Struggling with Vocation


#1

I am in college. I’m attending a wonderful Catholic school, and it’s great because I get to study among religious and seminarians, as well as other lay students.
While I’m at school, I’ve still continued to discern my vocation. I feel as though God is calling me to the religious life. I’ve been discerning for 5 years now, and I’ve looked at other possibilities like careers or marriage, but I always go back to the religious life, most especially the CFR Sisters.
I’ve really been struggling though, and I know that that it is normal to have ups and downs while discerning. Some weeks, I am totally positive that God wants me to join a religious community, and I’m so excited and happy, and I know that that is where God wants me to be. Then there are other times, like where I am at now, I have no idea what God wants. It’s like I’m numb.
I just love the school, and I’m growing in my faith, and learning more about who I am and the Catholic faith everyday. I have also been saying the Divine Office 4 days a week, and going to confession, and adoration. And the brothers (seminarians) are amazing ! I’m so blessed to be able to go to school, eat, and spend time and talk with them. They are like my brothers :slight_smile: I can’t imagine leaving this school and the brothers, because I love it here, but I know that there are times when we have to move on, and the other students and the brothers will move on as well when they finish school. What’s great too is that the brothers really encourage me in my discernment. They are just great positive examples, and they have such a strong faith and love of God…it’s just so inspiring !!

I just don’t know what to think. I’m really struggling with knowing what God wants. I truly feel as though God is calling me to the religious life, but I just seem to go through a lot of ‘down’ moments, and it makes me wonder whether or not it’s just my dream to join the CFRs and not God’s. How do you know whether it’s God telling you, or that it’s just a dream that you have, or something that you want so much, that you don’t hear what God really wants from you ? I hope that makes sense.
I’d love some encouragement, advice, and maybe some prayers :heart:


#2

Hello! I’m also a college student who’s trying to discern a religious vocation.

I think the first thing that I want to say (since you’re already praying) is this: do you have a spiritual director?

I have found that this is key towards discerning the religious life. Especially since you’re going through a time of uncertainty and change (college being like that, of course :wink: ), it is best to have somebody objective and spiritually experienced (not mysticism necessarily but at least in a grounded relationship with God) so that you can know the difference between your own personal feelings and what God actually wants for you. Indeed, in discernment, one must consider all possibilities, even the possibility that our desire for a religious vocation is wrong and that we are called to something else instead (not necessarily marriage but even as a consecrated virgin, etc.).

Also, I’m going through bit of a dry period, and I can tell you one thing: if God is calling you to the religious life, He will put opportunities in your way (and even the dryness itself may be an opportunity to trust in Him despite your uncertain feelings)! Indeed, I’m lucky to have found a Dominican parish that has been supportive of me - I’m sure the seminarians know someone who can help (they should have spiritual directors, too, if I’ve read some of the CAF threads correctly).

Good luck, and God bless!


#3

I am on my path of discernment, as well. If I can give any advice, it is to be at peace with the knowledge that Christ will not steer you wrong. Pray to Him and be at peace. He is a God of peace, and not affliction. Don’t become anxious for an answer, either. If you are praying and truly seek to do His will, then you are EXACTLY where you should be. Just continue to do this, and wait in hopeful and joyful confidence and peace that He will reveal your vocation. And trust me, He will.

God bless!


#4

These people have given you wonderful advice
it is very important that you seek a spiritual director they will keep you right and always remember to obey what he tells you this is number one with God obedience always!
you will then know what God's plan is for you..


#5

[quote="ThereseAdrianna, post:1, topic:302631"]
I am in college. I'm attending a wonderful Catholic school, and it's great because I get to study among religious and seminarians, as well as other lay students.

While I'm at school, I've still continued to discern my vocation. I feel as though God is calling me to the religious life. I've been discerning for 5 years now, and I've looked at other possibilities like careers or marriage, but I always go back to the religious life, most especially the CFR Sisters.

I've really been struggling though, and I know that that it is normal to have ups and downs while discerning. Some weeks, I am totally positive that God wants me to join a religious community, and I'm so excited and happy, and I know that that is where God wants me to be. Then there are other times, like where I am at now, I have no idea what God wants. It's like I'm numb.

I just love the school, and I'm growing in my faith, and learning more about who I am and the Catholic faith everyday. I have also been saying the Divine Office 4 days a week, and going to confession, and adoration. And the brothers (seminarians) are amazing ! I'm so blessed to be able to go to school, eat, and spend time and talk with them. They are like my brothers :) I can't imagine leaving this school and the brothers, because I love it here, but I know that there are times when we have to move on, and the other students and the brothers will move on as well when they finish school. What's great too is that the brothers really encourage me in my discernment. They are just great positive examples, and they have such a strong faith and love of God....it's just so inspiring !!

I just don't know what to think. I'm really struggling with knowing what God wants. I truly feel as though God is calling me to the religious life, but I just seem to go through a lot of 'down' moments, and it makes me wonder whether or not it's just my dream to join the CFRs and not God's. How do you know whether it's God telling you, or that it's just a dream that you have, or something that you want so much, that you don't hear what God really wants from you ? I hope that makes sense.
I'd love some encouragement, advice, and maybe some prayers :heart:

[/quote]

You need a spiritual director! Get a priest! Visit the CFR! Make it less about the emotions in your discernment, and more about the head: Not so much a feeling, but an attraction to the charism of the religious order! To their way of thinking!

You will have downs wherever you are in your life, no matter who you are. It is part of the sad truth of that this earth is not our true home, for our hearts are restless unless they rest in God, in Heaven. Offer up your sadness to God.

Put no attachment to dreams right now, interpreting them and the like. The Devil can distract us through dreams, and cause us to be superstitious.

Do not let the downs persuade that what you are doing is wrong. That is a temptation from a demon. St. Ignatius of Loyola once said, that "In time of desolation never to make a change; but to be firm and constant in the resolutions and determination in which one was the day preceding such desolation, or in the determination in which he was in the preceding consolation. Because, as in consolation it is rather the good spirit who guides and counsels us, so in desolation it is the bad, with whose counsels we cannot take a course to decide rightly." (Spiritual Exercises, Fifth Rule)

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
St. Clare of Assisi, pray for us!
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on Us
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on Us
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on Us.

May God Bless You and Yours! Continue to Discern!


#6

Wow, thank you everyone !!

I do not have a spiritual director. I haven't found one yet. How would I go about looking for one, and knowing who would be a good 'fit' for me ? Are priests only spiritual directors, or can Religious Sisters be one as well ? I do not know much about spiritual directors.

Yes, I have visited the CFRs before, and I'm planning on visiting them again.

I think I have some good news. Just when I felt as though my discernment was in a down period, today one of my teachers, who is a religious Sister, and she knows that I've been discerning, so she invited me to her community's work day. I'm so excited ! Her order is Franciscan as well, so I'll get to see what another Franciscan community is like.


#7

[quote="ThereseAdrianna, post:6, topic:302631"]
Wow, thank you everyone !!

I do not have a spiritual director. I haven't found one yet. How would I go about looking for one, and knowing who would be a good 'fit' for me ? Are priests only spiritual directors, or can Religious Sisters be one as well ? I do not know much about spiritual directors.

Yes, I have visited the CFRs before, and I'm planning on visiting them again.

I think I have some good news. Just when I felt as though my discernment was in a down period, today one of my teachers, who is a religious Sister, and she knows that I've been discerning, so she invited me to her community's work day. I'm so excited ! Her order is Franciscan as well, so I'll get to see what another Franciscan community is like.

[/quote]

We say priest for spiritual director, because priests usually are, even for religious orders. However you may be directed, being a woman, by a wise sister if you like. You are considering to join their way of life anyway! God Bless You!


#8

[quote="ThereseAdrianna, post:6, topic:302631"]
Wow, thank you everyone !!

I do not have a spiritual director. I haven't found one yet. How would I go about looking for one, and knowing who would be a good 'fit' for me ? Are priests only spiritual directors, or can Religious Sisters be one as well ? I do not know much about spiritual directors.

Yes, I have visited the CFRs before, and I'm planning on visiting them again.

I think I have some good news. Just when I felt as though my discernment was in a down period, today one of my teachers, who is a religious Sister, and she knows that I've been discerning, so she invited me to her community's work day. I'm so excited ! Her order is Franciscan as well, so I'll get to see what another Franciscan community is like.

[/quote]

Here is a link to what I said about spiritual direction to a 16-year-old. While the Skype thing was probably a bad call given his age (unless he is in a situation like I am where he already knows a priest in real life who has since moved to a different parish), this could be more appropriate for you, given that you are college-age.

forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=9923512&postcount=2

Hope that helps! :)


#9

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