Vocations and graces


CAF members,

Do those who choose the priesthood or religious life receive more graces over the laity, whether married or unmarried?

Thanks for your help.



It’s hard to quantify grace. They receive different different graces. I’'m sure married people must receive tons of grace. :smiley:


Priesthood and matrimony are life sacraments, and therefore, whenever against the wall, Our Lady will shower the graces needed if the persons turn to her. If one is truly called to that state-in-life, they should grow in holiness from said graces.




Thanks for your answer. I agree that each of us have sufficient graces to live our vocations to which we are called. And, I would go a step further to say that even if one makes a mistake in choosing one’s vocation… God will turn that mistake into good for that one provided, of course, that he or she loves God (see Rm. 8:28).


I refer to your reply to my post on the Spirituality forum and my response to it …

I want to add to it the question about the relative graces received in order to live the married life verses any other state in life that does not involve marriage, i.e., the single life, the priesthood, and the religious life.

I am inclined to believe that, all things being equal, the married life entails more suffering and, thus requires more graces in order to live that state in life. In addition to the scriptural verses that you and I quote as well as your quote of St. Faustina in the link above, I also base this on St. Paul 's exhortation discouraging persons from marrying due to the afflictions involved. The verses are 1 Cor. 7:27&28.

“Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek a separation. Are you free of a wife? Then do not look for a wife. If you marry, however, you do not sin, nor does an unmarried woman sin if she marries; but such people will experience affliction in their earthly life, and I would like to spare you that.” 1 Cor. 7:27&28.

I also base my position on 1 Cor. 10:13 which says, “No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.”

So, my conclusion is …All things being equal, if married persons endure more affliction in this life, more graces are necessary to endure those afflictions because God only allows a person to be tried to the extent that he or she can bear it. In order to bear suffering, more graces are needed and received (as discussed on the Spirituality forum). That means that the married life offers more graces than the unmarried life.

Do this make sense? If not, what is the concern with my reasoning?



I think your initial premise is off, actually, but perhaps I am wrong. All I do now for certain is that we all need lots of Grace in life no matter what our state.

Marriage is quite challenging, to be sure, yet it is also a God ordained path to holiness for those called to it.

St. Paul’s advice about marriage have often been debated over and can easily be misread, I think.

I’m neither married nor a religious at this point in my life, but I know for myself that whatever the case may be I stand in need of much grace now and always will, even if my state in life were to change.

Marriage is a challenging path, yet comparing vocations does not seem fruitful… Caussade, a prominent spiritual writer, said all the states in life are very good and chosen by God. We just need to discern which one we are called to by His Will.


I agree totally that all vocations are good and chosen by God. For me, the discussion is fruitful because I need to understand the fallacy in my thinking…this is really troubling me because I happen to be married and converted to the Catholic faith after I married. So, I never had the opportunity to choose the religious life and didn’t know about graces, etc., needed for the different vocations.

My gut also says that something must be wrong with my way of thinking because God is just and would never hold anyone accountable to something he or she did not know. And, He graciously gives grace to those who ask (James 4:2-6) and will not reject anyone who comes to Him (John 6:37). If someone can point out my error, please do. I really want to know.

St. Paul is very opinioned in his discouraging marriage which makes one possibly think that it is a lesser vocation. But, Genesis 2:18 also says that it is “not good that man should be alone.”

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.



Okay… I think I have the answer. Graces are not given per vocation but per individual. What matters is what that particular individual does with those graces. The merit earned by the use of those graces is first based on initial graces given by God through no action on the part of the individual Who then allows the individual to merit good works by cooperating with those graces. Here is what that Catechism says:

2009 Filial adoption, in making us partakers by grace in the divine nature, can bestow true merit on us as a result of God’s gratuitous justice. This is our right by grace, the full right of love, making us “co-heirs” with Christ and worthy of obtaining “the promised inheritance of eternal life.”(~ Council of Trent) The merits of our good works are gifts of the divine goodness.(~ Council of Trent) “Grace has gone before us; now we are given what is due. . . . Our merits are God’s gifts.” ~ St. Augustine

2010 Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God’s wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions.

2011 The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit before God and before men. The saints have always had a lively awareness that their merits were pure grace.

“After earth’s exile, I hope to go and enjoy you in the fatherland, but I do not want to lay up merits for heaven. I want to work for your love alone. . . . In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is blemished in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own justice and to receive from your love the eternal possession of yourself.” ~ St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Any thoughts?



First, one does not choose priesthood. God calls to priesthood, as confirmed through assent of the Bishop and/or religious ordinary. A man is free to choose whether to accept or reject this invitation. :thumbsup:

In regards to grace:
Priests and religious do not receive more graces in comparison to the laity, as grace is not something that can be quantified really (at least in a “I can save them up and use them here” sense). Grace is communication from God to assist in everyday acts. An increase in grace, according to St. Bonaventure, is brought upon by an increase in faith.

Having received grace, one does not have a choice as to whether or not the received grace is used… that is to say, one cannot “save up” or accumulate grace. Grace is put towards the act that God wills it put toward, with the grace being present in (and disappearing in) the act itself that the grace is designated towards.

Catholic Encyclopedia on Actual Grace



Excellent. Thank you for your explanation and the link. I briefly read a part of it where it talks about where actual grace is present and then disappears with the action itself. I will study this at length when I have a chance.

Thanks for your help.



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