Hello to all
You probably do not know me - I am new on here as of tonight - and I became a member because I am needing advice with what to do with my vocation.
I just returned from Stubenville St. Louis Mid-America Catholic Teen Confrence. While in adoration, I felt a sense of complete peace wash over me as I prayed to Christ in the Eucharst. It was as if Christ was saying: “This is the peace found through true love when you have this realtionship with me.”
At the end of the confrence, the main Religious Sister there called for young woman who feel the desire to discern/consider religious life - and I couldn’t remain seating, I was so pushed towards this feeling that this vocation needed to be re-opened as an option for me (because I had been treating marriage as my default vocation and had completly ignored the religious life calling since probably 6th grade.)
The bus ride home from that confrence was so peaceful. Since I returned 2 days ago - I have prayed a daily rosary by mysef, read my bible daily in the morning, and journaled with a new devotional book, as well as going to Adoration at a nearby church - I feel as if I can’t stay away from God!
**Here is where the hard part comes in ** I still can see myself as a wife and a mother - something that I’ve loved the idea of since, well, a very long time. I feel at war with myself, and am wondering if this doubt/inner turmoil is one of a couple things:
The devil is trying to convince me that that feeling of a possibility towards the
religious life was just an emotiona high and nothing else.
Christ is trying to say, “no, that’s not quiet right, I’m not calling you to this vocation,
I’m calling you to grow closer to me.”
I am still very attracted to the vocation of marriage - what is the next step?
I am going to go talk to a priest tomorrow about these feelings and Christ’s plan - what are some questions I need to discuss? What is the next step?
With the Confirmational gift of Counsel I got from the Holy Spirit I will just say: You are quite a wise person!
You are looking positively at two of the most positive vocations on Earth. It’s win-win perhaps - especially since you are seeking multiple counselors from good locations.
You seem thoughtful, are praying and want to do the very best thing. Three more plusses for you. Whether you become a wife or a Sister later - you are seeking first the Kingdom of God today (it looks like).
With a vocation you have more initial autonomy - although there’s STILL a courtship of sorts. Are you being recruited or trying to join or is it mutual? < For the other change the verbs to “courted,” “courting,” or “we’re both so in love we can’t tell …”
I had the funny thought of that old Yogi Berra (funny baseball player) saying “When you come to the fork in the road … take it!”
You can’t do both at once - but follow your heart, stay as discerning as you seem to be now - and whichever of these two good things you DO will be fruitful and rewarding.
Both are HARD when done right. And so heroic. Both are communities and so involve some working things out with partners. But you seem to realize that God loves you NOW and not because of your vocation or marriage.
As per 1.) and 2.) above. 1.) The devil will always try to tempt you somehow. It’s good you know that and are putting on the armor. Jesus’ parable of the birds who come and eat the seeds (word of God) came to mind when I read your question.
2.) Second part first - Jesus always wants to be more intimate with us. And we should not only let Him be … but muster what love WE have and turn to Him more actively (si?)
Who you seem to be NOW is someone whose heart is drawn to putting Jesus first (and with a bit of passion - that is, it’s not work but JOY as you describe it).
The first part of question 2 is something you can think about too - and is not necessarily exclusive to part 2 of 2. And Marriage as a vocation becomes more tangible when you have an actual person who you also feel you “can’t stay away from” in a good way - and who’d share a deep love of God and a place for Him (1st place?!) in the family you might build together.
You can’t live your whole life at once, enjoy the mystery. Feel God’s pleasure in you as his beautiful daughter who wants to do what is right with her life. The Father knows you MUCH better than I do … and even I am smiling warmly and wishing you … a wonderful future … and a REAL nice walk with Jesus today! :extrahappy::bounce::angel1:
Thank you so much for the advice.
Just wanted to share what Father Nick and I were talking about today in confession.
The advice he gave me was that God wasn’t going to call me to focus soley on looking for my life vocation so much so that it calls away from my present vocation as a sister/daughter/student/example to younger syblings.
He said my vocation right now needed to be a calling to indifference: to free myself from things (other’s opinions, sin, etc.) so that I can be open to whatever God is calling me too.
He said that the struggle I feel right now (between marriage and religious life) is very usual - and that God isn’t going to call me to a lifestyle without making it clear what I need to do to follow his will - it’s not like God is tossing me into the world to fend for myself, He’ll make it clear what I need to be doing if I listen to His will and not my own.
Fr. Nick also said that my vocation right now can be increased by giving love away, the more you give away, the more it multiplies, and that this could be accomplished through my interaction with my syblings.
Thanks for the advice you’ve given me, and I’d really appreciate prayers while I’m on this journey!
Hello to everyone again!
Just wanted to let the 257 who have visited this page that just because I’ve got a teeny bit of clarity, I still would REALLY appreciate your thoughts/prayers/thoughts/comments on my post - I really would love to hear thoughts from felllow Catholics / fellow vocation discerners!
Thanks and you are all in my prayers!
From experience, as time ticks away (slowly), God continues to call us back to a particular vocation. He has never let me down nor has He stopped calling me for 4 years.
I had a great desire to be a wife and a mother, but God helped me realize, though hours upon hours of prayer, that my reasons for wanting to be married were wrong (and I believe it still is). The vocation to marriage is great, but any vocation is a calling to a fuller life, not to shy away and escape from our fears. We are called to embrace our sufferings and trials more fully with God’s grace in any vocation.
Even the desire to be a wife and mother is still part of a religious vocation :] Becoming a Bride of Christ and a spiritual mother to hundreds/thousands of children all over the world is a great calling!
Though this is simple and easier said than done, take the time to just pray about it and let go of any inner turmoil. Do not put so much expectation to what you are feeling now as feelings are fleeting. His love is forever. Tell God that you are open to anything as long as He leads you to it. Then continue following Him, just trying to do your best (you do not have to be perfect at it; I was an utter failure for years), but never give up trying to figure it out. Pray, pray, pray, pray, pray!
Stellar advice…F. Nick sounds like a really nice priest. Keep us up to date on what happens as you wend your way through life, yeah? Others of us are on the exact same journey of discovery as you are, so you’re not alone. Pax!
How wonderful for you to have the opportunity to attend one of the Steubenville Conferences! (Ours in the Northwest is next week!)
You seem to be on the right track by talking to your priest. It is natural to feel pulled towards one vocation or another. ( i.e. marriage or religious vocation) Remember you have time on your side so pray a lot, talk to both married couples you know and to religious sisters. By responding to the “call” at the conference you are not locked in… (to a religious vocation)…you are just being open to what God may have in mind for you.
Take it slow, pray and don’t rush to any decision right away.
If I were to sum up advice I give to high school age young women it would be:
Stay involved in your church somehow ( either parish or college)
Talk to your priest or a religious sister as you start looking at what you may wish to do with “the rest of your life”
Take the good things you experienced at the conference and build on them ( you can used them in religious life or marriage.)
You might make a list (which can be revised as time goes on): or journal
Sort of a pro/con list or a like more/like less list
Things such as: Wanting to be a sister/Nun ( pro/con)
Wanting to be a mom ( pro/con)
Also Vocations Placement has a nice survey which might help you to look objectively at what draws you towards or away from religious life. There is no obligation and you are not locked in to a “religious vocation” in fact many of those that use it do find as time goes no that yes they are called to marriage.
Thanks for your post. Interestingly, I have a young relative who was recently given very similar advice regarding discernment: she was told that she is so blessed to be involved right now in her family, her church, perpetual adoration, volunteering at the parish, college classes, a gentle and positive work environment, and a Catholic therapist to help guide her, that she should continue to grow in these ways and not disrupt her current life to enter an order. It was suggested that the devil will try to disrupt God’s will at a given time by tempting someone to pull out of their current life to pursue a different life, which may be a “good” life choice, but is actually NOT God’s will for that person at that time. God bless you …
The vocation to be a sister or nun in the Church is not contradicted by the desire to be a wife and a Mother. Don’t be afraid of those desires as if you are doing something wrong, but go to Christ and see him as the fulfillment of those desires.
You have no idea what the future holds. It could be that you will one day become a nun, or you could become married. Or you could die before either has a chance to happen (not to scare you, but it is a reality). Lets find the things that you would do to prepare yourself for being a good sister and the things that you would do to prepare to be a good wife and make sure to do the things that are common to both. For example, spend more time in adoration. It is not true that some man is going to come along and become your fulfillment. If we are not first fulfilled through Christ than we are not yet ready for a vocation.
Always focus firstly on your Love for Christ. You don’t have to MAKE yourself a nun or MAKE yourself a wife. One of the greatest acts of Love for God that I think we can make is to let HIM create us. Let HIM form us. Just be the person that he is making you to be.
I am personally convinced that anything that you do to prepare for a HOLY marriage will help you prepare you for religious life and anything you do to prepare for religious life will prepare you for marriage.
I speak from the male perspective, but I would say that if I met a man that said he wanted to be a priest but didn’t want to be a husband or a father, that would set off red flags. I think that desire to be a brother, husband, and a Father is at the heart of the male desire for being religious. I would expect that desiring to be a sister, a wife, and a mother is a the heart of being a religious for a sister.
It has become my belief that a vocation is not so much a feeling (or a “calling” as some put it) as it is a choice. The thing you need most to discern is not “god’s will” but is rather your own will. What are you seeking? What do you want to do?
I used to believe that I was “called” to marriage. I have since come to realize that an authentic vocation is not to the state of being married, but to marry a specific person.
Go visit some nuns and sisters. Your not committing yourself by simply being around religious. If there is any nearby you, make sure to try to spend some time with them.
Contemplate the crucifix.
I went to Stubenville Atlanta conferences when I was in High School. They were awesome.
sllhouette - completly agree with all you say. I would be talking to some people and they would say, "Sigh…(insert priests name) would have been a great husbad/father. Well, to put it bluntly, duh. In a sense, that is what he is doing now! Men who make amazing priests would make amazing husbands and fathers becuase the characteristics of their vocation are very similar.
I have been picking up an adoration hour weekly, as well as the blog, as well as daily scripture/journaling time.
Thanks so much for your advise. Your right - my vocation is a decision. Similar to the emotion of love - it’s not a feeling, it’s a decision. You have decide to love, just like you have to decide to follow God.
Thanks also for your words about the crucifix. One of the greatests paradoxes in the Catholic faith is that we look upon our Lord, Jesus Christ, nailed to a tree, dying, and see the most free man in the history of all time.
Free from our will, Free FOR God.
Thanks again and God Bless you on your vocational journey as well!
Vocations normally develop over time. I think it’s great that you had a spiritual experience at Steubenville and felt compelled to go forward when the speaker asked for young women who were willing to discern whether they have a vocation to religious life. It sounds to me like you have experienced a call to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. Over time, as you deepen that relationship, as you pray and discern, as you talk with your director, as you just live the next few years of your life, you’ll get a clearer view of what vocation God is calling you to. There’s no hurry. It sounds like you’re taking some good, positive steps. God bless your journey!
Hello there. I know this response is a few weeks old, but I too just returned from a Steubenville conference and like you, my life was changed. I also stood up for the vocation call and felt God speaking to me about the priesthood. Right now, I am a youth minster for my parish and I feel conflicted in my vocation. If I enter into the Seminary for priestly formation, would I be deserting my youth group? If I become a priest, would I be “throwing away” a wonderful ministry that God has entrusted me with? I think not.
God always calls us to great things, and so when we get to a place in life where we feel good, it’s easy to think that God’s work is done. But be reminded that even priests get called to greater things; ordination as a Bishop, a Cardinal, or maybe a different pastoral assignment. One’s spiritual journey never ends.
The thing I keep in my mind is that I would rather become a priest and discover it wasn’t for me than never try, and miss out on something wonderful I could be doing for God. I know that my youth group and family would support any decision I make if it was for the glory of God.
I pray for you and I hope that you really take to heart what Fr. Nick said to you. Never give up on your vocation. God so gave of Himself for us and we are called to do the same!
Yes, I was reading an blog post on discernment written by a priest. Bascially, the gist of it was: you don’t have to discern marriage. Men and women are naturally wired for marriage (and God said, be fruitful and multiply…). What we have to really discern is celibacy - or rather, the ultimate marriage.
The union a husband and wife share is just a foreshadowing of what is to come in Heaven - and those called to a deeper relationship with Christ through religious or consecrated life get to experience a taste of that now, here on earth. This would involve giving up the immediate pleasures of this world in pursuit of the ultimate marriage - with Christ and His Church.
If we are listening to God and to HIS voice among all the other voices of false shepherds and misled sheep, we are going to hear very plainly what His will is in our lives. He loves his children and wants their journey to lead to Him - so He’ll show us the way on the map.
You are definatly in my prayers on your vocational journey- please keep me in yours!