole life will be so much better if you follow this path for a while.

I will tell you about one of the greatest people I have ever known, it’s a privilege to just be in his presence. He was in seminary and shortly before he was to be ordained, he left. he married and has the most beautiful family, he’s one of the most beloved and respected persons in the Parish or probably anywhere he goes. He’s just a blessing to all who come into contact with him and one amazing father and husband.

He’s a baggage handler, BTW. Also has the most astonishing choir voice. Anyway, all those years in formation shaped him, readied him for his vocation which was to be religious in the world as husband, father, friend, example to all he meets. He’d be very embarrassed by all this praise. He’s just a completely normal, humble guy. To himself.

You don’t know where your path ends up, but I know this: we never have to be afraid to follow where God leads. And as long as you keep asking, He’s going to keep answering.

He really is a nag.

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